Ed Sheeran has been in our lives long enough now to know that no matter what he releases, we are almost definitely going to love it. Even more so if it is a whole album packed with a brand new bunch of songs to lose ourselves in. Which is probably why the excitement surrounding his third studio album ‘÷‘ (pronounced Divide) has been off the chart. For many, Ed’s longed-for return — that he confirmed on New Year’s Day — meant that 2017 was destined to be a brilliant year, even before it had started. And so far, those predictions have been pretty plausible. Describing it in short, the album (especially the 16-track deluxe edition) is so many levels of perfect that it has caused our hearts to melt into ÷ shaped puddles on the floor. No joke. And it’s probably the same case for many others out there today too, so please, mind where you step.
As soon as the album opens, we are instantly reunited with everything we love and missed about Ed Sheeran and his music. The originality, the story-telling-lyrics, his trusty acoustic guitar and the way that everything always feels so fresh and effortless. He raises the bar constantly, and comes back every time with the belief that he can reach and raise it all over again, and without fail, he does. “Welcome to the new show, I guess you know I’ve been away”, is one of the stand-out lines on the albums opening track ‘Eraser’, an introduction to the new journey that he is set to embark on with this album. Upping the pace on his usual vocal delivery, Ed lays down his flow and lightly tells the tale of some personal parts of his life; from friends and family feeling envious of his success, to money being the root of all evil and comparing fame to hell.
Our very first taster of ‘Divide’ came from the leading singles ‘Castles On The Hill’ and ‘Shape Of You’, which both debuted at No.1 and No.2 on the Official Singles Chart. We also received a special treat on Ed’s Birthday (17th Feb) too, when he released the stunning ‘How Would You Feel (Paean)’. The first mushy dose of Sheeran’s love-infused songwriting, which remains a strong feature throughout the rest of the album. Our favourites being ‘Dive’, ‘Perfect’ and ‘Hearts Don’t Break Around Here’ which are all truly beautiful creations that will no doubt have people all over the world falling for their captivating tones and lyrics bursting with love.
A diversity of sounds and styles feature more so on this album than any of Ed’s previous releases before it. From tracks built with a heavier ‘pop’ production, to the more stripped back numbers that enhance the true emotive elements in his lyrics. Then there is the obvious Irish influence that is rather prominent too. We first hear it through the upbeat ‘Galway Girl’, an Irish folk track inspired by a fiddle-playing gal he met outside a bar on Grafton Street in Dublin. Then on ‘Nancy Mulligan’, where Ed honours his Irish roots, with a song he wrote as a special tribute to his paternal grandparents. Not forgetting the Spanish vibes oozing from ‘Barcelona’ and the African-inspired ‘Bibia Be Ye Ye’. Is there actually anything Ed Sheeran can’t do?
The whole album is an incredible piece of work, with every track standing equally as great as the next one. But as always we have our favourites and ‘Happier’ and ‘New Man’ will definitely have to be two of ours. ‘New Man’ being full of creative wordplay and brilliant lyrics that spit catty digs at an ex’s new lover: “Your new man rents a house in the ‘burb. And wears a man bag on his shoulder, but I call it a purse”, Ed sings.
The most heartfelt track on the album is most definitely ‘Supermarket Flowers’ and had us well and truly fooled by its title. We were expecting a trademark Sheeran love-song, but instead were pulled into a hole of emotions, pain and loss. The song is an angelic tribute to Ed’s late Grandmother, told from his Mum’s point of view and is simply beautiful.
Ed softly lays down his take on some of life’s issues and reminds us to spread some good love and understanding amongst ourselves with the smooth flowing ‘What Do I Know?’, “We could change this whole world with a piano. Add a bass, some guitar, grab a beat and away we go”, he sings. Seriously, if anyone has any chance at changing this world through music then our bets are all on Ed Sheeran. We support you, dude.
Like always, great things must come to an end and the deluxe edition of ‘Divide’ wraps up with ‘Save Myself’, a personal track with elements that we can all listen to and take note from. “And all the ones that love me they just left me on the shelf. No farewell. So before I save someone else, I’ve got to save myself”, he sings. A reminder that looking after ourselves is just as important as helping others. Oh Sheeran, we love you so.
Like we said at the start, ‘Divide’, is every bit as perfect as we hoped it would be and more. So while we press play and relive the album all over again, why don’t you check it out for yourselves here. You can thank us later.