Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran wows with third album, ‘Divide’
On March 3, singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran released his third full-length album, “Divide.” This highly anticipated album comes almost three years after his sophomore album, “Multiply.” Fans are also looking forward to Sheeran’s comeback because of his year-long social media and spotlight hiatus, during which he took time off from touring and traveled the world at his leisure.
Before the album release, Sheeran released two singles, “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You.”
“Castle on the Hill” tells of Sheeran’s childhood and the friends who have stuck with him through his rising popularity. The tune is a nostalgic, but uplifting, one that makes you feel like driving on the open road with the windows down, just as the song says: “And I’m on way, I still remember these old country lanes, when we did not know the answers.”
Of the two songs, the most popular is “Shape of You.” The song is the perfect blend of Sheeran’s previous sound and modern tempos that make the song infectious for all types of music-listeners. The song peaked at number one on various music charts.
The first non-single song on the album is “Eraser,” a title that showcases Sheeran’s rapping abilities, much like previous songs, “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” on his album “Plus” and “The Man” on “Multiply.” The melody begins relaxed but gains an intense momentum as Sheeran describes the hardships of his fame.
Sheeran’s slowest and most heartfelt songs include mellow melodies and simple tunes from a guitar or piano. They are “Dive,” “Perfect,” “Happier,” “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here,” “How Would You Feel (Paean),” “Supermarket Flowers,” and “Save Myself.”
“Dive” has a slow, late-night jazz vibe to it. “Perfect,” which was written with Sheeran’s long-time girlfriend in mind, is a sweet and romantic anthem. “Happier” tells the opposite story, one of seeing a past lover happier with a new lover. “How Would You Feel (Paean),” although not a single, was a pre-released song before the full album came out. It is a simple tune that conveys an even simpler, yet sweet message. In the song, he wonders, “How would you feel, if I told you I loved you? It’s just something that I want to do.”
Although “Save Myself” is a melancholy song, one can only feel refreshed after listening to the relatable and inspiring last lines, “Before I love someone else, I’ve got to love myself.”
My favorite of the eight slower songs, however, is “Supermarket Flowers.” The lyrics can make anyone of any background emotional to the point of tears. The song is dedicated to the story of his mother and her late mother, his grandmother, who passed away while Sheeran was writing the new album. “You were an angel in the shape of my mum,” he sings.
The more upbeat and sprightly songs on the record include “Galway Girl,” “New Man,” “What Do I Know,” “Barcelona,” “Bibia Be Ye Ye” and “Nancy Mulligan.”
“Galway Girl,” Sheeran’s upcoming single on the album, combines infectious beats with traditional Irish melodies, as Galway is a city in Ireland.
“What Do I Know?” is perhaps the most feel-good tune on the album. Sheeran’s smooth and addicting voice – with lyrics like, “Love could change the world in a moment, but what do I know?”- is an inspiration to all people.
“Barcelona” is a song that simply screams its title; if you close your eyes, you can just imagine yourself in Barcelona humming along to the Mediterranean-style tune of this song.
“Bibia Be Ye Ye,” the most interesting and fun of all the songs, was written by Sheeran and English-Ghanaian artist, Fuse ODG, during their trip to Ghana. The African-inspired song’s title translates to “All will be well.”
“Nancy Mulligan” is also about his grandmother, but this song pays tribute to the love story of his grandparents. The song also includes traditional folk sounds that only add to the harmonious love story.
My favorite song on the entire album is absolutely “New Man.” For one, the lyrics are hilarious and totally relatable to most relationships of the 21st century. Sheeran bashes the new boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend with lyrics like, “Wears boat shoes with no socks on his feet and I hear he’s on a new diet and watches what he eats.”
However, my favorite aspect of the song is its enticing and addicting flow. Although it’s a modern song lyrically, it has such a classic melody that can immediately get stuck in anyone’s head.
As someone who has been a fan of Sheeran since his first album and even some pre-debut EPs, he never ceases to amaze me with his capabilities as a songwriter and his pure talent as a musician. I have seen Sheeran live three times, and although it is just him on stage with his guitar and loop pedal, he is by far the best performer of his kind.
“Divide” is an album that anyone can enjoy. I highly recommend giving it a listen; it is a worthy investment.