There’s a quote that comes to mind that perfectly captures a complex feeling – a numbing, yet equally scorching, burning pain that comes from dealing with depression and letting it go. “Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it” from David Foster Wallace resembles that indescribable feeling of emptiness and fullness. It’s a deep quote that touches the soul in the juxtaposition of delicate and sharp ways. Ed Sheeran’s ‘Boat’ matches that gut-wrenching feeling in such a beautiful way, offering a simple song composed of an emotional guitar with his voice isolated on top. You hear everything very clearly.
‘Boat’ is about emotional pain and trying to clear through that fog despite feeling as if there are needles inside your chest all coming out at once. Through the fog and the pain, you must prevail. It doesn’t mean that the feeling doesn’t exist from what causes it to happen. However, it does mean that even with the gray hands of depression pulling you down you can claw and climb your way out to feel better.
The music video for ‘Boat’ is equally simplistic, conveying that feeling of vigilantly moving forward and sobering up while waves (as a metaphor for life) attempt to break you down. Ed purposefully doesn’t make the music video for ‘Boat’ flashy – it’s done this way to have the watcher narrowly focus on the imagery and feeling of the song.
‘Boat’ Is Taking Dock In Our Inner Healing
In the video, you’ll find Ed standing far out into the dark and cold waters of the ocean. It’s just him in the music video, singing as the waves constantly hit him. It’s purely emotional and focuses solely on the power of the waves trying to bring him down. Further into the music video, we see items falling from the sky in a similar way that debris falls after a shipwreck. However, Ed keeps trying to be strong and sturdy.
The waves, just like life, are uncontrollable, unpredictable, and have a duplicity of being violent and calm. Ed is drenched and stays in the water from sunrise to sunset, indicating that leaving his place in the ocean isn’t easy. He is becoming more complacent with the waves crashing and his clothes being soaked, thus becoming heavier from the water. To point out, these are things that would likely pull anyone down and succumb to the ocean or their mind. Yet, he stands. As Ed sings “but the waves won’t break my boat,” we are reminded that we are somehow much stronger than we appear to be.
Neither life nor the waves intentionally mean to rock us, but it does happen. We can, in mysterious ways, return to ourselves and try to find joy. “I need to feel elements to remind me, there’s beauty when it’s bleak” is one lyric that speaks directly to the broken and scarred pieces of ourselves. With the ‘Boat’ music video, Ed helps us not feel so isolated in the darker and lonely moments of the human experience. In this case, when we are alongside Ed, we can board in our inner healing with ‘Boat.’
Boat is the first song I wrote and finished for Subtract, it’s where it all began, and a good way to kick off the album.
Subtract (—) Is Going To Be A New Emotional, Complex Album
Ed Sheeran releasing ‘Boat’ as the second single and music video after ‘Eyes Closed,’ off his upcoming album, tells us a lot about what we should expect come May 5th. Unlike Ed’s other mathematics albums, where there were hints of melancholy, we expect this one to be more saddening. Subtract (—) will be storytelling full of grief and hope based on Ed’s different experiences throughout his life.
Ed Sheeran is an incredible poet who doesn’t hesitate to create vulnerable pieces of work, and we are beyond excited to listen to his upcoming album. Don’t worry, we will be listening with a box of tissues on hand!
Ahead of the album release, you will be able to watch his documentary, Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All, on Disney+ on May 3rd. From what we know, this documentary will be an intimate insight into understanding Ed and the artist that he is today. Ed is currently on his + – = ÷ x Tour (The Mathematics Tour) and will soon be starting his American leg at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on May 6th. We are so excited for Ed Sheeran to be back in the States for the first time since his Divide Tour in 2018! If you’re looking for ticket information and want to see where else he is going in the U.S., take a look here!
We Don’t Want To Subtract (—) Ed Sheeran From Our Lives
Ed Sheeran is an artist that we will never get tired of. We highly encourage you to sit down to listen and watch the music video for ‘Boat.’ Once you do and you’ve finished crying, give us your thoughts and feelings by sending us a tweet on Twitter @thehoneypop or by leaving a comment below! Or you can find us on Facebook or Instagram to bring us into your inner healing moment with Ed.
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Hey, it's your girl Tyra! I love to inspire, captivate, and create new fans while having fun talking about my faves. And of course, discovering new artists in the process. I am such a fangirl and I love it. I create as a fangirl and strive to put my passion and authenticity to have fun and engaging experiences with all audiences. When I'm not writing or creating content, you will find me at home with my cat, at a concert, watching Marvel movies, making a cup of tea, or doing yoga. You'll also find me being an unapologetic Harry Styles and 5 Seconds of Summer enthusiast.