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Sing (song)

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"Sing" is a song by English singer-songwriter, Ed Sheeran. It was written by Sheeran and Pharrell Williams, who also produced it and provided uncredited background vocals. The song was released on 7 April 2014, serving as the lead single from Sheeran's second studio album, × (2014).[1][2][3] The song became Sheeran's first UK number-one single and also topped the charts in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. It also peaked at No. 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Background

"Sing" was written by Sheeran and Pharrell Williams, and produced by the latter. Williams also provides uncredited background vocals during the chorus. The song has a length of 3 minutes and 55 seconds. The song, which has pop and R&B influences and was inspired by Justin Timberlake, is a departure from the folk rock sound Sheeran became known for on his previous album, +.[4][5] Sheeran was inspired to model the song after the pop and R&B stylings of Timberlake, stating "It was pretty close to a direct inspiration. I love Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds, so I took inspiration from those."[6] The lyrics are about "a night out in Vegas."[7]

"Sing" was released in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Germany in May 2014 with a corresponding EP.[citation needed]]] Aside from these nations, "Sing" was released internationally on 7 April 2014, during a YouTube live chat with Sheeran. "Friends", a track from the EP, entered the UK Singles Chart at No. 121.

Critical reception

The song received critical acclaim upon release; music critics complimented Sheeran's change of sound, and likening the song to the works of Justin Timberlake. Time gave the song a very positive review, saying that it is "more of a departure. It fits the times nicely: there's some of fellow Brit, Sam Smith, in Sheeran's rubbery falsetto, plus some of Robin Thicke's ubiquitous 'Blurred Lines' in the percussion. But Sheeran's really got his heavy-breathing, hyper-flirtatious sights on another, older target: Justin Timberlake's solo debut, 'Like I Love You'," adding that "Countless artists have died on that hill, from former boy banders trying to reinvent themselves in Timberlake's image, to teen idols in protracted growth spurts, to Timberlake himself on parts of The 20/20 Experience. But Sheeran brings legit musicianship, not just branding, to the tune, and his vocal tics and the 'Billie Jean' percussion suggest he might be looking back even further, to Michael Jackson's imperial phase."[1] The chorus riff and falsetto are from "Miss You" by The Rolling Stones.

In a positive review, The Guardian said that "while Pharrell's influence is writ large, there's enough of Sheeran there to prevent it coming across as horrible pastiche."[3] The Hollywood Reporter also gave the song a positive review, stating that "Sheeran's fragile voice, as heard on past hits like 'The A Team' and 'Lego House,' has now morphed into a confident croon, unafraid of diving into a deep bag of melismas, boisterous chants and rapid-fire rhymes in order to convince his female subject of his desires."[8]

Chart performance

"Sing" debuted at No. 1 on the Australian ARIA Charts in May 2014, making it Sheeran's first ever number-one in the country, and his sixth top ten single in Australia. On the week of 14 April 2014, the song entered the New Zealand Singles Chart at No. 8, becoming his fourth top 10 single and second top 10 debut in New Zealand.[9] The song has since topped the charts in that country, giving Sheeran his second consecutive number-one single there.[10] The song debuted at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart, giving him his first ever number-one singles in both the United Kingdom and Ireland. In Italy, "Sing" has peaked at No. 2 and spent five total weeks at this position, giving him the higher peak position reached in the country, so far.[11]

In Canada, the track has since peaked at No. 4, giving Sheeran his first ever top 10 hits in the country. "Sing" debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Sheeran his highest charting single in the United States, at the time. The single managed to sell 123,000 copies, giving him his second best sales week digitally; the song also managed to net 563,000 streams and earn 28 million in audience impressions, all before its debut week on the Billboard Hot 100.[12] "Sing" has since peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song reached its million sales mark in the US in July 2014,[13] and has sold 1,323,000 copies as of January 2015.[14]

Music video

The music video for "Sing" was released exclusively to Sheeran's Facebook page on 22 May 2014, and added to Vevo and YouTube on 23 May, exactly a month before the album was released.[15] It follows a puppet caricature of Sheeran on a night out, during which he gets drunk, steals a mic from actor, Peter Kwong from Big Trouble, in Little China and sings karaoke, goes to a strip club and picks up Sheeran and Pharrell from a studio in his truck. Throughout the video Sheeran is seen playing his guitar in front of an optical illusion-esque backdrop. [16][17]

