The A Team' came from an experience I had when I did a gig at a homeless shelter," says Sheeran of the song. "I was 18 at the time and kind of quite naïve. So,...

White lips, pale face
Breathing in snowflakes
Burnt lungs, sour taste

Lights gone, days end
Struggling to pay rent
Long nights, strange men

And they say
She's in the class A team
Stuck in her daydream
Been this way since eighteen
But lately her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries

And they scream
The worst things in life come free to us
'Cause we're just under the upper hand
And go mad for a couple grams
And she don't want to go outside, tonight
And in a pipe she flies to the motherland
Or sells love to another man
It's too cold outside
For angels to fly, for angels to fly

Ripped gloves, raincoat
Tried to swim and stay afloat
Dry house, wet clothes

Loose change, bank notes
Weary-eyed, dry throat
Call girl, no phone

And they say
She's in the class A team
Stuck in her daydream
Been this way since eighteen
But lately her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries

And they scream
The worst things in life come free to us
'Cause we're just under the upper hand
And go mad for a couple grams
But she don't want to go outside, tonight
And in a pipe she flies to the motherland
Or sells love to another man
Its too cold outside
For angels to fly
An angel will die
Covered in white
Closed eye
And hoping for a better life
This time, we'll fade out tonight
Straight down the line

And they say
She's in the class A team
Stuck in her daydream
Been this way since eighteen
But lately her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries

They scream
The worst things in life come free to us
And we're under the upper hand
And go mad for a couple grams
And we don't want to go outside, tonight
And in the pipe fly to the motherland
Or sell love to another man
It's too cold outside
For angels to fly, angels to fly
To fly, fly
For angels to fly, to fly, to fly
Angels to die



Lyrics submitted by emilypowers, edited by hc420, ZeNerd

"A Team" as written by Ed Sheeran

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The A Team song meanings
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  • +18
    My Interpretation:White lips, pale face - The more you do the more pale you become, because you forget; to eat, to sleep, to drink. All things that give you color, added to not going out during the day so that the sun can never kiss your body.
    Breathing in snowflakes - Smoking cocaine.
    Burnt lungs, sour taste - Your still breaking it in, and when it hits your lungs it burns. Leaving a sour taste in your mouth that you can never quite get rid of.

    Lights gone, days end - You often sleep all day after a long night only to wake up and repete the process.
    Struggling to pay rent - Due to the strugle with addiction you can't hold a steady job, so you do what you can to make the money you need for a place to stay and to feed your every growing addiction.
    Long nights, strange men - You spend your nights on the streets selling your body to make the money you need.

    And they say - They, the people she is around.
    She's in the class A team - The "A Team" a referance to people who are to far gone in their addiction to be saved.
    Stuck in her daydream - Her daydream is the world she wants to live in but knows she can't so instead she spend her life high on cocaine so she can imagine it, because truthfully a high is thrilling at first but after so long it all just wears off, and you wish you could go back.
    Been this way since eighteen - The first time she ever tried it she was 18 and she has been addicted ever since.
    But lately her face seems - Lately shes not the same person she used to be.
    Slowly sinking, wasting - Her face, her body, her life, its all going downhinll. She may want it to end, and it will, just not the way she wants.
    Crumbling like pastries - Her life is falling apart at the seams, and her whole world is just crashing down around her.

    And they scream - They, the people she is around.
    The worst things in life come free to us - They all know that the high they feel is not really what they want to feel, and they want something better. But they feel this is the closest they can come to reality now, which is why they consider it free, even though its costly addiction; and not just in money, it ruins everything, so easily.
    'Cause we're just under the upper hand - When you try to get out, and you can its like you're trying to climb up a hill and everytime you get close to the top, you start to slide back down.
    And go mad for a couple grams - You do anything and everything just to get that next high.
    And she don't want to go outside, tonight - She wants it all to end, she wishes she didn't have to go out and sell her body just to achive this feeling.
    And in a pipe she flies to the motherland - When she smokes it she feels like she is on top of the world and nothing can go wrong. She goes to the same place every time, and she is there so much, it feels like home.
    Or sells love to another man - When shes not getting high, she does what she can to get that next high.
    It's too cold outside - Getting high is like taking those shots of vodka. They may make you feel all warm and good on the inside. But who you are is still who you are on the outside.
    For angels to fly, for angels to fly - "They" the people she is around, they are like lost souls all looking for the same thing; that next high.

    Ripped gloves, raincoat - Your live is the same day in and day out. You try everything you can but your still in a rut.
    Tried to swim and stay afloat - It's like you cry so much because you dont know who are any more. You do the best you can to stay on top, but you still feel like your drwnding in your own terrors.
    Dry house, wet clothes - It's not the world around you that shit, its your life.

    Loose change, bank notes - You try to make the money you need to, sometimes you make just enough to get by, but most of the time you don't quite make enough.
    Weary-eyed, dry throat - You're not healthy, and it shows. Your eyes are products long nights of no sleep.
    Call girl, no phone - Your "men" they try to get you like a booty call, but your not that easy to find. You always seem to have the need to keep moving.

