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‘The Joker and The Queen’ Review: Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift Might Make You Emotional Again

Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift's "The Joker and the Queen" is their latest collaboration.
Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift's "The Joker and the Queen" is their latest collaboration. By Courtesy of Ed Sheeran / Asylum / Atlantic
By Siena E. Lerner-Gill, Contributing Writer

Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift have released another song together, raising their total number of collaborations to four. “The Joker and the Queen” came out this week as a remix of one of Sheeran’s own songs from his 2021 album “Equals.” It is not the best song that the pair have released, but it is easy to connect with and flaunts the pair’s songwriting chemistry.

The track shares two perspectives of the same romance, both of which don’t seem to believe that the other person could fall for them. Sheeran sings, “I know you could fall for a thousand kings,” indicating some insecurity, and Swift responds “I know you think that what makes a king is gold, a palace, and diamond rings.” The language describing a game of cards throughout does a nice job of demonstrating the guardedness the two had at the beginning of their relationship and then the choice to go “all in” together. It’s no surprise that Sheeran and Swift do an excellent job of making the relatively simple melody and composition shine with their clever wordplay.

The song falls into a more unique category of music for Sheeran and Swift. Now that both have been in committed and happy relationships for some time, the two have branched out into writing music that doesn’t stem from personal heartbreak. It might have seemed like a risky step, as both are known to produce hard-hitting and emotional music about their own personal lives, but they have managed to carry their talents over to imagined storylines that deliver just as much of an emotional relatability as the music they’ve written about themselves.

The music video, released when the song came out, gives new meaning and ascribes details to the story that the song doesn’t provide. The video for “The Joker and the Queen” doesn’t feature Sheeran or Swift at all, instead starring two lookalikes who were first cast as childhood best friends in the 2013 “Everything Has Changed” music video from Swift’s “Red” album. Almost 10 years after their first video together, the leads in “The Joker and the Queen” portray young people moving away from home for the first time they hold picture frames of each other from the first music video. Deeply personal, the video invites viewers to consider that the song might also be applied to a friendship as well as a romantic relationship.

The music video certainly emphasizes what might now be considered a canon of easter eggs shared between the two, featuring a real text conversation that once went viral between Sheeran and Swift and various nods to the pair’s friendship, including a scene where the female lead draws Swift’s favorite number, 13, over and over in a notebook.

The collaboration fits in nicely with the other three songs Sheeran and Swift have done together, “Everything Has Changed,” “End Game” (with Future; yes, it’s as chaotic as it sounds), and “Run.” Above all, this latest track the simple construction and excellent songwriting that Sheeran and Swift do best.

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