Hi there – Fran here. Ed Sheeran is hosting an intimate charity concert (only 400 people) for the London Irish Centre Charity in London on June 19th and fans have the chance to win tickets by donating just £10 pounds they will be entered in a draw. The draw close on March 31st. It's a great opportunity for super fans to win tickets to what is going to be a great show. More info is on Ed Sheeran's Instagram page (scroll down to St Patrick's Day video) – please can you post this? Thank you
Hi Jen, Big fan of the blog although I guess i'm not a typical Ed Sheeran fan as a 37 year old bloke. I'm hoping you can help me find a version of YNMIDNY I used to have, it's acoustic, similar to the Bing Lounge version, but starts with him saying something like 'when I first started this song was only 2 minutes long, it was absolutely sh*t'. I remember it being amazing. Thanks in advance.
Hi! I’m sorry I’ve taken so long to get to your question. First let me just say, lots of guys like Ed’s music, and lots of people in their thirties do too, so I hope you don’t feel out of place here or anything like that. You’re in good company. Everyone here has excellent taste in music. 🙂
I tried to find the version of YNMIDNY that you’re talking about, and I sort of got sucked down into a big Youtube black hole. I didn’t find one with that quote, but do you think it could have been [this]? At the beginning, he says he used to play without a tuner and it sounded terrible… But you’re probably thinking of a different one because I think I remember which one you’re talking about and it wasn’t the live room. But I do think this is an excellent version anyway.
Here’s the one I personally used when I finally sat myself down and made myself learn all the lyrics to the extended version. I had a concert the next day and I didn’t want to be there not knowing all the words like I had before. xD And this was the version he was performing in the US at the time:
Gosh. There’s so many really fun live versions of YNMIDNY, aren’t there? I rewatched a lot of old gems looking for the version you mentioned, and I got all nostalgic. Look at this one where he begins with the black cab part from the You Need Me EP and actually sings more than he raps:
Also I love this version with Pass Out in it. How happy is Ed here? Performing with no shoes! And he brings Murray up on stage. I would have loved to be there for this performance!
And in case there’s someone who hasn’t seen it yet, here’s the livestream Ed did a few years ago to explain the evolution of YNMIDNY, and then he performs the version he put out on the One Take EP. It’s in two parts and definitely worth the watch if you like the song!
I’m sorry I couldn’t help you find the exact version you were looking for, but thanks for inspiring me to look up these old videos again! I hope if someone else knows which version you mentioned then they’ll leave a comment or send a message.
I also have your other question here, which I think is just a fascinating discussion to have, but I’m going to think on it a little more before I answer. 🙂
Hey Jen! How about another random fact about Ed? Miss the good old days.😉
Hello! So do I. 🙂
Here’s a random fact about Ed: Every time he writes a song and gives it to another artist to record, he makes sure he is on the recording somewhere. So when you’re listening to certain songs released by other musicians, you can often hear Ed doing backing vocals or playing guitar and you might not even realize it!
My favorite instance of this is on Strip That Down, which Ed wrote for Liam Payne. In it, the weirdly low voice that goes, “Strip that down, girl, love when you hit the ground,” is actually Ed Sheeran’s voice distorted. You can listen here at about the 1:20 mark:
I know a lot of fans already know it’s Ed’s voice on this track, but it still makes me laugh just about every time I hear it, so I like to point it out whenever I can. 🙂
A much more subtle example – one that’s actually pretty hard to hear – is the song Ed wrote for Hilary Duff. It’s called Tattoo, and he does backing vocals. This is one of my favorite songs that Ed has given to another artist, with one of my favorite lyrics he’s written: “I’m burning like the wire in lightbulbs.” I really wish he’d kept this one for himself, but Hilary does do a great job with it. This is what she told MTV News about working with Ed:
Sheeran did all the background vocals on the song after waking her up in the middle of the night to record the track. “He vocally produced it and came in the booth with me,” she recalled. “I was really intimidated because, normally, they don’t do that, so I kept looking up and being like, ‘You’re Ed Sheeran and I’m singing the song that you wrote and I want to do right by it.’”
“It was awesome and then he, in like 15 minutes, did all the low stuff and the harmonies and the background,” she continued. “He just musically has to put in no effort it seems; it’s just him.”
