“Autumn Variations” slows down Sheeran’s discography

As fall gets into full swing, the rush of summer fun and constantly running around winds down. It’s a time for calm reflection, slowing down and cool days. 

To accompany those late morning drives to apple orchards and late nights around the bonfire, Ed Sheeran released his latest album “Autumn Variations” Friday, just in time for the start of October. 

Dropping nearly five months after “Subtract,” Sheeran took a smaller indie approach leading up to the release of the album. 

While “Subtract” featured several music videos and multiple lead singles, “Autumn Variations” took the opposite route. 

In an Instagram post, Sheeran said, “There’s no singles, no videos, it’s on my own label, so no pressure for anything.” Putting out music solely for the fans, this is one of Sheeran’s slower albums that “feels like a warm hug.”

The record starts off with “Magical” which dilates the emotions of being in love from shared touches, stolen kisses and quiet mornings.

“England” shifts Sheeran’s love from his wife to his home country, highlighting his favorite places. “Amazing” pairs piano with a positive outlook on trying to beat sadness to feel like himself again. 

After a few songs, Sheeran picks up the pace with “Plastic Bag.” 

The most energetic song on the record, Sheeran looks forward to Saturday nights and “relying on the strobe lights” and finding “love in a plastic bag.” 

Turning to partying to forget about his troubles, it turns into a mellower version of “Bad Habits”.

It all winds down from there as he reassures listeners their emotions can fluctuate, but they will be OK in the end. 

“American Town” highlights Sheeran’s relationship with his wife and seeing her incorporate elements of England into America. It’s as if the listeners are taken along for watching someone fall in love with a new city. 

“That’s On Me” brings snappy guitar and guilt to the forefront of admitting past mistakes. “Spring” lets listeners know they can redeem themselves after all they have been through. 

“When Will I Be Alright” pairs guitar with the melancholic lyrics of fighting depression after a failed relationship and wondering if life will ever be the same again. 

The tone carries on to “The Day I Was Born” where Sheeran fixates on celebrating another birthday alone as his friends and family get caught up with busy schedules. Never one to shy away from heavier discussions, it’s a gentle reminder to listeners they can get through hard times. 

While less upbeat than his previous albums, it’s a poignant creation full of reminiscence, reflection and renewal of the soul. 

Sheeran’s songwriting is at its best by taking the simplicities of life and giving them a complex meaning. 

It gives listeners a glimpse into Sheeran’s vulnerability while connecting them through melodic beats and lyrics.

 If Sheeran plans on heading up the indie route, his fans are in for a treat.

Write to Emma Johnson at emma.johnson@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: Autumn Variations is the seventh studio album by English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, released Friday,  just five months after his previous album, “Subtract.” (edsheeran.com)

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