Album Review: Ed Sheeran ÷

Today saw the release of Ed Sheeran’s third studio album ÷, pronounced as “Divide”. Ever since 2017 started, it has been one of the most anticipated albums of the year, and it’s clear it will set the charts alight internationally.

In promotion of the album, he previously released a duo single which consisted of “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill”, both of which have been global records; the former of which went on to chart at number one in over 30 countries, including Australia, the UK, the US, and Canada.

On 17 February, “How You Feel (Paean)” was released as an instant grat single, in promotion of the album. The song also charted globally, much like the previous singles, although hasn’t done as well. SBTV also released a live version of opening track “Eraser” on YouTube, three days before the release of the album.

After listening to all the tracks, it shows how talented Ed Sheeran is. The album is a complete masterpiece. The songs are varyingly different, but they all have a common theme, with Ed Sheeran using his music to show his real and honest thoughts, emotions, and feelings. He’s making a change with his music, knowing that he has this influence, and he’s using it to astronomical effects in the hope it will be beneficial, not only to his fans but to the whole world aswell.

The album’s opening track “Eraser” starts off with a guitar intro, which launches into Ed Sheeran talking, this later becomes a rap. Yes, he has gone back to his roots, where he proves that he can rap. Totally true, and totally real, and totally honest; this track hits home from the get-go with every single lyric. With a simple but catchy bridge, that leads into a soft chorus that has a constant effortless guitar rhythm throughout; this was the perfect song to open the album with.

“Castle on the Hill” follows. This is a soft but usual guitar pop song, that draws upon his real-life experiences from when he was young and at home. It’s a look-back on past events and the music video for the song is completely relatable. It’s definitely a current version of Nickelback’s “Photograph”.

The next song is “Dive”; this is a gentle relaxer of a song, pulling out Ed Sheeran’s softer side adding brilliant emotion. It’s a song you’ll be swaying to without realising.

The international hit single “Shape of You” is the fourth track. This was an obvious first single, that has a brilliant accompanying music video to go with it – that you totally need to watch. The song is catchy with many cute lyrical lines. It pulls on experiences we’ve all had and he’s turned it into a song that we can all relate to. It’s quite a serenade pop song; he can totally serenade us any day. However, the song feels out of place because it’s surrounded by two gentle ballad songs.

“Perfect” is just that, it slows the album right down again, only for it to be sped back up by the next track. This one is the slow dance prom song that we all wish were around for our school proms; it’s one that people might choose for their wedding dance. It’s another swaying song that is soulful and emotion. It’s followed by “Galway Girl”, which is introduced by vocals instantly. It’s folky, it’s got a rap, it’s a full-on pop song. This is Ed Sheeran as we know him, and could totally work as the next single. Our favourite lyrics from the song is: “She played the fiddle in an Irish band but she fell in love with an English man.”

Once again, the album slows down; we suppose this works with the whole title of the album, as it is quite the divide; the separate songs all following from one another. “Happier” is another honest and real song, gentle once again, but completely heart-rendering. We’ve all been here, when an ex looks happier without you in their lives, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Relatable in every way, tears will fall if you’re feeling this way. Luckily, the next track follows this one beautifully. “New Man” is much more upbeat with some rapping going on. It’s a fired-up song, about an ex who is acting differently around her new man.

Taking back to a slow song, Ed Sheeran announces that “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here”, which is a laid-back sort of song about a girl called Daisy. Another ballad, but clearly drawing on his personal real life. “What Do I Know?” is a much-loved track, where Ed Sheeran tells everyone that love can change the world. Inspiring all his fans and the other listeners that even though everyone else is talking about global issues, there’s still love in the air that can change everything. Ed Sheeran has a voice, and he uses it in this song to clearly get his message across, and he nails it completely. Then, instant grat single “How Would You Feel (Paean)” is played. This one is a slow ballad, with the instrumental becoming an empowering force. It’s a love song that has a lot of heart, asking the question that is always in our heads when we’re prepared to say the ‘L’ word. He sings: “How would you feel if I told you I love you?”

The last track on the standard version of the album is “Supermarket Flowers”. This is such a sweet song, it’s a tribute to his late grandmother, who passed away during the recording of the album. This song has many items described perfectly throughout, transforming what could have been a stunning poem into a more powerful heart-breaking song. If you’ve ever lost someone, you’ve probably done the things described in this song, so be prepared for some tears. Very emotional and completely full of imagery. What a way to end the standard version of this album.

For those of you who fancy getting the deluxe version of the album, you’ll be treated to four additional tracks. “Barcelona” is a Spanish-inspired song that effortlessly encourages confidence. Rhythmically catchy and upbeat, it’s slightly similar to “Shape of You”; however, it’s quite a summer-sun track, where we need a cocktail in hand and heat to warm our skin. Totally tropical, leading perfectly into “Bibia Be Ye Ye”.

Yes, this next track is as weird as it sounds. Is this Ed Sheeran we’re listening to? Another Spanish-inspired song, possibly; it’s upbeat and full of tropic sounds. The song feels like something Manel Navarro would sing (Spain’s Eurovision 2017 entrant, who previously released “Candle”). Then, Ed Sheeran turns towards Irish music for “Nancy Mulligan”, totally bringing something fresh and new. This sounds like something you’d end up chanting to in an Irish pub. Totally jovial and joyous.

Lastly, on the deluxe version of ÷ is “Save Myself”. This is a haunting ballad, where he announces that he needs to look out for himself. It’s an inspiring track, and once again Ed Sheeran uses his powerful art to influence his listeners. The last lyric of the whole album – “Before I love someone else, I got to love myself.” – will forever be the lyric we hear, the one that encourages everyone to love themselves.

This album is not just another album amongst many. This album is a defining album for the world. Ed Sheeran opens up, allowing the world to see everything about himself, from past experiences to current feelings. He uses his voice in an attempt to change the world. If anything, “Divide” exceeds all expectations. We’ve never listened to an album this powerful, this inspiring, this honest, and this emotional. This is one for the history books.

The album “÷” is available to download and stream now.