4 Years Later, The Best ‘Ted Lasso’ Song Isn’t That Mumford Earworm
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Whether or not you watched Ted Lasso, since 2020, that Marcus Mumford and Tom Howe title song has probably followed you around. You know it. It’s in your head. Just thinking about Ted Lasso In fact, it’s hard to imagine Ted Lasso making the cultural impact without that YEAAAAAH introductory music. That earworm of a composition was nominated for an Emmy once but didn’t win. And, with all the great needle-drops in Ted Lasso, it’s easy to think, that yeah, maybe that Mumford-Howe original is the best song to come out of the show’s impressive soundtrack.
But it’s not. Ed Sheeran just won a Golden Globe for his track, “A Beautiful Game,” which was written for the Ted Lasso finale. And guess what Sheeran-haters? That song is better than the big Ted Lasso theme song. In fact, at the risk of losing whatever shred of credibility I have as a person who likes music, I’m gonna go ahead and say I love this song.
Now, I’m a massive Ed Sheeran apologist. What can I say? He’s a young father, and my six-year-old daughter adores his brilliant 2021 pop hit, “Shivers.” (My kid actually has a playlist she created that is called “The Shivers playlist.”) So, I’m behind the eight-ball in terms of coming up with reasons for not liking Ed Sheeran. (Recall, he was kinda of funny and self-deprecating in that alternate universe Beatles movie, Yesterday. The kid can sorta act?) That said, anyone writing a saccharine song for the super saccharine Ted Lasso should be something I hate. Like in theory, I shouldn’t like this. I mean, if I ran the universe, Noel Gallagher would have been hired to write some kind of custom-made anthem for Roy Kent, and Jason Sudeikis should be fined several million dollars for using Blur’s “Song 2” in the show, rather than, I don’t know, any other Blur song, f*cking, ever? (Ted Lasso’s use of “Song 2” is the most Ted Lasso thing about the show, and therefore very unrealistic. It’s satisfying, but ultimately, easy. And no, I will not elaborate as to why this is bad.)
Anyway. About the Ed Sheeran song, “A Beautiful Game.” It’s not Sheeran’s best song. But, it is a helluva lot better than the Mumford stomper that opens every single episode, and there’s something secretly kinda epic about it. It all starts tame enough — like a predictable pop song designed to be used to tug the heartstrings in a TV show, but then, he does this Coldplay-ish thing — and makes the song kinda big toward the end. Sheeran’s pop sensibilities are sneaky because you’re not actually aware that he’s taken hold of you with this pop premise until it’s too late. “A Beautiful Game,” is the kind of song that dares you not to like it, and you won’t like it for a while, and then, by the end, you’ll love it. Tricky!
This is Ed Sheeran’s thing that I think the haters don’t get it. He does big and corny really well because he doesn’t care if cranky older folks don’t like what he’s doing. He’s gonna wear sweatpants nicer than yours and absolutely slay at big-hearted pop songs. You can argue that this tendency is also why he’s been accused of plagiarism, but whatever. “A Beautiful Game” is sweet, and then gets massive. If you’re not already okay with Sheeran, I’m not sure this song will convert you. But, let’s just say this Golden Globe is a kind of symbolic award — a reminder to some rock-inclined dad types that Sheeran should not be overlooked. The guy can break your heart just as you thought you were gonna skip the track. Don’t believe me? Ask your kids.