There has been a bit of Sheeran-mania Friday (Jan. 6), as Ed Sheeran finally delivered new music to the world after more than a year away from social media and nearly two years without new tunes of his own.
But as we had “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill” on repeat in celebration of their simultaneous release, we couldn’t help thinking where they fall in comparison to Sheeran’s other singles. Sheeran’s two recent additions bring his solo single total up to 14 (not including his promotional singles), but we also felt we should include some of his notable features that were released as singles by his collaborators, like Taylor Swift and Rudimental.
So without further ado, here is Billboard‘s ranking of Ed Sheeran singles:
18. “Old School Love” (Lupe Fiasco feature)
Please note: This song does not rank last because of how Sheeran sounds. It’s at the bottom simply because there is just not enough of Sheeran to please the Sheerios.
17. “Small Bump”
While the pleasantly slow pace of this + track fits Sheeran’s somber tone beautifully, there’s just something about it — melodically and lyrically — that doesn’t measure up to the other ballads Sheeran has released.
The thumping bassline of “Bloodsteam” is definitely conducive to some serious toe-tapping. But again, in comparison to the composition of some of Sheeran’s midtempo tunes, this one can easily be forgotten.
15. “All About It” (Hoodie Allen feature)
Even if you aren’t such a fan of this funky hip-hoppy team-up, you have to give this song props for essentially giving Sheeran a tagline: “I’m not a rapper just a singer with a gameplan.”
14. “Everything Has Changed” (Taylor Swift feature)
After Sheeran and Swift established themselves as one of music’s most adorable best-friend duos, the once-tourmates managed to embody their friendship in song.
13. “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”
As one of Sheeran’s most rap-heavy + tracks, “You Need Me” might not resonate with as many fans as other songs in his catalog. Either way, though, it’s hard to not appreciate the fact that he created perhaps one of the most suggestive elevator similes you’ll ever hear.
One of the tunes that is a solid reminder that Sheeran is very British, his accent combined with his soft vocals put a charming twist on a rather depressing tune about drinking your sorrows away by yourself — with a broken heart, no less.
11. “I See Fire”
The incorporation of strings in this ballad makes it just about as haunting as it is when you hear it during the credits of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
10. “Lay It All on Me” (Rudimental feature)
It was exciting enough to hear a new song with Sheeran’s voice after more than a year of listening to x, but he and Rudimental really knocked their collaboration out of the park by highlighting both of their talents with this rhythmic, head-bopping song.
9. “Castle on the Hill”
Although Sheeran did tease the first line of this new single, he hadn’t given fans a snippet of the tune the way he did with the other release (“Shape of You”). So while listening to “Castle,” it’s easy to get sucked right into the magically alluring upbeat tempo. But the stunning melody and intriguingly personal lyrics help “Castle” never lose its vigor, even after hitting replay 500 times.
With heartfelt acoustics and heartbreaking lyrics, there’s only one way to describe this song: All. The. Feels.
7. “The A Team”
Not the most dynamic of breakthrough songs, but Sheeran’s acoustic guitar playing is about as raw as it gets on “The A Team,” which really brings out the softness of his smooth (and practically flawless) voice. That’s a pretty solid way to make a statement as an artist — and the Grammys agreed, giving Sheeran a song of the year nod in 2013 before even recognizing him as a “new artist” in 2014.
While Sheeran proved with previous songs that he knows how to craft some pretty genius lines, this one may top them all. Not only did he tell a cheating ex off in the most poetic of ways (“I never intended to be next/But you didn’t need to take him to bed that’s all”), but he did so with a catchy beat attached — and the sassiest of hooks.
5. “Shape of You”
If you caught wind of the sneaky marketing scheme Sheeran instituted on Instagram and Snapchat, you had an idea of what was to come with “Shape of You.” Yet, Sheeran still found a way to surprise fans with how the rest of the track plays out, combining the playfully bouncy tones with a sexy chorus that’ll have you singing along by the end of the first listen.
This is perhaps the x song that pays the most homage to Sheeran’s rap-influenced folk-pop of his beginnings, but this time around it’s done with mainstream audiences in mind. That “oh-oh-oh” hook tied in with the danceable rhythm is simply irresistible.
3. “Lego House”
“The A Team” was sufficient in showing the world that Sheeran is a romantic at heart who knows how to convey the most lovey-dovey lyrics in awe-inspiring ways, and if you disagree, this is the song that is bound to do that for you. It was the first single that gave a glimpse of the vocal fervor Sheeran puts into his lyrics, even before he truly mastered the art of love songs.
2. “Thinking Out Loud”
With sweet serenades like “Kiss Me” and “Lego House” in his repertoire prior to x, Sheeran proved that he is capable of being one romantic lad. But the passion really came through on this one, giving his all on the chorus — so much so that you can even hear his voice strain at points — and delivering some of his most affectionate lyrics in a way that would make any girl (or even boy) swoon.
1. “Give Me Love”
The single version of “Give Me Love” technically only includes the first part of the two-part track. But even so, the first half’s dramatic overlapping sounds (created on Sheeran’s loop pedal) combined with vocals that build from somber to intense make a pretty powerful impact. And once you get a listen of the full nearly nine-minute song, “Give Me Love” shows how complex Sheeran is as an artist, molding two songs into one with skills of a musical veteran.