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Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber made a video from which you will never recover.

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If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you may be unaware that I’ve been pretty obsessed with Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s romantic new song, “I Don’t Care.” The song tells the story of “a party we don’t want to be at,” but reassures the listeners that it’s okay “when I’m with my baby.”

There is absolutely no way that someone sat down and listened to this song, in which the lyrics never make it clear that the two men singing the song aren’t lobbing cute lines like, “Tryna talk, but we can’t hear ourselves/Read your lips, I’d rather kiss ’em right back” and “‘Cause I don’t care as long as you just hold me near/You can take me anywhere/And you’re making me feel like I’m loved by somebody” to each other instead of some unnamed woman in the song.

“But Jenny,” you might be thinking, “Just because a woman isn’t explicitly mentioned doesn’t mean that they’re not singing about women.” Which is true…about any other artists. Both Bieber and Sheeran write music that is aggressively heterosexual, dropping “girl” liberally, almost as if assuring everyone that, no, definitely the person I am singing about is a woman. Sure, not every single song tosses in feminine pronouns or descriptions of long hair and dresses, but most songs in their catalogs make it clear that they are straight, straight, straight men who love the ladies.

Not this song, friends.

Not this one.

And it is glorious.

But I’m not here today to prove the queerness of the song to you. No. I am here to discuss the absolutely bonkers video that accompanies it.

Click the jump to step into a world of bizarre pleasure you never dreamed existed.

 

We begin with a fairly normal scene of a miserable Ed looking uncomfortable in a suit in a fancy restaurant:

Description in text.

Which is totally on brand for Ed Sheeran. Looking uncomfortable seems to be his default mode. But it’s weird that he’s badly green-screened into the image, right?

Not…not as weird as it’s going to get, folks…

Ed, still horribly green screened, is sitting at a table in the fancy restaurant, but now there are drips of a second background cascading down, revealing brightly colored planets and stars that look like a kid drew them in art class.

Believe it or not, this is still par for the course with Ed Sheeran. If you’re not familiar with his videos beyond the panty-incinerating dance sequence in “Thinking Out Loud,” you are likely unaware that sumo suits, muppets getting vehicular blowjobs, and balloon people are conventions to which his fans have become more or less desensitized. I mean…

Ed is wearing a giant Panda mascot suit. His face is visible through a hole where the panda's mouth would go. He's badly green-screened onto a couch beside a beautiful, disinterested woman.

This still absolutely tracks. My eyebrows did not lift once.

Ed is on a stage singing in a bathrobe and white socks, in front of a backdrop of a pink sky with falling clouds, hearts, and eyes.

Okay. I get it. I value comfort…but the socks are what kill me. Why are they pulled up so high? The panda suit, okay. The socks, though, man.

The good news is, they go perfectly with the “neighborhood dad who wants everyone to know that he’s down with the new slang” beach outfit…

Ed is green-screen lounging pool-side in the damn socks, shorts a dad would wear, and a flowered button-down shirt. The sky is purple and green and there is a giant, floating CGI eyeball.

…that Ed wears to this pool party populated by…

A shot of several sexy women in bikinis. Two of them have rubber horse masks green-screened over their faces.

…sexy…horse? girls?

I mean, at this point, this is what we’re getting, right? It’s quirky, it’s fun, it’s–

JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD AND SAVIOR GOD MARY AND ALL THE SAINTS WHAT IS THAT?

The same pool scene, but now the water is a mass of swirling colors, Ed is a green silhouette, and Justin Bieber is a corn-on-the-cob bouncing merrily around in the background.

We cut to Ed in the kicky tracksuit your grandma wears at the retirement village in Punta Gorda when she’s feeling particularly sassy on her morning powerwalk with the girls. My guess is that he’s running away from the Corn Bieber, but we really can’t tell with Miserable Panda Ed frowning in the foreground:

The image is exactly as I described in text. The sky is an animation of the falling eyes and clouds from before.

