We didn’t hear a peep from him for a year (except this surprise performance during Passenger’s concert at the Ziggo Dome), he needed his rest. But now, Ed Sheeran is back. With a vengeance! He’s released instant worldwide hits Castle On The Hill and Shape of You, following them up with the raw and honest album Divide, which broke pretty much every record there is to break.

This coming Monday and Tuesday he will be performing in the Ziggo Dome, so it seems a good time for me to give a first proper listen to the lyrics that I’ve been singing along to so confidently for the past few years. The question of the day: what is the most popular singer songwriter of the moment actually singing about? It wasn’t easy, but I’ve managed to make a top 5!

5. Eraser – Ed Sheeran

The opening track of Divide is about how it was for Ed to make the journey to where he is now, and how it is to be one of the most successful artists in the world. The sound of this song is quite cheery, but the lyrics are actually not at all…

I used to think that nothing could be better than touring the world with my songs
I chased the pictured perfect life, I think they painted it wrong
I think that money is the root of evil and fame is hell
Relationships and hearts you fixed, they break as well
Eraser – Ed Sheeran

 If you read on, you almost start to worry about him. In an interview with Glamour, Sheeran said:

“Eraser was a song that was very therapeutic to write. While swimming I had this idea that it should be Eraser. I don’t know why but it just popped into my head and I was like ‘ah, that’s a cool title for a song”.

In that case, we’re glad that writing this track did him good

4. Drunk – Ed Sheeran

A classic breakup song! But still in classic Sheeran style. Ed doesn’t do polished clichés. He does real, honest lyrics:

I wanna be drunk when I wake up
On the right side of the wrong bed
And never an excuse I made up
Tell you the truth I hate
What didn’t kill me, never made me stronger at all
Drunk – Ed Sheeran

HA! Ed makes short work of the banal clichés that everyone hears in times of heartbreak! I also really appreciate his play on words. Lipstick(s), cold plays/Coldplay, maybe lean/Maybelline… Have you noticed more of them? Let us know!

3. The A Team – Ed Sheeran

Sheeran got his big breakthrough towards the end of 2011 with The A Team.  I still remember how I played this track endlessly during the dark days before Christmas, and, being the utter lyrics nono  that I was back then, I didn’t really listen to the lyrics. I just picked up some stuff about ‘snowflakes’, ‘it’s cold outside’, and ‘angels’. I made a swift mental connection between the track and winter cosiness. I was totally wrong. The A Team is actually about a drug-addicted prostitute who is feeling anything but great…

And they say
She’s in the Class A Team
Stuck in her daydream
Been this way since eighteen
But lately her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries
And they scream
The worst things in life come free to us
‘Cause we’re just under the upper hand
And go mad for a couple grams
And she don’t want to go outside tonight
And in a pipe she flies to the
Motherland
Or sells love to another man It’s too cold outside
For angels to fly
Angels to fly
The A Team – Ed Sheeran

Sheeran wrote this song after doing volunteer work in a homeless shelter in East London.  Apparently the story goes like this: There were posters hanging in the shelter which said ‘Angel’s Rules’. Sheeran heard about a woman living there there named Angel. She was known as a trouble maker amongst the residents. Angel was dubbed the unofficial sheriff of the shelter and was allowed to make the house rules. There was just one condition: she had to follow the rules as well! Ed wrote this song for her.

With this background info, the message behind the song becomes clear, but what does ‘Class A Team’ mean? It’s a synonym for a group of people who use ‘Class A’ drugs: heroin, cocaine, etc.

2. Shape Of You – Ed Sheeran

If you listen to songs like Thinking Out Loud, Perfect, and How Would You Feel, you might think that Ed is a sensitive romantic. What we found out is that he also has a bad boy side! We get to hear all about his drug use in Bloodstream and Nina. On top of this, it seems he’s not the best-behaved with regards to his love life either; you can read all about the sleaze & dirt to do with Ellie Goulding’s (supposed) affair in our article Ed vs. Ellie– the sleaze that inspired his hit song Don’t.  If you listen to the recently release, Shape of You, you might think that Ed has turned into a real Casanova! He’s more explicit than ever in this song:

The club isn’t the best place to find a lover
So the bar is where I go
Me and my friends at the table doing shots
Drinking fast, and then we talk slow

Girl, you know I want your love
Your love was handmade for somebody like me
Come on now, follow my lead
I may be crazy, don’t mind me

Say: “Boy, let’s not talk too much
Grab on my waist and put that body on me”
Come on now, follow my lead
Come, come on now, follow my lead

I’m in love with the shape of you
We push and pull like a magnet do
Although my heart is falling too
I’m in love with your body
Last night you were in my room
And now my bed sheets smell like you
Every day discovering something brand new
Shape Of You – Ed Sheeran

Don’t get too excited now! After a little investigation, we discovered that it’s not what it seems… He initially wrote the song for Rihanna, but when he wrote the line ‘putting Van the Man on the jukebox’ he decided that it may not be the right fit for her anymore. Despite this, it wasn’t always certain that he would release the track himself! In the Glamour interview he says this:

“Shape Of You was actually the only song that I was like ‘this isn’t me at all’. It took Johnny and Steve (the guys I wrote it with) probably about a month or two to convince me that should even be on the album, and probably took them another month to convince me that it should be a single.” 

And just like that, his friendly, boy next door appeal was just as it was before! It doesn’t change the fact that the song is incredibly catchy, and you never know if it will give him some ideas

1. Small Bump – Ed Sheeran

I think Small Bump might be Ed Sheeran’s most special song. It’s written in first person, but he supposedly wrote it for a close friend. At first glance, it seems like a sweet song about a father-to-be who is looking forward to the birth of his child:

You’re just a small bump unborn
In four months you’re brought to life
Might be left with my hair
But you’ll have your mother’s eyes

I’ll hold your body in my hands, be as gentle as I can
But for now you’re a scan of my unmade plans
A small bump, in four months you’re brought to life

I’ll whisper quietly
I’ll give you nothing but truth
If you’re not inside me
I’ll put my future in you

The lyrics are filled with happiness, joy, and good intentions. Until the last verse:

You were just a small bump unborn
Just for four months then torn from life
Maybe you were needed up there
But we’re still unaware as why
Small Bump – Ed Sheeran

Heavy! I get the impression that it’s still a big taboo to talk about a miscarriage, and you rarely hear the subject addressed in music. As far as I’m concerned, this is the ultimate number one, because Ed plays the role of the friend who will try to raise your spirits, without having to tell him. Thanks Ed!

Is your favourite Ed Sheeran song missing? Let us know in the comments which tune we missed and why it’s even better than these 5 gems! We love hearing from you!

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– Eraser is written by Edward Christopher Sheeran / John McDaid © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
– The A Team is written by Ed Sheeran © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC.
– Drunk is written by Jake Gosling / Ed Sheeran © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC.
– Shape Of You is written by John McDaid / Steve Mac / Edward Christopher Sheeran / Kandi L. Burruss / Kevin Jerome Briggs / Tameka D. Cottle © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Spirit Music Group, BMG Rights Management.
– Small Bump is written by Ed Sheeran © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC.
📸: Unknown