“Life Goes On” by Ed Sheeran
The term “life goes on”, though being literally true, is most commonly used as a colloquialism. And in that regard, what it is meant to point to is that even if a tragedy transpires, one must toughen up, get over the grief and move on with his life.
In the case of this song, that tragedy would be the passing of Sheeran’s close personal and professional friend Jamal Edwards (1990-2022), who sacrificed to put Ed on to the music game. Actually just a couple of months before the release of “Life Goes On”, Ed dropped another song inspired by the death of Edwards titled “F64“.
In that instance, he took the approach of addressing the deceased directly. This time around however, first of all it’s never specified that the addressee is dead. Instead, what’s being more logically implied is that said individual left the vocalist under their own volition.
That is to say that these lyrics read more as if the addressee is a romantic interest who deserted Ed. For instance, this singer foresees his suffering if this person were to ‘leave him now’. Then, upon such transpiring, when he hears the name of this individual, Ed “think(s) of love”.
Furthermore, he chalks up their departure to “easy come, hard go”, which is the type of thing someone may say for instance when a relationship doesn’t work out.
So as it stands, the only reason we’re able to safely postulate that it is Jamal he’s referring to is because first of all that’s what’s being reported by prominent British tabloid the Daily Mirror. And secondly, we know based on Sheeran’s own words that the entirety of the LP this song is derived from revolves around “grief and depression and stuff”, not being “a breakup album”, as he explained to his label.
But as we have pointed out numerous times in the past, this happens sometimes, i.e. a song which is not based on romance, by the time all is said and done, reading as if it is.
“To tell me how, how my life goes on with you gone?
I suppose I’ll sink like a stone
If you leave me now, oh, the storms will roll
Easy come, hard go, then life goes on”
Various Facts Surrounding “Life Goes On”
Ed Sheeran wrote this song on his own, with its producer being Aaron Dessner.
“Life Goes On” is one of the tracks found on the standard playlist of Ed Sheeran’s album – (Subtract), which hit the marketplace on 5 May 2023 through Asylum Records and Atlantic Records.
The late Jamal Edwards was a prominent figure on the British music scene, sorta being like the UK’s version of Ralph McDaniels, if you will. At the top of the list of the artists he helped give exposure to who eventually went on to make it big is Ed Sheeran.
To reiterate, the two of them also had a very-close personal relationship, to the point that, according to Ed, Jamal’s mom thought they were gay. Furthermore, it is known that Edwards continued working with Sheeran as recently as 2021 and undoubtedly would be to this day if not for the fact that, in early 2022, he unexpectedly passed away, being 31 years old at the time.
The Motivation I Needed
“This is precisely what I need in these trying times. The song’s positive message of optimism and perseverance is enough motivation for me. The catchy tune and chorus gets me humming along, and Ed’s vocals are as soulful and polished as always. Once again, he showcased his incredible musical prowess on ‘Life Goes On’, cementing his status as one of the most exceptional musicians of our era.
This track is a hit, destined to lift spirits and encourage everyone to keep pushing forward despite any obstacles that may arise. And the remix version that features Luke Combs is another classic. Combs displayed vocals that are out of this world. It’s unfortunate this version wasn’t featured on (Subtract) [Deluxe Splatter Vinyl].”
– Doug Williams
Life Truly Goes On
“Life Goes On puts into words all the feelings and emotions that I’ve had from the start of this year. It has touched me in a way that no other song has. It speaks directly to the pain and loss that I have experienced recently. My wife passed away on 15th of January, and then in March, my mom passed away as well.
Losing my wife was like having the air sucked out of my lungs, and losing my mom felt like the final blow. At the time indeed ‘the waves came tumbling down,” just like Ed said in the song. I try to keep busy taking care of my two little boys, but I know that I will never truly be okay.
Ed talks about something similar in his emotional Disney+ documentary, how you grow up the moment you experience such a significant loss. What he said was more than inspiring to me. I remember sitting with my wife in the hospital as she battled for her life, just the two of us, and for the first time, tears flowed down my face, as she comforted me, saying, ‘It’s okay’.
Now, I’m alone with the boys and indeed ‘Life Goes On’. But, to anyone reading this, hug your loved ones tightly because you never know what tomorrow will bring.”
– David Miller