I have pretty much enjoyed Ed Sheeran’s music since the beginning of his career. He’s kind of like that ordinary guy in an extraordinary situation. You know, like the premise of a Disney Channel show. With smash singles like “The A-Team” and “Lego House,” it seemed as though Ed Sheeran could do no wrong. I will admit that I haven’t listened to + in its entirety yet, but what I have listened to has been very promising.
Then came the 2014 release X, which is easily Sheeran’s best album to date. Each track on that album is written well and diverse. So, with the hype from his new album in 2017, it would be an understatement to say that I was eager to listen to ÷. The two singles released in promotion of the album, “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You,” really heightened my hype and eagerness for this album. Of the two singles, I would have to say that “Castle on the Hill” was my favorite, because of its U2-esque and bombastic instrumentation as well its anthemic proportions. That certainly does not take way from how good “Shape of You” is, though, as I really love the dancehall influence on it.
As always, Ed raps on a few of these tracks. The opening track “Eraser” is one of these tracks where his almost “talk-rap” is displayed. On this track he raps about the trials and tribulations that he has gone through in his life. It is a strong opener and easily one of my favorite tracks on the album. On the album’s sixth track “Galway Girl,” Ed fuses his rap lyrics with his folk-pop sound and an Irish/Celtic instrumentation, especially with the flute and the piccolo.
The album’s third track “Dive” is one of the many love songs on this album. Dedicated to his current girlfriend Cherry Seaborn, this is a very sweet song and has some great guitar work by the great Eric Clapton; he is credited in the liner notes as “Angelo Mysterioso.” “Perfect” is another love song dedicated to his girlfriend. I am not sure whether which track is better because they are both great songs. One is more soulful (“Dive”) and the other has a more modern pop feel to it (“Perfect”). Either way, you should dive into both of these songs because they are perfect. Yeah, I did that.
“Happier” is one of the more heartbreaking tracks on this album. In this track, Ed laments about a former love and how he treated her. He is also jealous of the fact that she is much happier with her current boyfriend than him. All the while, Ed sings that he was happier with her. This track also includes a co-songwriting credit with Ryan Tedder, one of the biggest names in pop music when it comes to songwriting and producing (he co-wrote Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone”). “New Man” is a very humorous song about the narrator having a deep hatred for his ex-girlfriend’s new lover, whether this is the same ex-girlfriend from the previous track I don’t know but it is rather coincidental that they come in consecutive tracks. I have heard many people criticize the fact that while Ed doesn’t say the word “fuck” on the track but still says “asshole.” To that I say, who the hell cares? It is a funny song. Get over it.
“Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” is another sweet song on the album about how Ed feels about his current girlfriend. Honestly, it is not my absolute favorite track on the album, but I still enjoy it and I don’t skip it when it comes on. “What Do I Know?” is probably my ultimate favorite track on the album. It is a simple song that seems to consist mostly of acoustic instruments. It is deeply rooted in a philosophy that love and music can change the world.
“How Would You Feel? (Paean)” is another song that I did not like as much as others, but I still really enjoy the instrumentation on it. It even has an awesome guitar solo by John Mayer. “Supermarket Flowers” is a great closing track for the album. It is very similar to the closing track on x “Afire Love,” in that both songs are about different grandparents; his grandfather on “Afire Love” and his grandmother on “Supermarket Flowers.” It is definitely the most emotional track on the album, and I think it’s a good thing that it came at the end of the album.
Overall, the singer with the flow has released another stellar album. It might not be on the same level as x, but it is still very high on my list. I give this album a 92 / A- for its fusion of so many genres and its heartfelt and introspective lyrics about real life stuff.
Favorite songs include: all of them
Least favorite songs include: none of them
Release Date: March 3, 2017
Label: Asylum / Atlantic
Genres: Adult Alternative / Acoustic Pop / Acoustic R&B / Folk Pop / Hip Hop / Indie Rock / Pop Rock / Singer/Songwriter
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