“First Times” by Ed Sheeran
Don’t be fooled into believing that “First Times” isn’t romantic in nature. Ed Sheeran has implied that First Times is actually dedicated to his fans. And whereas the lyrics may commence along those lines initially, this sentiment only lasts, theoretically for a couple of passages. But after that, this piece transforms into more or less an overt love song.
At the beginning, Ed is reminiscing on his first performances at Wembley Stadium, one of the most popular venues in London and the world really. And as noted in the lyrics, there were a good 80,000 spectators present.
Ed Sheeran is bragging?
No. This isn’t about Ed bragging. Rather, playing on the biggest stage in the United Kingdom was akin to a dream come true for the hometown boy. And again, as far as the first paragraph goes, it can be argued that the addressee, i.e. the “you” and “we” Sheeran refers to, is in fact his fans. These would be the people who also bore witness to his early goings as a music superstar.
But it’s like, Ed ain’t even on it like that. So in the pre-chorus for instance, when he refers to relishing “the simplest things in life”, logically speaking he wouldn’t be referring to an accomplishment as massive as performing at Wembley Stadium.
Instead, what the vocalist really cherishes is aspects of his existence like his relationship with the addressee. And as noted earlier, as the song progresses said addressee is revealed as being his significant other.
So now as opposed to focusing on professional accomplishments as with the first verse, Ed’s attention is on “the first kiss”, etc. between himself and the addressee. And even though it may still be theoretically argued that he is also addressing his fans, it would appear that in the second verse the singer solidifies that this is in fact a romantic interest, i.e. his spouse.
So the philosophy this song is based on is that it is ‘the little things that make the man’. And then, as far as Sheeran’s own understating goes, what said “little things” would consist of is something like falling in love.
So perhaps another way of phrasing the above statement is as ‘the common things make the man’. Or as others may phrase this philosophy more plainly, the best things in life are free, so to speak.
Facts about “First Times”
The reason this song is acoustic in nature is because, based on its background, the album it is featured on, = (Equals), was also originally conceptualized as such. So the implication would be that this was one of the earliest songs composed for the project.
And in terms of its composition, Ed wrote and produced it with established collaborator Fred Again. And David Hodges is also given songwriting credit.
Unlike Sheeran and Again, who are from the UK, Hodges is actually an American musician, being from Little Rock, Arkansas. And the three of them put this song together not too far from Hodges’ home city. During that time, Sheeran was temporarily residing in Nashville, Tennessee.
This track was officially released, via record labels Atlantic and Asylum, on 29 October 2021. And Sheeran had debuted it a couple of months earlier, in his homeland of England, somewhere in August of 2021.
The rendering of “First Times” is quite laid back, sounding a bit sedated even. And according to Sheeran, the reason why is that he recorded it, at the insistence of Again, in the direct aftermath of him and homeys getting drunk (from wine) and high (off of weed).