Ed Sheeran Showcases Versatility with New Album, Divide

Stephanie Nguyen, Junior Wrtier

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Get your tissue box and ice cream out because Ed Sheeran just released a brand new album, Divide. Known for his ability to produce heart-wrenching music through his lyrical talent, the Grammy-winning English singer-songwriter released his third studio album Divide on March 3, 2017.  After a year-long break, Sheeran promoted his new music by releasing three songs ahead of time, “Shape of You,” “Castle Over the Hill,” and “How Would You Feel (Paean).” The excitement and anticipation for his album was reflected when the previews placed respectable spots on the charts. Complete with 16 tracks on the deluxe album, Divide, lives up to Sheeran’s reputation of being an award-winning singer and songwriter.

On December 13, 2015, Ed Sheeran announced that he was going to take a year long break from social media to take, “this opportunity of me not having to be anywhere or do anything to travel the world and see everything I missed” (@teddysphotos on Instagram). When he came back into contact with the media, he also came back with a new album that was inspired by the travels he made while he was away. The songs on Divide show an array of different genres that showcases music from different areas of the world. A prime example of this is “Barcelona,” which exerts the feeling of being within the Spanish city. The song also gave him the opportunity to practice his Spanish, singing, “feel that summer breeze in Barcelona, Los otros, viva la vida, siempre vida,” which roughly translates to, the others live the life, always. Combined with the flute and the guitar to create a tropical tune, the track forces listeners to, “pretend we’re dancing in the streets in Barcelona.” Another track that is a great representation of his travels is the track, “Bibia Be Ye Ye,” which is one of the more upbeat songs. “Bibia Be Ye Ye,” which means, “Everything Will Be Alright,” in Twi, the language of Ghana, which, according to Pulse GH, a Ghanaian news platform, he visited back in June 2016 during his break to collaborate with producer Fuse ODG. The track expresses South African rooted vibes, which along with the message of hope, creates an uplifting mood.

Although the English singer-songwriter drew a lot of inspiration from his trips around the world, he also produced tracks that many know him for: the emotional and powerful ballads. On track in particular is “Happier,” which talks about a time where Sheeran was chasing after someone that always seemed to get away. He sings, “Baby you look happier, you do…But if he breaks your heart like lovers do, Just know that I’ll be waiting here for you,” which reflects his patience and willingness to be with that one significant other. Although “Happier” talks about a love story that Sheeran experienced, Ed Sheeran also produced tracks that left a window to his personal life, one being, “Supermarket Flowers.” Two album later, Sheeran decided to release a beautifully written song about his grandmother. From an exclusive interview with MTV UK, Sheeran revealed, “She was in a hospital near my house where I was making the album so I saw her quite a lot while making the album and she passed away while I was in the studio.” Even though Ed Sheeran is known to be very strong in the field of songwriting, “Supermarket Flowers,” is one of his best lyrically recorded pieces. Written in a style of a story with immense detail that it will transport the listener, Sheeran sets the scene by singing, “I fluffed the pillows, made the beds, stacked the chairs up, folded your nightgowns neatly in a case.” This line out of many pinpoints to details, which is what made this track so lifelike. Lastly, Sheeran finished Divide with a reflection in a form of a song. After taking a break, it allowed Ed Sheeran to think about what he has done and how much he grew as a person in the light of the media. In “Save Yourself,” Sheeran expresses a very personal experience where he found himself at a low point. One line in the song that gives listeners an insight of his emotions is, “Life can get you down so I just numb the way it feels. I drown it with a drink and out of date prescription pills.” Throughout the track, he repeatedly says, “So before I save someone else, I’ve got to save myself,” but at the end, he finishes with, “And before I love someone else, I’ve got to love myself,” which represents his inner lack of confidence and sense of value. By ending his third studio album with a reflection, he reminds the audience of his humanity and the issues he experiences behind the music.

Ed Sheeran’s junior album, Divide, proves to be one of his most versatile and diverse album. Drawing inspiration from his travels and the self-reflection he underwent, Sheeran created an album that will make listeners gain a sense of intimacy with the English singer-songwriter. Although many tracks will stir emotions, Ed Sheeran made sure to incorporate songs that will make people want to take a break from the media as well as and take that time to travel the world. From tropical, upbeat beats to strong ballads, Sheeran made a tracklist that will draw any kind of music listener. To hear Ed Sheeran make his return to music, take a listen of Divide on either Spotify, iTunes, or on YouTube.