15 Most Underrated Ed Sheeran Songs

Ed Sheeran, the lovable redhead from Suffolk, England, has become the modern-day mainstream poster child for the singer/songwriter genre through his soulful acoustic ballads and energetic hip-hop-influenced jams. Between lyrics of love, heartbreak, drinking, internal struggles, and familial issues, Sheeran is unquestionably recognized by many as one of the most genuine and heartfelt songwriters of the 2010s. He seems to get more and more popular with every release, but yet, many of his songs don’t garner their deserved attention. Here are our top 15 most underrated songs from this amiable musician! (Stick around for honorable mentions and unreleased songs at the end!)

15. “I Will Take You Home” from Bloodstream – Single  (2015)

Casual acoustic strumming and endearing libretto defines “I Will Take You Home,” which was released as part of the “Bloodstream” single in 2015. Between a harmonica solo and unique vocal layering, “I Will Take You Home” is an enjoyable, serene track that showcases Ed’s humble lyricism and simplistic attitude. It’s an entrancing song that easily allows the listener to relax and turn off the rest of the world.

14. “Shirtsleeves” from ×  (2014)

“Shirtsleeves” appeared as a bonus track on Ed’s 2014 full-length album ×, pronounced “multiply.” Ed has always worn his heart on his sleeve and that is clearly noticeable on “Shirtsleeves” … literally. The upbeat percussion creates a sense of energy while the guitar-commanding singer croons and whispers his feelings through metaphors related to water and drowning.

13. “Grade 8” from +  (2011)

Ed’s major label debut + was a game-changer in the singer/songwriter industry. His perfect mixture of hip-hop and acoustic consonance was something not many artists had consummated before, and it is incontrovertibly apparent on “Grade 8,” an animated cut from + ornamented with piano chords, buoyant percussion, and electric guitar accentuations. The chorus is addictive and yet also pleasingly sentimental.

12. “Touch and Go” from ×  (2014)

The opening riff of “Touch and Go” is nothing short of infectious. This tune has an insatiable groove that is simply undeniable. The vocal theme is catchy, especially in the chorus, and nonchalantly rolls off the tongue, which testifies to Ed’s songwriting and melodic sensibility. “Touch and Go” was attached as a bonus track for ×, causing it to not earn proper attention.

11. “Save Myself” from ÷  (2017)

Though our review of Ed’s third major label release was not extremely positive, “Save Myself” undoubtedly stands out as one of the best songs on ÷. The gentle piano melody coupled with Ed’s emotional vocal delivery bolsters the already poignant lyrics, making for a self-reflective tearjerker. The tune was included as a bonus track though it was initially intended to be an a-side, and it’s a shame it did not receive its due recognition.

Click here to read our full review of ÷!

10. “English Rose” from ×  (2014)

Another bonus track from ×, “English Rose” is an exceedingly unique song for Ed’s discography. Ed crafts a Mumford & Sons-esque stadium-rattler with a chugging, progressive percussion beat and folky attitude. “English Rose” features another harmonica solo, presumably the same one from (or at least very similar to) the aforementioned “I Will Take You Home,” among a full-sounding array of diverse instrumentation not typically exhibited on an Ed Sheeran tune, who is known for being a one-man band.

9. “You Break Me” from Want Some?  (2007)

“You Break Me” is the effervescent opening track from Ed’s recondite third long-player titled Want Some?. Unleashed on his parent’s independent art consultancy named Sheeran Lock at the young age of 16, Want Some? is Ed’s fourth non-major-label release and is mostly forgotten and overlooked by general listeners. “You Break Me” is authentic evidence of Ed’s early musical talent and euphonious potency that would eventually manifest itself on stages in sold-out stadiums across the globe. (Of course, we’re all enthused by Ed’s adorable “fetus” voice.)

8. “Even My Dad Does Sometimes” from ×  (2014)

Ed has always cited John Mayer as a notable inspiration for his career, and that is certainly obvious sonically on the deep cut “Even My Dad Does Sometimes” from ×. Featuring a downtrodden electric guitar melody and stirring piano refrains, “Even My Dad Does Sometimes” is a heartrending tune reminding the listener that it’s “alright to cry” and “shake” because it means we are human. Ed tells us it’s “alright to die” but to just hold on for today and live on no matter what. Being human means feeling emotions, which is exactly what this song makes us do.

