Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022

Ed Sheeran ft. Taylor Swift – The Joker and the Queen

Surely, you jester…


Alex Clifton: I love really ace puns. I’ve got spades of them. You could say I’m a real card at parties. However, there’s a difference between subtle wordplay and clubbing your audience over the head with it. It can be a good trick but only works a couple times; if you overload your hand it comes off as tacky. “The Joker and the Queen” could’ve been a cool metaphor had Sheeran and Swift not decked out the song with card-playing language throughout; it takes away from the heart of the message and ends up distracting the listener. There’s not even a good ending verse, which feels like a real miss considering this remix has the queen of bridges on here. If this blurb does not suit you and you’re wondering what my deal is, congrats! You are now as annoyed as I was when I listened to this song.

Al Varela: A lovely upgrade to the original. I always loved the snowfall-esque descent of the pianos, and the strings were absolutely gorgeous as a way to build a more dreamlike swell to the song. Adding Taylor’s poetry and voice to the mix is practically drizzling it in warm, sweet caramel. There’s something humbling about Ed Sheeran feeling insecure about his lack of outstanding traits, constantly feeling like an amateur and undeserving of his wife’s love. And yet, she still gives him the love and support to remind him that he’s not worthless. That sentiment is made all the more powerful when Taylor takes the other side and reminds him that what makes a “king” isn’t being the wealthiest and most noble person, it’s seeing the best in one another, even when they expose all of their cards to you. That realization you no longer have to play games because both of you are on equal playing fields, that’s the kind of dedication that marks a truly unbreakable bond.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: The Sleeper and the Boring. 

Micha Cavaseno: I want to scream at Ed Sheeran, but not for the reasons to which nearly every other critic I know would like to entertain. No, I don’t want him to stop; I want him to be far less humble and acknowledge that he is in fact a legitimate songwriter and musician. The mewly self-deprecating ‘aw shucks’ shit is flabbergasting because no matter what much consensus says, he’s proven that he’s (sorry folks) probably one of the most versatile and adventurous mainstream singer-songwriters today. Compare that to his duet partner who is vanishing back into the woods in terror of dealing with her utter inability to transition to a pop queen with dignity and similarly plagued with noxious faux bashful trepidation. Neither one of these two can convince themselves with so flauncy and vapid a ballad based on these two being oddballs? Misfits? In what world? Personally if you’re going to be one of the most successful emissaries to non-white music despite being a peak of caucasity… I dare say you need to stop trying to act humble and maybe just act up the slightest bit.

Alfred Soto: The sincere pained mewl prevents me from acknowledging Ed Sheeran’s songwriting gifts. He’s good! Facts are facts. Were he to exchange the sucker routine for Adam Levine’s syphilitic gamine act he’d be an unstoppable and possibly sexy motherfucker. Instead, he writes material he thinks flatters the mewl and the result is gruel. Taylor Swift has been at times smarter than this — she knows when her subjects want their sovereign to send a few heads to the chopping block. Notable line: “I’ve been played before if you haven’t guessed.”

Katie Gill: Oh Christ this is some dire sad boy shit. It’s trying to be sad and sweeping and majestic but it’s just plodding. It’s a dirge of a song that plays to neither of the artist’s strengths and all of their weaknesses. I would take comfort in the fact that there’s no way on God’s green Earth this would be played on the radio but apparently TikTok gave fuckin’ Duncan Laurence a radio hit so who knows, I’ll probably hear this on my way to work and hate every minute of it.

Edward Okulicz: When I clicked on the video for this when it premiered, the first “suggested video” YouTube showed in the top right corner of the screen was “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter. The algorithm fucking knows.

Ian Mathers: Everybody’s going to have their own personal tolerance for the kind of writing on display here, but if the card metaphors seem a bit much during the first bit you might as well skip it because they’re only going to get more leaden from there. At least it sounds nicely, in a gloopy radio ballad kind of way. Minus one additional point for a text conversation presented in the video that was so baffling I could not resist looking it up and finding out said video is a sequel and said conversation is an Easter Egg so hamfistedly deployed that it gave me an eyelid twitch for a few minutes.

Scott Mildenhall: It may just be a hitherto untapped metaphor upon which endless people are expected to project their own relationships, but it’s also characteristically half-baked. If Sheeran was appointing himself as the wildcard or comedian in a superficially humble act of Inceian hubris, it wouldn’t be surprising; nor even if he was calling himself a fool. But while the semantics of “queen” are established enough to survive a song in which specifics are not so much eschewed as abhorred, those of “joker” are less clear-cut. So what does he actually mean? Since there’s no humour and no invention; only cursory shortcuts to emotional reaction, it would seem that he’s a wind-up merchant.

Will Adams: Do you ever feel, feel so paper-thin? Like a house of cards, one blow from caving in? :'(

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4 Responses to “Ed Sheeran ft. Taylor Swift – The Joker and the Queen”

  1. WILL

  2. Will pls you’re killing me

  3. Let me see, I have here one golf clap for Alex’s blurb and one sincere apology for Al, who’s lovely blurb makes me wish I liked this song more.

  4. feel bad for not blurbing this because I am pretty sure I would have to talk about how it jokerfied me