Ed Sheeran ranks at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Dance Club Songs chart (dated March 25) for a second week with “Shape of You.” How notable a feat is that? It’s the first time that the chart, known for its rapid turnover at the top, has featured a repeat leader since last summer, when “This Is What You Came For,” by Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna, ruled the weeks of July 9 and 16. That hit also went on to become the chart’s No. 1 song of all of 2016.
The last song to prior to “This” to lead Dance Club Songs for multiple weeks was Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” (Aug. 31 and Sept. 7, 2013). The only other two-week toppers this decade are Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” featuring Pharrell Williams (June 8 and 15, 2013) and Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” featuring Calvin Harris (Nov. 19-26, 2011).
“Shape” is Sheeran’s first Dance Club Songs No. 1 and second chart hit, following his feature on Rudimental’s “Lay It All on Me” (No. 38 in January 2016). A plethora of remixes were produced for “Shape,” including those from Major Lazer, Galantis, Jack Wins, Cosmic Dawn and Joe Maz, among others.
Several club DJs and remixers that Billboard spoke to aren’t surprised that Sheeran’s smash, which leads the Billboard Hot 100 for a seventh week, while parent album ÷ (Divide) opens at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with the largest weekly consumption total of 2017, has earned an uncommon multiple-week command on Dance Club Songs.
Maz (aka Joe Masurka), a Miami-based club DJ and remixer, tells Billboard of his remix, “I absolutely love the track, so I had to remix it myself so that I could play it in all my live shows. Ed is a genius; best song in the last few years. I’ve been playing it literally everywhere I’ve been booked since about mid-January: Hyde Bellagio in Las Vegas, E11even and Ora in Miami, Parq in San Diego, Premier Atlantic City … the dance floor loves it.”
Detroit-based DJ CAPTN20 (real name Nick Haddad) is a fan of Maz’s creation. “I give full credit to Joe Maz’s remix,” he says. “The melody and vocal were already powerful, but adding his sound made it more impactful in clubs, especially with the boom of 90-100 BPM tracks and the resurgence of the dancehall sound.”
New Jersey-based club DJ Tony Gia joins in, saying, “Joe keeps the down-tempo feel and adds energy and a great drop that’s perfect for the club.”
Spreading the wealth, fellow Jersey DJ Paul Desisto says, “The best remix that I’ve found, and has the best reaction, is by Major Lazer featuring Nyla and Kranium. In 2016, most of the popular or best dance tracks have been in the 90-110 BPM range, dramatically shifting out of the 128 BPM, head-banger, EDM/house sound. The original ‘Shape of You’ is 95 BPM, and the remix is sped up to 105. It’s the perfect tempo for many of the popular club tracks that have been released the last 12 months” (such as “Closer” by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey, and tracks by Justin Bieber, Drake and Rihanna).
Houston-based club and radio DJ/remixer Rich Pangilinan (“The Riddler”) extolls the virtues of Sheeran’s original track, as well as Maz’s and Lazer’s versions. “When I first heard the record, I immediately started to play it in the club even before the remixes came out,” he says. “The original just works because lyrically it speaks to young people. Once the remixes came out, I started playing the Joe Maz and now the Major Lazer remix that fits in with my downtempo 100-108 BPM sets. It’s still a peak-hour record for me and probably will be for a while.”
San Diego DJ/producer Ayla Simone adds, “Ed Sheeran’s music, with its wholesome-yet-edgy quality, works well on so many dance floors because he has a rhythmic, melodic groove that sounds sophisticated with his British accent, yet relatable through his heartfelt lyrics.
“I’ve played ‘Shape of You’ just about everywhere from Florent Lounge in the Gaslamp (Quarter) to a corporate event in Seattle to the big stage at Lex Nightclub in Reno. The track is a solid set opener that gets people feeling good and out on the dance floor. The remixes that work best for me are from James Carter and Levi, when I am playing songs around 100 BPM, or from Midi Culture when I’m dropping a house set. Both have a nice groove and bounce to them that, without going too hard, really set things off.”