7. “Gold Rush” from +  (2011)

On a more positive note, “Gold Rush” is an upbeat, singalong-ready tune that was included as bonus material on Ed’s major label debut titled +. The instrumentation is characterized solely by an acoustic and electric guitar, but the catchiness of the vocal melody renders this number to be more musically captivating and challenging to get out of your head. Ed has a way of crafting simple yet memorable, fun compositions that are irrefutable earworms.

6. “The Man” from ×  (2014)

A standard edition a-side from ×, “The Man” is a steady rap-inflicted tune that demonstrates Ed’s ability to create sensitive rap sequences which allow him to squeeze more lyrics into his arrangements. This track is one of Ed’s most personal and internally contemplative pieces, causing him to appear overcome during an intimate acoustic performance. “The Man” is a song of loss, heartache, self-disappointment, bitterness, sadness, and overall unhindered honesty, all attributes that most mainstream artists don’t typically delve into, which sets Ed apart from the bunch as a more introspective, heartfelt songwriter.

5. “Fire Alarms” from Songs I Wrote With Amy – EP  (2010)

“Fire Alarms” is a mellow yet spirited article from the Songs I Wrote With Amy EP released in 2010. Amy Wadge is one of the main remarkable songwriters that Ed has collaborated with on numerous tunes, including some of his most monumental hits like “Thinking Out Loud” and “Galway Girl.” “Fire Alarms” is carried by a propulsive acoustic guitar melody with electric strains sprinkled throughout and subdued percussion. The song gently develops and broadens with the repeated line “We are waving our lives away.”

4. “Nina” from ×  (2014)

Similar to “The Man,” “Nina” is another impassioned cut from × that attests to Ed’s expressive lyricism and unapologetic tendency to openly display his heart. “Nina” also testifies to his inclination to include personal details, which gives his music an exclusively intimate touch, like a page from his diary. The track is characterized by piano-directed assonance, fervent vocals, ebullient percussion, and deep guitar strumming.

3. “One Night” from Loose Change – EP  (2010)

The rich instrumentation and production quality paired with the catchy vocal cadences and interesting libretto makes “One Night” an intriguing and momentous song in Ed’s catalog. The repetitive chorus is bound to get stuck in your head, along with the electric guitar refrains dazzled throughout the mix. The verses are down-to-earth and overall entertaining to follow along with, like when Ed sings about needing money to purchase fast food but the person he’s with buys him “chips and cheese” so “she’s all [he] need[s],” or how she “turns [his] cheeks the color of [his] hair.” “One Night” distinctively substantiates Ed’s operatic ability and how he can craft lyrics that are both warmly thoughtful and amusingly charming.

2. “Runaway” from ×  (2014)

A song with a groove that Taylor Swift vehemently praised, “Runaway” is emphatically one of the catchiest, most rhythmic numbers on × with the production help of Pharrell Williams. On top of the musical efficiency, the lyrics illustrate a son’s struggle with his father’s alcoholism and inclination to abjectly run away from home, claiming he “love[s] him from [his] skin to [his] bones” but sadly doesn’t “wanna live in his home.” Ed further portrays his internal maturity by accepting that no one is perfect when he says, “None of us are saints; I guess that God knows that.” It’s a grim depiction but an honest, sincere emotional presentation of a real-life situation that many people experience and can subsequently relate to.

1. “Top Floor (Cabana)” from Hotel Cabana with Naughty Boy  (2013)

Oddly enough, our top pick is a collaborative project with Naughty Boy. The song is titled “Top Floor (Cabana)” from Naughty Boy’s 2013 full-length Hotel Cabana. “Top Floor” is a seemingly simple tune which opens up with sounds of a bustling city, allowing the listener to truly feel like they are in the moment and place the song attempts to set. Instrumentally, “Top Floor” is characterized by nothing more than Ed’s acoustic guitar and a soft backing piano. The lyrics are ardently captivating and strangely ethereal, painting a scene of an empty soul contemplating suicide—his “sweetest goodbye.” The delivery is overall chilling and arouses feelings of hopelessness and sorrow. The boisterous honking of car horns at the end and lack of worded closure causes the listener to wonder if the writer chose to fall from the top floor of the hotel. It leaves a sense of despondency and grief and a longing to aid the forlorn singer, which is an emotional connection that not many songs can accomplish. Despite this level of masterful songwriting and heartstring-tugging, the brief piece unfortunately did not gain its deserved attention.

