At the end of 2015, Ed Sheeran finished a tour that seemed to have gone on since the beginning of his career. Within a few short years, he’d gone from busking on streets and couch surfing, to playing stadiums worldwide, and hanging out with Taylor Swift. Understandably, he needed a break from the world of fame. He left the Mt Smart stage, and that was it. For an entire year. 2016 saw an Ed Sheeran drought, and no amount of well-building would have brought back the ginger haired musical genius that we all adore. It wasn’t unexpected – Ed left us a farewell message explaining that he was taking a break – but that didn’t mean it was easy.
Exactly a year after he posted that message, his Twitter account came alive again with a cryptic tweet that simply consisted of a light blue square. Less than a month later, we had two new singles (Shape of You and Castle on the Hill) and an album announcement – including track listing.
Divide comes out on March the 3rd.
We’ve already had a little taste of what’s to come, and if that’s anything to go by, this record is going to be another marvellous collection of nostalgia trips, love, and heartbreak. Ed has broken yet another streaming record with the release of Shape of You, which broke the record of ‘one day’ streams on Spotify with 7,940,950 streams. People are not chilled out when it comes to Ed, and it is entirely deserved.
“First off, what a week! The reaction to my new singles has been absolutely mind-blowing and I can’t thank you enough. My new album ÷ holds a very special place in my heart and I really believe this is my best work to date. I’ve been eager to get back and I couldn’t be more excited for March 3rd.”
As we have come to expect from Ed, Divide is another record that explores a range of genres, and will give us an insight to his life – drawing from personal experiences, mostly based on reflection, and hopefully giving us some idea as to what it was he got up to on his year off. Ed Sheeran is many things, but he will never be complacent, and Divide will only further prove his versatility, and willingness to attempt the unknown.
“Musically ÷ is an array of beautifully orchestrated and emotive ballads, impassioned raps laid over hip hop beats, timeless acoustic guitar masterpieces and innovative, idiosyncratic pop music.”
The album was executively produced by Ed himself, as well as Benny Blanco, who has worked with the likes of Rihanna and The Weeknd in the past, and was recorded in an array of locations: LA, London, Suffolk, and RMS Queen Mary 2. As always, Ed played the largest part in the creation of the album, even trying his hand at art by painting the cover himself, and proving himself to be quite the artist.
Ed’s latest release follows multi-platinum albums X (Multiply) and + (Plus), released in 2014 and 2011, respectively. + is now 9x platinum in the UK alone, and X has been named one of the biggest-selling albums of all time by the Official Chart Company and has, so far, been streamed over 3.5 billion times. If Divide is anything like it’s predecessors, there will only be more awards, more 7 digit figures, and more tears over the beauty of what Ed Sheeran creates. The deluxe version will have four extra tracks, and will be available on vinyl as well as CD.
I, for one, cannot wait to get stuck into it.
2. Castle On The Hill
4. Shape Of You
6. Galway Girl
8. New Man
9. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here
10. What Do I Know?
11. How Would You Feel (Paean)
12. Supermarket Flowers
14. Bibia Be Ye Ye
15. Nancy Mulligan
16. Save Myself