How do you determine a person’s beauty? Designer clothes ? Expensive gadgets? Access to high class events? How do you try to fit into a place you have observed to be antithetical to your normal being?
These are questions Ed Sheeran has been posing for some time now. Starting with the release of his collaboration with Justin Bieber a few weeks ago. The title of the song, “I Don’t Care”, embodies what seems to be a rising “cool” among the present generation. Ironically though, the song happens to be the opposite. The phrase in this case signifies love rather than apathy. And there is also the question of fitting in at the “party”.
On “Beautiful People” with Khalid lending his haunting vocals, there is the specific description of location and people, the shiny attractive lifestyle, and, of course, the damaging downside behind this golden curtain of the world’s entertainment capital. LA is the city. Rich celebrities are the people. Entertainment is the goal. Secret sadness seems the inevitable outcome.
Things are described in full:
‘L.A. on a Saturday night in the summer
Sundown and they all come out
Lamborginis and their rented Hummers
The party’s on, so they’re headin’ downtown
Everybody’s lookin’ for a come up
And they wanna know what you’re about’
The downsides are also spelled out clearly:
‘”What d’you do?” and “Who d’you know?”
Inside the world of beautiful people
Champagne and rolled-up notes
Prenups and broken homes
Surrounded, but still alone
Let’s leave the party
That’s not who we are’
It seems like what they’re saying is if L.A.’s definition of beauty is what beauty really is then we are not beautiful because that’s not who we are. Certain questions shouldn’t be asked. Nobody should see who really are. Smile for the cameras – click click, there you go. Everyday is a reality show.
The phrase “Beautiful People”, thereby takes a new meaning – a direct opposite of it’s actual meaning. It is now a description of the things that actual beauty shouldn’t be – pretentious, plastic, unoriginal, dishonest. Here, becoming a beautiful person is a fear rather than a genuinely appealing quality.
Ed Sheeran and Khalid would rather spend the time with the ones they love than try to fit into this lifestyle, or so they say. The song is as enjoyable as it is insightful.