Review: Divide

Does Ed Sheeran’s new album live up to the hype?

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Ed Sheeran took the UK by storm back in 2011 when he released his debut single from his upcoming album ‘+’, ‘The A Team.’ The song featured just Ed Sheeran and his guitar, an image which he would build himself on, and set a precedent for what type of album ‘+’ would be. The album reached number 1 on the charts, and has since then sold over 2 million copies.

However it wasn’t until the release of his next album ‘x’ that Ed begun to gain a global fanbase. With the help of producer Pharrel Williams, Ed Sheeran produced an album full of both catchy pop songs and songs more closer to his roots. The debut single for ‘x’, ‘sing’, entered the top 40 in a number of countries including the US, and became Ed Sheerans first number 1 song in the UK. Although, it can be argued that Ed Sheerans true success with the album came in the form of ‘thinking out loud’, a song that will be heard at weddings for years to come. The song reached number 2 in the us billboard charts and even won Ed Sheeran a grammy for song of the year. When the album was finally released it reached the top position in the us billboard charts, and according to spotify was the most streamed album of the year.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that Ed Sheeran has been met with equal commercial success from his two new singles released from the upcoming album, ‘shape of you’ and ‘castle on the hill’. the pop style beat of ‘shape of you’ is a contrast to the nostalgic, guitar style song of ‘castle on the hill’ which shares more in common with Ed Sheerans original album. This theme is shared throughout the album, with catchy songs like ‘new man’ and Barcelona’ being mixed in with the more ballad like songs of ‘perfect’ (thinking out loud 2.0?)  and ‘happier’. There is a large amount of variety to the album, with songs like ‘Galway Girl’ and ‘Nancy Mulligan’ featuring Irish folk themes, and ‘eraser’ featuring Ed Sheeran rapping in a way similar to his earlier work. The variety means that each person may find a song that appeals to them the most, however it also means the album is slightly disjointed, those wishing for an album similar to his original album ‘+’ may be left disappointed by the catchy-pop style songs featured throughout the album.

That doesn’t mean, however, that divide is a complete separation from Ed Sheeran’s roots, in fact the singer has seemed to take the more pop sounding songs from the ‘x’ album with the more acoustic sounding songs from ‘+’ and blended them together into an album that is both refreshing and innovative whilst also keeping some of what made the artist special. Overall divide has shown an evolution in the artist, and the upcoming singles released from the album are sure to reflect the reception to the album.

Rating 8/10

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