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Ed Sheeran‘s tribute track to the late Jamal Edwards, Eyes Closed, has been lauded by critics following its release on Friday.

The singer, 32, manifested his grief for his friend, who was just 31 years of age when he died in February 2022 from cardiac arrest from alcohol and cocaine abuse.

An emotionally-charged tune, The Independent claims it ‘stays with you’ after listening and ‘hits home’.

In the online newspaper’s four-star review, they wrote: ‘On certain songs, his tendency to state the obvious has felt artless – here it hits home.

‘Much of the emotional heft is in his delivery. Sheeran’s typically reedy vocal has a richer timbre when he hits the lower register.

Emotional: Ed Sheeran's tribute track to the late Jamal Edwards, Eyes Closed, has been lauded by critics following its release on Friday

Emotional: Ed Sheeran’s tribute track to the late Jamal Edwards, Eyes Closed, has been lauded by critics following its release on Friday

Tragic: The singer, 32, manifested his grief for his friend (left), who was just 31 years of age when he died in February 2022 from cardiac arrest from alcohol and cocaine abuse

Tragic: The singer, 32, manifested his grief for his friend (left), who was just 31 years of age when he died in February 2022 from cardiac arrest from alcohol and cocaine abuse

‘If this were a love song, it would make for a romantic image. But the picture Sheeran paints – the moment where he opens his eyes knowing the person he loves isn’t there anymore – is stronger. It stays with you.’

Meanwhile The Guardian gave the track three-stars, writing, ‘It’s certainly a little more stripped-back than previous Sheeran singles; there’s more reverb on the guitar and accompanying synth, and some atmospheric, wind-like ambient noises in the background.

‘The lyrics feel more personal and explicitly linked to a very specific event, in this case the death of his friend, entrepreneur Jamal Edwards, than in his earlier work.’

The review continued: ‘So it’s business almost as usual, and you’d be astonished if it isn’t another enormous hit.’ 

Ed dropped an emotional teaser for the video on Wednesday, which already had fans reeling, with one claiming, ‘Already crying my eyes out.’

The West Yorkshire native explained in January that the song – which is the lead single off his fifth studio album – (Subtract) – is a tribute to his good friend Jamal.

While Sheeran originally envisioned Eyes Closed as a break-up song, it changed significantly when Edwards passed, with the singer using a huge blue monster to manifest his grief and sadness for his loss.

The video begins with a shot of a car sinking deeper and deeper in a body of water, with an unconscious Sheeran inside, before it flashes to a fully conscious Sheen walking into a bar. 

Grief: Ed dropped an emotional teaser for the video on Wednesday, which already had fans reeling, with one claiming, 'Already crying my eyes out'

Grief: Ed dropped an emotional teaser for the video on Wednesday, which already had fans reeling, with one claiming, ‘Already crying my eyes out’

Monster: While Sheeran originally envisioned Eyes Closed as a break-up song, it changed significantly when Edwards passed, with the singer using a huge blue monster to manifest his grief and sadness for his loss

Monster: While Sheeran originally envisioned Eyes Closed as a break-up song, it changed significantly when Edwards passed, with the singer using a huge blue monster to manifest his grief and sadness for his loss

Ed Sheeran – Blue Monster reviews

An emotionally-charged tune, The Independent claims it ‘stays with you’ after listening and ‘hits home’.

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In the online newspaper’s four-star review, they wrote: ‘Much of the emotional heft is in his delivery. Sheeran’s typically reedy vocal has a richer timbre when he hits the lower register.

‘If this were a love song, it would make for a romantic image. But the picture Sheeran paints – the moment where he opens his eyes knowing the person he loves isn’t there anymore – is stronger. It stays with you.’

Meanwhile The Guardian gave the track three-stars, writing, ‘It’s certainly a little more stripped-back than previous Sheeran singles; there’s more reverb on the guitar and accompanying synth, and some atmospheric, wind-like ambient noises in the background.’

‘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,’ Sheeran sings as he walks in and takes a seat at the bar.

