By GEO CABRAL
Not a few days after the turn of the year, we got news that Ed Sheeran is coming back, and that he’s dropping some new music soon. Not long after that, two new singles came out Castle on the Hill and Shape of You, along with the announcement of the arrival of his third album “Divide.”
The hype has been building up for this ever since the success of his last album “X” and his decision to take a year off. And last March 3, he finally shared with us what he’s been working on for a while now.
The album surprised me in all honesty, and at first I didn’t even know how I felt about it. Even when Castle on the Hill and Shape of You dropped, I really liked them, but couldn’t help but feel how it was not directly like the music we knew from Ed’s past songs. And I was trying to decide, just beyond the whole math joke thing, why he would name his album “Divide.”
After some research and listening more to the album, I was able to get some ideas. He did say that he wanted the album to feel schizophrenic, and that each song was in some ways quite different from the other. I also felt that we were seeing more into his life; “Divide” is talking about more than just his love stories; it’s a lot more about him in all aspects. We’re seeing a lot more of his story, a lot more of his beliefs, his growth, his failures, his challenges. The album is essentially letting us crack open, and see into the soul of the singer-songwriter.
I’ve grown to love the album, and I can see it really being big this year. Here is my own personal, track per track review of “Divide”:
I heard the extended version of this track when he released it the live version a few days before on SBTV’s YouTube channel. My first thought was that of complete amazement because Ed was really spitting fire with the verses in this song. And then it gave me a bit of a You Need Me, I Need You vibe.
As the first song on the album, we enter immediately, not only into the Ed’s killer rap skills, but an update on where his life is now. He said in his interview with Zane Lowe that he was struggling and making wrong decisions sometime before he made the choice to take a year off. It’s a song all about the pressures and negative influences one can get from the industry that he works in, and even the way other people react around, and treat him, because of his fame. The rawness of his voice and his pure lyrics, really make us feel what it must have been like for him at that time, under so much pressure of the workings of the music industry.
Castle on the Hill
The best description I heard for this song is that it’s essentially a love song to Suffolk. And that’s exactly what we hear here. The song is one big ball of nostalgia that we can all relate to, as Ed takes us back in time, to his life growing up, the feelings and experiences he had with his friends and loved ones, and the emotions inside him now that he’s returning. A great song to follow after Eraser, this is where we see the beginning of his decision to take some time off, and we see him going home, to remember his roots. I started to feel nostalgic as I was listening to it and despite not leaving college yet, I started to picture my college life. Truly, we can relate to the fondness in his voice as he remembers his past, and this joy at coming back home.
Dive impressed me the most in terms of Ed’s vocal ability, because he was just really bringing in the emotion and power in this song. We can really feel Ed’s longing for this girl; how deep in love he is with this woman, and how he’s just pleading for her to just tell him that she feels the same. This is a song directed at all the people out there that’s sending signals, of infatuation or even love, but just won’t come clean about it. Right in the feels.
Shape of You
One of first two singles to drop this album, Ed brings us a chill song with a bit of a dancehall tropical beat that you really can’t help but groove to. It’s been likened to Sia’s Cheap Thrills but Ed had said that thing song was originally intended for Rihanna, but he kept it instead. It’s all about Ed falling in love with someone, but this one is entirely more physical than emotional, and is just all out about the physical aspects of a relationship. No doubt, this Ed’s new song for you to dance to in the club.
Perfect is every bit the pure and sweet lyrics that Thinking Out Loud was, and more. This song is definitely Ed being entirely in love with this girl, in all aspects, and he is speaking a lot more mature than he ever has about his relationships. He’s looking for a life in the future with her. It’s like he can’t believe this is happening to him, and he’s just so enthralled by her. I guess that’s another wedding song Ed can add to his tier.
This song is loads of fun. Ed tells a story of a guy and a girl meeting in a bar in Galway, who just go out and have some fun. The song is light, carefree, and is just really great to dance to. It has that folk song feel to it, but has been made to be a lot more pop, to bring out a really fun song that we can all just sing to.
If Ed Sheehan’s most mature lyrics about his current relationship is in Perfect, his most mature lyrics about a previous relationship is in this song. Ed delivers to us beautiful and heart-wrenching words about seeing how happy this girl he once dated, and how he’s telling trying to accept that she really is happier with someone else, and that it’s better this way. The singer-songwriter makes us all relate greatly, to that point in our lives where we accept that time only moves forward, and this person really isn’t made for you, but we can’t help but love them still.
