Ed Sheeran, Top 10, List, Pop

Top 10 Ed Sheeran Songs

Suffolk singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has just announced his final mathematical-themed album, - (Subtract). We can't believe Ed Sheeran will soon be releasing his sixth studio album! It feels like only yesterday when we began to hear his gentle acoustic bops play over the radio, and immediately fell in love with each one of his albums. We guess you can say Ed Sheeran is part of the equation of popular modern music.

Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, Sheeran was raised in Framlingham, Suffolk, and began writing songs around the age of eleven. In early 2011, Sheeran independently released the EP No. 5 Collaborations Project. He signed with Asylum Records the same year and eventually dropped his debut album, + (Plus), in September 2011. It managed to top the UK Albums Chart. And it wouldn't be the first of his projects to do it: × ("Multiply"), ÷ ("Divide") and his collaborative album, No. 6 Collaborations Project, have all topped charts across the globe. Sheeran has sold more than 150 million records worldwide: making him one of the world's best-selling music artists.

We're so excited to see what singles come out of -. In the meantime, we figured we'd rank Sheeran's best songs to date in our latest Top 10 list! See which "Perfect" songs of his give us the "Shivers" and have made our "A Team" below!

10. "Sing"

We wish Ed and Pharrell Williams would team up more often! "Sing" is the lead single off X and came about after Pharrell tweeted how much he loved Sheeran's song "The A Team." Ed introduced himself, they swapped numbers, and the rest is history.

"Sing" is a classic love song where Ed is trying to persuade a lady to fall for him. It's sultry, snazzy, and has the kind of jazzy production that Pharrell is trademarked for. "Sing" has Sheeran trying something totally new with his music, and we think the risk paid off here. We'll never forget his performance of this track at the 2014 BBC Music Awards and how – despite performing all alone – he managed to fill the stage and infuse the crowd with energy. And we love how it's basically the theme song for Illumination's Sing.

9. "Castle on the Hill"

Despite its popularity, we think "Castle on the Hill" is still an underrated tune in Sheeran's catalogue. The track sees him pursue a guitar-driven pop sound as he reminisces about his happy upbringing in the English countryside town of Framlingham, Suffolk. "Castle on the Hill" was produced by pop maestro Benny Blanco and was even described on iTunes as a “life-affirming pop rocket.” It's all about the joy that comes with driving back home.

We can't get enough of the soaring chorus in this song. It's incredibly hopeful and features some of the best singing from Ed we've ever heard. The song was released in tandem with the more electro-poppy “Shape Of You.” The two songs were the first release from his third album, ÷, following in the mathematical footsteps of his + and X albums.

8. "Photograph"

A certified Ed Sheeran classic. "Photograph" was released as the fifth radio single from X and is about trying to preserve love in a picture so that a romantic relationship's beauty will remain with the couple forever. Ed wrote it about his ex-girlfriend, Nina Nesbitt. The two were in a long distance relationship at the time.

With an earwormy chorus, gentle guitar plucking, and Ed's soft vocals, "Photograph" is a perfect listen for a Sunday morning or an afternoon drive. It's one of those songs that feels so timeless. We also can't get enough of the music video for this song, which features home videos of Ed as a baby and young kid.

7. "I See Fire"

Even if you didn't know this song was created for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, you'd probably still think it's a gorgeous acoustic-led folk ballad. "I See Fire" tells the tale of a band of brothers who must overcome adversity. Sure – there's plenty of Hobbit references snuck in there ("misty eye of the mountain below," "Durin's sons," "Desolation comes upon the sky"), but "I See Fire" is ultimately about the power of camaraderie in the face of danger and possible death.

How did "I See Fire" come about? Director Peter Jackson’s daughter was a big Sheeran fan and met him after a show. She suggested to her father (who directed The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movie franchises), that Ed Sheeran record the theme for the second flick, which Peter Jackson agreed to. They recorded the song in a studio together, which was documented as part of the making of the second Hobbit movie.

6. "Shape of You"

With that tropical house-inspired melody, you can't deny that this banger of a song takes a sexy shape. "Shape of You" was actually written by Ed and his team with the intention of being recorded by Rihanna, but after writing lyrics such as “putting Van The Man on the jukebox,” they decided halfway through that Ed should just keep it. In the song, Sheeran sings about meeting someone at a bar and falling in love with her; but it's a kind of love a lot more physical than the emotional love he expresses in his previous work.

The memorable rhythm is brought to life by xylophones, guitars, and percussion. The style and rhythm have been noted as close to the Sia hit, “Cheap Thrills,” which has caused controversy. However, Ed has denied receiving inspiration from the track. Ironically, “Cheap Thrills” was also written with the intention of being recorded by Rihanna.

"Shape of You" proved to be a monster success for the singer-songwriter. In August 2017, it set a Billboard record, spending 33 straight weeks in the Top 10 of the Hot 100 chart. On September 22, 2017, the track became the most streamed song of all time on Spotify with 1.318 billion plays. Sheeran surpassed Drake who previously held the record with “One Dance.” "Shape of You" then won the prize for Best Pop Solo Performance at the 2018 Grammys, and in January 2019, the song was certified Diamond by the RIAA.

5. "Perfect"

This track – and another song farther along on our list – are extremely popular wedding reception tunes. With "Perfect," it's not hard to see why: it's a romantic, old-fashioned ballad glorifying several good times with Ed's lover. It was written for his then-fiancée (now wife) Cherry Seaborn.