Well, there you have it, the most underrated songs by Ed Sheeran! Tweet at us or let us know in the comments below what songs you think are overlooked!


Honorable Mentions:

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July 2017 Alt Col Picks

A lot of great records were released in July, so here are our favorite albums of the month! (In no particular order.) Want a Spotify playlist? Click here!

  • HAIM – Something to Tell You

Four years after their trailblazing debut album, HAIM returns with yet another striking release. With a sound that is familiar yet fresh, Something to Tell You digs its roots in ’80s-inspired pop rock with crisp, modern production quality. Between catchy hooks and diverse instrumentation, this three-sister act has something to say. Standout tracks include “Little of Your Love,” “Kept Me Crying,” and “Right Now.” Something to Tell You will appeal to fans of Heart of Gold, The Wombats, and Fun.

  • The Gospel Youth – Always Lose

Energetic percussion and gritty guitar melodies characterize The Gospel Youth’s debut effort titled Always Lose, and it’s nothing short of a triumph. The album is defined by passionate vocals, cultivated lyrics, and syrupy riffs that are bound to get stuck in your head for days. Standout tracks include “Kids,” “Moods Like English Weather,” and “Tired Eyes and Heavy Hearts.” Always Lose is sure to attract followers of The Early November, Sleep On It, and The Dangerous Summer.

  • Foster the People – Sacred Hearts Club

Foster the People returns with their pop sensibility and a desire to innovate on their new record Sacred Hearts Club. The band moves farther into groovy, funk-styled territory, showered with glimmering synths and cool guitar diapasons, but also showing signs of experimentation with trap inflections throughout the mix. Standout tracks include “Pay the Man,” “Sit Next to Me,” and “Doing It for the Money.” Sacred Hearts Club will capture listeners of Portugal. The Man, Passion Pit, and Atlas Genius.

  • Eternal Boy – Awkward Phase

The upbeat pop rock of Awkward Phase is explosive, nostalgic, and undoubtedly engaging. With teenage reminiscence, reflection on life changes, and references to pop punk veterans like Tom DeLonge, Eternal Boy crafts an album that is entertaining and yet fondly introspective. Standout tracks include “Growing Pains,” “We Still Have Our Stories,” and “Awkward Phase.” Awkward Phase is sure to interest fans of Neck Deep, State Champs, and Real Friends.

  • Goldfinger – The Knife

With the help of pop punk troupers like Travis Barker, Mike Herrera, Philip Sneed, and Luke Hemmings, John Feldmann issues out his first Goldfinger full-length effort in nine years titled The Knife. Ska-esque moments and spirited pop rock cuts compose the track listing on this comeback record. Standout tracks include “Put the Knife Away,” “Who’s Laughing Now,” “A Million Miles,” and “See You Around.” The Knife will appeal to listeners of Sum 41, blink-182, and Less Than Jake.

  • The Technicolors – Metaphysical

Raucous distortion and lively percussion outline The Technicolors’ latest long-player, which is aptly named Metaphysical. This album is construed by transcendent musicality, distinct vocal delivery, and memorable melodies, making for a delectable alt-rock listen. Standout tracks include “Neon Roses,” “Congratulations, You’re a Doll, and “Sweat.” Metaphysical is sure to satisfy followers of The Noise FM, Cage the Elephant, and Divine Fits.

  • Picturesque – Back to Beautiful

Rock band Picturesque unleashes their debut full-length detailed by hard-hitting guitar refrains and thunderous vocal performances. Through impassioned yells, lively drumming, and stirring lyrics, Back to Beautiful will shake you by the shoulders … and you’ll love every minute of it. Standout tracks include “Honestly,” “New Face,” “Believe,” and “Without You.” Back to Beautiful will capture fans of Too Close to Touch, Stolas, and Our Last Night.

  • Joywave – Content

The entrancing allure of Content attests to Joywave’s potent songwriting and stylistic charm. Joywave expands upon their jangly instrumentation to broaden a smooth indie rock terrain the band comfortably dominates. The catchy melodies and mesmerizing enticement causes this release to be undeniably spellbinding. Standout tracks include “It’s a Trip!,” “Going to a Place,” “Shutdown,” and “Thanks. Thanks for Coming.” Content is bound to attract listeners of Atlas Genius, Foals, and Mutemath.

