Ed Sheeran – ÷

Let’s face it, Ed Sheeran has become a national treasure and the success of his third album was never going to be in question. He has a very loyal fanbase. I’ve always been a fan of the man, but not his music. Upon hearing the first singles I wasn’t particularly moved to change my opinion. However, I can’t deny that he’s got a great attitude and sense of humour and is skilled on the guitar (and his loop pedal if the Grammys was anything to go by). So does his new album justify the hype which has always eluded me?

Continuing with the mathematically-themed album titles, Divide lives up to its name for being an album which doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. ‘Eraser’ sees Ed exercising his rap muscles with a hard-hitting beat and bass accompanying his pretty guitar melody. With ‘Castle on the Hill’ he becomes lyrically nostalgic and gives us a rousing chorus reminiscent of U2. Meanwhile ‘Dive’ slows proceedings down with a soulful vocal which aims to tug on the heart strings while a guitar solo suggests an understanding of blues akin to Clapton.

Stylistically-confused and unsure of itself, Divide is creatively impressive but ultimately unfocused.

Divide continues with this desperate attempt to cover all bases. Sheeran is trying to cater to the wide demographic that makes up his devoted fanbase. There’s an ongoing tussle as he swaps between his “Radio 1” audience (‘New Man’ and ‘Shape Of You’) and “Radio 2” audience (‘Hearts Don’t Break Around Here’ and ‘How Would You Feel (Paean)). Occasionally, he can’t decide which mode he’s in, such as on ‘Galway Girl’. The Celtic tint of the latter must have given Ed inspiration for ‘Nancy Mulligan’ which appears on the deluxe edition. Grab your ale and prepare for a sing-song!

Stylistically-confused and unsure of itself, Divide is creatively impressive but ultimately unfocused.

 

By Will Hunt


Noteworthy Details

A plethora of genres explored
Some nice songwriting alongside too many bland compositions
Stylistically-confused
‘Nancy Mulligan’ is a nice folk-filled surprise

Rating

5/10



Track List (Deluxe)
1. Eraser
2. Castle on the Hill
3. Dive
4. Shape of You
5. Perfect
6. Galway Girl
7. Happier
8. New Man
9. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here
10. What Do I Know?
11. How Would You Feel (Paean)
12. Supermarket Flowers
13. Barcelona
14. Bibia Be Ye Ye
15. Nancy Mulligan
16. Save Myself