Thinking Out Loud

Thinking Out Loud by krin.jpg

Date Aired
May 25, 2015
Running Time
Previous review
Next review

Todd plays "Thinking Out Loud" on the piano

A pop song review

Todd: Hey everyone, guess what time it is! Yes, it's everyone's favorite day, White Guy with Acoustic Guitar Review Day! [brief clip of One Direction - "Little Things"] I never get tired of that clip. Yep, it's time to take a look at my least favorite genre. I am as tired of hearing white guys with acoustic guitars as you are tired of hearing me complain about it. Yay.

Montage of clips of white guys with acoustic guitars

Todd (VO): Actually, I feel like I kinda wrote myself into a corner when I came up with that phrase. There's plenty of good music made by acoustic guitar-playing Caucasian males. It's not the acoustic guitar's fault that it attracts people without talent; everyone has to start somewhere. Nor is it the acoustic guitar's fault that it's the instrument of choice of self-impressed douches who only know how to strum "Wonderwall". And it's not its fault that my parents saddled me with a gigantic [drawing of a guy lugging a piano on his back] instrument that I couldn't drag out into the quad to play for college girls.

Todd just taps the top of the piano

Todd (VO): And besides, while there are plenty of them that are as interchangeable as they are talentless, I'm not one of those racists who think all white guys with acoustic guitars are the same. There are many different varieties. And as a spokesman for the subgenre of "Hey, I can actually play more than 'Wonderwall' on this thing, thank you very much"...

Todd: ...we have our good buddy Ed!

Clip of Ed Sheeran performing "Sing"
Ed: Sing!

Todd (VO): I mean, there's white guys with acoustic guitars, but Ed Sheeran is one of [picture of Ed] the whitest. And despite that, he's one of the biggest pop stars alive. I mean, this is a guy who's been romantically connected to both [pictures of...] Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift.

Todd: I-I mean, yes, the tabloids connect everyone with Taylor Swift. But

Todd (VO): ...still, the point is that, at some point, it became plausible that [picture of Ed squinting with a stupid smile] this man could've hooked up with Taylor Swift.

Todd: But you know, I think I'm okay with that.

Clip of "Lego House"

Todd (VO): Ed Sheeran is not a guy I started out liking because of my natural prejudices. But I think even before he started filling the Justin Timberlake-shaped hole in our hearts, I think I did recognize something in him that set him apart from the average folk-singer doof. [Clip of live performance] I recognize that he has a higher than average talent for hooks and rhymes, that he's willing to expand his horizons beyond the typical four-chord strumming, that he was smart enough to realize [another clip of "Little Things"] that a horrible song he wrote when he was a kid could make him a lot of money, but not so much that he'd stain his own reputation by singing it himself.

Video for "Thinking Out Loud"
Ed: When your legs don't work...

Todd (VO): That's what makes this latest regression such a disappointment of a song. Not just for Sheeran, but for the pop charts as a whole. I don't know, when I first started this show, it was all about Katy Perry and Justin Bieber, and now it's [clip of "Stay with Me" by...] Sam Smith and John Legend. When did pop music become so tasteful? [Clips of "The Lady is a Tramp" by Tony Bennett and...] Even Lady Gaga is recording jazz standards and showtunes, [...and "See You Again" by...] Wiz Khalifa is releasing funeral ballads.

Todd: I don't like it.

Todd (VO): But you know, songs like this, people like 'em. You gotta have something to slow-dance to at the middle school prom. How we got [clip of Bryan Adams - "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You"] this piece of garbage.

Bryan: You know it's true
Everything I do
[Arrow points at Bryan reading "DICK"]

Todd: So yeah, they're never going away. It's stupid to try and...

Todd (VO): ...rail against them as a whole. But this one specifically? No. No, no, no. I was sick of it the first time I heard it, and I'm certainly no less sick of it six months later! Which, of course it's around six months later. When one of these songs catches on, it's like gum on your shoe.

Todd: Like, you know how I said that Ed Sheeran's [brief clips of "Bring It Back"...] folk rapper thing was the version of [...and...] early Jason Mraz that wasn't totally embarrassing? Well, unfortunately, that's not the Ed Sheeran that showed up. The Ed Sheeran that showed up here is [brief clip of "Daughters" by...], this is a... this is more like a John Mayer song, which...we didn't need any more of.

