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13 March 2017

The 18 most Ed Sheeran lyrics from Ed Sheeran’s new album, ÷

From “I’m just a boy with a one-man show” to “We sipped champagne out of cider cans”.

By Anna Leszkiewicz

Ed Sheeran’s been pretty inescapable lately. The promotional machine behind his latest album, ÷, whirred into action months ago (leading to a number of bizarre interviews), and now the new album is here, breaking records to utterly dominate the chart. The reviews are in – and one in particular, from Laura Snapes at Pitchfork, struck a chord with everyone but Sheeran’s biggest fans.

The review eviscerated Sheeran’s “Nice Guy” persona. “Sheeran wants it both ways: artist and celebrity, nice guy who doesn’t want to alienate his fans with political convictions, anti-consumerist while gagging to dominate pop’s arms race,” writes Snapes, offering a precise analysis of “several striking lyrics about appearances on ÷, which is where the Nice Guy façade comes undone.”

If you want to spare yourself actually listening to the album, but are morbidly curious about how bad these lyrics get – fear not! We’ve rounded up the most Ed Sheeran Ed Sheeran lyrics on ÷, for your (dis)pleasure.

1. “I think that money is the root of all evil, and fame is hell”

– “Eraser”

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Fuck. I’m reeling.

2. “We’re going out on our first date / You and me are thrifty, so go all you can eat / Fill up your bag and I fill up a plate / We talk for hours and hours about the sweet and the sour”

– “Shape of You”

Ed Sheeran – the millionaire who will insist you fill your bag with chicken balls and plum sauce, and bore you to death about it in the process. Quite aside from the lack of romance, I can’t get over the image of sweet and sour sauce getting all over my iPhone and make up products. Everything would be so, so sticky.

3. “I’m just a boy with a one-man show / No university, no degree”

– “What Do I Know?”

Wait, really? We’ve literally. Never. Heard that before.

4. “My daddy told me, ‘Son, don’t you get involved in politics, religions or other people’s quarrels’”

– “What Do I Know?”

“Daddy.” Daddy. DADDY.

5. “I’ll give it a chance now / Take my hand, stop, put Van the Man on the jukebox”

– “Dive”

6. “Then put Van on the jukebox, got up to dance”

– “Galway Girl”

Wow. It’s enough to put a single reference to Van Morrison songs playing from a “jukebox” (?!) on your album. But two? Truly astounding. For Ed Sheeran, hearing the dulcet tones of “Brown Eyed Girl” emerge from a coin-operated record player is the very apex of sexual ecstasy.

7. “As last orders were called was when she stood on the stool / After dancing to ceilidh singing to trad tunes / I never heard Carrickfergus ever sung so sweet / Acapella in the bar using her feet for a beat”

– “Galway Girl”

WTF. There is so much going on here. How do we even begin to unpack it all. How has Ed Sheeran managed to insert so many stereotypes into just four lines? Are we meant to find this image of a horrifically drunk girl dancing and singing on a tottering stool sexy? Is the Carrickfergus another Van Morrison reference?! I can’t.

8. “I met her on Grafton street right outside of the bar / She shared a cigarette with me while her brother played the guitar / She asked me what does it mean, the Gaelic ink on your arm?”

– “Galway Girl”

As Amy O’Connor writes on Twitter, what bar on Grafton Street?! Why is this Dubliner asking Englishman Ed Sheeran to explain his “Gaelic” (not even “Irish”) tattoo? 

9. “I get lonely and make mistakes from time to time / Se enioma enko ye, bibia be ye ye”

– “Bibia Be Ye Ye”

10. “Las Ramblas, I’ll meet you / We’ll dance around La Sagrada Familia (Barcelona) / Drinking Sangría / Mi niña, te amo mi cariño (Barcelona) / Mamacita, rica Sí tú, te adoro, señorita (Barcelona) / Nosotros, vivir la vida Come on, let’s be free in Barcelona

– “Barcelona”

There’s a healthy amount of cognitive dissonance on this album for Ed to criticise that New Man for his poor understanding of his own tribal tattoos, but happily praise his own “Gaelic” ones and sing in Twi and broken Spanish.

