After taking a year-long break from the public eye, Ed Sheeran released his highly anticipated junior album “Divide” on March 3.
Following the commercial and critical success of “Multiply,” which won two Grammy Awards, Sheeran had a lot to live up to with his newest album, which avid Sheeran fans have awaited since he disappeared from social media on Dec. 13, 2015. “Divide” not only lives up to the previous expectations set by Sheeran’s past music, but surpasses them completely.
The first two singles, “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill,” that were released simultaneously on Jan. 6 set the stage for the rest of the album. “Shape of You” proves Sheeran’s power as a performer. During his performance of the single during the 57th Grammy Awards, Sheeran did not use a band, rather recording sounds and completely re-creating the song while onstage.
The album as a whole has a complete mix of song styles. It contains slow sad songs with “Supermarket Flowers,” while also paying tribute to Sheeran’s Irish roots with upbeat tunes like “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan.”
In addition to the Irish undertones in “Nancy Mulligan,” Sheeran pays tribute to his paternal grandparents in the record. While this song is my favorite tune on the album, and subsequently exposes my Irish roots, the ode to his grandparents makes the song that much sweeter.
In addition to the variety of songs, “Divide” showcases Sheeran’s versatility as a songwriter. While he penned songs like Major Lazer’s “Cold Water” during his break, Sheeran wrote every single song on this album, just like on “Plus” and “Multiply.”
Since the album’s release, all 16 tracks have climbed the charts on ITunes. The lowest chart position for any of the songs is 111 for “Bibia Be Ye Ye.” Additionally, “Divide” has broken records on Spotify with over 56 million streams on its release day.
Sheeran’s return to the music scene does not disappoint. Any of his fans should embrace all 16 tracks and play them on repeat until the inevitable release of his next studio album that will most likely be named “Subtract.”
– Katie O’Meara- Photo/Graphics Editor –