Women in Music 2018
Ed Sheeran's 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks
After the return of Ed Sheeran in January with his dual single release of "Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill," Sheerios were blessed with a boatload of action from the British singer-songwriter, whether it was interviews, more new songs, television performances or live shows. But once ÷ (Divide) dropped on March 3 and the promotional stuff slowed down, Sheeran embarked on his international tour not long after and left fans to listen to the record until they get their chance to see the ginger-haired singer on the road.
But as Sheeran fans know, listening to his music instead of seeing him live isn't all that bad -- every one of his songs is as great as the next, and his three LPs (+, x and ÷) are full of variety that also showcase the insane artist he is. So as we eagerly wait for our chance to see Sheeran in concert, we decided to pick our 10 favorites.
Check out our picks for the 10 best Ed Sheeran songs (in chronological order by album and track list) below.
Ed Sheeran - "Lego House"
This + track was one of the first introductions to Sheeran's creatively presented lyrics in beautifully flowing melodies, and even two more albums and six years later, it remains one of the best examples of that talent. Despite the fact that the quietness of the song muted his true vocal ability, the way he sweetly croons this romantic tune is undeniably perfect for the swoon-worthy lyrics he's singing.
Ed Sheeran - "Give Me Love"
Other than this song and "You Need Me, I Don't Need You," + is the slower and more acoustic album of Sheeran's three LPs. But even if there were more like this on the record, it'd still be quite the standout thanks to the intense buildup of the track and the passion in Sheeran's voice. And perhaps the best part about the song is that it's essentially a 2-for-1, as there's a second, more acoustic part that shows a totally different side of Sheeran in the same track.
Ed Sheeran - "Kiss Me"
Although Sheeran's vocals sound a bit similar to those in "Lego House" on "Kiss Me," the way he adds a whispery touch to his low, sultry singing makes the tender lyrics come through as even more affectionate than they are on paper. And unlike "Lego House," we get a little taste of Sheeran's impassioned strains throughout the song, which nicely balances the otherwise dreamy acoustic tune.
Ed Sheeran - "One"
Sheeran's voice sounds great whether he's rapping, belting or almost whispering. And as "One" shows, the same goes for his falsetto. Almost the entire song is set in Sheeran's highest range -- even amounting to a lovely extended high note in the bridge -- which makes his vulnerable, romantic lyrics feel even more heartfelt. And anyway, who wouldn't want Ed Sheeran telling them they're the only one for him?
Ed Sheeran - "Sing"
The initial single from x was quite the "I'm back" declaration from Mr. Sheeran after three years of no new music. He had shown some impressive musicianship with his debut album, but this song practically brought out a new Ed, bringing in more pop production and combining just about everything he's good at: rapping, singing falsetto, guitar playing and, above all, making you just want to bust a move.
Ed Sheeran - "Thinking Out Loud"
Of all Ed Sheeran's songs, there's likely not one that has been used for weddings more than this one. With lyrics like "Me, I fall in love with you every single day/ And I just wanna tell you I am" and a piano-based melody making for the most aww-inducing soundtrack for a first dance -- or any slow dance, for that matter -- you can't get much more classic and timeless than "Thinking Out Loud." At least before ÷, this was the most prolific showcase of not only how romantic Sheeran is, but also the killer vocalist he is -- while also providing a tune that can help even the most unromantic of lads in the world sound like a true charmer.
Ed Sheeran - "Eraser"
As Sheerios know, this ÷ track definitely wasn't the first Sheeran song to highlight his rapping skills... but it may be the best one. It's like a combination of a rap song and an Irish jig, with a pounding beat intertwined with masterfully plucked guitar. And perhaps what's most genius about it is, it's so jam-worthy that you don't even realize how painstakingly personal the entire song is -- that line "I'll find comfort in my pain" is no joke.
Ed Sheeran - "Castle on the Hill"
Although simultaneously released single "Shape of You" was the one that really caught on (and spent 12 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100), this song is just as dynamic in its own way. It may not be a club banger like its sister single, but it tells the story of Sheeran's upbringing while also getting your heart pumping and making you sing and toe-tap along with its flowing melody. Even if you're not from anywhere near Sheeran's homeland, there's something relatable about his personal lyrics that make you feel just as nostalgic about where you are from.
Ed Sheeran - "Dive"
By the time ÷ was released, it was no secret that Sheeran puts his all into his songs vocally. But once "Dive" came into Sheerios' lives, that point was proven even further. The way he passionately sings about his desired lover in the pre-chorus and chorus brings out some of the most ardent vocal strains of any Ed Sheeran song, making for one hell of a suitor serenade. It almost feels like a jazzed-up "Thinking Out Loud" with a little more fervor -- as if Sheeran needed to show his romantic side any more.
Ed Sheeran - "Happier"
While there is no denying that Sheeran established himself as a love-song master, what we hadn't seen a lot of from Mr. Romantic was a truly heartbreaking breakup song -- but, of course, he knows how to nail that as well. "Happier" tells the tale of watching your ex find love with someone else, unfortunately when you're still not over them, and it pulls just about every heartstring you have. Case in point: "I could try to smile to hide the truth/ I know I was happier with you." Whether you find its melodic similarity to Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" peculiar or not, if you've ever been through a breakup that you didn't initiate, Sheeran knows how to speak to your (potentially still heartbroken) soul.
Honorable mention: Ed Sheeran - "Shape of You"
Obviously we couldn't forget about this one -- but it was almost so obvious that we didn't want to let it steal the thunder of the other fantastic Ed Sheeran songs. Outside of simply making radio airwaves and dance floors around the world blow up, what "Shape of You" did for Sheeran was put him on the map with people who didn't realize they enjoy his music. And while we're excited that Sheeran gained himself more fans with this bumpin' track, what we couldn't help saying is, "It's about time!"