Sunday, April 21, 2024

Ed Sheeran Will Be “SNL” Musical Guest This Weekend After All, Cleared After COVID Diagnosis


We can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Ed Sheeran will still be musical guest this weekend on “Saturday Night Live.” Sheeran was diagnosed with COVID and quarantined for some amount of time. But I guess he’s feeling better, and it’s ratings sweeps, and he has a new album out, so “SNL” is a must.

Sheeran’s new album is called “Equals,” it’s part of his New Math trilogy and came out last Friday. It shot straight to the top of the iTunes Album chart based on two hit singles over the summer.

Here’s the thing about Ed Sheeran. He hasn’t got a thought in his head. He writes light bubblegum music that wants to be Van Morrison or Cat Stevens, but can’t be, so becomes a lot of Hallmark greeting cards set to music.

In the last week I’ve gone to hear Elvis Costello and then Graham Parker, two lads with 40 plus year careers. Their songs are composed of words made from ideas and personal sentiments, observations, story telling, and so on. They are literate and passionate. None of their songs, not one, starts off with a recollection of being a star or singing at Wembley Stadium. There’s also nothing about being a father and how it’s changed their life, perhaps the great cliche in modern culture.

Listening to Costello and Parker, you realize how far we’ve fallen in 40 years. Pop music now is just a junk bin of platitudes and self-awareness about commercial success. It’s very sad. Parker’s songs last night were not even his “best of.” In fact, he cheekily played what he called the worst song he ever wrote and never recorded. That song was more original than anything Ed Sheeran has even thought of.

Anyway, Parker I don’t think has ever been on “SNL” and Costello, of course, had a famous appearance there in the late 70s but is now considered too old to return. So buy their records, listen to them, revel in their songs, and try not to take what’s happening now seriously.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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