By: Anna Glinski//
We have waited for what seemed like ages for this. On March 3rd 2017, Ed Sheeran released his third studio album, titled ÷ (Divide). The bar was set very high for Sheeran considering it had been over two years since his last album release. With 12 perfectly and carefully crafted tracks (16 on the deluxe), Sheeran showed us the kind of progression we want to see in all of our favorite artists.
Each song on the album is very unique and no two songs are even remotely similar. This was the first and most notable characteristic of the album while I listened to it in full for the first time. The songs include pop and hip-hop influences, sounds from different cultures, and a combination of both serious and lighthearted tunes.
The album opens up with “Eraser,” a powerful hip-hop influenced track with some Spanish guitar. We are reunited with Sheeran’s distinct rapping style in this song. The song progresses to a catchy and powerfully poppy chorus. At that point, fifty-five seconds into the album, I think the common reaction was, “oh shit, he’s back!”
Divide contains a beautiful interpretation of culture. Ed explores his Celtic roots with songs like “Galway Girl,” which describes falling in love with an Irish girl at a pub. You hear Ed rapping, but you also hear the fiddle playing—two elements of music you would not think to pair together. However, this song is worth the listen because Ed somehow makes these two contrasting elements make perfect sense. Then there’s “Barcelona” (deluxe album), which reminisces about his experiences in that particular city. The Spanish guitar used in the instrumental transports us to the streets of Barcelona, helping us visualize people dancing in the street, making us wish we were drinking sangria with Ed himself. As an artist that has the opportunity to travel the world for a living, it is so amazingly innovative of Ed to transform his experiences into music.
We also, of course, have to talk about the lyrics. There are several themes—love, heartbreak, cynicism, travel, family, and a little humor. “New Man” specifically highlights both cynicism and humor. It’s a song that tells the story of an ex-girlfriend with a new macho boyfriend who has an interesting character. Ed is cynical about his ex-girlfriend leaving him for someone that “drinks beer, but has a six pack”. He even admits, “I’m kind of jealous”. Ed tells the relatable story with an extremely straightforward and humorous description of the new man. In contrast with a song like “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here,” we have the opportunity to see both the serious and lighthearted sides of Sheeran on this album… and we love it!
The bottom line is, if you are looking for a sonically consistent album, look elsewhere. With each track, Ed brings us something new and different. This keeps the album genuinely interesting from start to finish. Cohesiveness is completely reinvented, and Sheeran made sure there’s something for everyone on the album. In it’s entirety, the album is A+. Thank you for continuously sharing your stories with us, Ed. We can’t wait to hear you bring this album to life on tour!