Words of hard-earned wisdom from Ed Sheeran: “The club isn’t the best place to find a lover.”
That’s how the young British singer-songwriter begins his new song “Shape of You,” in which he cleverly goes to a bar instead to flirt with a woman whose “love was handmade for somebody like me.”
Built on a percussive loop crafted by Steve Mac and Sheeran himself, “Shape of You” marks the singer’s return to music after spending 2016 largely out of view.
Sheeran’s absence last year – following the huge success of his 2014 album, “x” – cleared a lane for the ascent of Shawn Mendes, an avowed Sheeran nut who satisfied many fans’ need for an earnest folk-pop guy strumming his pain with his fingers.
(Sheeran’s retreat from performing also allowed him to do some behind-the-scenes songwriting for Justin Bieber, whose “Love Yourself” is nominated for song of the year at next month’s Grammy Awards.)
Now that Sheeran has returned, though, dude is gunning to get his place back: “Shape of You” is one of two new songs he released late Thursday, along with “Castle on the Hill,” a more expansive number co-produced by the singer and Benny Blanco in which Sheeran recounts his adolescence in the English countryside over surging, Coldplay-style pop-rock.
“Fifteen years old, smoking hand-rolled cigarettes / Running from the law through the backfields and getting drunk with my friends,” he sings, “Had my first kiss on a Friday night / I don’t reckon I did it right.”
In a statement, Sheeran said, “I really wanted to show two different sides to my music that I’m equally as passionate about” and said he’s “absolutely buzzing to be back.”
Sheeran sparked speculation that his third album, from which the two new songs are presumably drawn, will be called “w” when he tweeted the symbol Thursday. (His 2011 debut was titled “+.”) A release date for the album hasn’t been announced.
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