A beer is set in front of him as he continues to sing, while a door from behind the bar is opened and a bartender walks through… as we get a first look at a massive blue monster that is said to represent the singer’s sadness.

‘Every song reminds me you’re gone/And I feel the lump form in my throat/‘Coz I’m here alone,’ Sheeran sings before breaking into the chorus.

‘Just dancing with my eyes closed/‘Coz everywhere I look I still see you/Time is moving so slow/And I don’t know what else that I can do,’ he sings, while the video shows him wandering through a crowd of young people dancing in the bar.

He’s seen taking shots and sitting at a table alone, while the blue monster looks over at him.

The song continues, ‘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,’ as he looks out of the bar window and we see the reflection of the blue monster.

He’s seen leaving the bar with the monster following close behind as he’s then seen in the bathroom and then a small diner with the blue creature accompanying him.

‘Everything changes, nothing’s the same/Except the truth is now you’re gone/And life just goes on,’ Sheeran sings before heading into the chorus again. 

Car: The video begins with a shot of a car sinking deeper and deeper in a body of water, with an unconscious Sheeran inside, before it flashes to a fully conscious Sheen walking into a bar

Car: The video begins with a shot of a car sinking deeper and deeper in a body of water, with an unconscious Sheeran inside, before it flashes to a fully conscious Sheen walking into a bar

Bar: '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,' Sheeran sings as he walks in and takes a seat at the bar

Bar: ‘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,’ Sheeran sings as he walks in and takes a seat at the bar

Monster: A beer is set in front of him as he continues to sing, while a door from behind the bar is opened and a bartender walks through... as we get a first look at a massive blue monster that is said to represent the singer's sadness

Monster: A beer is set in front of him as he continues to sing, while a door from behind the bar is opened and a bartender walks through… as we get a first look at a massive blue monster that is said to represent the singer’s sadness

Looking: He's seen taking shots and sitting at a table alone, while the blue monster looks over at him

Looking: He’s seen taking shots and sitting at a table alone, while the blue monster looks over at him

Reflection: The song continues, '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,' as he looks out of the bar window and we see the reflection of the blue monster

Reflection: The song continues, ‘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,’ as he looks out of the bar window and we see the reflection of the blue monster

Ed Sheeran – Blue Monster lyrics

[Verse 1]

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

It’s been a while my dear

Dealing with the cards life dealt

I’m still holding back these tears

While my friends are somewhere else

[Pre-Chorus]

I pictured this year a little bit different when it hit February

I step in the bar, it hit me so hard

Oh how can it be this heavy?

Every song reminds me you’re gone

And I feel thе lump form in my throat

‘Cause I’m here alonе

[Chorus]

Just dancing with my eyes closed

‘Cause everywhere I look I still see you

Time is moving so slow

And I don’t know what else that I can do

So I’ll keep dancing with my

[Post-Chorus]

Eye-ye-eye-eyes

Eye-ye-eye-eyes closed

Eye-ye-eye-eyes

Oh, I keep dancin’ with my

[Verse 2]

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

I guess I could just pretend

The colours are more than blue

But I lost more than my friend

I can’t help but missing you

[Pre-Chorus]

I pictured this month a little bit different no one is ever ready

And when it unfolds you get in a hole

Oh how can it be this heavy?

Everything changes, nothing’s the same

Except the truth is now you’re gone

And life just goes on

[Chorus]

So I’m dancin’ with my eyes closed

‘Cause everywhere I look, I still see you

Time is movin’ so slow

And I don’t know what else that I can do

So I’ll keep dancin’ with my

[Post-Chorus]

Eye-ye-eye-eyes

Eye-ye-eye-eyes closed

Eye-ye-eye-eyes

Oh, I’ll keep dancin’ with my

Eye-ye-eye-eyes

Eye-ye-eye-eyes closed

Eye-ye-eye-eyes

Oh, I’ll keep dancin’ with my

[Bridge]

They’re shutting the bar, they’re cleaning the floors

And everyone is already home

But I’m on my own

[Chorus]

Just dancin’ with my eyes closed

‘Cause everywhere I look, I still see you

Time is movin’ so slow

And I don’t know what else that I can do

So I keep dancin’ with my

[Post-Chorus]

Eye-ye-eye-eyes

Eye-ye-eye-eyes closed

Eye-ye-eye-eyes

Oh, I keep dancin’ with my

Eye-ye-eye-eyes

Eye-ye-eye-eyes closed

Eye-ye-eye-eyes

Oh, I keep dancin’ with my

Source: Genius 

The video cuts back from the bar and the diner with a few shots of him still drowning in the car, before he’s sitting alone in a diner with the blue creature standing over him. 

