“Boat” by Ed Sheeran
On 21 April 2023, “Boat” became the second single issued in advance of “Subtract”, Ed Sheeran’s forthcoming album which Atlantic Records and Asylum Records are slated to put out in full in early May. As to be expected given the singer’s popularity, the project’s lead single, “Eyes Closed“, fared well for itself, in that it charted in approximately 30 countries and reached number one on Sheeran’s native UK Singles Chart.
This follow-up was written by Sheeran alongside American musician Aaron Dessner, with Dessner also serving as the producer of the track, and Mia Barnes acting music video director for “Boat”.
Ed has noted that this is actually the first song he completed for the album, with it also relatedly being the first track on the LP’s playlist.
Lyrics of “Boat”
The singer also revealed that the penned “Boat” “by the English seaside” amidst “very extreme elements in the winter. Additionally, he has implied that the reason he wrote it is because mental-health issues aren’t taken seriously where he comes from. And besides that people tend to think, with Ed being a superstar and all, that he is above depression and pessimistic thinking.
But as inferred in these lyrics, Sheeran goes through mental hardships just like the rest of us, in a manner of speaking. In other words, he too has been wounded emotionally/psychologically, to the point where he doubts if he’ll ever get over the associated trauma.
But what he took from being out there on the seaside, in full witness of “bleak” conditions of the English winter, is the fact that a wounded heart is not going to destroy him. That is to say, metaphorical speaking, that just as a boat is able to maintain its integrity despite being pounded by waves, Sheeran too came to realize that the likes of depression or troubling memories are not going to ‘break his boat’, or let’s say otherwise put him in a position where he can’t still enjoy life and prosper.
So that would be why he also went on to classify this piece as “a song about resilience”.
So conclusively, the message behind Boat is theoretically twofold. On one hand we have someone who is living an enviable life yet alluding to the fact that he too experiences discouragement. But Sheeran has also resolved that at the end of the day, whether he’s able to defeat depression or not, the situation won’t be such that he’s going to fall apart or lose his ability to love due to negative thinking.