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