A View From The Top #74

by Srinandini Mukherjee

We seem to have reached a point where, once a new single makes it to the top, we can write out the next two months’ worth of reviews while the charts remain unchanged – unsurprisingly, for the eighth week in a row, here we are, talking about Shape of You.

In my last column, I focused on why Ed Sheeran deserves the appreciation he is currently receiving in abundance. However, this week, the success may not be his alone to share: On the 22nd of February, at the 2017 Brit Awards, Sheeran featured Stormzy in a remixed, rap-including live performance of Shape of You, which, since then, has allegedly been streamed 10.95 million times, and has no doubt contributed to the track’s prolonged stay in the top spot.

Let’s face it, more than anything else, Ed Sheeran and Stormzy’s version of the track is refreshing. By now this song is beyond overplayed - even the live performance by Sheeran, entertaining and skilful as it is, has been repeated at five or six different events. The beat of Shape of You provides Stormzy with the perfect backing track to create a catchy rap, it renews the freshness of the song, and sounds great - from a distance.

What irritates me about this added rap however, is the content. One of things many fans praised about Shape of You was how Ed Sheeran compliments the woman’s physique without giving us a single detail about the way she looks. The remixed track with Stormzy’s rap not only pushes this aside, but emphasises upon the idea that the subject has an overweight physique and is unhappy about it, with lines like, “You said them other bruddas couldn’t really juggle your weight” and _“_Love you through whatever, who you tryna skip a meal for?”. The lyrics end up killing the wonderfully neutrally lustful vibe the song initially had.

Nonetheless, Ed Sheeran shouldn’t be the only one celebrating his success right now. Stormzy is currently holding seven places on the charts, and his grime album Gang Signs and Prayer is currently the number one album in the UK. Besides this impressive feat, the charts remain unchanged. The only significant new entry is The Chainsmokers and Coldplay’s Something Like This, a song combining the powers of two super-popular bands, probably intended to loosen Sheeran’s grip on the number one spot. However, the bland result which sounds like a disappointing attempt at putting together the most stereotypical features of Coldplay and The Chainsmokers falls shor t- I’m surprised it got as far as the second spot.

That being said, at this point, I’m not sure WHO will replace Ed Sheeran on the charts and how long we’ll have to wait for. Will it be Ed himself, with one of the tracks from his just-released album? Is a Drake or Justin Bieber song looming on the horizon? Whatever it is, even I hope it arrives soon by this point. I’m not sick of Shape of You yet (surprisingly), but we all need some change.