Given how many opinions I had on this song upon its release, I’ll admit, I was slightly disappointed when Liam Hill volunteered to review Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé’s remix of Perfect before I could. I now realise I had no reason to worry: here we are, five weeks later, in a new year, and the track still hasn’t budged from the top. However, the readers of this column are in luck, because while I might be reviewing the same song, my views on Ed Sheeran differ drastically from Liam’s, as I am a big Ed Sheeran fan. Now, before all the PearShaped writers decide to ban me from ever writing for the magazine again, let me add that despite this, I am not a big fan of this remix.
To be honest, when Divide came out a little over ten months ago, Perfect was one of my least favourite tracks – it was cheesy, unoriginal, and the clearest indication of the unashamed strategizing and commercialisation behind this album. It was mind-numbingly evident that Sheeran wanted to recreate the success he had with Thinking Out Loud with an ultimate first-dance song, full of clichés and wedding-like instrumental interludes. However, with time and multiple listens of the album, like a lot of pop songs, Perfect actually grew on me. I began appreciating Sheeran’s passionate vocals, the pleasant tune, even the clichéd lyrics. It might be a tried and tested recipe, but for a pop fan, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the result is awful. Fast forward several months, Ed Sheeran announces the remix with Beyoncé.
Even before I heard the track, I was sceptical. I liked Perfect as it was, but more importantly, what could a remix possibly add to such a simple song? I understood, for example, the remix of Shape of You with Stormzy: a rap was a refreshing addition to the track. But with an unoriginal and basic number like Perfect, it is obvious that a remix cannot significantly alter the quality or style of the song. Hearing the actual track reaffirmed my opinion. Beyoncé’s voice is as beautiful as ever, but it adds nothing to the single. On the contrary, the sultry tone of her vocals makes the romantic lyrics sound slightly more jarring and less sincere. The overall result is pretty forgettable. If Ed’s purpose was to create a collaboration with Beyoncé, maybe he should have chosen Shape of You instead- it might have suited her voice better. If you aren’t sick of Ed Sheeran yet, I could also recommend his other remix of Perfect with Andrea Bocelli, which, with its Italian lyrics and Bocelli’s powerful voice is far more impressive.
As for the rest of the top 10, we have Ed Sheeran again in second place, featuring on Eminem’s River, which is a pretty decent listen, followed by Rita Ora’s Anywhere, Ramz’s Barking, and Clean Bandit’s I Miss You, all of which are expectedly mediocre. Bruno Mars and Cardi B’s new entry, Finesse is upbeat and catchy, but far from either artist’s best work. I’m not going to lie, I’m always happy to see Sheeran at the top, but it would be more than welcome at this point to see something new on the charts.