The puppet is currently in Sheeran's safekeeping, but he has "no idea how to work it yet".[18] The puppet was closely modelled on him, down to his clothes and tattoos. Sheeran and Pharrell received the award for Best Male Video at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards for the video.[19]

Live performances and cover versions

Sheeran performed the song live for the first time on Saturday Night Live on 12 April 2014, along with his unreleased, next single, "Don't", which he debuted off the album.[20] Sheeran also performed "Sing" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on 16 May 2014,[21] on the Britain's Got Talent semi-final on 27 May 2014,[22] on The Graham Norton Show on 6 June 2014,[23] and on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on 28 August 2014.[24]

In popular culture

The track was featured in the trailer for the animated film of the same name, Sing.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 St. Asaph, Katherine (7 April 2014). "Ed Sheeran Teams Up With Pharrell for New Single "Sing": Listen". Time. http://time.com/52180/ed-sheeran-sing-pharrell/. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  2. Lipshutz, Jason (7 April 2014). "Ed Sheeran's 'Sing' Arrives: Pharrell-Produced Single Channels Justin Timberlake". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6041347/ed-sheerans-sing-arrives-pharrell-produced-single-channels-justin-timberlake. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cragg, Michael (8 April 2014). "Ed Sheeran – Sing: New music". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2014/apr/08/ed-sheeran-sing. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  4. Trust, Gary (11 April 2014). "Ed Sheeran's 'Sing' Headed Toward Top 40 Debut On Hot 100". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6049852/ed-sheerans-sing-headed-toward-top-40-debut-on-hot-100. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  5. "Ed Sheeran's Billboard Cover: 5 Things We Learned About Music's Great Red Hope". Billboard. 4 April 2014. http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/6039545/ed-sheeran-billboard-cover-5-things-we-learned-video. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  6. Lipshutz, Jason (9 April 2014). "Ed Sheeran Shares 'x' Track List". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/6042272/ed-sheeran-shares-x-track-list. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  7. "Ed Sheeran - 'Sing' Playback & YouTuber Q&A". YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z7h6L4vBCU. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  8. Lipshutz, Jason (7 April 2014). "Ed Sheeran's 'Sing' Arrives: Pharrell-Featuring Single Channels Justin Timberlake (Audio)". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ed-sheerans-sing-arrives-pharrell-694332. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  9. NZ Top 40 Singles Chart | The Official New Zealand Music Chart
  10. NZ Top 40 Singles Chart | The Official New Zealand Music Chart
  11. "italiancharts.com - Ed Sheeran - Sing". http://italiancharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Ed+Sheeran&titel=Sing&cat=s. 
  12. Trust, Gary. "Pharrell Williams Tops Hot 100; Ed Sheeran Blasts In at No. 15". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6055524/pharrell-williams-tops-hot-100-ed-sheeran-blasts-in-at-no-15. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  13. Paul Grein (16 July 2014). "Chart Watch: 'Rude' Brings Reggae To #1". Yahoo! Music. https://music.yahoo.com/blogs/chart-watch/chart-watch-rude-brings-reggae-to-1-195900304.html. 
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named us_sales
  15. Ed Sheeran Debuts 'Sing' Music Video Exclusively on Facebook
  16. Ed Sheeran & A Lookalike Puppet Party Like Rock Stars In "Sing" Video: Watch | Music News, Reviews, and Gossip on Idolator.com
  17. Ed Sheeran's 'Sing' Music Video: Watch Muppet Ed Live Out a Wild Night | Billboard
  18. Ed Sheeran unveils 'Sing' video featuring Pharrell Williams - watch - Music News - Digital Spy
  19. "2014 MTV Video Music Awards.. Rock on the Net. Retrieved 15 December 2014
  20. "Ed Sheeran Debuts New 'X' Song on 'SNL' - Video". Rolling Stone. 13 April 2014. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/ed-sheeran-debuts-new-x-song-on-snl-20140412. 
  21. "Ed Sheeran Performs 'Sing' - Ellen Show May 16, 2014, - Video". Ellen Degeneres. 16 May 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nAWI_PDf3M. 
  22. "Ed Sheeran melts hearts on Britain's Got Talent". https://uk.celebrity.yahoo.com/video/ed-sheeran-melts-hearts-britains-110407416.html. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  23. "Ed Sheeran - SING". YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkAPiVZnWEs. 
  24. "YouTube". youtube.com. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK0Wp6xXSQc. 

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