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‘They’re shutting the bar/They’re cleaning the floor/And everyone is already home/But I’m on my own,’ Sheeran sings, as he’s standing in the bar alone with the blue monster.

He walks out of the bar as we see another woman walking in, with a different creature following her in, while he walks past another man standing by his car with another unique creature at his side.

The singer walks down a wooden pier as the blue creature looms over him from behind, as we see several shots of Sheeran looking up at the creature for the first time – seemingly facing his sadness head on, so to speak.

He keeps staring up at the creature before it disappears as Ed walks back up the pier alone as the video comes to an end. 

Fans were quick to react to the video on social media including @_brightttwinnn, who said, ‘#EdSheeran I hope you’ll be okay! We’ll be okay!!!!!’

@allthingswifted added, ‘It’s very beautiful you guys. Love you sm @edsheeran #EyesClosed. 

Diner: The video cuts back from the bar and the diner with a few shots of him still drowning in the car, before he's sitting alone in a diner with the blue creature standing over him

Diner: The video cuts back from the bar and the diner with a few shots of him still drowning in the car, before he’s sitting alone in a diner with the blue creature standing over him

Alone: 'They¿re shutting the bar/They¿re cleaning the floor/And everyone is already home/But I¿m on my own,' Sheeran sings, as he's standing in the bar alone with the blue monster

Alone: ‘They’re shutting the bar/They’re cleaning the floor/And everyone is already home/But I’m on my own,’ Sheeran sings, as he’s standing in the bar alone with the blue monster

Monster: He walks out of the bar as we see another woman walking in, with a different creature following her in, while he walks past another man standing by his car with another unique creature at his side

Monster: He walks out of the bar as we see another woman walking in, with a different creature following her in, while he walks past another man standing by his car with another unique creature at his side

Ed: The singer walks down a wooden pier as the blue creature looms over him from behind, as we see several shots of Sheeran looking up at the creature for the first time - seemingly facing his sadness head on, so to speak

Ed: The singer walks down a wooden pier as the blue creature looms over him from behind, as we see several shots of Sheeran looking up at the creature for the first time – seemingly facing his sadness head on, so to speak

Alone: He keeps staring up at the creature before it disappears as Ed walks back up the pier alone as the video comes to an end

Alone: He keeps staring up at the creature before it disappears as Ed walks back up the pier alone as the video comes to an end

@CareoSR626 added, ‘Madre mia. This album is gonna wreck me’ with the hashtag #EdSheeran.

@SelmaNkelo shared a meme of Robert Downey Jr. adding, ‘What a delivery.’

@nixxx_h added, ‘Hits hard bruh. I miss you @edsheeran #EdSheeran #EyesClosed. 

@kookievhane added, ‘It’s really been awhile @edsheeran I’m crying’ with the #EyesClosed hashtag.

@_brightttwinnn added, ‘I WANNA CRY!!!!!’ while @madengakan added, ‘HE NEVER FAILED ME!!!’

@1LoganAdams1 added, ‘This song is so fire, thank you @edsheeran! I’ll be dancing with my #eyesclosed Love this song and Ed so much.’

@LaVidaEmo added Ed Sheeran’s new song is so heartbreaking,’ while Brent Lindeque added, ‘Ed Sheeran just released a beautiful, tragic song dealing with loss, grief and sadness. I’m not crying. You are.’

@simonmaderazo added, ‘@edsheeran new song “eyes closed’ is such a vibe’ while @karolina_kolodynska added, ‘This song also means a lot to me. Thank you for doing what you are doing. We love you.’

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