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The Joker And The Queen (Remix)

= (Ed Sheeran Album) | February 11, 2022

“The Joker and the Queen (Remix)” is a remix of the sixth song from Ed Sheeran’s fourth album, = (Equals). It features Taylor and was released on Feburary 11, 2022. The piano-driven ballad is an ode to Ed’s wife, Cherry Seaborn. He uses playing card metaphors to illustrate how his “Queen” married a “Joker” like him.
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Background and Lyrical Theme

Ed wrote the song with Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid and songwriter/producer Fred Again, the same day they penned his hit song “Bad Habits.” He told Apple Music that after coming up with “Bad Habits,” he thought they were done for the day. But when Fred Again played him a piano instrumental that Sam Romans had come up with, he quickly got inspired.

Ed wrote “The Joker and the Queen” after reflecting upon the fact that his now wife, Cherry Seaborn, could have fallen for other men instead of him, by recognizing he wasn’t living the best moments and situations of his life, at the time they’ve met. However, she saw the best in him and decided not to leave him, and to stay. Through the song’s lyrics, Ed draws references to monarchy and its terms, by characterizing himself as the joker, and his wife Cherry as the queen, what could be interpreted as a method to express that they’ve always been different people, from other social groups or places, but still belong together:

«It was probably 15 to 20 minutes of writing down metaphors and whispering them in. I had the line, 'Joker and the queen', then it was like, 'I fold, you saw my hand, you let me win, you put the cards on the table.'»

For a while, Ed didn’t like the song, as he felt it was too easy to write. Then his brother, classical composer Matthew Sheeran, created a sweeping orchestral arrangement “and suddenly it sounded like this old classic that had been around since the ’50s.” He fell in love with the track and included it on =.

Remix with Taylor

Shortly after = was released, Ed confirmed that a remix of the song featuring an “American singer” had been recorded and was set to be released in January 2022; however, he cautioned that it was not official as it had not been cleared for release. Taylor, a frequent collaborator of Ed, began hinting that she was the featured artist on the song, using several easter eggs such as in her music video for “I Bet You Think About Me” where she carves the equals sign on a wedding cake; the video’s director Blake Lively promoted the video with the joker emoji on social media. Taylor also released playing cards in promotion of her 2021 re-recorded album RED (Taylor’s Version). Additionally, in Ed’s “Overpass Graffiti” music video, Taylor’s name can be seen in a newspaper column as well as on a leather jacket that Ed wears which also has joker and queen print.

In December 2021, Ed confirmed that the remix “The Joker And The Queen” would be released as the fourth single from = in 2022. On 1 February 2022, he revealed on social media that he was signing some CDs for a new project, which featured an artwork with a joker and a queen that resembled Taylor. Four days later, the song credits in the lyric video for “The Joker And The Queen” showed “(feat. Taylor Swift)” in the title. Ed finally officially revealed the remix of “The Joker And The Queen” would feature Taylor at the 42nd Brit Awards on February 8, 2022, in a red carpet interview with LADbible. Ed announced the single via social media the following day, set for release on February 11, 2022.

In the duet remix, Taylor takes over the second verse with a female perspective, replacing Ed’s original lyrics with new ones she wrote herself.

Music Video

The music video of “The Joker And The Queen” continues the storyline from the video for Taylor’s 2013 single featuring Ed, “Everything Has Changed“; the child actors who resembled Taylor and Ed in the latter video — Ava Ames and Jack Lewis, respectively — play the grown-up versions of themselves in the former. The video shows a text message between the two characters, which is a real text-exchange between Ed and Taylor that was shared to Taylor’s Instagram account in 2015. A screenshot of the “Everything Has Changed” music video also appears a framed photograph in the “The Joker And The Queen” video.

Critical Reception

Melissa Ruggieri of USA Today said the duet is a tender, heartfelt ballad, accentuated by “a sumptuous piano melody with a cinematic swoosh of strings”. Billboard writer Hannah Dailey wrote that the song is a delicate piano ballad about rekindling lost love. Jason Brow of Hollywood Life described the remix as “another great addition to the Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift lore”. Michael Major of BroadwayWorld dubbed the track a beautifully reimagined version of the original album track. Robin Murray of Clash said Taylor and Ed are ” relishing classicism, utilising form to craft a gentle delight”. Gulf News labelled it a “soothing romantic ballad” and a “Valentine’s Day gift to (their) fans”.

Commercial Performance

Following the release of the duet version, “The Joker And The Queen” reached a new peak of No. 11 in Australia, and debuted at No. 2 and 5 on the UK Singles and Irish Singles charts, respectively. It debuted at No. 15 on Billboard Philippine Songs chart and reached No. 10 on the Billboard Global 200.


[Verse 1: Ed Sheeran]
How was I to know?
It’s a crazy thing
I showed you my hand and you still let me win
And who was I to say that this was meant to be?
The road that was broken brought us together

[Chorus: Ed Sheeran]
And I know you could fall for a thousand kings
And hearts that would give you a diamond ring
When I fold you see the best in me
The joker and the queen

[Verse 2: Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift & Ed Sheeran]
I’ve been played before
If you hadn’t guessed
So I kept my cards close to my foolproof vest
But you called my bluff (But you called my bluff)
And saw through all my tells (And saw through all my tells)
And then you went all in
And we left together

[Chorus: Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift & Ed Sheeran]
And I know you think that what makes a king
Is gold, a palace, and diamond rings
When I fold you see the best in mе
The joker and the queen

[Instrumental Break]

[Chorus: Ed Sheeran, Ed Sheeran & Taylor Swift]
And I know you could fall for a thousand kings
And hеarts that would give you a diamond ring
When I folded you saw the best in me
The joker and the queen
The joker and the queen

General Information
FeatureTaylor Swift
ReleasedFebruary 11, 2022
StudiosFieldwork (London and Suffolk)
Stamford Street (London)
Promised Land (London)
Abbey Road (London)
Pixel (London)
SongwritersEd Sheeran
Taylor Swift (Remix only)
Johnny McDaid
Fred Gibson
ProducersEd Sheeran
Johnny McDaid
Overpass GraffitiThe Joker and the QueenLeave Your Life
Music Video
Live Performance (Ed Sheeran)
Lyric Video
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