"The A Team" (CD Single)

Music review by
Kyle Jackson, Common Sense Media
"The A Team" (CD Single) Music Poster Image
Popular with kids
Young Brit sensation sings heartfelt tune about addiction.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 11 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

The song depicts in no uncertain terms the unpleasant realities of addiction and prostitution, but some kids and young teens might not understand the social criticism and could confuse the metaphors that give the song its message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The subject of the song is a call girl who trades her body for drugs.


The lyrics are about prostitution. There are references to the girl in the song spending "long nights" with "strange men," she "sells love to another man," and she's a "call girl" with "no phone."  

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In describing the girl's drug dependency, words used include "grams," "pipe," a reference to being "covered in white." The music video includes a drug sale and paraphernalia, as well as a brief shot of the girl smoking crack cocaine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while "The A Team" sounds like just another catchy romantic pop song, it actually tells a story about the deplorable state of a young girl living on the streets, selling herself to feed her addiction to getting high. Because these are real-world problems, depending on the age and maturity of your kids, you may or may not want to expose them to such grave images, especially those shown in the music video.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 11 years old September 9, 2020

Sad Ed Sheeran tune has strong message about addiction

This song is a warning: avoid addiction at all costs. Sheeran's tough-love delivery offers both compassing for challenged people and a warning against self... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMy1ten0baby February 3, 2014

Not For Preteens

The problem of this song is there is drugs all over the video so drug problem is 4/5.

What's the story?

Twenty-one-year-old British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran earned a "Song of the Year" Grammy nomination for this single from his debut album, entitled simply +. The song is about a girl struggling to survive on the streets. Though he's co-written songs for One Direction and Taylor Swift, his solo material is decidedly edgier and more about partying and excess.

Is it any good?

Sheeran has a great voice and the song is shiny and catchy, warm and intimate, inviting and haunting. Classic singer-songwriter-with-an-acoustic-guitar sound.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the difference between using images of drugs and sexual exploitation to glorify or criticize certain lifestyles. What sort of impact do you think such imagery has on kids, many of whom worship pop stars?

  • Does the accompanying music video for "The A Team" (which has more than 50 million views on YouTube) do more to convey the song's message than just the track alone?

  • Why do you think more and more young singer-songwriters talk about drugs and sex so openly these days?

Music details

  • Artist: Ed Sheeran
  • Release date: June 13, 2012
  • Type: Single
  • Label: Atlantic
  • Genre: Pop
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate