On Friday, sensitive singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran premiered “Photograph,” the latest promotional single from his upcoming sophomore album, X (or Multiply, if you prefer). Yes, “Photograph” is another tender love ballad from the 23-year-old artist (he has more than a few of those in his discography already), but the song still manages to be quite moving. If I’m being completely honest, I tend to prefer Sheeran’s more spirited tracks, like, “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” “Sing,” and “Don’t,” but he has this uncanny ability to just sound so incredibly genuine and honest when he’s singing. For me, that’s what ultimately makes his ballads work.
That being said, “Photograph” does have a few cheesy moments. After all, the song opens with the lines, “Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes / But it’s the only thing that I know.” Thankfully, these moments are few and far between.
“Photograph” is a song about the unique struggles of long-distance relationships. Sheeran urges his partner to look at a photograph of the two of them when things get tough and remember the good times. It’s a nice image, but I have to ask: How many of us still carry around physical prints of our loved ones? Everything’s digital nowadays! But I digress. On the pre-chorus and chorus, Sheeran sings:
We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
And time’s forever frozen still
So you can keep me inside the pocket of your ripped jeans
Holding me closer ‘til our eyes meet
You won’t ever be alone
Wait for me to come home
Isn’t that sweet? Sheeran keeps the ballad interesting by adding new lyrics to the chorus as the song progresses — but he saves the most powerful lines for last. As “Photograph” draws to a close, Sheeran sings:
When I’m away, I will remember how you kissed me
Under the lamppost back on Sixth St.
Hearing you whisper through the phone, “Wait for me to come home.”
Listen to “Photograph” via Sheeran’s official YouTube channel below. X comes out on Tuesday, June 23.