The prompts for today’s Song Lyric Sunday are Can’t, Don’t, Shouldn’t and Won’t. The first song that came to mind was Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frank Valli and the Four Seasons, but on checking I realized I had used it before in 2019. So back to the drawing board. I found this pretty cool song by Ed Sheehan called “Don’t”. I really like it! Hope you do too.
This angsty breakup tune is about an ex, and Sheeran doesn’t hold back with how he feels about her. “The story in ‘Don’t’ is 100 percent true,” Sheeran told Billboard magazine. “I could have gotten nastier – there was more s–t that I didn’t put in. I was seeing someone for a bit of time, and then they ended up physically involved with one of my friends in the same hotel that we were staying in, while I was downstairs. And I feel like: Treat people how you want to be treated.”
Speaking with MTV News, Sheeran refused to name the mystery person that the song is directed at, but is sure they will know who they are. “I’ve always been the sweet, innocent, ‘Oh my God, he’s English!’ kind of thing, so having a bit of bite,” he told MTV News, “I don’t know how that’s going to go down, but based on the reaction of people that have heard it, I think it will go down just fine.”
Fans have speculated that the song could be about Ellie Goulding. Sheeran dated the “Burn” singer during the summer of 2013. She was rumored to have been seen kissing One Direction’s Niall Horan at the V Festival around the same time. Some of the speculation that Goulding is the subject of the song was because of the lyrics, “We make money the same way. Four cities, two planes the same day,” and “You were looking for a lover to burn.” Not only does Sheeran allude to the pair having the same career, but he also includes the word “burn,” the title of Goulding’s hit single.Goulding apparently responded with a line in her song “On My Mind” (“You wanted my heart but I just liked your tattoos”), but she denied ever being involved with Sheeran.
Littering the lyrics with possible clues is a hallmark of Sheeran’s friend Taylor Swift. He confirmed to Rolling Stone that the Country-Pop princess is not the subject of the song. “It’s 100 percent not about Taylor,” he said. “Taylor’s one of these people that if you piss her off and she writes a song about you, it’s not good news for you. I’ve never dated Taylor. I’ve dated a few singers, though.” Sheeran did play the song for Swift after writing it. He said: “She was just like, ‘Whatever happens, ever, between us as friends, I never want to piss you off that much.'”
The song was co-produced by Benny Blanco, who has worked on hits from such pop artists as Katy Perry and Maroon 5. and production legend Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, Run-DMC, Red Hot Chili Peppers), who is known for his naturalistic approach. “I loved elements of both,” Sheeran told Billboard, “and I knew that together they could make something really super-powered, between Benny’s pop sensibility and Rick’s raw, earthy, gravelly coolness. So Benny went to LA and sat with Rick.”
This was set to be the lead single from Sheeran’s x album until early March 2014, when it was decided that “Sing” would be the first song to be released from the project. With a chorus hinged on the lyric “Don’t f—- with my love.” the change of mind was most likely prompted by a wish to give Sheeran’s young fans something less sweary as a first release.Also Sheeran was struggling with coming up with a clean radio edit. “I tried other words, I tried ‘mess,’ I tried ‘funk,’ lots of other things, but none of them worked,” he laughed to MTV News. “But I’m definitely giving radio an edit they can play, because I’d be mental not to.”
Sheeran debuted the song on the April 12, 2014 episode of Saturday Night Live. He also performed “Sing” on the same show.
Ed explained the story of the song during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “With that song… I’m a carefree, happy guy and I feel like everyone goes through things that annoy them and they get angry, and I feel the way I get my anger out is to write songs,” he explained. “And that song was literally, I felt something, I put it down and I felt a lot better afterwards.””I wasn’t going to put it on the record and then people kept telling me it was an alright song, ’cause it is a good song, so it ended up on the record,” Sheeran added. “But yeah, that one’s a bit personal.”
Hit the corner, burnin' rubber like a stunt driver Burning marijuana, bitch, I'm a bit liver Gotta keep a bitch in check, microphone check Killed your boy's career, still no arrest yet Snow white yacht in my red Yeezys Ed Sheeran got the city streets tweakin' On a back block you may catch the boss M-cig, love to vape so we liftin' off With a weapon, go to steppin' like I'm Kevin Spacey No prom date, women they would love to hate me It's such a pretty thing, life is such a bitch Went to sleep as friends, waking up to this See it my way or see me at the top Built an empire, bitch, off a nickel rock Microphone check, microphone check We came to party, smoke until there's nothing left I met this girl late last year She said "don't you worry if I disappear" I told her I'm not really looking for another mistake I called an old friend thinking that the trouble would wait But then I jumped right in a week later and returned I reckon she was only looking for a lover to burn But I gave her my time for two or three nights Then I put it on pause until the moment was right I went away for months until our paths crossed again She told me "I was never looking for a friend Maybe you could swing by my room around ten Baby, bring the lemon and a bottle of gin We'll be in between the sheets 'til the late AM Baby, if you wanted me then should have just said, she's singing Don't fuck with my love That heart is so cold All over my arm I don't wanna know that babe Don't fuck with my love I told her she knows Take aim and reload I don't wanna know that babe And for a couple weeks I only wanna see her We drink away the days with a takeaway pizza Before a text message was the only way to reach her Now she's staying at my place and loves the way I treat her Singing out Aretha, all over the track like a feature And never wants to sleep, but guess that I don't want to either But me and her, we make money the same way Four cities, two planes, the same day And those shows have never been what it's about But maybe we'll go together and just figure it out I'd rather put on a film with you and sit on a couch But we should get on a plane or we'll be missing it now Wish I'd have written it down, the way that things played out When she was kissing him, how I was confused about Now she should figure it out, while I'm sat here singing Don't fuck with my love That heart is so cold All over my arm I don't wanna know that babe Don't fuck with my love I told her she knows Take aim and reload I don't wanna know that babe On my hotel door I don't even know if she knows what for She was crying on my shoulder, I already told ya Trust and respect is what we do this for I never intended to be next But you didn't need to take him to bed, that's all And I never saw him as a threat Until you disappeared with him to have sex, of course It's not like we were both on tour We were staying on the same fucking hotel floor And I wasn't looking for a promise or commitment But it was never just fun, and I thought you were different This is not the way you realised what you wanted It's a bit too much, too late if I'm honest And all this time, God knows I'm singing Don't fuck with my love That heart is so cold All over my arm I don't wanna know that babe Don't fuck with my love I told her she knows Take aim and reload I don't wanna know that babe Don't fuck with my love That heart is so cold All over my arm I don't wanna know that babe Don't fuck with my love I told her she knows Take aim and reload I don't wanna know that babe Writer/s: Ali Shaheed Jones-Muhammad, Benjamin Joseph Levin, Conesha Monet Owens, Dawn Sherrice Robinson, Edward Christopher Sheeran, Raphael Saadiq Publisher: Downtown Music Publishing, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., MISSING LINK MUSIC, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind Courtesy of Songfacts