While a little too stadium-sized, this is a super jammy ode to Suffolk.
In a very Kings Of Leon-y ‘Waste A Moment‘ way, Ed Sheeran’s return from a year-long post-× hiatus comprises two delightful new songs, with ‘Castle On The Hill’ hinting that the upcoming ÷ will be as retrospective as the previous two. Being a set of soaring lines about growing up in Suffolk, it instantly feels far bigger than anything he’s done before, almost as if tailored for the stadiums that the tail of the × tour proved he could pack out. Nevertheless, he’s still delightful when it comes to writing life’s more mundane aspects into runaway chart hits. Here, he opens by breaking his leg as a six-year-old before singing with more revering nostalgia (“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”).
Written by Sheeran and produced by himself and Benny Blanco, he describes ‘Castle On The Hill’ as “a love song for Suffolk because I don’t think anyone has ever done that.” Now he and his friends are older and no longer throwing up from alcohol all over the rolling fields, and Ed is a superstar writing huge choruses that will fit nicely into radio playlists everywhere and, to an extent, unnecessarily shoehorning romance into the equation. His vocals, as ever, are outstanding, as are the oohing and melodies in the pre-chorus. It’s not entirely typical of Sheeran’s prior work, but if there is anything to take from the × has shown us how diverse he can get with his music so we really shouldn’t expect anything to be typically him.
‘Castle On The Hill’ is out now via Asylum