"Perfect" is the fourth single from Sheeran’s 2017 album ÷. In an interview with Music Choice, he explained, "I think the song “Perfect” is actually better than “Thinking Out Loud.” I think there was always a scare that “Thinking Out Loud” would define me and define my career. So I, I wrote a lot of songs trying to beat it and now I think, I think I have beaten it."

Thematically, the song is reminiscent of “18,” a song he wrote for his friends in One Direction. Due to its mega-success, multiple versions of "Perfect" were created. The “Perfect Duet” featuring Beyoncé was released on Dec. 1, 2017 and the “Perfect Symphony” with Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli came out two weeks later on Dec. 15. “Perfect” reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart on Dec. 23, 2017. It also topped the charts in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK.

4. "Shivers"

Maybe "Shivers" is Sheeran's most radio-friendly work, but “Shivers” is also his catchiest song to date! Whatever you think of this song, you can't deny it's just plain pop-infused fun. It's a song you could both dance and chill out to.

"Shivers" is the third single released from Ed’s fourth solo studio album, =. Sheeran wrote “Shivers” as soon as the ÷ (Divide) tour ended, while staying in a rented farm in Suffolk. He and his team set up a studio for a couple of weeks to see what would happen. "Shivers" was written over the course of 3 days.

About the song, Sheeran revealed to Apple Music, "I sometimes find myself in a vice-grip choke hold by the past songs I’ve written or the genre I’m in, or to always be a meaningful, deep singer-songwriter and write songs that really rip out someone’s heart. But the more and more my career’s gone on, I like to do fun love songs sometimes. You could put this song on at the office Christmas party and hopefully everyone’s going to get twisted to it."

3. "Give Me Love"

We're throwing it WAY back to the Tumblr era with this Ed Sheeran song from +! "Give Me Love" is the 6th single from the record and deals with the singer’s inability to find love. It causes him excruciating pain, and the end of the song crescendos into a bold scream for love.

You may remember this gorgeous song from the 14th episode of The Vampire Diaries’s 3rd season. As for us, we remember "Give Me Love" for its iconic music video. It features a fallen angel on a mission to shoot love arrows at as many people as possible, before sticking one in her own neck. (A metaphor for the fact that she needs to love herself, or an attempt to get in on the action herself?)

Anyway, "Give Me Love" is brutally relatable for anyone feeling alone, or trying to get over a lost love with new love. The album version of this song also includes a hidden bonus track at the end, “The Parting Glass”: a cover of a traditional Irish song.

2. "Thinking Out Loud"

Ed Sheeran has written a plethora of love songs, but "Thinking Out Loud" is his most romantic one to date. The smash hit was written by Sheeran when he was only 23 years old, but sees him with lifelong love on his mind. The adorable message resonated hard with fans, and "Thinking Out Loud" shattered several records upon release. It was the first song to spend a full year in the UK Top 40, and the first song to reach 500 million streams on Spotify.(The service also deemed it the top “first dance” song in the world. Yes: like "Perfect," this is a very popular wedding song.)

For "Thinking Out Loud," Sheeran channeled elements of his musical idol, Van Morrison. He wrote the song about his then-girlfriend Athina Andrelos. Despite the extremely serious vibe on the album X, "Thinking Out Loud" stands out as a happier tune. The bass and drums are notably close to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On" – Sheeran has even mixed a little of the "Let’s Get It On” lyrics into his live performances of this track.

Sheeran co-wrote “Thinking Out Loud” with Welsh folk singer Amy Wadge while his friend and longtime collaborator Jake Gosling produced the track. In regards to Wadge, Sheeran revealed to The Mirror their songwriting session was held as a favor to his childhood friend...to help her deal with financial issues.

“[Amy] was going through financial troubles about a year ago,” he said. “She drove to my house – my album was nearly done – and she asked if I could put a song from when I was 17 on the deluxe album, so she could get a little bit of money and pay the mortgage and bills and stuff...While she was there, we wrote ‘Thinking Out Loud’,” he added. “Now she never has to worry about money again.”

1. "The A Team"

A masterfully-written song that's both deep enough for the critics yet commercial enough for the radio. "The A Team" was Ed Sheeran's breakout hit when it was released back in 2011. It was inspired by a girl Ed spoke to when he did a gig at a homeless shelter. "I was 18 at the time and kind of quite naïve. So, I was a bit taken aback by some of the stories that I heard," Sheeran told Billboard. "I got home that night and I just wrote a lot of the lyrics. I wanted to write it so it sounded kind of upbeat, so you wouldn’t really know what it’s about, because it’s quite a dark subject."

That dark subject? Using prostitution to fuel a drug addiction. Sheeran further explained to Billboard, "A drug like crack cocaine is called a ‘class A’ drug. That’s in the same category as heroin. Instead of making it clear and just saying what the problem was, I’d say, “She’s in the ‘class A’ team.” It was kind of my way of covering up (a person’s addiction), I guess, making it a bit more subtle." The girl Ed talked to was named Angel, so that’s what inspired the famous “for angels to fly” lyric in the chorus.

Thanks to its beautiful acoustic melody and poignant story, “The A Team” was eventually certified 7x platinum by the RIAA on November 24, 2021. For an artist's debut track, we give "The A Team" an A+.

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Article Image: Ed Sheeran holds up an acoustic guitar during at 2018 performance. (benhoudijk via epositPhotos.)

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About Kathryn Milewski

  • New Jersey