Ed Sheeran’s The A Team is a song that talks about life of a prostitute. In the song, the singer highlights what the prostitute has gone through as a “call girl” since her 18 years. Some of the issues the prostitute undergoes are struggling to pay her rent with the proceeds from prostitution, consuming illicit drugs to keep her alert and relevant in the business. Sleeping with strange men every day, the call girl has not managed to keep her good self, as she is stuck in her past glories that do not seem glossy anyway. With the economic hardship she is going through, the prostitute finds it difficult to keep herself going with the trade as she used to, yet the need to keep paying the bills is pressing her to continue working as a prostitute. As she struggles with her life, one certainty is that she is experiencing economic difficulty. She is also finding it difficult to cope with drugs, as well as the politics of age and gender with regard to her business.
The singer projects the voice of sympathy directed to the prostitute, due to her messy lifestyle and the fact that she cannot keep up with the trade for long. Describing her ripped and wet dress, the singer tries to portray a girl who wants to continue with her life, but find it difficult due to her age and exhaustion from many years of practicing prostitution. For example, at 1,35 of the video, the singer describes the prostitute’s weary eyes, which insinuates that the girl is living a very difficult lifestyle, despite the fact that she is able to get some loose change from her clients. In the social concept, prostitution is known to be ubiquitous in both modern and medieval periods. However, from the singer’s perspective, the modern prostitution can be seen as superior in the sense that economic hardship has taken a toll on the people involved, and sometimes their wish would be to quit, but the pressure to pay bills make them persists. Again, the modern lifestyles have helped prostitutes thrive with their trade, as despite being unable to keep up with the long nights outside, she can still move in with a man in his home to sell love. However, the denial on the side of the prostitute is wrapped in the belief that she will have a better life in the future, despite the difficult moment she has with men.
The song also describes prostitution as involving two persons, a man and a woman. However, the gender roles in this trade is well crafted in the song as the singer, with clear intentions of the societal perceptions, represents men as the buyers of sex from women prostitutes. In this perspective, the singer is clearly using the traditional society’s way of thing that women who are involved in the prostitution are the ones suffering, while silently suggesting that the men in this trade are the users. While this is the mindset the society has inflicted in the minds of many, it is clear that even men prostitutes exist in the modern society, and they are rising in number every day.
The singer has also introduced the topic of drugs that the prostitute has to engage in so as to keep her emotionally strong in the prostitution trade. However, the drugs have affected her in a massive way as she is physically and emotionally worn out in the sense that sometimes she finds it difficult to walk out in the cold. In fact, the trade for her is a matter of life and death. As the singer states, the angels must fly or die (EVD 4.05). The singer is also focused on the secretive nature of the prostitution. In essence, prostitution can only thrive at night and not day time. The chilly weather at night notwithstanding, the prostitutes are bound to go out to make ends meet. As the lyrics sates, angels must fly.
As a matter of fact, the message in the song is that a prostitute doing drugs in abundance, ostensibly destroying her overall lifestyle. In a marginally segregated culture of drug addicts, the prostitute has to survive by all means possible. While the message seems to sound a voice of sympathy to the prostitute’s lifestyle, one clear fact is that the singer is making it sound like the prostitute has no alternative to life. That is, by stating that the angels must fly or die, the singer is silently encouraging the practice by claiming that the prostitute has not alternative but to do drugs and carry on with prostitution trade. While this may sound the easy fact to the prostitute, it clearly suggests that without drugs and prostitution, the girl in question will die. The song emphasize on our culture as a society that secretly glorifies vices such as drug addiction and prostitution, while pretending to be castigating the same. Therefore, it is clear that the prostitute is tired with the game, but due to economic hardship, she insists on doing drug to keep her mentally attached to the end. Moreover, the song is a reflection of how the society reacts towards individuals’ dilemma. In other words, the society’s attitudes towards those suffering from certain addictions are inclined towards the feeling of helplessness. The best the society can do is to sympathize with the sufferer rather than find away out to help. Furthermore, the men involved in this trade are not seen as part of the problem. A scenario seems biased towards women.