Ed Sheeran’s hit song “Thinking Out Loud” has captured the hearts of many since its release in 2014. Co-written with Amy Wadge and produced by Jake Gosling, the track is a standout from Sheeran’s second album, ×.
Inspired by his personal experiences and the idea of “everlasting love,” Sheeran crafts a masterpiece that resonates with listeners around the world. The heartfelt lyrics and soulful melody convey the beauty of love, and its ability to withstand the test of time.
In this analysis, we will explore the themes of fidelity, love, commitment, and the musical influences that contribute to the timeless appeal of this modern classic.
Table of Contents
Before we delve into the story behind this song, let’s take a closer look at each verse of the lyrics.
When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?
In the opening verse, Sheeran poses questions about the future, as he wonders how love will evolve as they age. He acknowledges that physical abilities will diminish, but he reassures his partner that the taste of his love and the emotions they share will remain strong.
So, honey, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are
The chorus captures the essence of love’s comforting embrace. Sheeran invites his partner to join him under the stars, a symbol of eternity, and share in the magic of their love. The line “I’m thinking out loud” reflects the vulnerability of sharing one’s inner thoughts and feelings, while acknowledging that they may have found true love in each other.
When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way (mmm…)
I know you will still love me the same
In this verse, Sheeran imagines a time when fame and youth have faded, but the love between him and his partner remains steadfast. He acknowledges that his musical abilities may decline, but he is confident in his partner’s unwavering affection.
‘Cause, honey, your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen
And, baby, your smile’s forever in my mind and memory
I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it’s all part of a plan
Well, I’ll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you’ll understand
In the bridge, Sheeran professes his admiration for his partner’s soul, describing it as evergreen and unchanging. He reflects on the mystery of love and how it might be part of a grand plan. The line about making the same mistakes suggests that despite human imperfection, their love remains strong and understanding.
Oh, baby, we found love right where we are
And we found love right where we are
The outro is a reaffirmation of their love, emphasizing that they have found true love within each other. This line encapsulates the core message of the song – love transcends time, change, and imperfection, remaining strong as long as both partners are committed to each other.
True Meaning Behind “Thinking Out Loud”
Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” is a poignant love song that came to life in his kitchen at 2:00 am on February 4, 2014. Written in just 20 minutes, Sheeran recorded the song on his phone immediately after writing it, and later properly recorded it the following day at Sticky Studios.
Inspired by his then-girlfriend, Athina Andrelos, and the idea of “everlasting love” discussed with Amy Wadge, the song delves into themes of fidelity, love, and the resilience of affection against the test of time. Ed Sheeran has described the song as a perfect “walking down the aisle” track, making it a popular choice for weddings.
Everlasting Love Against All Odds
The lyrics of “Thinking Out Loud” showcase Ed Sheeran’s commitment to loving his partner despite the challenges that life may bring. He questions whether his lover’s affection will fade over time, but simultaneously promises to love her until they are 70, with the same passion as a 23-year-old.
The singer uses various gestures to describe how he wants his significant other to act when they are together, continually reassuring her that his love will endure the test of time. As their bodies and physical strength weaken with age, he remains confident that their love will only grow stronger.
Overcoming Mistakes and Growing Stronger
Sheeran acknowledges that, like all relationships, they will make mistakes along the way. However, the crucial aspect is their ability to withstand these challenges and deepen their commitment to each other.
As the title suggests, the thoughts expressed in the song may constantly occupy his mind, but he vocalizes them to assure his partner of the authenticity and longevity of their love.
Musical Composition and Influences
“Thinking Out Loud” is composed in the key of D major, with a tempo of 79 beats per minute. Sheeran’s vocals range from B2 to A4 and are notably loud over the instruments, an unusual occurrence in contemporary records. Despite a few off-pitch notes, the vocal elements remain fundamentally in tune, as observed by Mike Senior of Sound on Sound magazine.
The song has drawn comparisons to Marvin Gaye’s 1973 single “Let’s Get It On,” with its bass pattern, crisp 70s soul drums, and embrace-insistent lyrics evoking a similar feel to Gaye’s classic. However, Jason Lipshutz of Billboard views “Thinking Out Loud” as a sleek update of the timeless classic.
The video was directed by Emil Nava and was filmed in the Crystal Ballroom at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. It was shot continuously using a 16mm film camera, giving it a nostalgic and classic feel.
Unlike his earlier videos, Ed Sheeran took on the lead role in “Thinking Out Loud”. He executed a contemporary dance with Brittany Cherry, who was a contestant from the American dance competition “So You Think You Can Dance”. The routine was choreographed by Nappytabs and with training help from Paul Karmiryan. To perfect their dance, Sheeran spent five hours a day for three weeks practicing with Cherry while on tour.
The music video was released on October 7, 2014, and quickly gained popularity. Within the first 24 hours, it received over 2.7 million views on YouTube. As of March 2023, it has over 3.5 billion views, making it the 17th most viewed video on the site. It even received four nominations at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year and Best Male Video.
“Thinking Out Loud” has been praised for its injection of blue-eyed soul, making it an enjoyable listen that showcases Sheeran’s aptitude for melody. The song is a heartfelt ballad that explores the depth and resilience of love in the face of life’s challenges. With its themes of fidelity, love, and overcoming obstacles, the song serves as a beautiful reminder of the power of love and its ability to stand the test of time.