  • Guide Dog – Lovely Domestic Bliss

Moody and granular, this experimental alt-rock solo project embodies intensity and aptitude. Lovely Domestic Bliss is vigorous and electric through its robust, gutsy anthems and boisterous choruses, but the more casual moments provide this album its dynamicity. Standout tracks include “I Am the Daddy,” “Lovely Domestic Bliss,” and “Sir Yes Sir.” Lovely Domestic Bliss will appeal to followers of Glass Towers, Car Seat Headrest, and Remo Drive.

  • Coast Modern – Coast Modern

No automatic alt text available.The savory, charismatic intonation of Coast Modern’s alt-pop self-titled debut is certainly captivating and evidently fun. The amalgam of genres displayed on this LP are perfectly melded together for a smooth, enjoyable listen constituted by sing-along choruses and interesting instrumentation. Standout tracks include “Dive,” “Pockets Full of No,” “The Way It Was,” and “Guru.” Coast Modern will satisfy listeners of Grouplove, Geographer, and Foster the People.


MORE GREAT ALBUMS & EXTENDED PLAYS
  • Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder

Mellow indie alternative bliss. Standout tracks include “Hug of Thunder,” “Halfway Home,” and “Skyline.” For fans of The Decemberists, The Mountain Goats, and My Morning Jacket.

  • The Vamps – Night & Day (Night Edition)

I mean, it’s pop but it’s good (guitar-driven) pop. Standout tracks include “My Place,” “Hands (with Mike Perry & Sabrina Carpenter),” and “It’s a Lie (feat. Tini).” For fans of Before You Exit, New Hope Club, and Masketta Fall.

  • Milk Teeth – Be Nice (EP)

Angsty rock with strong vocals. Standout tracks include “Owning Your Okayness and “Prism,” but the entire EP is great! For fans of Muskets, Wolf Alice, and Sleater-Kinney.

  • Us and Us Only – Full Flower

Captivating yet melancholy indie rock. Standout tracks include “My Mouth,” “Bored of Black,” and “After Halloween Slump.” For fans of Local Natives, Deerhunter, and Grizzly Bear.

  • Canadian Softball – Awkward & Depressed

Satirical alternative pop punk metal indie rock…? It’s a (hilarious) mixed bag. Standout tracks include “Ohio Is for Emo Kids,” “Your Validation,” and “Mathematical.” For fans of Sunrise Skater Kids, Amidst the Grave’s Demons, and, well, Jarrod Alonge.

  • Oh Wonder – Ultralife

Experimental electronic/synth indie alternative. Standout tracks include “High on Humans,” “Ultralife,” and “Bigger Than Love.” For fans of HONNE, Broods, and The xx.

  • Arcade Fire – Everything Now

Groovy, ’80s-inspired smooth alternative vibes. Standout tracks include “Electric Blue,” “Everything Now,” and “Signs of Life.” For fans of NONONO, HAIM, and ABBA. (So many all-caps bands!)

  • People Like You – Verse

Unique and expressive indie rock with a jazzy touch. Standout tracks include “Variations on an Aria,” “Thumbnail,” and “Hackensack Hospital.” For fans of Dryjacket, Cold Fronts, and Daytona.

  • Silverstein – Dead Reflection

Impassioned rock with gripping melodies and lyrics. Standout tracks include “Retrograde,” “The Afterglow,” and “Ghost.” For fans of A Skylit Drive, Too Close to Touch, and Dance Gavin Dance.

  • Naturalist – Everything in Rotation

Poignant indie rock with a balance of soft and loud moments. Standout tracks include “Dwell,” “Patterns, Behaviors,” and “Mainstay.” For fans of From Indian Lakes, Driver Friendly, and Glass Towers.

  • The News Can Wait – The News Can Wait (EP)

Animated rock with underlying estrangement. Standout tracks include “Demonstrations and “Black Gold,” but the whole EP is stellar! For fans of Hail the Sun, A Lot Like Birds, and Stolas.

  • A Summer High – Pretty Little Liar (EP)

Pop rock that (unfortunately) keeps its 5SOS influence a little too on-the-nose… Standout tracks include “Do You Remember” and “Pretty Little Liar.” For fans of All Time Low, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Far Too Young.


Let us know what you think of July’s releases down in the comments below!