Asylum Records UK / Atlantic Records UK / Warner Music UK
Release Date: May 31st 2023
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- A Beautiful Game
Everyone knows Ed Sheeran. I’m not even going to pretend that someone doesn’t know who he is, not even going to entertain that idea. What I will say is this, though. Ed has become a household phenomenon, quite literally. Not that there’s anything bad with becoming a success quite quickly, but sometimes, if you’re not careful, success can go to your head and turn you into something that you are not, or something you know you don’t want to be, but can’t stop the metamorphosis anyway. For Ed, to go from no-one hearing your name, to now everyone hearing it, is something extraordinary, like fresh air being pumped into a room that has been sealed off for hours. Because that is how I feel the music industry is sometimes like. From the same artists, the same countries, the same songs, the same messages- and then Ed Sheeran comes along, and no he is not like British boy-band group One Direction. He is different, unique, quirky at times, and by the world’s standards, a nerd. Nerd isn’t a bad term, just a term that I’m sure describes Ed quite well. And that is why I reckon his success has been as it was- people who are ‘nerds’ relate to him (myself included)- it is a reminder that singing, and music isn’t just reserved for people who ‘look the part’. Because in all honesty, from afar, if I didn’t know Ed was a musician, I probably wouldn’t have picked it.
Ed has released a fair amount of album releases throughout his career- his most famous album, Divide (stylised as ÷), bore the singles ‘Castle on The Hill’, ‘Shape of You’, ‘Galaway Girl’, ‘Happier’, ‘How Would You Feel’, ‘Supermarket Flowers’ and ‘Perfect’, while other songs throughout his career that have charted well on radio, are inclusive of tracks like ‘I Don’t Care’, ‘South of the Border’, ‘Beautiful People’, ‘Photograph’, ‘Thinking Out Loud’, ‘All of the Stars’, ‘I See Fire’ and ‘Bloodstream’, to name a few. Ed’s impact is far unparalleled, maybe even since the heyday of Phil Collins back in the 1980s, and though only a career spanning since 2011 till now, we’ve been able to witness countless of songs, and albums that have changed the course of music as we know it. I even wrote a blog post on Ed and his impact on society, music, and culture as a whole, as well as a review of his 2021 album = (pronounced ‘equals’). Since that album, Ed’s released a deluxe tour edition of = (my brother Josh reviewed the album here), as well as the song ‘Celestial’, a track recorded in celebration of Pokemon and it’s impact on people around the world, over the years. My brother reviewed the Ed Sheeran album Apple Music Live, while I delivered my own thoughts about the poignant and heartfelt duet with country singer-songwriter Luke Combs, ‘Life Goes On’. We as a site are planning on reviewing – (Deluxe) (pronounced ‘subtract’) soon, but till then, I’ll share a few of my thoughts about Ed’s most recent single, ‘A Beautiful Game’, from the hit Apple TV + series Ted Lasso.
Let me just say this from the outset- my family and I haven’t seen all of Ted Lasso Season 3 yet, and from what I’ve heard, this song by Ed is featured in the very last episode of Season 3 (now presumably to be the series finale of Ted Lasso, though it’s not officially confirmed as of yet). My family and I are currently on episode 6 of the latest season, but even though we haven’t finished the season yet (and thus, don’t know the context of Ed’s song in the grand scheme of the episode), Ed’s song is still great, and still packs an emotional punch, even if you haven’t seen Jason Sudeikis’s TV show yet. Standing at 3:35, Ed delivers purposefully and intentionally, full of hope, promise, and anticipation, as this track longs for us to see life as a series of moments in time where we gave our all to the situation, knowing full well that as transient as life is, it’s to be enjoyed in the here and now, not in the far future. The song itself is an ode to Ted Lasso the show, a gift to fans and a way of saying ‘thank you’ for sticking with the show for 3 season, while the song can also hold the dual meaning of how love in and of itself is a ‘beautiful game’, with all of it’s twists, turns, ups and downs, it’s winding roads and heartbreak and losses…all of it, leads to the moment of appreciation and gratefulness. We are enriched and enhanced along the way because of love, and even if it may culminate in some bittersweet endings, the age-old idiom (it’s better to have loved and lost than to never love t all) is still indeed true, again showed through Ed’s timely, compelling, and challenging track. Life comes in seasons, and there’s a time for Ted Lasso, and then there’s a time for something new. ‘A Beautiful Game’ is a song that honours the time of what once was, to acknowledge it for how special it was in the lives of those who experienced it, but also understand that what comes after said thing, can be just as exciting, new, beautiful, and unexpected. A song that challenges us to look towards the future with a sense of opportunity, this is a must-listen if you’ve loved British music the past, Ed’s music in general, or if you can appreciate pop music with a slight inspirational edge…or if you’re a fan of Ted Lasso, like I am. Ed’s music has always been thought-provoking, and this new song is no different. Well done Ed for this new musical offering. Hoping and praying that people are impacted profoundly by – (Deluxe), in the upcoming weeks and months ahead.
RIYL: Robbie Williams, Take That, Ronan Keating, Luke Combs