Say hello to Jed Shieber, everyone, and get used to him: He’s sure to be here for a very long while.
We speak, of course, of the bromantic union of Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran, who after collaborating behind the scenes on two recent pop smashes – Bieber’s Love Yourself in 2015 and Major Lazer’s Cold Water in 2016 – have finally joined voices for I Don’t Care.
For both stars, the song represents a return to the spotlight after some time away – time in which Shawn Mendes made himself a nice little sweet spot between Sheeran’s folky songwriter-isms and Bieber’s post-EDM balladry.
But I Don’t Care is also clearly the duo’s stab at creating the song of the summer; it was designed to be played at barbecues and pool parties from now until September. Surrender now: It most definitely will be.
Clever as always, Sheeran wrote the tune – and let’s establish that this feels like Sheeran featuring Bieber, not the other way around – about feeling out of place at just such a gathering.
“I’m at a party I don’t wanna be at,” Sheeran sings to open the song, before wondering if he “could sneak out the back.” Later, Bieber doubles down on his pal’s mild discomfort: “With all these people around, I’m crippled with anxiety,” he sings – a surprising admission for a pop song, if not for a pop star who’s been speaking about depression with uncommon candour on social media of late.
Not to worry, though. Soon enough, Jed Shieber’s lady swoops in to reassure our heroes that they can deal with the bad nights. “You’re making me feel like I’m loved by somebody,” they sing, their voices intertwined as tenderly as can be.
Musically, I Don’t Care is a virtual redo of Sheeran’s once-inescapable Shape Of You, complete with rapid-fire vocals in the verses and a vaguely tropical beat that keeps the song light on its feet – crucial for a track as heavily strategised as this one.
Two years ago, when Sheeran released Shape Of You, he was using that kind of groove to show he was more than a soft-hearted acoustic troubadour. (It worked.) Now, amid the Latin-pop explosion that Despacito set off, I Don’t Care demonstrates Sheeran’s determination to remain at the very top of the pop charts. – Tribune News Service
Also watch: Ed Sheeran meets his wayang kulit shadow puppet