Have a listen to the song right here. Isn’t it gorgeous?
(i watched miss steven on netflix this week) hi i'm selling an ed sheeran ticket for his show in dallas on october 27th for $109.72 but it's negotiable i don't follow any ed accounts so i thought it'd be best to message you and maybe you could get the word out? my friend might be selling hers as well my name is jaden and people can reach me through this blog or my main blog assthetix. thank you!!
Lately I have found people on this website seem to believe that only straight people like Ed Sheeran. It is sorted of taken for granted that all LGBTQ+ people don’t. As a gay (female) Ed Sheeran fan, I would like to offer a counter to this.
I think everyone can have whatever opinions on music that they want to have. I do, however, feel that a lot of the Ed Sheeran hate comes from this alternate version of him that has been constructed by people who just know songs like Shape of You and Perfect, songs which I’m not hugely keen on myself – but my Ed Sheeran is someone different. Growing up, his music was my anchor. And I think that in those early days, it was specifically as a gay kid (not that I knew it at the time), that Ed appealed to me so much.
Ed Sheeran was an acoustic singer-songwriter gradually making his way into the mainstream and even when he began touring with Taylor Swift and playing for the Queen, he wasn’t fitting into this pop star mould.
He was just himself.
And I think, looking back, that was part of the appeal. Those early teenage years were confusing because all of sudden, all the girls around me were growing into a kind of femininity that for me, just didn’t fit. I remember being 12, 13, 14, and seeing all my friends gushing over whatever celebrity crush they had, and it was all these Bieber-esque, Twilight guys (no hate, this is just what it was) who were being marketed in a way to appeal to them. And there was this constant expectation that you had to have a crush on a guy. My friends always assumed I was lying when I said that I didn’t.
When Ed Sheeran came along, it was like a release from all that because he was so far removed from that image. Suddenly it was possible (cool even, the more popular he became) to be a fan of a guy totally separate from any pressure of ‘the celebrity crush’. And when all my friends began taking clothes and make-up very seriously and I felt uncomfortable dressing like they did, Ed would show up to award shows amongst all the slick-haired guys in suits or whatever, just with his messy hair, wearing loose jeans and a sweatshirt.
And you’d go to these shows in 2011, 2012, and the kids there weren’t the cool kids, the ones who’d go to concerts decked out in make-up and their best clothes (not saying there’s anything wrong with doing that). We were kids who didn’t really fit in. We’d show up in our own hoodies and jeans. We were the teenagers who spent way too much time alone inside and not really going out with friends. The shy kids. The awkward kids. And I remember just feeling that at those shows back then – it was like being at his concert, I was in a safe space. We related to Ed’s awkwardness and how he didn’t fit into the scene that surrounded him. He spoke to the isolated. His music was for us.
As I’ve grown up and have felt myself beginning to understand who and what I am, I can look back to Ed as my kind of icon of individuality. I felt more comfortable being who I am because of him, and who I am is a girl who likes girls. Ed Sheeran, in an odd way, was part of that realisation. I’m not saying Ed represented what it was to be gay, but he represented what it was to be different, and for me those two things were pretty tied up. With his hoodies and plaid shirts and persistence in being himself, even if it went against the flow of what everyone else in the industry was doing, he embodied how I wanted to present myself and who I wanted to be.
People are bashing SOY hardcore now, misunderstanding it as a mysoginistic "sex in the club" song. You once made an awesome post describing how this song is actually the opposite, explaining it in depth… can you repost it? The hate is making me sad when it's SO untrue and apparently people aren't getting the true meaning of the song!?
Hey, thanks for the kind words about my Shape of You post. It’s [here] (I’ll reblog it too). But keep in mind it was written as a celebration of that song and not as an argument against people who hate Ed simply because he’s… a successful white man… and I think if someone is bashing a song that they clearly haven’t listened to closely enough to understand the actual meaning of it, then they’re not likely to respond positively to (or even read) the post. I totally understand wanting to educate people who have no idea what they’re talking about, but if someone just wants to bitch for bitching’s sake, no amount of reasonable discussion of the subject is going to change their minds.
I wish people weren’t so shitty.
