Last Thursday night, Ed Sheeran surprised fans by releasing a duet of his song “Perfect,” featuring Beyoncé. It’s a beautifully unexpected hit from a well-matched pair. Originally written and recorded by Sheeran, the remix does a wonderful job of showcasing Beyoncé’s vocal ability and expressing her personal experiences.
This is not the first time Sheeran and Beyoncé have paired up. They performed together at a Stevie Wonder tribute in February 2015, and again in September of that year at the Global Citizen Festival, where they sang Beyoncé’s hit “Drunk in Love.”
Despite their prior performances together, many questioned how Beyoncé would sound on a track not originally written or recorded with her in mind. However, Queen Bey yet again puts critics to shame, giving a beautiful performance in “Perfect” that had me at a loss for words.
The lyrics Beyoncé sings in this song are also different from anything she’s released in the past year and a half. The track feels almost like a folk song, a vast difference from the hip-hop and R&B sound of “Lemonade” and the Latin pop style of “Mi Gente.” While the song was originally written about Sheeran’s girlfriend Cherry Seaborn, by switching a few pronouns, Beyoncé makes the song personal to her relationship with husband Jay-Z.
In the new version of “Perfect,” Beyoncé sings, “Well, I found a man stronger than anyone I know/I found a love to carry children of our own.”
With these lines, Beyoncé refers to the power of her love for Jay-Z and their three young children. These lyrics are a far cry from those in “Lemonade,” where Beyoncé sings about her husband’s mistress, “Becky with the good hair,” and writes from the perspective of a woman scorned. In “Perfect,” the pain of infidelity is lost and the love that sparked their marriage has returned.
The song ends with their voices tied together singing the chorus. They reference their separate lovers, and how lucky they are to have them in their lives. When I finished the final lines of the song, the trance that Sheeran and Beyoncé created ended, forcing me to replay the song over and over again to keep reliving the experience.