Ed Sheeran Pays Tribute To A Late Friend On New Song “Eyes Closed”

His close friend Jamal Edwards died suddenly back in February 2022.

Last week, Ed Sheeran opened up about having a tough time grieving for his close friend Jamal Edwards, who died suddenly of a heart attack back in February 2022. This week, Sheeran’s putting those difficult feelings into his new single, “Eyes Closed,” a heart-wrenching pop cut that’s already climbing its way up the Genius Top Songs chart. The song is the lead single off his forthcoming sixth studio album.

The beat on “Eyes Closed” was cooked up by a diverse, star-studded team of producers, including pop hitmakers Max Martin and Shellback, indie superstar Aaron Dessner, and rising electronic artist Fred Again… The track is about losing someone close to you, but more specifically, Sheeran explained in a press release, it’s about “feeling like every time you go out, you expect to just bump into them, and everything just reminds you of them and the things you did together.”

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On the first verse, grief has kept Sheeran inside for too long, and he thinks a change of scenery might help.

I know it’s a bad idea
But how can I help myself?
Been inside for most this year
And I thought a few drinks, they might help

On the pre-chorus, he references the unexpected passing of his friend Jamal last February and ventures to a bar by himself to ease the hurt. Unfortunately, all it does is bring him more painful reminders.

Every song reminds me you’re gone and I feel the lump form in my throat
’Cause I’m here alone

Instead of going home, Sheeran pushes through his night out—even if he has to close his eyes to get through it.

Just dancin’ with my eyes closed
’Cause everywhere I look, I still see you
And time is movin’ so slow
And I don’t know what else that I can do

His grief starts playing tricks on him in the second verse, where he forgets for a moment that he’ll never see his friend again.

Delusion is here again
And I think you’ll come home soon
A word brings me right back in
Then it’s only me that’s in this room

On the bridge, Sheeran may have spent the night surrounded by people, but he’s going home feeling lonelier than ever.

They’re shutting the bar, they’re cleanin’ the floor
And everyone is already home
But I’m on my own

“Eyes Closed” arrived alongside an official music video, where Sheeran is followed around by a fluffy blue creature that only he can see. In a statement, the pop star said that the creature represents his sadness. “I wanted to make a video inspired by movies like Harvey, where the main character has an imaginary friend who’s a giant rabbit that no one can see,” Sheeran said. “Often sadness is something that follows you around, engulfing the rooms you’re in, and you can feel and see it, but no one else around you can. So I decided to create my own big blue monster for the video. He gets bigger and bigger as the video goes on, til he takes up whole rooms, and is all I can see, just like sadness.

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