“This really sounds like a cheesy wedding song.”
“Does collaborating with Beyoncé automatically make a song great?”
“Thinking Out Loud is obviously better.”
“Damn, those harmonies!”
“Ok, I’m sold.”
These are the thoughts that went through my head as I sat in my dorm room listening to Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé’s duet of “Perfect.
Twitter then proceeded to explode.
Originally, “Perfect” was the fourth single release from Sheeran’s Divide album, and it was the first song written for the album. In an interview with radio DJ Zane Lowe, Sheeran explains that he hoped to prove that he could write another hit love song post “Thinking Out Loud”.
By the time I actually listened to the duet, I was so hyped-up that the song was slightly disappointing. Sheeran had posted about the forthcoming duet on his social media accounts, and after much anticipation, the single was released on December first.
Although “Perfect” has received a lot of promotion, Sheeran has written so many beautiful songs that have been overlooked and under-marketed (listen to “Tenerife Sea” and “Happier”). The song in itself is pretty: I’m a sucker for waltzes, but many of Sheeran’s other songs exceed “Perfect”, and sometimes it seems unfair to the other songs. That being said, I love the combination of Sheeran and Beyoncé’s voices together. In their own way, both artists are able to convey a deep sense of soul. When they sing together, they’re able to complement each other and shine together.
“Perfect” isn’t the first collaboration between Sheeran and Beyoncé. In 2015, The duo took the stage at the Global Citizens Festival in New York City. They sang Beyoncé’s “Drunken Love”. Chills went through my body as I was watching their performance. Their “Drunken Love” duet was successful due to Sheeran’s ability to strip down the song and make it intimate. Their acoustic rendition highlighted both the composition and the performers’ voices.
In contrast, “Perfect” was already acoustic, to begin with; Sheeran’s original single was considerably intimate and soulful. The song was ameliorated with the addition of the timbre of Beyoncé’s beautiful voice and added harmonies, but unlike their “Drunken Love” duet, there wasn’t enough change to make the collaboration stand out. The addition of Beyoncé’s voice was an accessory. If Beyoncé had put her own pop twist on it, perhaps their final product could’ve been mind-blowing. Instead, the duo chose to simply add harmonies. This resulted in a pretty rendition of “Perfect,” but not necessarily innovative.
“Perfect” Ft. Beyoncé is available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, and other music streaming services.