surprised his fans earlier today by dropping not one, but two different singles off of his upcoming album. The songs, "Castle On The Hill" and "Shape Of You" exploded onto the internet, triggering countless memes from Ed fans who have waited since 2015 for more music from this grammy award winning singer-songwriter. A good number of fans have been posting memes highlighting the difference in feeling between the two singles.
And even more of them have just been screaming (including Taylor swift who should honestly take a chill pill).
People are discussing the difference in the two songs because "Castle On The Hill" boasts more somber lyrics about home and the friends you grow up with, while "Shape Of You" is a sexy dance song about meeting someone at a bar. While these songs tell very different stories, the one thing they have in common is their beefy anthem-like production. For this reason, it's starting to look like Ed's upcoming album is going to be more pop driven and less about his storytelling skills.
Honestly, "Castle On The Hill" is kinda predictable. The form of having your verses start by saying how old you were when something happened is a little too similar to Lukas Graham's "7 Years Old" and isn't as well done. The one thing this song has going for it is it's big wall of sound during each chorus. It's definitely a "take me back to the chorus" kind of song but for some reason he never clues us in on what the "castle on the hill" means. This line makes up the hook to the song, and it seems like it could have been a striking image but without any context we're not really sure what he's talking about. He also alludes to a "you" character but never really specifies if that "you" is a love interest or his hometown. For an acclaimed storyteller who penned breathtaking songs like "A-Team" and "Thinking Out Loud," this seems to be one of his less thought out and sloppy tracks. To give him credit though, he still knows how to a write a radio hit. This song is catchy in a Shawn Mendes kind of way.
"Shape Of You" is a pretty good party track. In an interview with BBC Radio 1 on Friday, Ed Sheeran recalled that he originally started writing this song with songwriters Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid for another artist like Rihanna. He also shared that this was the last song he had done for the album and he didn't think it was going to make it on.
"Shape Of You" is fun but it also seems to be a bit of a ripoff of recent Drake, Rihanna, and The Weeknd hits. Ed Sheeran really lacks the swagger for this track which unfortunately makes it fall flat. His pseudo-rapping over a beat that sounds eerily similar to "Work," almost appears like he heard what kind of tracks were big on the charts in 2016 and said "I can do that." Also, has it not become cliche at this point to write a pop song about seeing someone on a dance floor and think they're hot? This type of song can be pulled off when done well, like "One Dance" or "Work," but when Ed Sheeran adds nerdy lines like "Put Van the Man on the jukebox"
or "You and me are thrifty / So go all you can eat"
it makes me cringe as hard as that Instagram video he posted on New Years. Like, who dirty dances to Van Morrison?
It's a little disappointing that his two singles are such pop fodder, but we still have hope that his new album won't completely stray from the lyrical quality that made him into the artist he is today.