"÷" by Ed Sheeran
Artist: Ed Sheeran
Release Date: March 3, 2017
My Format: Apple Music
The first Ed Sheeran song I ever heard was "The A Team". I heard it on the radio and caught a lyric or two so I could google it and find it on iTunes, only to find that I'd downloaded it months earlier as the iTunes free song of the week. As I've listened to Divide over the past week, I thought back on his previous albums and how they do a great job of holding up as complete albums, full of a lot of musical variation. Divide continues and improves on this trend.
"Galway Girl" and "Nancy Mulligan" revisit the beautiful Celtic hidden track "The Parting Glass" on Plus, and this sound might be my favorite of Sheeran's collection. "Nancy Mulligan" in particular is incredible, a retelling of his grandparents' meeting in their youth. "Hearts Don't Break Around Here" recalls "Tenerife Sea" and "Lego House" from Multiply and Plus respectively. "Eraser" is a polished follow up of "You Need Me, I Don't Need You", "Take It Back" and "The Man" (but a lot tighter with an incredible hook), proving his rapping isn't a stunt. And then out of nowhere we have new sounds on "Barcelona" and "Bibia Be Ye Ye" which will make you want to immediately head for somewhere warmer.
The single "Shape Of You" is not a good representation of the album despite the fact it is radio-ready. Divide is full of variety and packed with good music. Ed Sheeran is talented, and can weave in and out of musical styles and genres effortlessly while maintaining cohesiveness. It is impressive, and it is good.