Shawn Mendes looks back on his relationship with Camila Cabello fondly in his new track “When You’re Gone,” which was released with a music video on March 31. The song is about the time in a relationship where you know it has to end, but will do anything to prevent that from happening. “I know what we’re supposed to do, it’s so hard for me to let go of you, so I’m just tryna hold on,” Shawn sings. “Hold on, I don’t wanna know what it’s like when you’re gone. I don’t wanna move on.”
In the chorus, Shawn admits that being with the song’s subject was the “happiest [he’s] ever been.” In the bridge, he realizes his lady is slipping away. “Starting to feel like you don’t need me,” he sings. “Wanna believe it’s all for the better. It’s getting real, I’m missing you deeply, so I’m just tryna hold on.” Although Shawn never explicitly confirmed that the song is about Camila, the two went through a public breakup in Nov. 2021, and have no doubt been inspiring each other’s new music in the months since.
Earlier this month, Camila released her post-breakup track, “Bam Bam,” which features Ed Sheeran. “Bam Bam” is about coming out on the other side of a breakup that was difficult. “Asi es la vida, si, yeah that’s just life, baby,” Camila sings in the chorus. “Yeah, love came around and it knocked me down, but I’m back on my feet.”
The lyrics also have explicit references to Shawn, with Camila singing, “You said you hated the ocean but you’re surfing now.” Shawn is openly afraid of the ocean, but took up surfing right around the time he and Camila split in the fall. She also sing, “We were kids at the start, I guess we’re grown ups now,” which is a direct reference to how young she and Shawn were when they first got together in the summer of 2019.
Despite ending their romantic relationship, though, Shawn and Camila have stayed on amicable terms. At the beginning of 2022, they were photographed spending time together in Miami. Then, Camila broke her silence about the breakup in a March 2022 interview. “I think as I get older, yeah, the priorities shift,” Camila admitted. “I think it was that way for both of us.” She also said that she has “nothing but love” for Shawn after their split.