Ed Sheeran ÷ (Divide) : Review

Ed Sheeran burst onto the scene with “A-Team” accompanied by “Lego House”. The two singles set the stage for the singer-songwriter to enter the very much stagnant mainstream world of music and offer something of his own. He is not the same artist anymore. Over the years he has won over enough fans and collected numerous accolades that he can now do whatever he wants and stay relevant. 
So what does “Divide” has in store for us. Well for anyone who has heard the songs released before the album i.e. Shape of You, Castle on the Hill, How would you feel, Eraser has got almost the complete essence of the album. 

The album starts with “Eraser” one of the songs I was let down by. His rapping is awkward through out the album and constitutes the lowest points of the album. Though on this one he fares better as a rapper than he did on “x” (Take it back). But then comes the song “Castle on the hill” the song keeps growing on me. These are the kind of I personally prefer from Ed Sheeran, way more than his fiddle filled rap tracks or bouncy tracks like “Shape of you”. Actually the album has something for everyone. It covers almost all the listening demographics. This may help the album win a lot of listeners but won’t really help the overall listening experience. “Shape of you” is not a bad track at all and the choice of sounds and instruments also reflects upon his travels to various places but it feels a little out of place between “Castle”, “Dive” and “Perfect”. This track is a commendable attempt solely for Sheeran going so far away from his comfort zone. Before it we have “Dive” which shows Sheeran at the top of his vocal abilities. His vocal performance remain the strongest point of this album. The songs, all of them feel written with a particular delivery in mind and Sheeran pulls them all off really well, so well that even very cringey and cheesy lines also seem enjoyable. Sometimes they do feel just tolerable and the overuse of word Baby at times feels a bit too much too handle but that’s what Sheeran does and his vocal delivery saves it. 

I would like everyone to keep one thing in mind before listening to the album that Sheeran is not the greatest lyricist you’ll ever see so don’t expect that, he is a songwriter and this albums gives you the experience of a songwriter explaining various phases of life and his travels. Travels are not explained much in lyrics but more in the instrument choices. The last four tracks over here are the ones that I really enjoyed a lot more on the later listens than I did during the first and second listening sessions. These are the songs where Sheeran seems like having fun and having it very naturally. Save Myself is different from the three tracks before it but I enjoy it’s introspect and emotion. All these tracks  also add more color and texture to the album which otherwise would have been pretty much what his previous works were. 

To sum it all up Ed Sheeran gives us a record with everything for everyone. You want the Pop Sheeran take Shape of you or New Man, like ballads there are lots “What do I know?”, “How would you feel?”, “Dive” etc. Want a fun track to tune in to you have “Bibia Be Ye Ye”, “Barcelona” etc. His voice is again his strongest instrument and he shows his range in this. Album could have done without “Galway Girl” and maybe also “Supermarket Flowers” but is a nice experience to sit through. He again gives us songs that’ll be part and parcel of recent proposals and stuff just like “Thinking out loud” did.

It’s best to say that this is the biggest release yet this year and will be among the biggest when we reach the end of the year. It’s not a perfect record but is a more matured one. Might not be among the best album released this year but surely will be a highlight among the more mainstream releases.

So, have you given this one a listen? Tell me how you feel about it and if it is all you expected it to be

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The Past few Days: Linkin Park, Ed Sheeran, Sampha, Maroon 5, Katy Perry and more.

The Grammys are done and there were some really bright moments the brightest of them all probably (apart from Cee Lo Green’s clothing) was Adele’s walk of triumph after triumph. Many would argue a better scenario would have been Bey taking home the coveted Album of the year but I wouldn’t go that far and say Adele didn’t deserve it, after all she had a good album and the biggest album of the last few years. But now the world of music moves forward and we have had new releases in the meanwhile.

So, let’s get started with Sampha. I happened to stumble upon his album actually. I was tuning into Beats 1 Radio stream expecting to hear Big Sean’s “I Decided” but was too late and by the time I tuned in they were finished with Sean and had Sampha on, the song “Under” was playing and I loved it straight away. I gave the album “Process” a listen and man oh man it was brilliant. In fact it is right now my favorite album released in 2017. The British singer’s efforts on this Alternative R&B, electronic record are very commendable and this being his debut album gives me a lot of hope for the what the future holds. And now as I used the word future it reminds me of another song I heard today, Maroon 5 feat. Future “Cold“. I must say that I wasn’t as disappointed by the as I was by the music video. It was a pain in the ass. The song however was again nothing special heck even Adam didn’t look excited for it in the beginning.

Then there’s also the Linkin Park track “Heavy” that got released today. The song is something very different than what one may expect from the band specially after how their last album sounded like. The song features vocals from Chester Bennington and guest vocals from Kiiara. Chester might seem unrecognizable at first when the song starts “I don’t like my mind right now” and goes on to talk about how he is handling the problems andhow the weight of the stuff he has to handle might be getting too much to handle for him and so does Kiiara. The vocals here are done well and the production on “Heavy” is light but enjoyable and fits the theme well the problem here is that this song sounds just like many other songs one may hear on the radio and even though it’s a comparatively new territory for the seasoned band I personally think it’s playing safe as I expected bands like LP to push the barriers a little more and go past the defined boundaries but maybe that’s just me. Anyhow, it is a good track to bump from time to time and I am excited to listen what they do with “One More Light” which comes out in May.

There’s also Ed Sheeran who released a new song (not a single he says) “How would you feel (Paean)”. I enjoyed his previous songs both “Castle on the hill” and “Shape of you“. This one here is song that is very reminiscent of “Thinking out loud” as he sings soulfully while playing his guitar in the background. He sings mostly in the mid and higher vocal range. It’s a very enjoyable song for those who have enjoyed his previous stuff. It’s very well written and increases my expectations with the upcoming album of his (Divide).

I’ll also like to shout out Jens Lekman for his album “Life will see you now“. The project is multi-colored in structure and has references to disco, funk, and soul among other genres. It has the potential to be one of the highlights among the Indie Pop genre music released this year. Oh and now the word highlight reminds of another album that’s Lupe Fiasco‘s “DROGAS light“. Well to be fair to Lupe I didn’t like this record. It was just too safe and almost none of the tracks here stand out to me and promise to be the one’s that I’ll keep on bumping in the future. I was very disappointed in the album. Disappointment reminds of another artist, Katy Perry. Well the new song “Chained to the rhythm” which features Skip Marley is just kind of trashy to me. I don’t really like calling people’s music trashy but that gave me a headache on the first listen itself (I have heard it more than once though). I hope it grows on me but right now I could have better done without it. 

There was a lot of stuff released recently and difficult to talk about it all but yeah NAV has released a song featuring The Weeknd it’s called “Some way” wasn’t exactly head over heels for it but yeah it’s a cool track to listen to and it grows on you. Probably The Weeknd takes shots at Justin Bieber in this one and believe me those lines are burn inducing. Which reminds me of Selena Gomez. She also released new music with Kygo. The song is titled “It Aint me” and has all the ingredients to be a hit but it’s largely a track that will be forgotten as soon as a new hit hits the market. 

So yeah, that’s pretty much it from me. Keep listening and do tell me what and who you are looking out for and what you feel about the above tracks and albums.