Why I Don’t Like “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes

Although Shawn Mendes’ song “Stitches” is several years old, I didn’t really get into it until recently. I was drawn to the sassy lyrics, the catchy beat, and Shawn Mendes’ voice—of course. But as I listened to this song over and over, I couldn’t help but feel guilty.

Why was I listening to this depressing song about a difficult heartbreak with no resolution except…well…death?

It Could’ve Been So Good…

I tried to justify listening to “Stitches” because it didn’t have swear words or mention sex. That’s definitely rare in secular music. Shawn kept the song’s beginning fairly innocent:

I thought that I’d been hurt before
But no one’s ever left me quite this sore
Your words cut deeper than a knife
Now I need someone to breathe me back to life

Poor Shawn. He’s dealing with a painful heartbreak, which we can all relate to in one way or another. He’s looking for hope in a dark moment, which is—again—something that we can all relate to. However, the chorus is where it starts to get dark…and violent:

You watch me bleed until I can’t breathe
Shaking, falling onto my knees
And now that I’m without your kisses
I’ll be needing stitches
Tripping over myself
Aching, begging you to come help
And now that I’m without your kisses
I’ll be needing stitches

Oof. Shawn’s ex-girlfriend must be a piece of work. Heartbreak is difficult, but is it really as bad as he makes it out to be?

…But It’s Really Not

Things only go downhill from the chorus. Unfortunately, the bridge—which happens essentially four times before the final chorus—is the darkest part of the song:

Needle and the thread
Gotta get you out of my head
Needle and the thread
Gonna wind up dead

That final minute of “Stitches” is really depressing. It can definitely leave listeners with a bitter taste in their mouths—much like the taste Shawn’s ex-girlfriend apparently left in his mouth when she broke up with him. So, as I asked earlier in this post, why was I listening to this depressing song about a difficult heartbreak with no resolution except death?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8 ESV)

I know that this verse is used a lot, and I realize that it doesn’t directly mention books, music, or movies. However, if we evaluate “Stitches” from the perspective of Philippians 4:8, what true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or praiseworthy lyrics are in the song? Unfortunately, this song doesn’t really have any redeemable qualities.

I’m not hating on Shawn Mendes for this song. We’re all sinners, and he isn’t a Christian to my knowledge. But that doesn’t mean that we can naïvely listen to “Stitches” over and over and claim that it won’t affect us.

If there’s one thing that I want you to take away from this post, it’s this: the choices we make about the books we read, the music we listen to, and the movies we watch matter. Yes, “Stitches” is really catchy. But the message of the song is ultimately what we should be focusing on—and there’s really nothing positive about it.

Lyrics from AZ Lyrics.

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