The tune is about remaining true to yourself and not trying to become one of those so-called “beautiful people” obsessed with material things and stature. It opens with pretty vocal harmonies: “We are, we are, we are” floats over a winsome melody and handclap-enhanced rhythms. Sheeran and Khalid each sing a verse about uncomfortable social situations, where a person can feel “surrounded but still alone.” “We don’t fit in well/We are just ourselves,” each of them soulfully sing. “I could use some help getting out of this conversation.”
As the singer-songwriter has done preceding the release of his previous No.6 singles, Sheeran began to tease the latest track via social media. In one clip, he played a snippet of the tune on vinyl. He also teased the video with a short clip that features a couple waiting in line at passport control before they are directed outside. Sheeran unveiled that the visual would drop three hours after the song’s midnight release.
“Beautiful People” follows the previously released No.6 cuts “I Don’t Care” featuring Justin Bieber, which Sheeran also re-recorded for an acoustic version, and “Cross Me” with Chance the Rapper and PnB Rock. The 15-song set features 22 guests in all, with several multi-artist team-ups, including Eminem and 50 Cent, Cardi B and Camila Cabello, and Bruno Mars with Chis Stapleton.