Ed Sheeran, the elfin, eyebrow-less British crooner who has strummed his way into the hearts of fans with his sensitive, confessional tunes is currently embroiled in a nasty little lawsuit over his 2014 hit “Photograph,” which he co-wrote with Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid. Songwriters Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard are suing the stubbly ginger troubadour, claiming that “Photograph” infringes upon “Amazing,” a minor hit they penned for former X Factor champion Matt Cardle in 2011. “Amazing” scraped onto the lower rungs of the British charts a few years back, so there’s a decent chance Sheeran, McDaid, or both heard it at some point. Sheeran’s own story, one he’s now apt to repeat before a magistrate, is that “Photograph” emerged from an impromptu hotel-room jam session during a North American tour. Sheeran began singing over a loop playing on McDaid’s laptop, and voilà. A hit was born. Whether “Photograph” infringes upon “Amazing” is ultimately a matter for the courts to decide. What can’t be denied, however, is that the songs go awfully well together, as proven by a new mashup entitled “Amazing Photograph.”
The mashup begins with Sheeran’s song predominating. Cardle, however, is heard softly in the background, singing backup with that high, squeaky voice of his, sounding like a very emotive cartoon mouse. For the purpose of this mashup, these songs have both been transposed to keys other than the ones in which they were originally performed. About a minute and a half in, Cardle stages a full-on musical coup, taking over the song entirely. “Photograph” and “Amazing” are so similar sounding, however, that the difference barely registers. Listeners could conceivably listen to “Amazing,” “Photograph,” and “Amazing Photograph” back to back and emerge from the experience not knowing whether they’d just heard three songs or the same one three times.