Review #192: Ed Sheeran – ÷ (Divide)

Artist – Ed Sheeran
Album – ÷ (Divide)

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Ed Sheeran has grown in popularity substantially over the past few years. From selling out consecutive shows at Wembley stadium to touring with Taylor Swift to already having 2 No.1 albums under his belt, Ed has become one of the biggest artists in the world … and actually writes/performs the majority of his own tracks. After the huge success of X (Multiply) Ed has returned from some time out of the spotlight to release is eagerly awaited third album ÷ (Divide). Divide has already been breaking record sales left, right and centre, but does it hold its own musically?

Divide is a good album, however with a few errors in judgement made, which I’d like to mention first. As ‘Sing’ was for Multiply, ‘Shape Of You’ is not an “Ed Sheeran” song and despite it’s huge popularity (due to promotion) it should not have been on Divide, it should have been given to Little Mix (whom Ed had originally written it for). Secondly, how was ‘Save Myself’ not a feature on the albums main track list, but a deluxe edition extra? The track was left out due to Elton John telling Ed that he had too many ballads on Divide already … so replace one of them with the far superior ‘Save Myself’ then! ‘New Man’ certainly shouldn’t have been prioritised above this song in anyway (I know ‘New Man’ isn’t a ballad, but still). So with those negatives over and done with here are the positives to Ed Sheerans new album. ‘Eraser’ kicks off the album, reintroducing us to what made Ed popular in the first place, his combination of acoustic melodies and quick wordplay. Divide goes on to ‘Castle on the Hill’, one of the first releases, a track with blatant U2 influence and a story we don’t usually see from songwriters, that of youth and growing up or apart from friends. I think one of the most interesting successes from Divide comes in the form of ‘Galway Girl’, a track that wasn’t particularly pushed any further than the rest of Divide’s tracks, yet has become one of the most popular across all streaming sites. ‘Galway Girl’ combines hip-hop and traditional Irish music to create an uplifting, energetic and heartfelt song about the meeting of an Irish girl and English guy. The emotional peak of Divide hits with ‘Supermarket Flowers’, a song which Ed wrote about the death of his grandmother, from the perspective of his mother, and performed that song at her funeral.

Divide is a mixture of what I think are some of Ed Sheeran’s best songs and worst. He seems to be battling his managers, producers and record label to keep his original sound and vision, and those songs end up being his best, but then the more mainstream pop tracks that he isn’t as excited about become the most popular … so what do you do?


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