By Jon Wiederhorn
Ed Sheeran’s Irish-themed “Galway Girl” single has had a mixed effect on his audience and has contributed to the duality between those who adore him and those who can’t stand him.
“I’ve actually never felt this much hate in my life, but also I’ve never felt this much adoration,” he said in a recent interview with Q Magazine. “There’s two extremes. It’s actually quite a dangerous situation to be in because you’ve got no middle ground, which I haven’t had before. People either f—— hate me and want me to die and never make music again or people think I’m the second coming.”
In part, Sheeran has invited the split opinion. He knew “Galway Girl” and its accompanying video would be seen as offensive, obnoxious or just play annoying by some listeners, but he released it anyway to stir up the pot a little bit. When his label suggested he pull it from Divide he fought to keep it on the record.
“People do f—— hate that song, so they would say I’m wrong [to feature it on my album], but the general consensus is yes, it works,” he said. “That song’s proper Marmite, which is quite good. I want people to have an opinion, even if their opinion hurts me. I get called beige a lot, but it can’t be beige if it’s splitting this much f—— opinion.”
At the same time, Sheeran is perplexed and a little overwhelmed by the armchair critics who fling hatred his way over the internet. “It’s weird,” he said. “With every performer, you’re kind of doing it because you want people to like you. Musically, I understand I’m not everybody’s cup of tea but there are people who’ve never met me but have this rage about me as a human being. It’s quite daunting to have millions of people who want you to fail.”