This video is full of quick cuts. It’s almost too much. The only thing I can compare it to is that sequence in The Worst Witch when Tim Curry shows up and starts singing about Halloween while absolutely every object you’ve ever seen is represented in some form but less than half of them have anything to do with Halloween. I’m not even a minute into this video and my eyes already hurt and I’ve forgotten what the sky looks like.

Back on the couch with the disinterested woman, Ed is still in his panda suit. Now, though, we see two framed pictures above him, one of a cat surrounded by very 1990s graphics and the other of Justin Bieber in an inflatable rowing raft.

I wonder if the woman in this shot knows what’s going to happen in the final cut. I struggle to imagine that there was any sort of storyboard involved in the planning of this video. I struggle to imagine that they actually rented this panda suit and it’s not just something Ed owns.

I need to stop at this point and explain that I’m really only pulling out the most bizarre bits here. So far, I’ve skipped over three Eds singing in front of a backdrop of balloons, Miserable Panda Ed hanging out poolside, and a sexy tennis playing woman with an animated cat’s head practicing her serve. That’s the scene that is interrupted by an even worse greenscreen job of a shirtless Justin Bieber gliding in on an MS Paint generated magic carpet:

Again, exactly as described. No, I'm not making any of this up.

Okay, I said I was only picking out the “most bizarre bits,” but I have to be honest, I really can’t tell what is and isn’t strange about this video anymore. When mere seconds later, Cat-Head Tennis Lady is replaced by Bieber with an animated panda face swinging a racket while a cheerful hippopotamus mascot dances behind him, nothing about it strikes me as particularly strange. This is reality, now.

Ed is wearing a banana suit. He is (green screened) onto a jet ski.

The lyrics that precede Ed’s tiny head poking out of a banana costume superimposed over some else’s much larger body on a jet ski are, “you can take me anywhere.” I would argue that this entire video is proof that you probably can’t take Ed or Justin anywhere.

After we see Miserable Panda Ed floating through the cold, endless void of space in an astronaut suit that quickly becomes what could have been a late-eighties MTV promo, we zoom out to reveal that scene is the backdrop for a wholly different hippopotamus mascot to dance in front of:

Again, exactly what I just described.

I imagine the conversation went something like this:

Record Executive: Gentlemen, you know we support this record. It’s going to be the hit of the summer and we stand behind you 110%. But the mascot costume budget you’re asking for…is it possible at all to cut back?

Sheeran: [angrily, slamming his fist on the table] This is horseshit!

Record Executive: We’re not axing the mascots entirely. But look here: “One hippopotamus suit, blue. One hippopotamus suit, pink.” Maybe we could pick one color of the hippopotamus suit and use it for both scenes?

Bieber: Look at me. Look me in the eye right now. If we don’t get that pink hippo suit, I walk. Do you hear me?

Sheeran: He’ll do it, man.

Bieber: Oh, I’ll totally fucking do it. I’m out the door right now. My artistic vision will not be compromised!

Sheeran: You know what? Fine. I’ll just bring one of my hippopotamus costumes from home.

Someone in a Teddy Bear suit dancing in front of a rainbow. There is a weird trailing effect of more bears behind him as he dances.

As much as I would love to believe that it’s either Sheeran or Bieber in that costume, I would also love with my whole heart if it was a struggling young actor who not only auditioned for this gig but will also put it on his resume. “Mom? I got the job.”

Ed in his pool clothes and Justin shirtless in white shorts are green screened onto poolside lounge chairs.

So, this is where the video does absolutely nothing to assert the heterosexuality of the song. While superimposed on those loungers, Bieber sings, “We’re at a party we don’t wanna be at.” We? It’s just you and Ed there. Me being the person that I am, I already assumed they were singing to each other. This cements it in my mind. Now, I’m not suggesting that Bieber or Sheeran are being unfaithful to their significant others to have a guy-on-hobbit fling. Let’s be real; Justin is way, way out of Ed’s league. Justin is physically perfect, he has the face and voice of an angel and the rock-hard abs of a Turkish oil wrestler. I mean, he might be missing out on something good here; ugly guys do try harder in the sack.

