Variations of Perfect

By: Emily Maybanks

Perfect is a song by Ed Sheeran. It was released in September 2017 and is from his third studio album ÷. It was the first track written for the album and the inspiration for the lyrics to the song came from visiting James Blunt’s house in Ibiza. Since its initial release in September, a variety of versions of Perfect have been released.

The original album version of Perfect already sets some very high standards. The music video to the song visualises a beautiful love story, wonderful for this time of year, set in snow covered mountains with cosy cabins, as well as spending time with loved ones. Also, in my opinion, there’s nothing much cuter than Ed Sheeran cuddling a kitten! On Spotify, there’s an acoustic version of Perfect. I’m an enormous fan of acoustic – stripped back – versions of songs. Bastille have done a few, as have The Script. Acoustic versions, I think, really give listeners the opportunity to listen to the lyrics of the song without too much distraction of instruments and a beat. The acoustic version of Perfect is wonderful.

1st December 2017 saw Perfect: Duet released. The duet of Perfect with Beyoncé provides a new approach to the song. Beyoncé sings part of the song from a female point of view and their voices seem to complement each other superbly. In the duet, Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé’s voices are enchanting and so easy to listen to. An article on Billboard states that: “For the new duet, Sheeran traded in his electric guitar for an acoustic, resulting in a more intimate sound. Both songs start out the same, Ed on guitar quietly singing about his perfect love. The duet then brings in Beyoncé’s powerhouse vocals to help bring the song up a notch, with the lyrics altered to have Beyoncé talking about a man in the song. The two come together in the end to sing the harmonious last verse. Perfect has clearly become two different renditions musically, but check out the lyrics of both versions below to see how the words changed when stripping it down and adding Beyoncé.”

If you think the duet with Beyoncé is powerful enough, Ed Sheeran manages to surprise us all again on 15th December 2017 by bringing out Perfect: Symphony. This is my personal favourite and I already cannot get enough of the song. Perfect: Symphony is an orchestrated version of the song and it features the famous Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. Bocelli sings his verses in his native language, Italian, and Ed Sheeran also sings some lines in Italian. This orchestral version of Perfect was in fact orchestrated and produced by Ed Sheeran’s younger brother. Again, an article on Billboard states that: “Perfect currently sits at No. 1 on the singles charts in the U.S., U.K. and Australia after Sheeran reworked the ÷ song into a duet with Beyoncé. Now with Bocelli on board – a legend in his field with more than 80 million album sales and eight career top 10 titles on the Billboard 200 – Perfect: Symphony should challenge for the U.K.’s coveted Christmas No. 1 spot.” The song was recorded at Bocelli’s house in Tuscany, Italy.

In my opinion, with every version of this beautiful song Perfect that he’s released, Ed Sheeran has upped his game each time and exceeded all expectations. Perfect: Symphony certainly has my vote for Christmas No. 1 spot!

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