Ed Sheeran put a little something extra in Sheerios’ stockings on Monday morning (Dec. 21) with the surprise release of the song “Afterglow.” The spare acoustic ballad accompanied by a colorful Jackson Pollock-esque piece of art features splashes of color, was accompanied by a performance clip in which Sheeran plays the track on acoustic guitar in the middle of an expansive, twilight scene.
“Stop the clocks it’s amazing/ You should see the way the light dances off your hair/ A million colours of hazel, golden and red/ Saturday morning is fading/ The sun’s reflected by the coffee in your hand/ My eyes are caught in your gaze all over again,” he sings, his voice accompanied only by acoustic guitar on the first verse before repeating the haunting chorus twice, “Oh I will hold on to the afterglow.”
“Hey guys. ‘Afterglow’ is a song I wrote last year that I wanted to release for you,” Sheeran said in a statement. “It’s not the first single from the next album, it’s just a song I love, and hope you love too. Enjoy ! Have a safe and happy festive break and New Year’s. Back to dad land for me now, ciao x.”
Sheeran posted a mysterious teaser on Instagram on Sunday (Dec. 20), hinting that “a Christmas present” was coming. Sheeran has been pretty quiet on his socials lately, with the most recent update coming in September when he announced the birth of his baby girl, Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran with wife Cherry Seaborn. Sheeran went on an extended break to “take a breather to travel, write and read” last December, promising to stay off social media until he was ready to fully return to the spotlight.
He then released his guest-packed No. 6 Collaborations Project in July 2019, featuring songs with Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Eminem, 50 Cent, Travis Scott, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper and many more. The singer has kept a low profile lately, though he dialed in to the Warner Music Group’s three-day COVID-19 fundraiser PlayOn in April.
Watch the “Afterglow” video below.
unveiled as the most-streamed British artist of 2020 in the UK, Sheeran – who is currently on an extended break – wrote the track with David Hodges and FRED (the latter also produced the track together with Ed Sheeran). Co-production comes from PARISI.