Since I've been a bit slack in terms of reading or film watching recently, I thought reviewing a song would be the next best thing. This post is inspired by my lovely internet friend Kit, who wrote an awesome review of Happy by Pharrell Williams. I hope this is at least half as good as yours Kit, if you're reading.
My heart leapt when I saw this little gem pop into my sub box. I'm a huge fan of Mr Sheeran's work - anything from his earliest releases like the 'Orange Room' EP including the charmingly angst-y 'Moody Ballad of Ed' - right up until 'Sing' or 'Don't.' With the release of his new album 'X' just a week away, this goose bump inducing track has me even more excited. It's gonna be an incredible album.
While Sheeran has been releasing songs from 'X' gradually until June 23rd, and I've enjoyed all of them, 'Afire Love' is by far my favourite. Opening with the Tom Odell influenced piano melody, his tone melts between passionate and pained. He really does pour his heart out in this one and that's apparent by the seemingly personal lyrics.
|Who doesn't love Ed with a kitten?|
Some have criticized Ed's 'change in direction' since the release of 'Sing,' preferring the simple 'guy with a guitar' image that he's portrayed right from the beginning. However, I think this is a perfect mix.'Afire Love' showcases his stunning vocals, also providing a catchy chorus and strong backing track. Fans who want to stick with the '+' era can surely be satisfied with 'One' or 'All of Our Stars.'
Although the song's lyrics can be interpreted in any way the listener chooses, the message was clear to me. Lines such as 'the devil took your memory' instantly made me think of Alzheimer's disease - a debilitating mental health condition which leads to memory loss. Maybe that's why I love this tune so much; Sheeran addresses issues in his songs that so many people can both empathize and sympathize with. Knowing that one of my favourite artists has experienced something my family has been affected by, makes him far more human and down to earth. I'm sure this song will be a comfort to many people.
I also truly admire Mr Sheeran as a storyteller - he was clearly meant to tell tales through song and he's definitely done so with 'Afire Love.' Listeners can picture the scenes so well, and what makes it even better is the lyrics actually mean something. For me, 'Afire Love' sparks melancholy images of a family in mourning ('Black suit, black tie standin' in the rain') but also ignites heartwarming daydreams of a lost romance ('I could look into your eyes until the sun comes up/ And we’re wrapped in light, in life, in love.') I love the fact that Ed's concentrated on family matters and something close to him, rather than churning out a guaranteed number one. The British music scene needs more of this.
In summary: 'Afire Love' is everything I was hoping for. A fitting tribute, with a powerful chorus and eloquent lyrics. Each of Ed's singles just gets better and better; this one could be on repeat for a while. Four stars.