By Gregor Farquharson (@gregoratlantic)
Ed Sheeran’s sophomore record “Multiply “sent him into super-stardom, selling out Wembley three times as well as selling over 5 million copies in the UK and the US alone. His fame is unprecedented for someone of his age, firmly cementing himself as one of the greatest singer-songwriters of a generation. Ed has recently released his third full-length album, titled “Divide” following a one year break in 2016, with Sheeran appearing out of the public eye the entire year. The first two songs released from the album, titled “Shape of You” and “Castle On The Hill” split fans opinions down the middle. “Shape of You”, perhaps the biggest song of 2017, sounds more like it is made to be played in clubs, with the star even stating in an interview that he had originally written the track for Rihanna. With the catchy chorus’ we have grown used to with the artist and showcasing the singer’s wide vocal range, it really is a strong track to showcase what the album is about. “Castle on the Hill” takes the more classic Sheeran approach so to speak. Featuring the acoustic guitar we know and love Ed for, as well as a chorus made to be sung loud by huge crowds at huge gigs, it really is a huge track for the artist.
Other strong highlights on the album’s first half include album opener, Eraser, a song mostly spoken and reflecting on just how far and successful the singer has become, with Ed looking at his career, talking about how he thinks money is a problem in the industry. In addition to that, he explores how people will view you negatively if you are not happy, as you are successful, all of which are topics in which are ignored in today’s industry. Another definite highlight is perhaps the most absurd yet radio friendly Sheeran has ever released titled Galway Girl. A fast, upbeat pop song, with clear Irish influences, this song is made to make people happy. The catchy chorus is hard not to sing along to after a few listens, and the addition of an Irish band add to the songs feel good factor. Songs such as Perfect and Dive, however, don’t add anything new to Sheeran’s discography. They sound like they have been plucked from previous albums, and put on this one just to fill it up, with bland chorus’ and generic topics, they are just a bit boring.
The second half of the album, however, does not live up to the first half. New Man and What Do I Know are definite highlights, both sounding different from most of Sheeran’s old music, which is never a bad thing. New Man is modern day poetry, talking about “bleached arseholes” and poking fun at modern day men. It is a classic, and a joy to listen to the artist’s lyrics. Songs such as “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” and “Supermarket Flowers” add emotion to the album, and do it mildly well. Not as good as previous attempts such as Photograph and Thinking Out Loud however, but those songs are very hard to live up to.
Sheeran’s year off has proved well for the artist, creating an amazing piece of work that will surely do well for the star, and cement itself as a great pop record.