Killing time with friends. Smokey bonfires. Sneaky sips of alcohol and cigarettes you don’t know how to smoke properly.
Adolescence only feels nostalgic long after you’ve left it behind. And Ed Sheeran’s new track, Castle on the Hill captures it beautifully.
It’s a “love song to Suffolk”, Sheeran told BBC Radio One. Suffolk is a green and damp and very misty town in England where the singer and songwriter grew up.
But the song – and its video clip, which was released today – is much, much more than that.
It’s a love song to childhood and innocence and old friends and simplicity.
It brings back the memories you forgot you had: Camping in the bush with school friends. Sharing sips of Galliano in the backseat of a car. Your first kiss. Driving on dark, lonely roads arguing and smiling as you changing the soundtrack. Feeling the heat of a bonfire. Watching your teenage friends in the firelight and not yet knowing that these moments will be timeless.
The song itself is enough to give you goosebumps. But the shivers have multiplied with the film clip that was released today.
Sheeran co-produced the clip and, to film it, he travelled to his hometown Framlingham in Suffolk, England.
(Yes, it’s really him walking where he used to walk, breathing the same coldness and greenery and coastal fog that surrounded him in his youth.)
More than this, however, he went to his old high school, Thomas Mills, to scout the teenager to play his younger self in the clip.
The result could be Sheeran himself, at a time where he was learning to write songs and dreaming of a future after school uniforms and heavy backpacks.
In this four-and-a-half minute clip, Sheeran has recaptured not only his own youth – in his own hometown, and with a younger version of himself – but snippets of everyone’s youth.
Just like adolescence; the clip is emotional as well as simple, light as well as dark, lovely as well as tragic.
Quite simply, it is impossible to look away.