It may not have been the same level of uproar as Garth Brooks Gate, but when Ed Sheeran recently sold out 9 dates in Ireland, totalling to over 300,000 amount of tickets sold, people have had a lot to say.
Ed Sheeran fans were delighted with life that their number one man was taking his tour around Ireland, and not just to Dublin (in fairness, props to him, but still). Sheeran has been a regular performer in Ireland over the last few years since he burst onto the music scene with, quite possibly, one of the most overplayed songs ever: The A Team.
Sheeran won the hearts of people all over Ireland and the UK in the last several years with his casual demeanour and sincere personality, not to mention his first-dance-at-a-wedding worthy ballads that, I’ll admit, can get to you.
But I’ve never really seen the appeal of him.
*hides from the hardcore fans*
When he came to Dublin the first time, all of my friends were battling for tickets, and honestly, I could not think of a worse concert to go to.
Of course, they all came back with rave reviews about how he managed to fill the arena with just a guitar and a loop pedal, but still, I remain unconvinced.
The years pass and the tunes are released and I live my life in happy state of Sheeran apathy. Until this year.
He came back with a bang and released his third album, ÷, chock full of typical Sheeran songs. One of which was Galway Girl.
The story tells of Sheeran meeting a lass from Contae na Gaillimhe and having the night of his life with her, all set to a nice, jaunting tune. It instantly became top of the charts on Spotify after release, and I was ashamed of us.
It’s not just that I’m dedicated to Mundy’s Galway Girl - which is infinitely better, fight me - it’s the inaccuracies and insincerity of the song that gets me. Sheeran admitted that the story is false; it was inspired by Niamh Dunne, a fiddle player who's married to his Irish friend.
Fair enough, poetic licence and all that jazz. But he didn’t even bother to do his research.
Bar off Grafton Street? Grafton Street in Galway? Gaelic ink?
Irish Twitter therefore had a lot to say when this song came out, because it was just not logistically possible. For someone who has Irish blood and heritage, and who wants to pay homage to that, you’d think he’d take the time to do it right.
He said in an another interview that he wanted to emulate the sound of The Corrs, who made folk/trad Irish music accessible and popular, but all that sounds like is a marketing stunt.
Which the Irish people do not need. We’re famous worldwide for (apparently) being heavy drinkers, speaking entirely in a Leprechaun voice and only eating stew. There have been countless shitty Irish accents and characters in the media over the last few years, and the last thing we need is another half-assed, diddly-eye, Oirish song that only perpetuates this image.
He even said that he wanted to aim this music to people who love the Irish, more so than those who are Irish:
"But there’s 400m people in the world that say they’re Irish, even if they’re not Irish. You meet them in America all the time: ‘I’m a quarter Irish and I’m from Donegal.’ And those type of people are going to fucking love it."
From the use of trad instruments to the woeful male chorus in the song, it makes a weak attempt to capture the Irish music and culture.
Also on his album is the song Nancy Mulligan, an ode to his grandmother, who hails from Wexford.
A similar theme emerges from this song too; another attempt to create a modern, Irish song that only, to be honest, embarrasses me.
Yes, the songs get your foot tapping and singing along, but it all just seems fake to me. His wavering voice on Nancy Mulligan - though the story, I admit, is cute - trying to do a quasi sean nós song with his strong accent do not mesh.
Look, fair play to the lad. He’s doing extremely well for himself and Shape of You is a banger. But if he’s going to embrace his Irish side, he should know that no one would call a tattoo as Gaeilge “Gaelic ink”.
His attempts at incorporating Irish culture into his music is embarrassing for him, and for us. It’s the musical equivalent of Gerard’s Butler accent is PS I Love You.
So Sheeran, thanks, but no thanks.