Ed Sheeran might preach to be the opposite of everything fame and everything that’s not “traveling everyman with a guitar,” but in reality he’s as every bit “pop nice guy” as Drake claims to be. They both work off a brand that involves portraying themselves as sentimental, non-threatening perfect boyfriends, and create images of women that are supposed to be naturally gorgeous angels that have as vapid personalities or thoughts as they do. Spin shared similar thoughts, expressing that they’re both “nonthreatening Ned with uninteresting ideas about how women are supposed to act.”
He’s written great tracks in the past such as the middle-school slow-dance ballad “Thinking Out Loud” or the Justin Bieber reinventing “Love Yourself,” but when it comes to the tracks on his third studio album ÷ (Divide), it’s almost as if he takes The Chainsmokers method of surface-level songwriting that captured the hearts of pre-teens looking for their personality in their favorite top 40 radio hits. For all the “un-cool” Ed Sheeran proclaims to emulate, he’s still selling out Wembley Stadium. He’s still writing shallow pop hits such as “Shape of You,” a song with the creepy lyrics: “I’m in love with your body / I’m in love the shape of you” that even upset Playboy magazine, citing it as “a song romanticizing women’s bodies from the male gaze…for Sheeran, it seems to be either pussy or brains, never both.”
On a song literally titled “What Do I Know?,” the singer declares that “we could change the whole world with a piano,” mentions his “daddy’s” advice to not get involved in politics, states that he didn’t go to college for maybe the fourth or fifth time in his songwriting career, and says that he’s “all for people following their dreams / just remember life is more than fitting in your jeans.” It’s a nauseating amount of Ed Sheeran’s brand shoved in your face without any depth that rivals the insipid drone of Drake’s VIEWS. His image might portray him as the nice-guy/everyman who could win a girl way out of his league by playing a shallow song on his guitar all about how she doesn’t know how beautiful she is, but at the end of the day his aim is just the same as Drake’s, and his lyrics just as uninspiring.