This song is about the so-called "Beautiful People," a term for those who move in fashionable or glamorous circles.
Inside the world of beautiful people
Champagne and rolled-up notes
Prenups and broken homes
Surrounded, but still alone
Let's leave the party
Ed Sheeran prefers to remain true to himself - he does not fit in with those who are obsessed with material things and stature. In 2016 the pop star took a year-long hiatus and social media break; during this time he traveled the world and met people, forging real person-to-person connections.
Khalid joins Sheeran on the song. He too feels uncomfortable in the beautiful people's world of glamour and excess.
We don't fit in well, we are just ourselves
I could use some help gettin' out of this conversation
Rather than trying to fit in with the L.A. party culture, Khalid finds refuge in real relationships.
Speaking of their collaboration, Sheeran said: "Khalid's got an undeniable, soulful voice and I knew he would be perfect for this track. I think we both connect to the song in the same way, and I'm really happy we got to work together."
"Beautiful People" was produced by Sheeran with Max Martin, Shellback, and Fred. The three producers also collaborated with Sheeran on No. 6 Collaborations Project
's lead single "I Don't Care
The phrase "beautiful people" was used a lot in the late 1960s to mock the rich, famous and powerful. The Beatles', for instance, asked scathingly in 1967's "Baby You're A Rich Man
, "How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?" Marilyn Manson also did a song about it
The tongue-in-cheek music video was directed by Andy McLeod. A founding partner of Fallon, one of London's most highly respected advertising agencies, McLeod is credited (along with his creative partner) with starting the "Love it/Hate it" advertising campaign for Marmite in the late '90s. In doing so they created a turn of phrase that is now in the English dictionary.
The clip follows an ordinary couple who are dropped into a world of excess and high glamor. However, the pair doesn't feel compelled to fit in with their new surroundings. Sheeran and Khalid feature briefly, sat in the front row at a fashion show.
The pair performed the song live together for the first time during Khalid's headlining show at London's O2 Arena on September 17, 2019.