After spending a year completely disconnected from social media and fame to connect with real life, Ed Sheeran is back in the spotlight after releasing his multi-genre ‘Divide’ album yesterday.
With the earlier releases of ‘Castle on the Hill’, ‘Shape of You’ and ‘How Would You Feel’ with its classic Elton John piano influences, I think its fair to say the album’s release has been hotly anticipated.
I think its fair to say that upon a first listening of ‘Divide’, the album definitely has that rustic yet comforting ‘Ed feel’ however it is different in that it isn’t genre-specific which is very much a reflection of today’s music, fusing modern and classic pop, R&B, folk, rock and rap.
‘Eraser’ births the album with sharp, raw acoustics and swooping, high-pitched violins which is fused alongside Ed’s rap which I feel suggests his parting with technology and old bad habits.
Lets be honest, an Ed Sheeran album wouldn’t be complete without a slow ballad. With lyrics that speak beautifully with moderately paced acoustics and a steady snare beat, ‘Dive’ is one of those tracks that is just as comforting as a warm cup of coffee on a gloomy day.
‘Perfect’ reminds me of a wedding song that you would hear as a bride walks down the aisle as Ed sings “you look perfect tonight” with his echoey, soothing vocals. The track’s instrumental is relatively simple with what sounds like a church organ with steady clicks in the background.
‘Galway Girl’ is where the oddest of odds unite, folk and rap but in true ‘Ed-style’ of course. Something about this song sounds so rustic with what sounds like an up-tempo irish flute chiming in nicely throughout the song.
Get the tissues on hand because the lyrics of ‘Happier’ are guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye. Definitely a more slower and mellow tune, this is very much a reflective, sad song as Ed sings,“Everything was happier with you”. Particularly admirable is the male-choir in the background adds richness to the song and lyrics.
‘New Man’ continues with the previous song’s tale but has a more upbeat and brighter sound as Ed passionately sings, “I don’t wanna know about your new man”.
I have to admit ‘Supermarket Flowers’ is probably one of the most solemn tracks on this album. The delicate nature of the piano lets Ed’s vocals shine as he reflects on a close friend or family member who has passed away, “memories of a life that has been loved”. Ed even makes a special mention about his mother, “you were an angel in the shape of my mum”.
Ed’s creativity is present in the track ‘Bibia Ye Ye’ with its African-inspired flavour and intricate rhythmic guitar this song is groovy. The song progresses into a chant as Ed sings at the chorus “Someone told me always say what’s on your mind/ And I am only being honest with you, I/ I get lonely and make mistakes from time to time”.
Saving the best till last, ‘What Do I Know’ would have to be my favourite from the new album. Ed’s preaches love and positivity as being the ultimate cure to all the hatred in the world as he sings “We could change this world with a piano, add a bass, some guitar, grab a beat and away we go” yet later refraining, “what do I know”.
This song is one of those that resonates not just because of its catchy acoustics and drum beat but the meaningful yet humbling lyrics that stick in your head long after the song finishes “We could change this world with a piano, add a bass, some guitar, grab a beat and away we go”. Proving that we don’t all need to be ‘experts’ to change the world.
From to start to finish I must admit this album truly has it all. Each song tells a different story which Ed crafts so magically in his lyrical composition alongside his incredible acoustic talents. Honestly, I feel that this album has taken me on a cultural journey and I haven’t even set foot on a plane.
If you haven’t already, take a listen to Ed’s new album ‘Divide’ below.