We finally have it: a fresh, new start in 2017. And what better way to kick off the year than with Ed Sheeran releasing new music only six days in?
Unlike many of my fellow teenagers, I don’t love all pop music. There, I admitted it. I’ve never been much of a fan of Ariana Grande or Justin Bieber, because in all honesty, I just think that their music lacks true substance and authenticity. Sure, not every song has to be the deepest piece of literature, but songs that are halfway composed of sound equipment have just never really been my cup of tea. I prefer to stick to singer-songwriters, and still pop music (just not all of it.) Naturally, I really enjoy Ed Sheeran’s music. It’s no wonder that he is said to have inspired Shawn Mendes and Niall Horan’s styles of music (of course these two are some more of my favorites as well). After around eight months, I was delighted to hear from Ed Sheeran again.
One of the two singles Sheeran released, called “Castle on the Hill” is possibly one of the most truthful and detailed songs that I have ever heard from him. It is an upbeat tune, complete with a drum beat, a hint of guitar, and raspy vocals. Instead of depicting his love interests or musical inspiration, he explores the very origin of where it all began: his hometown of Framingham in County Suffolk, England. The song begins with innocent lyrics depicting a childhood injury: “When I was six years old I broke my leg//I was running from my brother and his friends//and tasted the sweet perfume of the mountain grass I rolled down//take me back to when I...” Sheeran begins the song with this to depict his vulnerability in childhood, before launching into the next verse that shows his progression of growing up “Found my heart and broke it here//Made friends and lost them through the years//And I've not seen the roaring fields in so long, I know I've grown//But I can't wait to go home.” I felt that these lyrics were something that everyone can relate to about their hometown. No matter how out of touch you become with your roots because of where life ends up taking you, your memories of growing up there are forever cherished.
As Ed matures throughout the song, he reminisces about smoking cigarettes and getting drunk for the first time at 15, which him and his friends began to regret after they all got sick. He recalls his first kiss, which he reckons he “didn’t do it right.” Although he is in a stable career now, his admittance of these youthful mistakes makes him more authentic as an artist, by essentially saying that lessons were learned, and he still won’t forget the positive moments associated with these times. Sheeran then ties it back to the present, talking about friends who sell clothes, work by the coast, are getting married for the second time, are single fathers, and even one who unfortunately lost a brother to an overdose. Regardless, he still appreciates the experiences that he had with these friends. The admittance of these imperfections creates a more realistic image, which I appreciate, in comparison to some other superficial artists of today.
By this point, you’re probably wondering about the song title. Why “Castle on the Hill”? At the end of the chorus, Ed fondly remembers watching the sunset over the castle on the hill in his town. While this is some beautiful imagery, I interpreted a deeper meaning as well. A castle, to me, has always represented wealth, and sunsets are a successful end to the day. Basically, what I believe Sheeran is saying is that despite his youthful hiccups and even a few mistakes in adult life, he has had enough positive escapades to be satisfied. He is rich in life, and is content with how he ends his days, even if it’s just with a simple sunset. It’s important that we remember this, in a world that’s increasingly materialistic; that even if you have made mistakes, there is always a way to overcome them, and learn to live your best life. I really enjoyed Ed Sheeran’s newest single, and think it’s a sign that 2017 is off to a great start.