“Spark” by Ed Sheeran

“Spark” is a song that Ed Sheeran co-wrote for his album – (Subtract), which came out on 5 May 2023. Said LP is heavily imbued with the presence of Aaron Dessner, who produced “Spark” and also co-wrote it with Ed. And this track is a product of the labels Sheeran is signed to, those being Atlantic and Asylum.

There is an explanation of this song, quoted by Ed Sheeran himself, currently available online, though not from a mainstream source, which is a bit peculiar. But in any event, it’s pretty easy to make out what’s going on in the lyrics, at least in terms of interpreting the thesis sentiment.

The Lyrics of “Spark”

Presumably, the addressee would be the vocalist’s lover. Whether or not such is actually the case is never specified. But the term “spark”, in context, points to one of its common colloquial usages, i.e. as a metaphor for their being a mutual attraction between romantic interests.

So as a premise what Ed may be putting forth here – as alluded to via the aforenoted quotation, if it’s actually legit – is that there are certain stages in life when a person naturally matures. 

So as the lyrics indicate, when you apply that notion to the troubled romance the vocalist is in, what you get is a desire to put the less-than-ideal past between himself and his significant other permanently behind.

But at the same time, he also understands that in consideration of all of the emotional damage that has been wreaked, a desire to forget alone is not going to see them through. In other words, Sheeran is implying that unless there is also a “spark” still present between the two of them, their relationship will likely come to an end. 

And he is willing to take practical action to keep the spark alive. For instance, in the chorus this vocalist is seemingly recommending to the addressee that instead of arguing as they usually do (as noted in the second verse), henceforth they should only speak loving words to one another.

“We’ll build a fire and torch our old lives
And hope the spark survives
Use words as kindling, light up the night sky
Let the memories take flight
And hope the spark survives”

And if that all sounds a bit confusing, so it is with some of the other songs found on “Subtract”. But this is one of those pieces where it can be said the sentiment is more understandable than the lyrics themselves. 

Perhaps we can close by more simply relaying that what the vocalist is hoping for is he and his sweetheart being able to conclusively forgive each other and that whatever they did in the past – or present even – wasn’t such that it utterly destroyed the love they once shared.


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