Ed Sheeran’s album came out on Friday and my oldest daughter couldn’t be happier. She has been streaming the album almost non-stop since. I am sure I will have to go out and get her the vinyl real soon which I am okay with because I would listen to it as well.
Sheeran’s new album is called Divide (÷) and is his third album in his young career. Ed isn’t like all the other pop artist on the radio. He actually writes his songs and plays his instruments as well. I would even go as far as saying he is a musician and not just a prop for someone else’s songs.
The album has been breaking Spotify streaming records and is getting a lot of press. As a result, going into this record I had pretty high expectations. His first single, “Shape of You” is outstanding and has been blowing up the charts. It is a pop, dance song about new love and the song currently is still my favorite song on the album, but some others are catching up as I keep hitting repeat on the album myself.
The album opens with “Eraser” and has Ed Sheeran doing a little rapping which comes as no surprise since he has done it before and he is a huge hip hop fan. The song talks about his struggles with fame which he doesn’t expect you to feel sorry for him. I could imagine how hard fame really can be and understand the way he feels. It would be hard to have success so fast and all sense of privacy being stripped away. The song is great start to the album.
The next song up was his second single “Castle on the Hill” (or is it is still his first since it was released the same time as “Shape of You”). In the song he seems to be reminiscing about home and all his old friends. What I love about Sheeran is his songs tell great stories and this one is no exception. The chorus is really upbeat and catchy. It pulls you in immediately.
“Dive” is a slow ballad that seems to be about falling in love, but before he dives in he wants to make sure she is truly into him. And of course, who wouldn’t want to know the other was truly in love with them before you said it back. There is some nice, bluesy guitar in the song as well.
After “Shape of You” comes “Perfect”. It is another ballad and I am worried there will be to many of these on the album. I am not quite into this one as I was with “Dive”. I am sure people will like it though.
“Galway Girl” is a more upbeat dance song with a traditional Irish sound to the song. The song is about an Irish girl and English man finding love together. It is a breath of fresh air after the slower ballads previously. You can go to this article to see who the inspiration is behind the “Galway Girl”.
“Happier” is yet another ballad, but this one really works for me. It is a sad song about a relationship that has ended and the girl is happier now without him, but he was happier with her. He really misses her and hopes time will heal that wound, but not right now. Another great story which is why this one I like.
Another upbeat song comes up next which seems to be the trend…slow, upbeat, slow, upbeat. “New Man” is great. This one has him singing about not wanting to know about her new man, but he seems to know a lot already. Stalker much?
“Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” brings back another slow song. I am starting to tire of the back and forth now. “What Do I Know?” is after that and picks up the pace again. Really?? I can’t take it anymore and these two songs just don’t do it for me and will be deleted.
The third song released early for streaming was “How Would You Feel (Paean)” slows it back down again. However, like “Happier” it has more feeling and a good story which has been my key in liking his songs. I have to care about the story. Also, what is a Paean? Paean is a song of Praise or Triumph. Now, I like the song even more. What is also nice is the song is just an acoustic guitar, a piano and a drum (well, until the guitar solo is electric).
The last song on the regular album is “Supermarket Flowers” and he doesn’t jump to a dance song, but keeps it slow with a sweet song about his grandmother that had passed away. It opens with a piano and his voice. It is a great song in celebration of his grandmother. My daughter told me his grandfather told him to release it since he was going to just keep it to himself since it was so personal. It is great that my daughter does my research for me now!
Now on to the deluxe edition songs. The first two songs are about Ed’s time he spent in Spain and Ghana. The songs “Barcelona” and “Bibia Be Ye Ye” are both fun, upbeat pop, dance songs that are actually great for bonus tracks. Better than what you usually get. Also, what the hell is a Bibia Be Ye Ye??? It sounds like it is fun.
“Nancy Mulligan” is another traditional Irish song about his grandfather (William Sheeran) and his love for his grandmother (Nancy Mulligan). It is a great love story, however, I have heard it enough now and won’t keep it, but it was a sweet song.
The Deluxe album ends with a ballad called “Save Myself”. You would bet I was tired of all the ballads, but you would be wrong. I like this one too because it has a great message. Before you can love someone else, you must love yourself. If you want to save someone, you must first save yourself. Everyone should listen to that message.
- “Eraser” – Keeper
- “Castle on the Hill” – Keeper
- “Dive” – Keeper
- “Shape of You” – Keeper
- “Perfect” – Delete
- “Galway Girl” – Keeper
- “Happier” – Keeper
- “New Man” – Keeper
- “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” – Delete
- “What Do I Know?” – Delete
- “How Would You Feel (Paean)” – Keeper
- “Supermarket Flowers” – Keeper
- “Barcelona” – Keeper
- “Bibia Be Ye Ye” – Keeper
- “Nancy Mulligan” – Delete
- “Save Myself” – Keeper
9 keepers out 12 songs – 75% (3.75 out 5 stars) – Regular album
12 keepers out 16 songs – 75% (3.75 out 5 stars) – Deluxe Edition
No difference in score for the regular edition and the deluxe. The overall album is really great, but I think it could use a little more variety (fewer ballads). “Shape of You” is one of his best songs, but will the others hold up to that level, only time will tell. He didn’t stray far from his formula of past success, but why should he at this point. It is only his third album. Next album he needs to change it up a little.
If you are fan, this album is a must have. If you are on the border, stream it and you will see that is worth a purchase. After listening to the album more during the review, a vinyl purchase will happen sooner than later.