Take a deep breath, because Ed Sheeran's latest music video is sure to pull at your heartstrings. The singer released the video for his latest single "Eyes Closed" on 24 March and it's an emotional tribute to his best friend Jamal Edwards, who passed away in February 2022. The lyrics alone are enough to make your eyes watery, and the video perfectly captures the confusing feelings of loneliness, grief, and loss.
"God that MV for Eyes closed by Ed Sheeran got me crying like a baby," one Twitter user wrote. "I have tears in my eyes - it's sad but catchy, it's so innocent and it feels like a comforting hug," added another. While many took to social media to declare they were "blown away".
The video itself, directed by Mia Barnes, begins with Sheeran in a car submerged underwater, flashing back to him walking into a bar on his own. While drinking, he is surrounded by partygoers but is always separate from everyone else. He then sees a large blue, furry monster who follows him around as he gets a kebab at the end of the night.
"When I was thinking of concepts for the Eyes Closed music video, I wanted to make a video inspired by movies like Harvey, where the main character has an imaginary friend who's a giant rabbit that no-one can see," Sheeran wrote on his Instagram. "There's also a book I read my daughters where sadness is encapsulated by an imaginary creature. Often sadness is something that follows you around, engulfing the rooms you're in, and you can feel and see it, but no-one else around you can. So, I decided to create my own big blue monster for the video. He gets bigger and bigger as the video goes on, until he takes up whole rooms, and is all I can see, just like sadness."
"Often sadness is something that follows you around, engulfing the rooms you're in, and you can feel and see it, but no-one else around you can."
Sheeran's song is a touching tribute to Edwards, the son of "Loose Women"'s Brenda Edwards who set up SB.TV and Sheeran credits with launching his career. He tragically died of a heart attack at the age of 31. The lyrics include lines like: "Just dancin' with my eyes closed / 'Cause everywhere I look, I still see you / Time is movin' so slow / And I don't know what else that I can do."
Sheeran recently opened up about the mental health struggles he faced when writing his album, Subtract, due for release on 5 May. "Within the space of a month, my pregnant wife got told she had a tumour, with no route for treatment until after the birth. My best friend Jamal, a brother to me, died suddenly, and I found myself in court defending my integrity and career as a songwriter," Sheeran wrote on 1 March.
The dad-of-two also spoke of his experience with eating disorders in an interview with Rolling Stone. "I have a real eating problem," Sheeran added. "I'm a real binge eater. I'm a binge-everything. But I'm now more of a binge exerciser, and a binge dad," he said. The difficulties he's faced and how he's dealt with them will also be covered in a new four-part Disney+ documentary due for release on 3 May.
Sheeran's vulnerabilities are sure to capture the hearts of fans, and his latest single is just the beginning of what is likely to be one of his most poignant yet. "This song means the absolute world to me, it's the start of an album I'd been overthinking for years and feel like I've finally made the perfect representation of where I am right now," he wrote. "I'm so excited for the next stage, and today marks the beginning of that. I hope this song connects with you the way it feels to me when I sing it, I really, really love it." So do we, Sheeran. So do we.