British singer Ed Sheeran signed a record deal at 19 years old, but by then he had already released five EPs independently. The multi-talented artist’s debut album + was released in 2011, and sold a million copies that year. Sheeran’s newest album, ÷ (Divide) was released on March 3 and includes songs that blend his signature acoustic sound with various styles, including Irish-inspired instrumentals, Latin vibes and hip-hop. The album is an interesting mix of songs, each one vivid in their own light.
The opening track “Eraser,” gives the album a strong start. Sheeran raps for most of the song, reminding us of his past and what he’s overcome to get to where he is today. He then sings of his present state of mind, where he chimes in “Oh I’m happy on my own, so here I’ll stay / save your lovin’ arms for a rainy day / And I’ll find comfort in my pain eraser.”
Included in the album is “Shape of You,” the lead single that I’m sure we’ve all heard on the radio. The catchy song was streamed over 6,868,642 times on Spotify in just one week. Sheeran admitted that he had initially written the song for the girl group Little Mix. Speaking to BeBox Music, Sheeran stated “I didn’t want to keep it. I was like we should give it away because it doesn’t really sound like me, but this is way before I sunk my teeth into it and put acoustic guitars on it. The first draft of it I wouldn’t have put on. It was very different.” Surely, keeping the song was a smart idea because it is now a popular hit.
Another notable song from ÷ is “Castle on the Hill.” The song does a great deal of storytelling, where Sheeran sings about growing up around the area of Suffolk. He sings “And I’m on my way / I still remember those old country roads / When we did not know the answers / And I still miss the way you make me feel, it’s real.”
In “Perfect,” Sheeran sets the mood for the perfect “slow dance wedding song.” Similar in sound to the earlier “Thinking Out Loud,” the song is soothing and has a bluesy, ballad theme to it. The song is bound to be any lovers’ favorite, with lyrics like, “When you said you looked a mess, I whispered under my breath / But you heard it, darling, you look perfect tonight.”
In “New Man,” Sheeran makes fun of his ex’s new boyfriend, and maybe is a little bitter about it. The song is as amusing as it is relatable, with lyrics like “Baby, I’m not trying to ruin your week / But you act so differently / When you’re with him I know you’re lonely / Please, remember you’re still free, to make the choice and leave.”
Each song in ÷ is vastly different, which I think is a good thing because it shows how Sheeran has evolved as an artist. Each song carries a meaning that someone, somewhere can relate to. Sheeran explores topics from love and infatuation to nostalgia and moving on from an ex. Depending on whatever mood you’re in, chances are you’ll find at least one song you like in this album.