Ed Sheeran, Divide

After taking a year off, singer-songwriter and musical genius Ed Sheeran is back with his third studio album, Divide. 

By George Alexander Moss

The whole world has been waiting with baited breath for Ed Sheeran’s latest offering, anticipating yet another series of smash hit records to get their hearts racing. Since releasing his seven-times platinum debut album Plus all the way back in September 9 2011, Sheeran has become a superstar by taking his lyrical songs to the global stage. His follow-up Multiply was released in 2014, and after smashing the charts, storming expectations, and performing sell-out arena shows for a second time, Sheeran took a well-deserved hiatus. After writing material for other music titans, Sheeran is now back to innovatively move his sound forward with Divide, proving once again that there is nothing he can’t do.

When we first heard Eraser, the goosepimples were already sprouting. It’s a bombastic kick-start to the album, with Sheeran rapping away to guitar strums that organically direct his rhythm into a slick flow. It’s impossible not to tap a foot or bob a head while listening to this record, and alongside a rapid verse comes a lyrical chorus that is ice cool and poignant. The song instantly reminds us that Sheeran likes to roll up his sleeves and do things himself, with full creative control of his sound and lyrics. The results are simply astonishing – it’s as if you’re welcoming back an old friend with a groovy new sports car; and they’re letting you drive.

   Dive is very much in line with Sheeran’s sound, but subtle nuances allow the music to evolve into something else entirely. Backing singers are put to strategic use by emphasising all the right lyrics, and every instrument feels like it has a key purpose. The song is raw and economical, yet full to the brim with feeling and power. Simply put, Sheeran has an extraordinary talent to write innovative songs that somehow sit right at home in our hearts.

If you were expecting to come out of song seven Happier feeling elated, then you’d be horribly mistaken. A soft melody that is broken up by cries of confession, Sheeran’s sombre voice describes his own mistakes and sadness while his ex is apparently happier. This key dichotomy creates a struggle between liking the measured tune, but blubbering at the lyrics. The song by design feels like a book that is shut before the fateful last page, and that feeling alone inspires repeated listens in the hope of filling a gap in the heart that has been blown out like a shotgun.

   What Do I Know? is the perfect track to set as an alarm to make a Monday morning a little chirpier. The soulful song offers a welcome moment of therapeutic levity to the album, and can be sung at a cheesy campfire gathering as easily as it could be performed at the O2. The guitar twangs away as if approving of every lyric that comes out Sheeran’s mouth. Bobbing along calmly, it explains the power of music whilst demonstrating it with the musicality of the track itself.

There isn’t a single weak moment in the entire album, with every song a key in a golden chain of excellency. Divide is consistent in quality yet full of different flavours, charting an emotional journey that can thankfully be felt all over again with just one click of the repeat button.