Ed Sheeran Eyes Closed Review The most unorthodox of Reinventions

Teaming up with Taylor Swift’s most recent producer, The National’s Aaron Dessner, Sheeran scales things back – but only a little, and the chorus of this new single is as insistent as ever.

Former UK Prime Minister at House of Commons Privileges Committee hearing

Earlier this week, the day the former UK prime minister faced the House of Commons Privileges Committee hearing. Which could theoretically end his political career. One tabloid newspaper decided that the biggest story of the day that Ed Sheeran no longer takes drugs (this confession he made during a long interview with the US Rolling Stone magazine). This probably tells you something about the political allegiance and news values of said paper, but it also tells you something about Ed Sheeran:

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Ended in the UK bestselling albums for eight years in a row

12 years after the album + catapulted him into the mainstream consciousness in no uncertain terms – it finished on the UK Bestselling Albums of the Year chart for eight consecutive years – he is still an exceptionally big deal, so big that a tabloid newspaper One can get away with filtering out certain quotes from a magazine feature and pasting them on the front page as a distraction strategy.

Did not sell as well in the US as its predecessors

Time has changed, so the taste has also changed. His early success drove away a lot of Sheeran-like people doing good business. But the popularity of the definite article seems almost impenetrable. hoarse voices, of which there are several whenever Sheeran’s name mentioned. One could point to the fact that their last album didn’t sell as well in the US as its predecessors, but such things are very relative indeed. It went straight up there to No. 1, selling 1.3 million copies in 2021 alone and spawning five platinum or multi-platinum singles. In the face of profitable failures. Even the outspoken voices above can be forced to admit that Sheeran clearly has something the masses want: a knack for writing songs that get under a million skins, massively. An innate sense of taste, a formula for success.

pitchfork-friendly alt-folk

Much has been made of the fact that her upcoming album, —, is produced by National’s Aaron Dessner, who worked on Taylor Swift’s Folklore and Evermore, two albums that marked a left turn toward pitchfork-friendly alt-folk. represented a turning point. Looking back on Eyes Closed, the transformative effects of having Dessner behind the mixing desk are less clear.

Feature not featured by UK tabloids

It’s definitely a bit more stripped down than previous Sheeran singles. There’s more echo on the guitar and accompanying synth, and some atmospheric, wind-like ambient noise in the background. The lyrics seem more personal and explicitly tied to a very specific event, in this case, the death of his friend, entrepreneur Jamal Edwards, than his earlier work. Though he broadens the personal to make a more general point about death—”I painted this month a little differently,” he sings, then adds: “Nobody’s ever ready”—and, as That Rolling Stone journalist pointed out, in a feature not featured by UK tabloids, that Sheeran has always been quite a prosaic writer, used to announce he would be a father and opened a song with the words grown-up are “I’ve grown up, I’m a father now”.

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