I think I got off track somewhere. Look, it’s not like this video is doing my neuroatypical brain any favors in the focus department.

A high school gym. There are people in the bleachers and cheerleaders doing some kind of lift. Justin Bieber sits in a folding chair beside them in the teddy bear suit with the head off.

Alas, it was Justin Bieber in the bear suit. “Mom? No, I didn’t get the job. They had to scale back for budget reasons. Something about a hippo suit.”

Beebs is wearing his corn suit in an animated scene of corn growing on a hill. Because the leaves of the corn suit are green, they're not visible and blend in badly with the background.

Terminator Twelve: Rise of the Beebcorn.

Actually, I think a Beebcorn would be Justin Bieber with a unicorn horn. Which I am shocked is not in this video.

Now, Beebs is dressed like an ice cream cone, superimposed over a street with a traffic signal in the background and a stop sign that has been made into a window on the pool party scene, framing a sexy, shirtless, absolutely fucking ripped black guy.

Terminator Thirteen: Rise of the Beebcone.

Seriously, though. I have to really give it up to Bieber for being secure enough in his sexuality to sing a love song duet with another guy and dress like an ice cream cone dancing beside the image of a sexy, shirtless stud. I’ve always thought of Bieber as the kind of douchebag who would liberally pepper his conversations with “no homo,” but he’s just rolling with it.

Justin Bieber dancing in his ice cream cone costume in front of a charging T-Rex.

Is that a fucking dinosaur?

Ed Sheeran is now wearing a blue bunny costume, screaming and waving his arms, while Just Bieber sings and looks worried.

This is the exact moment Justin Bieber realized that Ed Sheeran is probably a furry.

Again, I’m leaving a lot out. I just can’t cover it all. Have you noticed some of these time stamps on the screenshots? It’s incredible, the sheer amount of visuals they pack into every second. Bieber gets eaten by Pac-Man. Multiple Miserable Panda Eds dance in unison as Bieber pops up from every corner of the screen. Beebcorn is superimposed into a real cornfield beside an honest-to-the-red-earth farmer. You just cannot keep up. It’s like the Louvre; you can’t possibly see everything on one trip.

Against a cartoon backdrop of mountains, a lake, trees, and grass, Justin Bieber in his ice cream cone suit is melded with the body of a pegasus.

Terminator Fourteen: Rise of the Beebconepegataur.

Holy shit. Spellcheck didn’t ding Beebconepegataur. Is that…

…is that a real creature?

Beebs is sitting shirtless on a picnic blanket with flowers and candles and stuff, while in the background, Sad Panda Ed is greenscreened on the back of a horse, holding a daiquiri. Ed is holding it, I mean. With the video, I really need to clarify that.

Just chillin’ shirtless with my furry bro at this romantic picnic. Definitely not going to fuck that horse in my Beebconepegataur Animorph form later.

Back in the fancy restaurant, Ed is on stage in his bathrobe, Beebs is still rockin' the bear suit, the pink hippo is there, and now there's a cow mascot.

There’s a cow now?!

Record Executive: Can you maybe…is the cow necessary?

Bieber: [crushing a water glass to powder in his fist] We don’t have to explain our art to you!

The rapid-fire dadaist masterpiece images keep on coming, with Banana Ed being eaten by a monkey, both Miserable Panda Ed and Bear Suit Bieber in a bamboo forest with a real panda, Ed’s ridiculously oversized head on a baseball player’s body, Ed with an animated panda head taking off his jacket in what appears to be a clumsy attempt at seduction, and…

Where to begin. Okay, the overall scene is a wedding. Ed Sheeran in a penguin suit dances on one side of the screen, while the cow mascot dances on the right. In the middle, Ed Sheeran in a wedding dress stands under a heart-shaped arch of roses, marrying a Justin Bieber cut-out.

