“Castle on the Hill”: Hold On, We’re Going HomeBy Emily Von Urff | 15/2/17 1:00pm
2017 started off like any good year should start: with Ed Sheeran releasing new music. Finally, everyone’s favorite ginger (Ron Weasley is a close second) returned with not just one but TWO singles that’ll get you grooving.
While “Shape of You” is one of Sheeran’s typical loop pedal dreams, “Castle on the Hill” is something totally different. After listening to it for the first time, I honestly had my doubts about its very ‘Mumford & Sons’ vibe.
Then, I saw the video and it all came together; this is Ed’s new way of pulling on our heart strings.
Story wise, the song and video match up perfectly; as Sheeran recounts stories of his youth, a young version of the singer and his friends go on typical teenage adventures throughout their hometown. I love the fact that all of the kids in the video are from his high school, a little detail which makes the video even more meaningful. Pieced together with grand landscape shots, the video pulls together a montage of late night excursions, long walks, and brewing love. There is an air of simplicity that makes it authentic; growing up is as exciting as it is mundane. Sheeran humanizes himself by remembering this concept, showing that mostly everyone can remember the simple streets that made them and the old friends that raised them.
One of the standout moments – of both the song and the video – occurs during the bridge as Sheeran recounts the fates of six of his friends. There’s something about that moment that brings you back to reality, that shows you how quickly things change. It’s a powerful statement to hear the futures of six kids who are just chilling in front of you, and it makes you think about what the futures of your old friends will be like.
I’m a sucker for a cute ending, and this video wraps the story up in a cute little bow by bringing it full circle to present day Sheeran and friends sitting around together. While I could get picky about the seemingly repetitive nature of the visuals and how the story line might be a bit too simplified, I’m deciding to be nice because IT’S ALL TOO CUTE AND ALL I CAN DO IS THINK ABOUT HOME.
“Castle on the Hill” is truly a love letter to hometowns all over. It’s the new kind of love song. Yes, we all know you love your significant other. But do you love the hidden paths you found behind your childhood home or the first time you went to a concert? How about the hilarious conversations at parties or long, winding drives with friends? How much do you love those things? I'm telling you, Ed Sheeran can make you get emotional about anything (as I sit here crying about how much I miss my small Pennsylvania town).
I highly suggest listening to “Castle on the Hill” the next time you head home, wherever that may be. Look out the window; you may not see a castle on the hill, but I guarantee you’ll see something just as magical.