Anchorage - Michelle Shocked 10"
About this deal
So Painful, the narrator wants to go back in time and tell himself to not even pursue the relationship. As a young feminist, she left Texas to travel, Kerouac-style, and was caught up in Reagan-era grassroots politics.
Released in England as ‘The Texas Campfire Tapes’ without Shocked’s authority, its success abroad enticed Mercury Records to offer the newcomer a recording contract. There aren’t many things that’ll hurt more than giving love a chance against your better judgement only to have your heart crushed yet again. Some user-contributed text on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.The meaning is pretty obvious; she mailed a letter to an old friend in Texas but found out she'd moved to Alaska. Well, good morning there / What a way to start the day / With everything laid bare,” Ed Sheeran sings in the first verse, enthusiastic to be waking up beside his woman.
I think the song's about a couple of friends who used to be wild and free, but one of them got married, had some kids, and found herself kind of stuck in Alaska as a housewife while the other is still out there, living the musician's life.
While our lives are often shielded, we're in our own protective bubbles, or protective helmets like the one Thom wears, if we look a little harder we can see all the corruption, lies, manipulation, etc. This boring, "perfect" life foisted upon us by some higher powers (not spiritual, but political, economic, etc. Ed Sheeran reflects on his good fortunes in landing someone with such peace and support and speaks of not fearing the dark days because he knows they’ll all end in the safety nets of her arms. I am honestly really surprised at how little understanding there is of this song - obviously she has been fawning over this old female friend of hers for some time, and there are multiple suggestions that they might have hooked up at some previous time; her ex-crush is now "anchored down in Anchorage", whereas she would prefer her to be available, now that, as the letter to her seems to suggest, she realizes her entrapment in Alaska/heterosexuality, etc. In her reply, her friend realizes she might have become a housewife "anchored down in Anchorage" but still dreaming about her childhood in Texas with her good friend Michelle, who went on to an exciting life as a musician and a "skateboard punk rocker in New York".
Ed Sheeran dedicates his album outro to a lover who has blessed him with a unique experience that he seeks to describe through the song’s nuanced lyrics.But the best part of the song to me is when she sings "Leroy says hello" and her voice goes high on the first syllable. Losing someone who was once everything in your world, who you could confide in, tell your secrets to, share all the most intimate parts of your life, to being strangers with that person is probably one of the most painful experiences a person can go through.