Sheeran: No. This is all wrong.

Video Director: What is?

Bieber: First of all, the cow is clearly a guest of the bride.

Video Director: I didn’t realize it would matter–

Bieber: [biting the head off his own cardboard cut-out] Everything matters!

Sheeran: You’re fired, Josh.

Justin, in totally normal street clothes, is sitting in a folding chair on an animated rainbow while holding the bear suit head in his lap. Miserable Panda Ed is on the other side of the rainbow. The pink hippo dances in the foreground

True Story: This is what it looks like inside Carly Rae Jepsen’s brain at all times.

After Beebcorn, the teddy bear, and Ed in a heretofore unseen Easter Bunny costume appear on The Price is Right hosted by Ed in his bathrobe and singing into a hairdryer like a microphone, we get this:

The top half of poolside Ed is green screened over the body of a rearing horse, in front of a giant pink heart setting like the sun into neon blue water.

Video Director: I’m just not sure it’s a good use of our time to insert another centaur shot–

Sheeran: [breaks a half-full bottle of champagne over his own head] We’re both centaurs! That was the deal!

Bieber: We both get to be centaurs!

Sheeran: You’re fired, Todd.

Justin and Sad Panda Ed's heads are superimposed over the heads of a senior citizen couple riding a tandem bicycle.

At this point, I am 100% sure that my blind readers are getting the descriptions of these images and going, “There’s no fucking way and I don’t appreciate being lied to.”

Just when you think, okay, they can’t possibly add anything, they’re going to have to start recycling shots, you get Skydiver Ed, Beebercone dancing with dual luchadores (that have to be Bieber because the legs aren’t chubby and pale enough to be Sheeran’s) against a backdrop of kawaii lemons, Awkward Suit-And-Tie Ed on a tropical beach with Shirtless Bieber, Beebcone running with the bulls in Barthelona, I mean, it just keeps getting stranger and faster until everything you’ve ever seen, everything you’ve ever heard, your entire being is consumed by the vast depths of weirdness that washes over you in a tidal wave of fever dream, graphic-design-is-my-passion ecstasy.

A kaleidoscope of small Sheeran heads surrounding a large, center Sheeran head with tiny Sheeran heads for eyes wearing a union jack bow tie.

True Story: This is what it looks like inside my brain at all times.

Ed and Justin are both dressed by cowboys. They flank a white Bentley. There are sexy video girls dancing on either side of them, and there is a painted backdrop of a city skyline at sunset.

Record Executive: You need my car for what now, exactly?

Bieber: We talked about this, Brad.

Sheeran: Give us the fucking keys, Bradley.

There’s a horse mask floating in front of animated pasta, being chased by the luchador. Ed’s head on a sexy girl in Daisy Dukes being pushed on a swing by the pink hippo. A lady with a hawk. As the video approaches its end, the visuals keep smacking you in the face. Did you do a bunch of angel dust? Or is this really happening? Ed’s dressed like Austin Powers. Yet another mascot, an alligator, is grinding on one of the sexy video girls.

Miserable Panda Ed and Cowboy Beeber are dancing in front of a pink sky background with a pastel city scape as eyes and hearts fly through the sky.

There is absolutely no way this video wasn’t conceived during a mushroom trip in Lisa Frank’s garage.

The experience ends with Sheeran shuffling awkwardly out of a hotel in his panda suit, carrying the head. Ha ha, just kidding. That’s what happens at the end of the video, but the experience doesn’t end until you watch it two more times, send the link to all your friends, talk about it on social media, and write a two-thousand word blog post about it when you should be doing literally anything else constructive with your time. Only then do you understand what you’re really supposed to have taken away from the inexplicable thing you just saw:

Both Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber need to get some ink on their legs because it’s absolutely jarring that only their upper bodies are tattooed.

All (cursed) images belong to Warner Bros.