11. “The way she holds me when the lights go low / Shakes my soul like a pothole every time”

– “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here”

God, he’s just so normal, isn’t he? He knows about things like driving, and road surface upkeep.

12. “I gave all my oxygen to people that could breathe / I gave away my money and now we don’t even speak / I drove miles and miles, but would you do the same for me? / Oh, honestly?”

– “Save Myself”

13. “I gave you all my energy and I took away your pain / ‘Cause human beings are destined to radiate or drain”

– “Save Myself”

Jesus, never ask Ed Sheeran for anything – he will hold it over your head until the day he dies. That oxygen metaphor is something else. You asked him for oxygen – WHEN YOU COULD ALREADY BREATHE, you cruel, selfish, git. Ed’s a warming, generous radiator – and you’re a fucking drain. The true victim of Ed’s multimillion dollar empire? Himself.

14. “Ain’t got a soapbox I can stand upon / But God gave me a stage, a guitar and a song”

– “What Do I Know?”

Sheeran frames himself as an innocent golden heart for not having a soapbox, or an interest in politics, or indeed, anything at all, other than a belief that he “could change this whole world with a piano”. If this seems like a contradiction, know now that “What Do I Know?” is not actually a humble admittance that Sheeran doesn’t know a lot, but a weird boast about how he is so superior to everyone else for focusing on music, love and positivity instead of trivial things like jeans. Or international conflicts.

15. “Everybody’s talking ‘bout exponential growth / And the stock market crashing and their portfolios / While I’ll be sitting here with a song that I wrote”

– “What Do I Know?”

As Snapes writes, Ed’s “feeble message falls apart when the self-confessed careerist sighs at someone surely in his same tax bracket” for talking about money. If you need reminding, whilst promoting this album Sheeran has admitted that he wants “to be the biggest male artist in the world”, spoken of his certainty that this album will sell over 14 million copies, and responded to the question “What’s been the high point of the last five years?” with “this year”, because “everyone I was scared of releasing albums around me released them all last year – people like Beyoncé and The Weekend and Bruno Mars. Taylor [Swift] isn’t going to be releasing until probably the end of this year […] So I’ve got a full year of just all Ed, all the time.”

16. “I heard he spent five hundred pounds on jeans / Goes to the gym at least six times a week Wears boat shoes with no socks on his feet / And I hear he’s on a new diet and watches what he eats / He’s got his eyebrows plucked and his arsehole bleached”

– “New Man”

Ed Sheeran has never cared about his appearance in his life. Not once. He has certainly never spent a career moulding a specifically relatable image using a team of stylists and PRs and thousands of pounds of products. He’s also definitely not bitter.

17. “You were the type of girl who sat beside the water readin’ / Eatin’ a packet of crisps, but you will never find you cheatin’ / Now you’re eatin’ kale, hittin’ the gym / Keepin’ up with Kylie and Kim In the back of the club, kissin’ a boy that ain’t him”

– “New Man”

Ah, yes, because if you watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians even once, you start to cheat on your boyfriend. Sorry. That’s just science, ladies. You wouldn’t get it. You’re too busy eating kale and taking selfies.

18. “We sipped champagne out of cider cans”

– “New Man”

We’ve found it. The one. Truly, this is the most Ed Sheeran lyric of all time. Ed Sheeran wants you to know that he can afford champagne (because success) but he’s not, like, a posho – no, he drinks it out of a cider can, looking like the same old chap he always has been. But champagne, as we all know, comes in a champagne bottle, not a cider can.

Ed Sheeran has spent time and effort dexterously pouring a fizzing bottle of champagne through the tiny hole in the top of a tinny, just to look a bit more normo. It probably went everywhere. They must have lost a good third of that bottle in the process. But it was all worth it, in the end, to look like they were drinking cider. Is that not the ultimate metaphor for Ed Sheeran as a brand: bending over backwards to shove an aspirational, celeb product into a more rough and ready packaging? And Ed has the gall to spend the majority of this song slamming the New Man for going to the gym and plucking his eyebrows… At least he drinks his booze out of whatever container it comes in.


Now listen to Anna discussing Ed Sheeran’s lyrics on the NS pop culture podcast, SRSLY:

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