Everyone was expecting big things from Ed Sheeran’s latest album ÷ after his two pre-released singles ‘Castle on the Hill’ and ‘Shape of You’ reached more than 13 million combined streams in just 24 hours. It’s safe to say that it hasn’t disappointed. With a mix of his old and new style the album is an easy listen, with something to capture every mood.
The album has more than just his solo, acoustic sound with greater production on some tracks such as ‘Bibia Be Ye Ye’ or probably the catchiest song on the album ‘Galway Girl’. Although it’s nice to hear the ‘classic’ Ed Sheeran tracks, consisting of his looped voice and acoustic guitar, it’s also refreshing to have a new sound on his long awaited third album. The presence of strings makes an authentic Irish sound to compliment the lyrics of the track: She played the fiddle in an Irish band/ But she fell in love with an English man.
The Irish theme runs on to ‘Nancy Mulligan’, one of the later songs on the deluxe edition of the album. This song has a similar catchiness to it like ‘Galway Girl’, but sings from the perspective of an older character, speaking with 22 grandchildren, 60 years after marriage. It adds an interesting twist to Ed Sheeran’s work and many of the songs in the charts today. Sheeran has managed stay true to his traditional heartfelt songwriting but rather than listening to the same old love story, the listener hears the song through the perspective of another character making ‘Nancy Mulligan’ one of the standout songs on the album.
That being said, ÷ has some tracks reminiscent of his oldest and arguably most popular tracks to date. ‘Perfect’, ‘Hearts Don’t Break Around Here’ and ‘Supermarket Flowers’ all have the slower, more heartfelt feeling to them. ‘Supermarket Flowers’ is a particular stand out song, written about Sheeran losing of his grandmother. Lacking the guitar, the track comprises of the melody and a piano creating a very gentle, touching tone.
Ed Sheeran’s ability to combine a variety of styled tracks, from different perspectives comprised of different instruments is commendable and will show old fans that the album has been worth the wait. Yet it also offers something new through his experimentation of faster, upbeat tracks. It is definitely worth a listen and makes you wonder what records are left for him to break.