There are some artists who aim straight for the soul. Ed Sheeran is one of them.
Sure, this UK native and Grammy Award winning artist hasn’t made every track to pull heartstrings, but most of them end up at least fiddling with them. Just like his latest, “… Boat.”
This guitar-led single gained more than three million views in four days on YouTube. And for good reason. It’s something that many can relate to. It’s a slow, soulful song about clinging to hope through loss and pain.
Sheeran tells us that nature and familiar routines often help him to regain a fresh perspective (“I came in for the embers/And stayed out for the breeze/I need to feel the elements to remind me/There’s beauty when it’s bleak”).
And this is a necessary ritual, because it’s clear that life and loss have taken shots against him (“The more that I love, the less that I feel”) to the point where he’s not certain if he’ll ever fully recover (“They say that all scars will heal, but I know/Maybe I won’t”).
Yet, even if he doesn’t fully heal from his pain, he’s determined to persevere (“The waves won’t break my boat”).
The singer seems to be working through heart-wrenching loss, change and even depression in this track.
Not all of Sheeran’s songs are family-friendly, and that’s especially true of his newer work. But this track is. It’s poetic and, although it’s sad in nature, the heart of it clings to hope even when things feel hopeless.
He uses a boat as a metaphor to tell listeners that although he has experienced loss that has gripped him, he will do whatever it takes to keep the waves of grief and loss at bay that threaten to break his boat.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).