A completely interesting song to be put after Happier, this song has Ed doing another one of his specialties: throwing shade. This song has got major shade, and it’s basically Don’t 2.0, with Ed talking bad about the new guy his ex is now with, and how he doesn’t want to know him at all. The girl is evidently still trying to meet up with him, despite having a new guy, and so really Ed is throwing shade at both of them. Yaaassss Ed, throw that shade.
Heart’s Don’t Break Around Here
This song is absolutely adorable and sweet to the core. Ed talks about his girlfriend being absolutely lovely and how he feels safe and secure with her. The title talks about how the both of them are in a place of love, and they won’t be breaking any hearts together. She is able to be his anchor, and he is able to be hers. We see a little more into his love with his girlfriend, and we can tell the contentment they have with each other. I’d say this is one of my favourites from the album by far.
What Do I Know?
This is probably as close as we’ll get to Ed preaching, and he’s preaching simply about love being able to change the world. He’s talking about how he’s a musician, who didn’t really go to Uni, and tries to avoid politics and money, but he’s saying he thinks love can change the world, but almost jokingly adds after that, a shrug. It’s a funny poke at people, by saying that love really can make the world better, but no one seems to be thinking of it first and foremost. This song is another favourite from the album, and it just gives that feel good vibe that makes you want to preach about love as well.
How Would You Feel (Paean)
This song, I would say, is my absolute favourite in the album, and Ed Sheeran’s girlfriend feels the same. The song was added after Ed’s girlfriend said that this song was her favourite, and so he decided to produce it. I really enjoy the vibe and the instruments in the song are spot on. Not to mention John Mayer’s killer guitar solo skills. It was this song that I likened to Thinking Out Loud, because I heard it first, but it shares that spot now with Perfect. The song is sweet, full of love, and talks about how Ed’s at this point now where he’s ready to say that he’s in love with her, and he wants to continue being in love with her, and so he’s asking if she feels the same.
I thought maybe Happier was the most heartbreaking song in the album, until I heard this. The song is from his mother’s perspective, and talks simply about that moment where her mother (Ed’s grandmother) has died, and about all of them going through the motions, needing to do what they have to do, because that’s all you can really bare to think about at the moment. I feel we can all relate to that feeling, when a loved one dies, and you really push yourself to go through the motions and do what you have to do, just to keep yourself in check. Everything in that moment becomes suddenly vivid, and everything we notice in that moment, we carry with us forever.
Barcelona is all about one thing and one thing only: Fun. The song is pure fun, and is made for you to dance to, to get good vibes from, and to just really feel like you’re in another place altogether. When I listen to this song, I can’t help but wish to be in a festive area, dancing with people, with food and streamers everywhere. Everyone just having a really great time.
Bibia Be Ye Ye
Bibia Be Ye Ye means that “All Will Be Well” and this song is basically about that. Ed talks about things he’s done wrong, challenges he’s had, and the problems he’s faced, and he’s basically saying that “it’s okay because All Will Be Well”. The song is a really good pick-me- up, with a fun beat and a really great message. This song’s for anyone out there dealing with troubles now, we’re asked to remember that things are going to be oaky.
This song is the story of his grandparents met, and it’s really going full on Irish with the vibes and sound that it has. It’s a sweet and fun, and Ed really takes us through a story of how it all went down between his grandparents. I’d say that Ed really does the Irish songs well, and should be something he should look into more in the future.
Even though this song is technically in the deluxe version (along with the previous three), I felt that if this was the whole album, then we get a nice connection back to Eraser. Here he talks about how he can save, help, or love someone else; he needs to learn how to do that for himself. It’s a song about choosing to do something for ourselves, to fix ourselves, and to get up and say “I’m going to do good for and with myself from now on.” It’s a good return to what he was talking about in Eraser, how he’s feeling lost, making mistakes, and being used by people, all because of this fame he’s achieved. It’s a reality check that he gives to us, and for himself, that if we want to genuinely help people, we have to do that for ourselves. We need to remember to love ourselves.
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Ed Sheeran has made another masterpiece, and this one in particular is an album that takes us through the different aspects of Ed’s life. Once more, Ed Sheeran is on his way to making big success, with another great album.