This makes me want to see Ed Sheeran live. And I already have!
At the Hotel Cafe Ed was trying to close us, he was willing himself into our hearts, he was performing, but "Bloodstream" is something different, it's interior, listening to it I'm on the outside and I want in. And I know so many go to the show to be with others, be part of the giant party, but I go to bond with the artist, to experience live what I've experienced over and over alone, in my house, with the headphones on, to connect with the person who makes the music that saves my life.
I listened to the Top 50 most popular tracks in the U.K. on Spotify. You should check out George Ezra's "Budapest," it sounds so different from everything else, it stands out, you find yourself dancing in place, you wonder if something like this can hit in the USA. Because the truth is all the music on Top Forty sounds alike, and some of it's hooky, but it ultimately becomes oppressive and depressive, that everybody's imitating each other, that they're inbreeding, and then you hear something like "Bloodstream."
Yes, Ed Sheeran is a star, his record entered the chart at number one, whatever that means. Many won't get past the singles, which have to fit the format. But then you hear something like "Bloodstream."
You know what it's like to wake up in your sleeping bag, with mist still upon the landscape, smelling the world?
You know what it's like to come home, throw your keys on the table and realize you're totally alone?
You know how your brain stops working, you've got so much to say, but the words can't come out, never mind that no one's listening?
That's what "Bloodstream" sounds like.
Sure, you can do the web research and learn that the lyrics are about taking MDMA at a friend's wedding in Ibiza, but to take the lyrics so literally is to make a mistake. The truth is most lyrics are just a jumping off point, you twist and turn them and make them your own.
"Tell me when it kicks in"
That's what we're all waiting for, for the hypodermic of life to kick in. To meet our significant other. To have the peak experience. We want the chemicals to burn in our bloodstream, we want to feel fully alive.
And although it's fun to be exuberant, most of life is more reflective. Where's the music for that?
Used to be there was a ton. Before business trumped art. Before the goal was to be happy and sell out to corporations, as if everybody could be a 24/7 winner.
But I'm not. My mind twists and turns into places I should not let it go. Who's going to go for that ride with me, keep me company in the depths and lift me back up? Certainly not the dancing fools with their fake drums uttering bland statements I cannot relate to. But I can relate to "Bloodstream," the sound and the music.
I'm telling you when it kicks in. Right now.
You remember when music could be introspective, before MTV. You remember when you didn't believe you could be the artist, but just worshiped at their feet, when you merged with their bloodstream?
"Bloodstream" is the anti-Top Forty. So much of Ed Sheeran's album is quiet and simple when everything else is noisy and loaded up. In a complicated world we yearn for simple. That which goes directly from one heart to another.
This is what the classic rockers were selling. Back when all music didn't sound the same. When it was the highest art form and not only did you not need to sound like everybody else, there was honor in testing your own limits.
"Bloodstream" will give you hope for the future, listen.