Krzysztof is a 10+ year YouTube researcher who spends hours researching, analyzing, and uncovering YouTube trends, challenges, and media.
The Worst of Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran has been around for over a decade, and his bluesy soulful songs have entranced us, moved us, and even made us weep.
However, not every Sheeran-written song is a gem, and after going through his discography, I noticed there were a lot more stinkers than people were willing to admit... including very popular songs that everyone pretended sounded good.
So will your favorite track avoid this dreaded list? Let's find out with the top 10 worst Ed Sheeran songs of all time.
1. "Kiss Me"
"Kiss Me" came off Sheeran's Plus (+) album and was written by him, Julie Frost and Justin Franks, and it was released as a non-single in 2011.
So what's wrong with this crooning, soft-spoken song?
I think the biggest problem with this song is that it's boring with generic lyrics and lacks a distinguished sound. It definitely carries Ed's signature bluesy-folk melodies but that's all it has going for it.
There's no punch in the chorus and it replays the same few chords over and over again beneath the artist's gentle voice.
Apparently, this song was featured in a couple of TV shows including Arrow and The Vampire Diaries and it even charted outside the top 100, but without anything to hook the listener, it's no wonder this song fell flat.
"Drunk" was another Plus (+) album release but this time it was released as the fourth single in 2012. It charted top 10 in the UK and hit 26 in the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs on Billboard.
So what's wrong with this dull, lifeless forgettable single?
Well for one, it's dull, lifeless and forgettable, and it's another uninspiring break-up song with a really odd music video attached to it (poor kitty).
I don't know what it was about younger Ed Sheeran but so many of his songs felt so tired and mundane. I mean he had the vocal chops, he was physically interesting as a pop star, and he's a great songwriter yet so many tracks missed the mark.
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I really dislike the chorus too; it sounds so raspy and he's essentially droning through it. It's a tad more interesting than "Kiss Me" but not by much.
And sorry Ed but maybe you should stick to having dogs in your videos instead.
3. "You Need Me, I Don't Need You"
"You Need Me, I Don't Need You" was the second single off his Plus (+) album and 10th track released in August 2011.
It peaked at number 4 on the UK Singles Chart and didn't look like it charted in the US.
So what's wrong with this rock-inspired single?
I think the intro is quite strong with a good instrumental hook and even Sheeran's whoosh-like lyrics are pretty good but as it continues it gets worse and worse. The chorus is very repetitive and Ed's rapping just doesn't do it for me.
Don't get me wrong I don't think he's a terrible rapper but his rapping only works in small doses.
But it's not just the rapping that isn't good. The chorus plays on a loop, there's no build-up to it and the lyrics are one-dimensional.
I enjoyed the use of the guitar and there were parts of it that played well, but overall it didn't settle with me.
4. "Shape of You"
I bet I'm gonna hear scores of criticisms about putting this song on here.
"Shape of You" was released as a double lead single off Sheeran's 2017 Divide (÷) Album along with "Castle on the Hill", and it was a monster hit. This song topped every chart you could think of in multiple countries that are too long to list.
I think it's the 1st or 2nd most streamed song on Spotify (as of 2021) and has one of the most viewed music videos on YouTube. It even won Ed a Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance at the 60th Grammy Awards.
So with all this success, countless covers including a popular dance cover, and more -- why is this song on this list?
Because the dancehall, Caribbean-infused pop song is actually not that great.
It doesn't feel like an Ed Sheeran song, the sensual undertones do not match his style or persona, and there's zero chemistry between him and the female boxer in the video.
There's little vocal work throughout and the song strongly relies on its infectious island melody, which is admittedly very unique. On the other hand, the lyrics aren't great and are a far cry from what makes Sheeran a special, talented songwriter.
As an aside, my thoughts changed a lot about this song. It used to be one of my favorites when it came out, but after hearing it multiple times I can honestly say that "Castle on the Hill" deserved to be Sheeran's biggest hit instead of this song.
His double lead single is better in every conceivable way.
Regardless I don't hate this song and it does have a lot of interesting things going for it, but I don't think it'll stand the test of time and more and more Sheeran fans are starting to recognize this.
5. "New Man"
"New Man" is a song off Ed's 2017 Divide (÷) Album. It peaked at number 5 on the UK Singles Chart and rose to 72 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
So what's wrong with this cheeky, broken track?
The lyrics might be the best part of the song as I enjoyed the funny, in-your-face verses, but the song feels too split for me. There are some parts that sound great and others that make me cringe.
The talking vocals don't go well with the chorus either; the chorus is more in line with Ed Sheeran's style. I don't have much more to say about it other than it's the most abrasive song in his discography though not enough to be memorable. Sheeran would likely agree as he intended it to be released as a bonus track.
