Ed Sheeran – Apple Music Live: Ed Sheeran

Asylum Records UK / Atlantic Records UK

Release Date: May 10th 2023

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Ed Sheeran– Apple Music Live: Ed Sheeran (iTunes/iTunes live concert film)

Track Listing:

  1. Boat
  2. Salt Water
  3. Eyes Closed
  4. Life Goes On
  5. Dusty
  6. End Of Youth
  7. Colourblind
  8. Curtains
  9. Borderline
  10. Spark
  11. Vega
  12. Sycamore
  13. No Strings
  14. The Hills Of Aberfeldy
  15. The A Team
  16. Shivers
  17. Castle On the Hill
  18. Bloodstream
  19. Thinking Out Loud
  20. Perfect
  21. Shape Of You
  22. Bad Habits

One of the most respected, popular, influential, powerful, encouraging, honest, vulnerable, and emotional artists I’ve heard in a long time… is British pop singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran. We blogged about Ed a few years ago, and all of the positive things Jon had to say about Ed, his music and his song writing, still ring true today. Ed’s brand of pop isn’t like the pop you hear on the radio today; and though he is a mainstream artist, I find myself resonating with his music probably even more so than some of the CCM artists that I’ve been listening to for a longer time. Ed has a way with words and with the acoustic guitar and with the piano- when you listen to an Ed Sheeran song, you can’t help but feel emotive and inspired and encouraged and comforted; and his brilliant prowess as a singer and as a songwriter is probably as big as it has ever been right now, and as never more so on display I reckon, than in his most recent album =. Pronounced ‘equals’, = was reviewed by Jon here… and again I agree with everything that he has said and mentioned about Ed and his songs. Songs like “Overpass Graffiti”, “Tides”, “The Joker And The Queen”, “Visiting Hours”, “Leave Your Life” and “Stop The Rain”, are all songs that are highlights and are songs which are impactful, compelling, and thought-provoking. While “Bad Habits” to me is still the lone ‘misstep’ of the album… so 13 good songs and 1 mediocre one isn’t that bad. Now fast forward to now, and Ed is back with a brand new album called… yep, you guess it. It’s called (pronounced ‘subtract’), and with a whopping 18 tracks, and the album being inspired by the death of Ed’s best friend Jamal; can I say that though the subject matter of all of the songs is dark and depressing, that this album could be the album of the year come the end of 2023? We are yet to review Subtract (and we’ll do so in the next few days!); but for now, shall we settle for a quick glance through and brief analysis of the new live album Apple Music Live: Ed Sheeran, comprising of Ed singing his new album straight through in front of a live audience exclusive for Apple Music (and also including some big hits at the end as well)?

Previously, Ed released “Celestial”- a track to promote the new Pokémon video game, and boy is this track an encourager and an uplifter if ever there was one. I recently reviewed Ed’s deluxe edition of =, which you can read here– standing tall at 23 tracks, Ed has added an additional 9 songs, and has enhanced his album to more stratospheric heights. I didn’t think that = could be improved upon… but it has. But all of these songs pale in comparison to Ed’s clear magnum opus in Subtract, and this new exclusive Apple Music live album confirms this fact! Have you all listened to Ed’s new album? I’m sure you all have at least once, but for those of you who are living under a rock; let me say that this live album enhances the studio project all the more. I won’t go deep into any of the songs (I’ll save that for the review of Subtract!), but Apple Music Live: Ed Sheeran is a bonafide emotional and heartfelt real live album, and not just a marketing ploy to drive up sales of Subtract. Sure, the songs like “Boat”, “Eyes Closed”, “Life Goes On” and others are immensely resonating and emotional; but this live album, which features Ed telling the stories of each song and what they mean to him, highlights the genius of Ed as a singer and as a songwriter, while also shining a spotlight on the prevalent issue of mental health and encouraging us all to be there for our friends and family and those around us who are struggling.

Ed Sheeran’s song-writing and inspiring lyrics and heartfelt vocals ensure that he is a star at the moment and that his best work is this past released studio album (and by extension this live project!)- but hopefully it’s yet to come. Subtract and Apple Music Live: Ed Sheeran confirms Ed’s greatness amongst other British artists like Phil Collins, Robbie Williams, Coldplay, The Beatles, David Bowie, Sting and George Michael to name a few. These two albums especially (as well as Ed’s previous album Equals) still reminds us that at the moment, Ed can do no wrong. And so I must congratulate Ed- well done for setting the bar high once again! I can’t wait to hear what’s next! Perhaps a Christmas album? Or a remix album?

8 songs to listen to: Eyes Closed, Life Goes On, Colourblind, Borderline, The Hills Of Aberfeldy, Castle On the Hill, Thinking Out Loud, Perfect

Score: 5/5

RIYL: Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, Lewis Capaldi, Maroon 5, Adele

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