There comes a point in everyone’s life where they can only express bafflement at the astonishing popularity among youngsters of musical acts deemed too rude, noisy or derivative. I’ve escaped that up ’til now as a keen gigger and clubber up until around five years ago – and regular rinser of Spotify. But this year has seen me embracing the bemused annoyance of my parents when I started playing Nirvana, Mansun, Blur, The Beastie Boys and Leftfield on the car’s stereo.
Why? Ed Sheeran. Hamster-faced, wispy-tufted, charisma-vacuum, rap-bothering, flat-voiced, cliche-spouting, acoustic-nothing Ed Sheeran: a man who makes George Osbourne look like George Clooney. A man you’d be happy to let your daughter go on out on a date with, because you’d be sure there’s be no coke-snorting, knicker-fingering or bra-tweaking.
Sheeran’s rise to the top of just about every music chart known to man is an absolute triumph of dullness; an elevation of music so banal I literally cannot recall how any of it goes. Sheeran is the Harvester, the Antiques Roadshow, the macaroni-and-cheese of music. Inoffensive, forgettable, vaguely annoying. A walking tick-sheet of influences, inflections, lifestyles, aspirations and £5.99 rose wine emotions.
So, I don’t despair at safety pins through the nose, soundclashing decibels or sex-and-drugs nihilism, I despair at how utterly mundane the whole thing is.
I’m fond of quoting an old film critic who, on viewing Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, voiced the fear that our children would end up killing us all. But, upon viewing this Ed Sheeran advert, I’m left with the fear that our children will be the most boring fuckers who ever lived.