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24 Comments

  1. BobTheElderlyCommentor
    BobTheElderlyCommentor

    You know, I remember back in the 1980’s when music videos were really getting to be a thing and people were just really experimenting and a lot of times the video was just really out of whack with the song (I’m looking at you Total Eclipse of the Heart). And frankly, that was wonderful. Just A+ top notch. That said, I’m very happy that this trend has continued and we get things like this now. It warms my heart.

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
  2. Alex
    Alex

    I watched this video once, then again with the sound off, and it was total sensory overload both times. My ADHD brain has nothing on whatever that was. It was just constant wtf-ery and I kind of regret watching it bc now I can’t think of anything else.

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
  3. Morgan
    Morgan

    The further I got into the video, the more I was sure it’s about being a furry. Around the halfway mark, my certainty in this idea began to erode, and by the end of the video, I was no longer certain of anything in the universe. Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Are we just caught in a landslide, with no escape from reality?

    The visuals to this song make about as much sense as the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody, and I can only assume that LSD makes it all make more sense.

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
  4. Bamfina
    Bamfina

    I interviewed Sheeran when he was working his way up in the music world, and the genuinely nice guy vibe is because he’s a genuinely nice guy. My mate worked the Bieber tour and he’s apparently very open to all the sexes. They’re both pretty cool dudes. I like this collaboration and that video is hilarious. I love it when the talent takes the piss and the studio/label just have to do it.

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
  5. NewFan
    NewFan

    Ha HA! We are so cool. See this is all you need to make a video in your garage. Also – SHUTUP – we are not old. Look at us purchasing expertise with the current vernacular and combining it with ironic stuff we were not even alive for.

    Anyway – if anyone was wondering this is was Reagan nostalgia does to a people.

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
  6. JHorrorFan
    JHorrorFan

    For some reason, the thing that tipped this over into surreality was the fact that the cheerleaders are wearing uniforms from the small state university I just left, which is known for its Theatre program but not, in any way, for sports. Yep, I was doing just fine (“Ha! This is just a watered down version of a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu video,” I thought smugly to myself, “I am immune to absurdity!”) and then I saw that familiar Raider logo and THAT was what broke my brain. WHAT? WHY?

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
  7. Amy
    Amy

    Middle aged straight cis female here – I had issues with why I was attracted to this video until I finished the recap and read LISA FRANK and it all made sense. Also, I found myself attracted to the Biebs during this video and now i need (more) therapy.

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
    • Sourire
      Sourire

      I wouldn’t say attracted too, but that goofy grin Biebs had while dancing as an ice cream cone made him about 1000x more likeable in my estimation. Then again, he really had nowhere to go but up.

      May 18, 2019
      |Reply
  8. Sushi
    Sushi

    “At this point, I am 100% sure that my blind readers are getting the descriptions of these images and going, “There’s no fucking way and I don’t appreciate being lied to.””

    Jenny, I can assure it’s not just your blind readers. I still don’t quite believe what I saw here and I half-expect that video to be a Rickroll when I click on it as soon as I finish typing this comment.

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
  9. Tami Alexander
    Tami Alexander

    I think I need stronger drugs to fully understand this video.

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
    • I want to know if there IS any combo of drugs and/or alcohol that will make this understandable. Postmodern lit theory + tequila + opioids?

      May 17, 2019
      |Reply
  10. Shel
    Shel

    I love it. The corn scares me, but I looked up the director and watched some of his other videos – http://www.emilnava.com – there’s another Ed Sheeran one with sad puppets that hurts my eyes much more!

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
  11. Dear gods. I am An Old, and barely know who these people are except as figures briefly glimpsed in the zeitgeistian mist, but I just laughed myself into tears reading this, which I really effing needed today, so thank you.

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
  12. Scott David Hamilton
    Scott David Hamilton

    In terms of inexplicable car appearances, I wonder how the one in this video stacks up to the one in Shakira’s “Las de la Intuición.”

