It’s been roughly three years since Ed Sheeran released a new album. Following the release of his 2014 album “X” (pronounced Multiply), Ed announced to the world that he was taking a break from music and social media, in order to regain a sense of normality. It was a very long time without any new music from Ed, but luckily for the world, he came back better than ever with the release of his latest album, “÷” (pronounced Divide.)
“÷” has a very deep sense of depth with its sound, featuring a number of very Sheeran-esque ballads, as well as a number of upbeat tracks with some very unique sounds. The album itself gives off a sense of nostalgia and remembrance, mostly due to Ed’s personable lyrics. Take for example “Castle on the Hill,” one of the two singles that Ed released earlier this year. The lyrics describe Ed’s childhood, living in his hometown and growing with his best friends, and understanding the sad reality of these friends growing up and apart to live completely different lives. It’s a record of nostalgia and remembrance, one that shows Ed looking back humbly and fondly at his roots. Similarly, the albums opening track “Eraser” follows this trend, as it recounts Ed’s rise to fame and all the lessons he’s learned along the way. It’s an excellent kick off to the album, giving fans on insight into his life in and out of the spotlight.
The track “Dive” does an excellent job in showcasing Ed’s vocal ability, his voice sounds especially raw as he sings “don’t call me baby, unless you mean it.” It’s got a really cool blues-pop feel to it, and it absolutely has the potential to be another very successful single. It’s definitely the type of song that people would sing at the topic of their lungs in their car, and although it’s not a ballad, it’s still a classic Ed love song.
The depth of “÷”is well shown through the song “Gallaway Girl.” This particular track takes you by surprise, as it’s heavily influenced by Ed’s Irish roots. It’s almost as if a song like this shouldn’t work within the album, but somehow it does, and it’s awesome. The song literally has a fiddle in it; when was the last time anyone heard a fiddle in a pop song? It’s so different and so out there, but it’s so Ed and that’s what makes it work. This is one song that really stands out on the album due its sound; it isn’t a ballad like many of the other tracks, and its not necessarily beat driven like others. It just has its own unique sound, and it adds an interesting bit of diversity to the album.
In typical Ed Sheeran fashion, there are a number of beautifully written ballads that tug at your heartstrings. “Perfect” is one of them, featuring that always prominent acoustic guitar, a light back beat, and violins. It’s the perfect sappy love song, and it has the potential to be this albums “Thinking Out Loud.” Ed has this amazing ability to string together the most beautiful lyrics, and words that would normally come across as total sappy cliches work so well when he sings them. The simplicity of these songs are what make them so good and so successful, and this song, as well as the other ballads on the album “What Would You Do (Paean)” and “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” are perfect examples of this. They don’t paint the picture of some unrealistic love story, the lyrics are simple, pure and honest, and that’s why they always are received so well.
I think one of the best things about this album is how Ed makes himself seem like the personable, normal, down to earth guy we all see him as. Take for instance the song “What Do I Know?” In this track, he takes a humble look at the problems that are currently plaguing our society, how everyone is “talking ’bout exponential growth, and the stock market crashing in their portfolios,” and gives the simple solution of saying love and music can change the world. But of course, he goes on to say that what could he possibly know about making a difference in the world, as he is a guy who doesn’t even have a degree. Or the song “New Man,” where Ed takes a look at his ex’s new guy, who is the stereotypical, cliche, douchey-rebound. It’s humble songs like these that makes his songs and this album so successful. His fans feel connected to him and his music because its real, and its relatable. Ed makes himself appear as just an average, everyday guy you’d run into at the supermarket, and that is what makes him and his music so iconic, and so well received.
Rounding out the album is the song “Supermarket Flowers.” This song is dedicated to Ed’s late grandmother, and it is such a touching tribute to her. With just a piano accompanying Ed’s voice, the song is so simple and intimate, and you can just feel the emotion when you listen to it. I think this particular song does a good job in closing out “÷.” This is an album with so much depth, from hard beat driven songs like “Shape of You,” to intimate ballads like “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here,” this particular song wraps up everything that Ed is about: simplicity, honesty, and being himself.
I highly recommend taking the time to listen to “÷” in full if you haven’t already. There were a lot of high expectations for this album, and Ed Sheeran went above and beyond those expectations. This truly is a great album.