That being said, I’m all in favor of everyone’s right to voice an opinion on their own accounts. Even if they’re just whining and putting themselves in the way of other people’s enjoyment of social media. So in the interest of adding my own voice to the uproar, there are three points I’d like to make about the Grammys posts I’ve been seeing:
1. Folks keep complaining about the Recording Academy and saying that they ought to be blamed for awarding a Grammy to a musician the stans don’t personally like – as though if there were enough complaints, new members of the Recording Academy could somehow be elected and would vote in a way that more accurately reflects what the people think constitutes “good music.” I think these people must not realize who the Recording Academy is. The Recording Academy is the music industry itself. It is composed of singers, songwriters, producers, engineers, players of instruments. They all have the opportunity to vote in their own specialized fields and for the “big four” awards. Your fave is literally a member of the Recording Academy and had a chance to vote. The musicians you love – and the ones you don’t love – and the people who make every song you consume are the ones who vote for the awards. There’s not an election process. They are not there to represent you or your interests. And it’s not some panel of twelve old white men who don’t listen to the radio. These are thousands of professional musicians who use their personal judgment and experience as musical experts to choose what they think is the best music of the past year based on whatever criteria they think is the most important. That’s how it works. If you don’t like who they choose, become a musician and you can be one of the thousands of voting members of the Academy. That is the only way anyone will represent you there. Otherwise, the awards are simply at the mercy of the opinions of people who are involved in the actual making of music, and you can whine about it as much as you want, but you’re just screaming into the void. These awards are not for you. The whole point of the Grammys is for musicians to be recognized by their peers in the industry, not by fans. There are other awards that fans can vote in.
2. Everyone has struggles. Everyone. Those struggles vary from person to person and can differ in severity and whether they are private or public. Sometimes when musicians experience painful things, those experiences manifest in their songs, which is perfectly fine and good. But when you judge a song, you judge the quality of the song based on elements within the song, not on the experience of the artist. An artist can go through something hard and write a beautiful song – and many have, including lots of this year’s Grammy nominees – but an artist can just as easily go through something hard and write a song that isn’t the best song in their genre that year according to other musicians, and that is perfectly fine too. An artist can also write a song about a common or positive experience that’s not super deep and it still be a really frickin good song. It’s true that just because something is the most popular that doesn’t always mean it’s the best, but by the same token, just because something is sad or empowering or came from a heartfelt place, that doesn’t always mean it’s the best either. The hardest worker doesn’t always create the best thing, the most generous person doesn’t always create the best thing, the person who has struggled the most doesn’t always create the best thing. None of that stuff matters when you’re judging the Thing. The Thing must stand alone. If there were a Grammy category for Person We Like the Most or Feel Sorriest For then maybe the life experiences of the artists would have some bearing on the outcome. Otherwise it’s a moot point.
3. Just because you didn’t get your way doesn’t mean you’ve been mistreated. Real injustices definitely exist all over the place, but sometimes a vote is just a vote, and at least four people in almost every Grammy category are going to have fewer votes than the fifth person. That doesn’t make it unfair. In fact, there is no fairer way to decide on a winner of this type of award.
If I had a fourth point, it would be that I’m incredibly proud of Ed Sheeran. He’s an amazing singer and songwriter and put out a great album last year. 🙂
Thank you for the message and for allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts.
I just want to say, I love everything about this song. Everything.
When I first heard the little music snippet in the ad with the dots, I was intrigued immediately and kept playing it over and over, getting it stuck in my head. Then when I heard the whole song for the first time on Thursday night, I couldn’t stop grinning because, first of all, it was the first new song of Ed’s that I’d heard in such a long time and I was so happy to be listening to something new again, but also it’s an immediately very sexy song and whenever I encounter something sexy I pretty much just blush and grin like a huge dork until all the sexualness gets sapped out and buried under my complete nerdery. Also I listened with three other people and they were looking at me and it was embarrassing. But! I really liked it on first listen, without giving it very much thought. I liked the music, and I liked the sexiness of it. Now that I’ve had some time to really think about it, though, I like it five thousand times more.
