There’s no doubt that Ed Sheeran’s latest album was one of the most anticipated ones of the year, especially after his two-year hiatus. And since the release of “÷” he’s taken over the music world once more with his two singles, “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill,” shooting straight to the number one and number two spots respectively. The whole album, as well, broke Spotify records for most one-day streams, with all of its tracks at the top of the UK’s Top 50.
But is "÷" really worth the hype?
Ed Sheeran opens his third album with “Eraser,” an upbeat, guitar-driven track that features a little rapping from the 26-year old singer. That, in itself, isn’t surprising, but the subject matter surely is. Here, he reveals his true feelings about life in the music industry: fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, after all. It makes an apt intro to Divide as he breaks the fourth wall and welcomes listeners to “the new show,” bracing them to expect something new from the Ed Sheeran they’ve grown to love.
True to his word, the album features more than just the love songs that made him the star he is today. At the forefront, arguably at par with his vocal and guitar-playing skills, are the stories. There’s “Galway Girl,” which talks about falling in love with a girl who “played the fiddle in an Irish band,” and “Nancy Mulligan” that’s yet another homage to his Irish roots and, more specifically, to his grandparents. In true Ed Sheeran fashion, he manages to incorporate a couple of lines to make the tracks more relatable despite the hyper-specificity of the story.
"÷" also sees Ed Sheeran pushing his voice to its limit, especially in “Dive.” The tracks starts off with Sheeran showing off a little of his lower register, but steadily builds up to soaring chorus with him singing: “so don’t call me baby, unless you mean it.” Leave it to Ed Sheeran to make cheesy lyrics sound sincere; this song is sure to be one of the album’s most popular tracks.
Of course, there are still love songs. Just the first notes of “Perfect” immediately bring to mind a bride walking down the aisle, or the newlyweds’ first dance, while “How Would You Feel (Paean)” evokes the feelings of vulnerability in a new relationship.
All in all, it’s no surprise that the response to "÷" has been overwhelming, to say the least. While some of the tracks just seem like even cheesier rehashes of “Thinking Out Loud,” others show off Sheeran’s clever songwriting at its best. Whether you live for the sap in “Perfect” or find yourself smirking to “New Man,” it’s easy to give Ed Sheeran’s newest album a pass – he’s Ed Sheeran, after all.
What do you think of "÷"? What's your favorite track? Let us know in the comments below!
Writer/photographer/non-musician that hopes to promote local independent music. Probably hanging out at a gig at this very moment...