Todd (VO): I mean, it sounds just ...I was surprised to find out that John Mayer didn't collaborate. It-it sounds like him. It sounds like "More Than Words" as covered by John Mayer, which is kinda funny. [Brief clips of "No Such Thing"...] I mean, Mayer wanted all that pop star swagger his entire career so very badly, and Ed Sheeran, of all people, scooped it all up. [...and performance at the Grammys] Matter of fact, I thought it was really funny when they performed this song at the Grammys together. It's like when you get fired and they make you train your replacement.

But regardless, this song, which is still in the Top 10 right now, is also probably his worst.

Todd: Yeah, that happens sometimes, someone's biggest song being their worst. Ahem.

Another clip of "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You"

Todd (VO): I mean, what's...what's going on here?

Ed: When your legs don't work like they used to before
And I can't sweep you off of your feet

Todd: Well, I can still pick her up. I mean, she doesn't need to be able to stand to do that. Matter of fact, she's probably gonna need you to do that more for her now.

Ed: Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?

Todd: That was the most disgusting possible way you could've put that.

Ed: Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?

Todd: It does. It remembers it being kind of salty.

Ed: I will be loving you 'til we're 70

Todd (VO): Like, I'm trying not to be too harsh here, because it's not like this song is outright offensive or bothersome, but I really can't think of a single thing about this song that works. Not even Ed Sheeran's singing.

Ed: Baby, now

Todd (VO): I mean, it's not that he's a bad singer or anything, but he's not a Sam Smith or a Bruno Mars either, you know, in the chorus, you know, you listen to him, he's just trying too hard. It's out of his range.

Todd: Matter of fact, I think that's the whole problem with the entire song. And to make this point, I'm gonna point to a "white guy with acoustic guitar" song that I actually like.

Clip of Plain White T's - "Hey There Delilah"
Tom Higgenson: Hey there, Delilah

Todd (VO): Yes, I'm on record for saying I kind of like "Hey There Delilah". And before you even start writing your angry letters, don't bother. Numerous complaints have already been filed to the Department of Music Critic Regulation trying to get my license revoked,...

Todd: ...and I only got put on probation, so nyah!

Tom: Oh, it's what you do to me

Todd (VO): Now, I get why many people actually hate this song—it's annoyingly precious, it's clumsy as hell. But what makes it work for me personally is the framing. He's singing from the persona of a not very talented guy who wrote a song in five minutes for his girlfriend and is singing it over Skype or something.

Todd: That's sweet. It's a very clever conceit that turns all the song's weaknesses into strengths. That's also the same trick Bernie Taupin pulled [clip of...] when he wrote "Your Song" for Elton John, which is one of the all-time greatest pop songs in history despite having one of the all-time worst lyrics.

Elton John: If I was a sculptor, ha
But then again, no

Todd: Yes, that metaphor was probably going to be corny. You realize you could just cross it out and write something different there.

Todd (VO): Like I said, the framing is what makes it work. And Ed Sheeran is, uh, he's trying for something similar. I mean...

Todd:'s right there in the title.

Ed: Thinking out loud

Todd (VO): See, he's just, you know, thinking out loud here, just spitballin'. You know, off the cuff, ad libbing. Yeah, no.

Todd: Look, if I have one major problem with Ed Sheeran, it's that his songs tend to be overwritten. If Ed Sheeran were a movie, he'd be [poster for...] Juno.

Clip of "The A Team"
Ed Crumbling like pastries

Todd (VO): It's always been my biggest problem with him, whether it be that awful "crumbling like pastries" line in "The A Team" or this groaner.

Clip of performance of "Wake Me Up"
Ed: And I know you love Shrek
‘Cause we've watched it 12 times
But maybe you're hoping for a fairy tale too

Todd: Yes, that classic, romantic fairy tale [clip from...] Shrek. Who wouldn't want to live in that beautiful fantasy full of poop and fart jokes and Eddie Murphy? How in the world does someone misunderstand Shrek of all things?

Todd (VO): And even on "Thinking Out Loud", where he's trying to sound as relaxed as possible, he still fills it with these overcomposed, multi-syllable lines that call attention to themselves.

Ed: Never grow old, it's evergreen

Todd (VO): Him calling his song "Thinking Out Loud" is like Lil Wayne naming a song "Tastefully Pleasant". "Thinking Out Loud".

Todd: [starting to play] Hey, everyone, I'm gonna improvise here, you know, just jam for a bit, see what comes out. Let's see...

Brief clip Herman Li shredding in DragonForce - "Through the Fire and Flames"
Ed: When my hair's all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don't remember my name

Todd (VO): Oh, get this humblebrag crap outta here! Boo! Boo! Yes, I know you're famous. There was zero reason to bring it up. Like, I knew Ed Sheeran kinda wanted to be a rapper, but...