Shape of You is an appreciation song about a woman’s body. Ed is basically saying, “Hey, I like the way you are put together. I am very physically attracted to you.” There are a lot of songs out there that are about liking women’s bodies and being attracted to them because of their bodies. But the thing that I love about this song is that it doesn’t reduce the woman to just her body. Her body is one aspect of her as a person, and while this song expresses appreciation for that aspect of her, it also acknowledges that her body isn’t all she is. It’s not her defining quality, and it’s not the only reason he’s attracted to her.
The song literally starts out by saying, “The club isn’t the best place to find a lover.” Clubs are designed to emphasize bodies. They are generally too loud to do much talking, so all you can do is drink and dance – and while that’s fun too, any connection you make with another person there is going to be purely physical by default. But where Ed goes instead – the bar – is somewhere that you can actually talk and get to know someone. The girl in the song comes up and starts a conversation with him, and he’s interested in her first because of that, and then they put on some music they both like, and then they dance. But even then, their “story” doesn’t begin until a week later when they go out on a proper date and “talk for hours and hours about the sweet and the sour” – which I’m taking to mean they’re not just discussing the food but also good and bad things about their lives – and they even talk about the girl’s family. This stuff is important to the guy in the song. When he wants to meet a woman, he specifically goes to a place that doesn’t put the emphasis on bodies because he really wants to know his partner, not just to have sex with her because he thinks she’s pretty.
One of my favorite lyrics is, “Girl, you know I want your love. Your love was handmade for somebody like me.” I really dig this idea! If something is handmade, that makes it unique and personal. It’s… more precious, you know? He’s saying that the love this girl has to offer is special – priceless, even – because it’s not the same as anyone else’s, and it’s exactly the sort of thing he’s looking for. Isn’t that beautiful? I love that such a beautiful sentiment is present in a song like this! Maybe I’m over-identifying with this line because I like to hand-make gifts for people who are important to me, but I just think it’s such a great idea. It makes me picture this girl literally making something, some sort of lumpy stitched-together heart or something that’s a little wonky because it was handmade, and giving it to him, and him being like, “Oh my god, this is perfect! It’s exactly what I wanted!” :’)
The other line that really pops out at me about this song – where I really think the crux of it is – is, “Although my heart is falling too, I’m in love with your body.” What this means to me is an acknowledgement that he’s falling in love with her as a complete person, all the different parts of her, but this particular song just happens to be an ode to her physical appearance. Essentially, “I love everything about you, but let me just take a second here to admire your body, which is one of the things I like.” And of course that’s what the primary theme of the song is.
And let’s talk about the girl’s body! Where is the part where he mentions her tiny waist and big boobs and curvaceous ass? Where are her slender ankles and large eyes and perfect hair? WHERE? Oh. He doesn’t specify. He doesn’t say that she has conventionally good looks. She might, and she might not, but the important thing here is that the actual shape of the girl doesn’t matter because whatever her shape is, it’s a shape that he likes and finds sexy. I love this. The song isn’t called Shape of a Supermodel. It’s Shape of YOU, because your shape is unique and attractive and the perfect fit for whatever person falls in love with you. And! Holy shit, their first date is to an all-you-can-eat restaurant where the girl actually FILLS UP HER BAG WITH FOOD. YES ED!!! THIS IS RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS! THRIFTY EATING. GET YOUR DAMN MONEY’S WORTH. YES. YESSSSSSSS. And that line, “Every day discovering something brand new,” is so right because when you’re in love with someone, or in the process of falling for them, you do notice new things about them all the time, and every new thing is a little treasure that makes them who they are and gives you even more reason to love them.
Oh, and I also want to point out that the guy says, “Follow my lead,” and then the girl says, “Follow my lead,” and they “push and pull like a magnet do.” I’m loving that bit as well, because no one is in charge of this relationship. It’s perfectly equal, with each one contributing the same amount, exactly as it should be. And I love the fact that Ed sings higher when the girl starts talking in the song. That’s a nice touch. 😀
Gosh, the more I think about Shape of You, the more impressed I am with it. It’s catchy as all hell and perfect for radio, and it’s super sexy but in an inclusive and body-positive way, without reinforcing any harmful stereotypes, and it actually has a beautifully romantic message in it too. Everything about it is perfect and fun and emotionally healthy. This is exactly the kind of music we need right now! I hope other artists are taking notes.