The track doesn't irritate me like some of the others but it lacks the grit and pop that his more popular songs have, and I definitely think this should've stayed as a bonus track.
6. "Save Myself"
"Save Myself" was another Divide track included in the 2017 Deluxe Edition.
It was partially written and produced by Sheeran and it peaked at number 19 on the UK Singles chart.
So what's wrong with this slightly brooding yet uplifting melodic track?
Let me start off with the positives: the vocals and melody are sweet, relaxing, and charming. This is probably Ed's strongest vocal on this list, but it also sounds like another factory-produced ballad.
Don't get me wrong I like a slow, piano-induced ballad as much as anyone but to me, it sounds like something you'd hear at a school prom.
But perhaps the biggest cardinal sin is that the track is off the same album as "Perfect", which this tune was clearly inspired by -- except it's the stripped-down value store version of it.
Does it deserve to be on this list...probably not, but should it be on the album following such a massive wedding song like "Perfect"...nope.
7. "Perfect" Duet
Speaking of "Perfect", here's a version that'll make a lot of people mad that it's on here.
Normally I wouldn't include a remix, but this one was so popular that it's hard not talking about it. The Duet version was released in late 2017 and it features the one and only Beyoncé.
So what's wrong with that picture?
I'm sorry Beyhive but Sheeran and Beyoncé do not fit together at all. They don't have any chemistry, their vocals are completely out of sync, and it brings the song down several notches.
I listened to both versions and there's no question that the Beyoncé-less version sounds far better outside of one little note at the end.
That's not to say Beyoncé is bad in this, it just doesn't suit her vocals. Maybe if she sang the song by herself it would've sounded more fluid. Regardless the mixing doesn't work, and the only version I would ever play at my wedding would be the original.
"Don't" is another popular track that Ed Sheeran fans love, and it became Ed's first top 10 single in the US.
The single was released off his 2014 album Multiply (x) and was written by Benny Blanco and Sheeran. The song has an R&B sound with a little soul mixed in.
So what's wrong with this bluesy popular hit?
The rap verses still aren't working for me though they're more tolerable than in some other songs. I do like the chorus and arrangement of the song; it feels like it's telling a story organically and the Benny Blanco influence is unmistakable.
Other than that I don't care too much for it. It could also use more attitude and build-up to the infectious chorus. And speaking of the chorus, I don't like whatever weird whoopie cushion sound they're using; it really takes me out of it.
Finally, this is another case where a similar but much better song, "Sing", makes this track sound much worse in comparison.
9. "I Don't Care"
"I Don't Care" was released off Sheeran's fourth studio album, No.6 Collaborations Project, in May 2019.
The song charted very well getting to number 2 in the US and 1 in the UK. It also topped or was in the top 10 in numerous countries, and it garnered record-breaking streams on Spotify.
So what's wrong with this second dancehall-inspired track that featured Justin Bieber?
The answer is Justin Bieber.
I don't know what it is about Ed but these collaborations aren't computing. So far the only featured track I've liked by him was "Beautiful People" with Khalid.
And that's because Khalid's indie R&B vocals mix successfully with Sheeran's folksy pop vocals. That being said even that song is so-so at best.
However this collaboration doesn't work whatsoever, and the music video is on another level of wtf. Bieber tries to be goofy to match Sheeran's goofiness and it fails miserably.
So is there anything worth celebrating?
The melody and hook are extremely catchy from the opening verse up to the bridge and chorus. There's no question that the hook is what made this song a massive hit although we could do without the "ooh ooh oohs".
Other than that there's not much to talk about, and nobody will remember this awkward duet five years from now.
10. "Thinking Out Loud"
I could hear the screams already.
But yes "Thinking Out Loud" unfortunately will make the cut. It was between this and "Barcelona", but the latter was a little more engaging and unique.
Anyways "Thinking Out Loud" was the third single from Multiply (x) and it's arguably Sheeran's 2nd most popular song particularly in the states. Its got billions of Spotify and YouTube streams and it received several Grammy nominations for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.
So what's wrong with this romantic blue-eyed soul ballad?
It sounds too much like Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On", and it's a dull wedding track that's too sappy for its own good.
And yes I know this is one of the quintessential Ed Sheeran songs but come on it's so played out. Ed's vocals and range are great but it lacks the ingenuity of some of his other hits.
When I think of this song I think of old couples dancing at a wedding, which although sweet, reduces its effectiveness to transcend the year it was made. The only thing elevating it is Sheeran himself but even he can't save the song from collapsing in on its blandness.
And don't even get me started with the music video...pure sugar overload!
FlourishAnyway from USA on April 14, 2021:
I like that you put your opinions right out there, regardless of what other people may think of them.