    And they say
    She's in the class A team
    Stuck in her daydream
    Been this way since eighteen
    But lately her face seems
    Slowly sinking, wasting
    Crumbling like pastries

    And they scream
    The worst things in life come free to us
    'Cause we're just under the upper hand
    And go mad for a couple grams
    But she don't want to go outside, tonight
    And in a pipe she flies to the motherland
    Or sells love to another man
    Its too cold outside
    For angels to fly
    An angel will die
    Covered in white

    Closed eye - Slowly, they are all killing themselves.
    And hoping for a better life - Everyone wants something better, but they know it won't happen
    This time, we'll fade out tonight - So tonight as like any other they just kill themselves a little bit more.
    Straight down the line - They kill themselves not by just smoking it but also by snorting it from the line.

    And they say
    She's in the class A team
    Stuck in her daydream
    Been this way since eighteen
    But lately her face seems
    Slowly sinking, wasting
    Crumbling like pastries

    They scream
    The worst things in life come free to us
    And we're under the upper hand
    And go mad for a couple grams
    And we don't want to go outside, tonight
    And in the pipe fly to the motherland
    Or sell love to another man
    It's too cold outside
    For angels to fly, angels to fly
    To fly, fly
    For angels to fly, to fly, to fly
    Angels to die - In the they are all part of deadly addiction. It all kills slowly but surely. after time not only will you kill your soul with the addiction, but you will kill your body as well.
    musicssoulon December 28, 2012   Link
  • +10
    General Comment:Ed wrote this song after going to a charity event for the homeless that his friend organised.

    They had banners with the rules hanging up everywhere. The banners said Angel's rules and they said things like 'No drugs' or 'No swearing'. This girl was walking around bossing everyone around and telling them off for breaking the rules and Ed went up to his mate and asked who she was and his mate told him that they call her Angel. He told ed about her life story; how she was a heroin addict and how she took up prostitution to support her addiction.

    Ed wrote this song about how she is addicted to an 'A CLass' drug, homeless and how she struggles to live.

    I think it's a very touching song that reminds us of how lucky we all are.
    courtmysteron December 14, 2011   Link
  • +8
    My Interpretation:Obviously it's about addiction, but the meaning I get out of it is so much more than that. There's a likelihood that I'm merely over-analyzing, but I feel like the song represents how easily we get addicted to things and how easily we get stuck in our addictions. She's trapped in a life she doesn't want, doing things to get what she needs to "get out". She is unable to "get out" through means other than drugs, or perhaps that's the way she sees it. I feel as though the drug abuse is one of the lesser evils in this song, so to speak. It's a song about her suffering and how she can't escape it, and how she tries to find means to do it through her addiction, something that is so sad.

    My favorite lines in this are the main chorus. "'The worst things in life come free to use, 'cause we're just under the upperhand." I noted Ed's usage of the word "us" in this sentence. Not "her". This is not just a story about her. While the main note of it is drug abuse, yes, to me it symbolizes more. It is so easy to suffer. The worst things are free in life; the emotional anguish, the physical anguish, the addictions, the needs, the dead ends. We're all under the upper hand. Not only the poor in comparison to the rich, but the rich as well. I (as stated previously) am probably over-analyzing, but the upper-hand to me is... the things we want and dream about. We all end up falling short of our idealistic desires. We're "slowly sinking, wasting". The drugs in this are the personal story of an addict, but they can also represent how everyone in life has something that drags them down and keeps them from "flying" so to speak.
    Krissleeon January 02, 2013   Link
  • +7
    General Comment:I just heard this song for the first time, and the lyric "it's too cold for angels to fly" caught my ear, so I looked it up and found this site. I realize it's about a poor girl who's a prostitute and who's dying; she can't be saved. I think of it as if she is the angel, an angel inside, once upon a time somebody's little girl, who can't fly (live a normal life) because it's too cold (she's too far gone in a world that can't help her). But it made me think of my niece, who suffered from mental illness half her life and committed suicide at age 29, alone at home. Her grandmother always called her her "angel baby." It was so cold when she died, snowy and icy and the middle of winter. Nevertheless she flew, right on out of this life and hopefully into a warm heaven where she will never feel too cold or lonely again. Losing her broke our hearts.
    djfon March 27, 2013   Link
  • +6
    Song Meaning:According to an interview with Billboard, Sheeran noted that this song came from spending time assisting at a homeless shelter. After hearing all the stories of the homeless there, he wrote these lyrics (amongst others).