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
  13. Zev J
    Zev J

    Neither artist interests me, but I enjoy reading about others’ experiences with them and the happiness they can bring, so I was eager to read this post.
    I didn’t watch the video because I felt like I’d need the blog post to understand or even keep up. I was correct. My eyebrows shot into my hairline early on, and my mouth opened as I kept reading, and I said “what the fuck” a few times before laughing. Somehow it kept getting more and more absurd. And then I, too, read the name “Lisa Frank,” and things made sense.

    Side note: I’ve always liked her work and recently realized I can recognize it when I’m not expecting to. As in, a family member recently got me a few tiny writing notebooks with what I can only describe as adorable skulls on them. ‘It’s like Lisa Frank got ahold of–‘ I flipped the notebook over in the middle of this thought to see who designed it and yep, there are Lisa Frank-inspired skull-patterned writing notebooks out there. I own a few. …Lisa Frank designed a skull notebook.
    Onward.

    I enjoyed this video summary despite my clear shock. -How- do they get their ideas? Why? And the lyrics seem like a solid love song. I’m glad for their success.

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
  14. Chelsea
    Chelsea

    “At this point, I am 100% sure that my blind readers are getting the descriptions of these images and going, “There’s no fucking way and I don’t appreciate being lied to.””

    As one of your blind readers, I can confirm that this is more or less exactly what was going through my mind as I read. I thought maybe you were writing a spoof of some kind, but now I understand that the video itself is the spoof. I don’t know what I just read, but I’m glad it delights and inspires you. I’m going to listen to the song now, even though I hate Ed Sheeran with the burning of a thousand fiery suns and am neutral on Bieber. The things I do to keep up with you, Jenny. 🙂

    May 17, 2019
    |Reply
    • Casey
      Casey

      Sheeran has been on my Irrational Hate List for years now, but honestly this video kind of made me respect and like them a lot more. I think it’s hard to be up your own ass about your own greatness while dressed as a giant ear of corn.

      May 20, 2019
      |Reply
  15. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    This is just unadulterated magic! (Which may or may not be slang for a drug that causes psychedelic hallucinations, lol.) Such a great way to start my Saturday!

    May 18, 2019
    |Reply
  16. Amy
    Amy

    Ok, the video starts with Ed looking directly at us and singing directly to us. He tells us ‘you finish my drink and take my hand’ and at THAT moment, the psychedelic madness starts for us. My only conclusion is his drink was totally spiked and the rest of the video is a result of that.

    May 18, 2019
    |Reply
  17. blip
    blip

    Two of my least-favorite humans in one easily ignorable package. (Ed Sheeran is a puling rage-trigger for me– which has made my side-job at Target tricky of late, since both “Shape of You” and “Thinking Out Loud” have infested the overhead playlist.) No and no, thanks.

    May 18, 2019
    |Reply
  18. Black Knight
    Black Knight

    “At this point, I am 100% sure that my blind readers are getting the descriptions of these images and going, “There’s no fucking way and I don’t appreciate being lied to.”

    Heh. I’m hard-of-hearing and wear powerful hearing aids, and whenever I hear something bizarre, I simply assume that I misheard.

    I suspect it’s made my life easier. My best friend, who is not hard-of-hearing, routinely hears people saying the most outrageous things. Is she just an unlucky magnet, or am I just missing what people say? Questions, questions.

    May 18, 2019
    |Reply
  19. Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)
    Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)

    I spit coffee on my iPad watching that video. Holy forking balls of shirt!

    Your Lisa Frank garage comment has my family staring with concern because I was laughing very loudly and there was no way anything was THAT FUNNY. I managed to wheeze Jenny Trout and husband rolled his eyes and went back to folding laundry.

    May 18, 2019
    |Reply
  20. Vely
    Vely

    I just came back from a class trip to Italy and this was the first thing I read after coming home and it’s just great.

    May 18, 2019
    |Reply
  21. WuBomei
    WuBomei

    This feels like something Jenna Marbles would make.

    May 18, 2019
    |Reply

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