Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran – Everything Has Changed

It’s “One single too many Tuesday!”


Anthony Easton: I was in Toronto the other night, and on the electronic billboards on the TTC there was a note that Edward Sheeran had moved to Nashville, like it was somewhere between a trend and news. But Brits have been invading Nashville for decades, and the pop-country turn in some English folk circles would suggest no better place for him. Sheeran isn’t exactly Frank Turner, who might even have a place in the Hank 3/Isbell circles. The great thing about this is how Nashville this sounds — like they are meeting in the middle, Swift working away from her pop skills to a country bombast in her last track and something resembling a kind of sweet intimacy here. It’s quiet, well-written, kind of hot, and very current. As a piece of genre work, as a breakthrough single for Sheeran, as a love song that works as a kind of palate cleanser, as a showcase that reminds us of Swift’s talent for the telling detail, as a work (as a love song) and as a meta-work (as a text about the current state of Nashville), iit works on every level.

Alfred Soto: The drum part matches Swift’s insistence, but Ed Sheeran plays the object of desire like a snail does a golden retriever. 

Patrick St. Michel: There are only two guest appearances on Red, and Ed Sheeran got out-shined by the dude from Snow Patrol. That’s reason enough this is the album’s one flat-out stinker, but Taylor Swift isn’t exactly adding much to this either. Total filler inexplicably made a single — just release “Holy Ground” already so I can gush again.

Iain Mew: For a song called “Everything Has Changed”, it doesn’t offer much in the way of change throughout. For a duet, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran barely seem to have any contact, him just lurking in the background. Even on his solo lines. And for a single to promote Red, it’s the least exciting possible choice, and Swift is already at least as popular as Sheeran even in the UK, so it’s not like his presence can be that much of a draw

Katherine St Asaph: Maybe you had to be there last year, where every hour brought a new PR missive trying to make Ed Sheeran happen in the States, and you’d hear things like “it’s a shame + is horrible SEO.” (One wonders how Damien Rice would ever get launched today.) But while Taylor Swift’s always been a marketing conduit for drippy, boring singer-songwriters — Boys Like Girls, Snow Patrol, John Mayer — seldom have her duets seemed so obvious as career maneuvers; Taylor sings “I just wanna know you better” and appends, implied, “by downloading ‘The A Team’ on iTunes.” Everything is just that pat. Suppose Taylor wakes up at 7 on the dot, because both persona and frazzled celeb would; that places “eighteen hours ago” around the lunch bell, ideal for teenagers relating and the consciences of anyone who’d quail at the implications of, oh, “seven hours ago.” Producer Butch Walker leaves in the “realness,” the rehearsed studio chatter and guitar scratches. Ed Sheeran gets the good (or at least good-ish) lyrics, Taylor gets the scrapbook lyrics about feeling butterflies and pouring rain and sudden grace. Nobody was trouble when they walk in — in fact, trouble doesn’t even exist in this musical universe; if everything has truly changed, it’s from placid to a lighter shade of placid. It’s valedictorian pop. Which is fine for what it is, but it still baffles me how people hear more in Taylor Swift than that.

Crystal Leww: This is the only song that I consistently skip on Red. It’s just so boring. Sorry.

Brad Shoup: A fumbling meet-cute with a chorus that aims for consumption and ends up with obsession. Swift’s discovery of her whispered register is the only bright spot in this sodden tale.

Scott Mildenhall: Thing is it’s too late Taylor; school was quite a while ago now and you’d already started drifting apart by the end of that and even in the unlikely scenario that he ever did feel or could have felt the same it’d be even more unlikely that, or it, could be said now. Though maybe that’s not you, actually. Anyway, well done on pinpointing a really quite specific sentiment with such great accuracy, and on getting the best out of Ed Sheeran. But the song is still quite boring.

Edward Okulicz: As it was on Red, it’s functional and intermittently sweet — it contains enough of Taylor’s good points that Sheeran has room to do nothing but be precisely nondescript. Their voices go well blended together, but it being a duet with traded lines in the second verse adds nothing to the proceedings. It’s not special as a composition, and you can hear Swift working overtime to tease out emotional resonance while Sheeran sounds half-asleep. Releasing this as a single is probably a nice gift to a section of her European fanbase who also likes Sheeran, a waste of time if it’s to try to increase his visibility in America, annoying to me because it isn’t “Starlight,” and harmless to everyone else.

Will Adams: I’ve always thought of Ed Sheeran as kind of a wet blanket, someone whose treacle overpowers any ginger solidarity. “Everything Has Changed” changes nothing; Swift towers over him in the mix to the point where they sound worlds apart (which makes the authenticity-baiting “you good to go?” fail harder). By the song’s end, itself endless, he’s swallowed by the freaking vocoders. Swift, meanwhile, continues to be an imprecise vocalist, mistaking fragility for being pitchy and a good duet for a sing-off.

Jonathan Bradley: The collaborative process is made tangible in the worst way: all of Taylor’s most effective songwriting techniques undermined by Sheeran’s interminable blandness. So we have a characteristically Swiftian mantra in “I just want to know you better,” which she delivers with a delicacy measured enough to suggest determination as well as trepidation, but none of the depth hinted at by the similarly themed “Enchanted” and its “please don’t be in love with someone else” refrain. (Note that “Enchanted” takes place immediately after a bracing romantic encounter while “Everything Has Changed” takes place 18 hours later, which would explain why, as an effective sequel, this is so much more staid, except that, narratively and emotionally, it subtracts without expanding.) Then we have Sheeran himself singing some of the most forgettable lyrics ever contributed to a Swift tune — Tim McGraw sounded like he had a better rapport with Taylor in “Highway Don’t Care” and “Tim McGraw.” And as final confirmation of the proper distribution of fault, there’s the coda: Swift layering melody on melody, story on story, while Sheeran moans away in the background.

Reader average: [7.21] (23 votes)

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6 Responses to “Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran – Everything Has Changed”

  1. I love TSwift, but this song defines “BORING”. And why, Taylor, WHY must it be Ed Sheeran? I don’t get it.

  2. I still say the Snow Patrol bloke song is worse.

  3. For the reasons Katherine outlined in her (fantastic) blurb.

  4. the “EEEeeeEEEeeeEEEeeeEEEeee” on Snow Patrol dude song is easily Red’s low point, such a wet blanket of a song

  5. I really like that song! Best Snow Patrol song in years.

  6. I must be the only one to enjoy both this and the Snow Patrol song! The harmonies in the chorus are very kitchen-party-singalong, amateurish and improvised. Which isn’t something I’d ever expect to enjoy from Tay Tay, but is the reason for Ed Sheeran’s existence, yes? Or am I reading that scruff wrong?

    @Will: ginger solidarity! ah! I didn’t know that was a thing! right on brother, fight the power