    In the interview, he stated that saying the woman was in "the class A team" was a subtle way of referring to her addiction to a class A drug; this subtlety was intentional, as Sheeran wanted the overall tone of the song to sound somewhat cheery to hide the serious nature of the lyrics' meaning.

    billboard.com/column/chartbeat/…
    xaratheruson August 20, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General Comment:I love this song. It makes me feel very sad, but also more appreciative of what i have. A lot of the meaning is very clear, it's about a drug addict prostitute. I think when it says she in the class A-Team, he is probably talking about what the men who sleep with her say about her. They probably recommend her to friends etc.
    "Cos we re just under the upperhand"
    I think maybe this is talking about how she is on the street and she can see everyone else living a normal life. She lives amongst these people, she can see it but she can't live like that, she is just under the upperhand?
    When it says "For angels to fly" I think this could be about trying to get out of this life, she can't spread her wings and fly, she's trapped. Then when it says "an angel will die" he's probably talking about her dying from an overdose, which we see in the video.
    blue_bathtubon June 05, 2011   Link
  • +4
    Song Meaning:The way I see it, by "in the Class A Team", many people seem to think it means 'class a drugs'. I believe it means she's working with 'a class' people, like business men, layors, and other high ranking members of society. my reason; "Call Girl, No Phone". It doesnt mean she calls people. it means she is a call girl, or a "high class hooker". I love this song so, so much. The idea of it is so sad, but it's just so deep.
    "And in a pipe she flies to the motherland", is expanding on the idea of this girl smoking drugs.
    "or sell love to another man". We all know this means she is a prostitute.
    "the worst things in life come free to us". To me this is talking about this girl being bashed and abused by her pimp, which comes 'free', and yet, ironically, she gets paid for it.
    "we're all under the upper hand", then refers back to the 'high class' people of society. This girl is "under the command" of all these people. "go mad for a couple grams", then refers back to the last phrase (we're all under the upper hand); as in, even though she hates what she's doing, what she does gets her money for the drugs.
    "closed eye, and hoping for a better life". She doesn't like what she's doing. She wants it to be different. She wishes she chose a better way to live her life. She thinks of how her life could've been if she didnt try these drugs when she was 18.
    "for angels to fly, to fly fly, or angels to die". This girl, through her struggle, passes away. But the use of the term "angel", gives me the idea that she wasn't a nobody. Someone loved her. she was someones daughter, friend, sister, grandaughter, and maybe even, a true lover.

    And to think I only first heard this song today.. I love it, so, so much.

    ps. sorry for it being all over the place, i've been listening to bits and typing about it, then skipping around for something else to type up about.
    Hope it helps you all out, to understand the meaning, and i hope im right!
    Thanks, Ash.x
    WebbyBeMeon November 17, 2011   Link
  • +4
    My Interpretation:I think the meaning is quite obvious. But it's written very beautifully. I love this song. I just hope that people don't just listen to it as one of the catchy songs on the radio, and instead grasp the meaning of it.

    Anyways,
    This song is about a girl who's life is spiraling down. She must have moved out of her house at a young age and gotten her own apartment. But her addiction to (drugs) made it hard for her to pay her rent. Instead of paying her rent, she spent all of her money on drugs. As the addiction went on, she didn't care for the rent as much as she cared for the drugs. She was miserable and her only escape was getting high. She did whatever she could to get money to pay for drugs. In the music video she sells newspapers on the street and then we see that she resorts to prostitution. This is also evident in the lyrics. At this point, she's realized what she's become and she hates who she is. Her only escape from her self hate and depression was drugs. She would rather get high and risk dying than live another day sober in this miserable life she has.
    But I also believe that the lyrics indicated a lot of hope. Maybe that she was once a super model or some sort of icon that got addicted to drugs and lost her fame. That's wear the "class a team" comes in. Obviously, she's admired for something. I'm just not sure what.
    TatumMichelleon October 26, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General Comment:If i met a girl like that, i would hug her, and tell her i love her. And help her in every way possible.
    nickraon June 03, 2013   Link
  • +3
    My Interpretation:I am absolutely in love with this song. It is so beautiful, even though it's very sad. I think she needs help and is struggling to get better. She has a beautiful soul. It's her drug addiction that masks it. But, as turboKing said, "There's ALWAYS hope." She's gonna make it. It is not her time yet. "It's too cold for angels to fly...for angels to die". When I think of going to Heaven, I think of a warm, peaceful feeling...not a cold, uncomfortable feeling.

    I definitely believe the song is about drug addiction...in this case, crack/cocaine or crystal meth. The snowy white theme throughout the song speaks to this. She can't afford to support her habit and turns to prostitution. People who use these drugs literally "crumble" by change in appearance for the worse. If you've ever seen a before/after picture of someone who was using these drugs...even for a short period of time....there is a drastic difference. They look pale with sunk in cheeks and bags under their eyes, among other facial deformities. They also metaphorically crumble emotionally.

    I was stumped for a long time about the line "The worst things in life come free to us". But, then I realized it means we didn't ask for this awful addiction, or any other problem, for that matter. "Cause we're just under the upper hand" means recovery is just out of reach. "And going mad for a couple grams" is that intense craving for the drug. I am a recovered drug addict. I've been clean for 6 1/2 years now. I was addicted to opiates. It almost ruined my life. And it drastically affected the quality of my life for a long time. It's still affecting the quality of my life, but in a much different way....a positive way. I feel Blessed that my life was saved by the Grace of God. He wasn't ready for me yet.
    lilysmomon September 09, 2012   Link

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