Todd: ...he could've skipped the part where he uses love songs to brag about his success.

Ed: And the crowds don't remember my name

Todd (VO): Like, I'm glad that he realizes fame and looks don't last, but I-I just don't see why he even had to mention it. The great sin of acoustic guitar songs is that they always seem so impressed with themselves, so even when he's trying to self-deprecate, it sounds phony.

Todd: Also, if I were him, I wouldn't be too harshed about losing my hair anyway. It's,'s not his best feature.

Todd (VO): What else? What else?

Ed: And, baby, your smile's forever in my mind and memory

Todd (VO): Yeah...

Ed: Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars

Todd: Boy, if this is him thinking out loud, Ed Sheeran sure has a boring inner monologue.

Ed: Thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are

Todd: Okay, that's twice in two songs he's used the phrase, "we found love."

Clip of "Sing"
Ed: Let it go until our roads are changed
Singing we found love in a local rave

Todd (VO): Okay, on that one, it was clever and funny 'cause it was [clip of "We Found Love" by...] a Rihanna reference.

Rihanna: We found love in a hopeless place

Todd (VO): And on this one...was that also a Rihanna reference?

Ed: Maybe we found love right where we are

Todd (VO): Like, "hey, we didn't have to go to a hopeless place to find love, it's right here."

Todd: I mean, I don't think that's what Ed was trying to do, but I don't know, maybe it was.

Todd (VO): Obviously, the song's been on his mind. But also, otherwise...

Todd: doesn't really make any sense.

Todd (VO): You and her found love right where you are. Well...yeah, duh.

Todd: I mean, you got two people, they're in love, they're here, where else were they gonna find it? The mall?

Todd (VO): Was there a possibility you were gonna find love somewhere else? Was one of you still looking?

Ed: Maybe we found love right where we are

Todd (VO): I don't get where he was going with that. Why would you say that or even think that, let alone think it out loud? It only makes sense if one of them was about to take a sex cruise or something and Ed's trying to change their mind.

Ed: Well, me - I fall in love with you every single day

Todd (VO): Look, just...none of his lyrics connect. It doesn't sound like he means any of this. Like...[clips of...] I did not like "The A Team". I thought it was prettified bullshit that had no relevance whatsoever to its subject matter. But I did, in fact, think that Ed Sheeran was moved by the plight of an actual drug addict. And "Don't", that, you know, was obviously inspired by complicated feelings about a tangled relationship. This? Nothing. All I hear is, "wedding songs can make me a lot of money."

And I should like this. I like wedding songs. Most of my favorite songs include the words "always" and "forever" because, you know, I like the idea of eternal love. But I will say this for "Thinking Out Loud".

Todd: It's a song about growing old together, which we don't have enough of.

Ed: I will be loving you 'til we're 70

Todd (VO): Growing old together means growing together, and that's what marriage is to me. It's the idea that you find that someone that helps you become a better...

Todd: ...smarter person who changes and learns from their mistakes.

Ed: Well, I'll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you'll understand

Todd: [beat] Or you know...not.

Todd (VO): By the time you're 70, maybe you should not be making the same mistakes because, by then, it will definitely get old. That's even the point of this song.

Todd: Oh, honey, I know I'm not gonna be famous for the rest of my life, and maybe my youth will run out and my looks might fade, but there's one thing that will last forever, and that's me being an idiot and doing the same stupid thing over and over again. Good luck dealing with it. Love ya!

Todd (VO): Look, I don't know what to say here. This is just an uninspired song. Like, the oh-so-intricate rhymes work when he's going a mile a minute like he's trying to be Eminem with a guitar, but when you slow him down, all the effort and the over-cleverness just really start to get to you. And I don't hear any romance here. It's not even skeevy like John Mayer's songs 'cause at least those had a pulse. This is just dull. This is the [clip of Eric Clapton's...] "Wonderful Tonight" of the 2010s. It's a boring song by a disinterested-sounding singer who could be doing much better than this, complete with uninspiring solo.

Todd: So here's my advice, Ed. Instead of singing this song, here's a better song that I wrote. It's called "Keeping My Thoughts to Myself". Here, let me play it for you. [Todd does nothing] Man, I like my version way more.

Ed: Where we are

Closing tag song: Jay Livingston - "Mister Ed"

"Thinking Out Loud" is owned by Asylum Records
This video is owned by me


Todd: [playing "Wonderwall"] Said maybe
You're gonna be the one that saves me
And after all
[turns to the camera] You're my wonderwall

Is that thing still on?

Walks over and turns off the camera

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.