Ed Sheeran's latest album was well-worth the wait

Ed Sheeran performs on NBC's "Today" show on Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in New York. (Charles Sykes/AP Exchange)

Famed musician Ed Sheeran recently released his third album, “Divide,” after a yearlong hiatus. Although “Divide” was released one week ago, the highly anticipated album has already reestablished Sheeran's powerhouse presence in the music industry. Singles “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill” had already reached significant financial and critical success several weeks before the rest of “Divide” was even released.

Ed Sheeran began “Divide” with the song “Eraser.” “Eraser” utilized Ed Sheeran's unique method of combining a quick lyrical pace (somewhere between rap and spoken word) with pop rock inspired instrumental backing. In “Eraser,” Sheeran questions his fame, seemingly wishing to go back to a simpler time. Sheeran continues this sentiment in “Castle on the Hill,” the second song on the album. Sheeran talks about wanting to go back to his hometown, describing how each person from his childhood shaped him into the man he is today.

Similar to past songs by Sheeran, such as “Thinking Out Loud,” “Divide” features several love songs. Songs like “How Would You Feel (Paeen),” “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” and “Perfect” are stripped down and sweet, relying heavily on Sheeran's beautiful lyrics, simple instrumentals and charming vocals. Each song is incredibly gentle and romantic so I expect that all three of these songs will be featured in weddings for years to come.

“Divide” also featured two very different songs about ending relationships. The first of these songs, “Happier,” beautifully tells the story of seeing your ex with someone new, but loving them so much that you prize their happiness over your own. Sheeran's delivery of the final verse is heart-wrenching, as he sings, “I knew one day you'd fall for someone new/But if he breaks your heart like lovers do/Just know that I'll be waiting here for you.” Sheeran's song “New Man” takes a very different approach to a similar topic, except Sheeran has no interest in his ex. The song is comical, fun and has an infectious chorus that is reminiscent of 90s boy bands.  

Many of the songs on this album had obvious international influence. In “Bibia Be Ye Ye” and “Barcelona,” Sheeran spends portions of the songs speaking in foreign languages. Sheeran's songs “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan” mixed his modern pop music with traditional Irish instruments. “Nancy Mulligan,” a song about his Irish grandparents, would not feel out of place in a pub.

“Supermarket Flowers” was about one of Ed Sheeran's other grandparents, but was drastically different from “Nancy Mulligan.” “Supermarket Flowers” is simply stunning, complementing Sheeran's beautifully heart-breaking vocals with a simple piano instrumental. This song was so touching and emotional that it brought tears to my eyes, so make sure to have tissues on standby when you first listen to it.

The final song off the album was “Save Myself,” an emotional song about learning to love yourself and put yourself first. “Save Myself” starts off sad, but gets progressively more optimistic as Sheeran comes to terms with the fact that he needs to love himself before he loves another person.

Quite simply, “Divide” was a spectacular album. It usually takes several listens for me to like an album, but every single song on Ed Sheeran's album grabbed me in a way I did not expect it to. Every song was a beautiful balance between poetic lyrics and perfectly complementary instruments that made listening a highly enjoyable experience. Even though many of the songs covered similar topics, the stylistic diversity in many of the songs made it so the album remained fresh throughout the entirety of its hour long run.

Ed Sheeran's stunning album, “Divide,” was well-worth the yearlong hiatus.  


Lauren Brown is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lauren.brown@uconn.edu.