Get ready to hear Ed Sheeran’s new music at every wedding until his next album

Travel with me in the spring of 2013. Pope Francis became the first Latin American Pope. The movie “The Great Gatsby” has just been released and everyone is wondering if this will finally get Leo an Oscar. (This is not the case). And the words “twerk” and “selfie” are added to the dictionary.

I’m in eighth grade, 14, and bristling with teenage angst. The car radio continuously broadcasts “The A Team” by Ed Sheeran on every station. And then when I give in and pay the 99 cents to download the song to my iPod Touch, it becomes the song that spontaneously starts every time I get in the car because it’s first in the alphabetical queue. . I’ve probably heard the opening notes of “The A Team” more times than I’ve ever heard any other song.

No matter how famous he became, Ed Sheeran stuck with himself.

Today, May 25, 2013 is the day I will see my very first live concert. Taylor Swift performs at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on her “Red” tour. Its opening act? That red-haired guy in the car’s Apple music queue, Ed Sheeran. The only song by him that I know all the words for is “The A Team” – and I have no idea now what I thought I had to sing – screaming the lyrics into the car like me, an innocent suburban midfielder. – schoolboy, might relate to the song story of a sex worker and drug addict – but nonetheless I’m delighted to see it (and Taylor) live.

When Sheeran and Swift take the stage for their rendition of “Everything Has Changed,” he appears unpolished, dressed in jeans and flannel, and looks endearingly normal for a guy performing in front of a crowd. of 80,000 sold-out people. This is one thing that has never changed. Ed Sheeran always seemed – and I say it in the nicest way possible – like a simple guy. No matter how famous he got, he stuck with himself.

Much of the album reads like a tender love letter to Sheeran’s wife Cherry and daughter Lyra.

But we’ve certainly come a long way from Sheeran’s first big album, “+”, to when it was just an opening act. Now Sheeran returns to the music scene with a familiar and heartwarming sound in “=”, although the lyrics for the new album tell of how much he’s grown as a person since his previous job. His sound is unchanged, and he’s still the same normal guy in flannel and jeans. But now, with a wife and dependent child, Sheeran is beyond his lost young love years and perhaps a little too much partying (though “Bad Habits” reassures us that he still remembers how to move on. a good moment). “=” shows how far we have come since those early years and allows us to reflect on how much we have grown too.

Sheeran doesn’t take the time to get straight to the point. In the first track, “Tides”, the opening lyrics say, “I grew up, I’m a father now / Everything has changed, but I’m still the same in one way or another.” Beginning with an upbeat but pleasantly simple guitar riff and drum beat, “Tides” seems to be reminiscent of Sheeran’s 2017 song “Castle on the Hill”, both musically and lyrically. If “Castle on the hill” of “÷”was a journey to maturation, in “Tides” we came of age.

Much of the album reads like a tender love letter to Sheeran’s wife Cherry and daughter Lyra. In “First Times” we are reminded to never take the simple pleasures of life and love for granted. The chorus overflows with sweetness as Sheeran sings softly, “Ain’t it funny how the simplest things in life can make a man / Little moments that we miss / Oh but I remember.”

Get ready to hear this song at every wedding you attend until Sheeran’s next album.

Each verse paints a picture as we see Sheeran and (presumably) his wife’s relationship evolve since the start of their relationship: “had a few beers, just me and you”; to Sheeran’s proposition: “The greatest thing I have accomplished / It was four little words, on my knees”; to the present: “Our first child and a million other firsts.” And throughout it all, he clings to those beautiful little moments they shared: “The first kiss, the first night, the first song that made you cry / The first look in your eyes when I told you ‘I love you’. “

Get ready to hear this song at every wedding you attend until Sheeran’s next album. (And it might take a while.)

If “First Times” is a love letter to Cherry, “Sandman” is entirely dedicated to Lyra. This folkloric marimba lullaby uses the mythical character, the Sandman, who is said to make children dream while they sleep. As the song progresses, it’s easy to imagine Sheeran as her child’s personal sandman, watching over his crib and not just having sweet dreams of a “chocolate covered roof and of candy bars ”or a“ rainbow sugar river that we can sail on, ”but praying that all of her own dreams would come true as she grows older. “You look so nice, my child / Hanging out with the sandman,” he coos. And like any good lullaby, the song offers solace and solace, in which case Sheeran will always be there to love and protect her daughter. “And even if it’s raining outside, you’ll be warm and dry,” he promises.

“Overpass Graffiti” manages to capture the pain of love that was doomed rather than just lost.

But “=”it’s not just sweet dreams. For fans looking for a sad song to cry on and add to their breakup playlist, Ed Sheeran delivers here too – “Overpass Graffiti” will break you. Although the song seems a bit fast and rhythmic for such sad lyrics (very different from “Happier” on “÷”or “Give Me Love” from “+”), he still manages to capture the pain of love that was doomed rather than just lost.

It was a love they wanted to make work but couldn’t. In a way, it’s sadder than the type of love that ends because one person hurts the other. “The cards have been stacked against both of us,” Sheeran laments in the pre-chorus. The phrase “I will always love you for what it’s worth” is filled with bitter-sweetness, a reminder that sometimes love can make a lasting impression on our hearts even when it isn’t unfolding. It’s not the type of gratifying, bitter breakup song you’d hear from Olivia Rodrigo (“Good For You”) or Taylor Swift (“We’ll Never Get Back Together”), but it still touches your heart. and leaves you with a satisfying melancholy mood. .

So, is it true that “Everything has changed”? Or is Ed Sheeran the same old man from the “First Times” that you heard his music? And where does that leave us?

Ed Sheeran’s sound still feels like the kind of music you’d hear live in a pub, and he still feels like a guy sitting down to have a pint with you after his set. It’s just that now he (and maybe some of his listeners who’ve also grown up over the years) have loved ones and kids to come home to at the end of the night. They are the same people, but they have grown up.

While “=”does not deliver anything particularly shocking to the listener, its real value lies in its familiarity, tenderness and appreciation of the normal little things that can have a big impact on our hearts.

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