“I beg you, don’t be disappointed with the man I’ve become,” Ed Sheeran pleads on Eraser, the first track of his third record ÷ (divide). Following a pre-album release of four new songs that resembled his previous work, the fact has now dawned that this album does indeed host a new, changed man. And Ed? We’re digging it!
In a triumphant return from the year he fell off the face of the earth, Sheeran brandishes his undampened melodic/lyrical skillset in anthems which no longer exhibit drunken regrets. The familiar sounds of his trusty, acoustic guitar-laden ballads are certainly still present, but in creating these new pop-rock treasures he requests the ears of a more mature audience to see the deeper meaning behind his patanted strums and gruff vocals. While it does contain several quintessential hits – the wedding song (Perfect), a sanguine hip-hop inspired track (Galway Girl) and countless cuts that make you want to cry about an ex from eight years ago – in whole it is something vividly, undeniably new.
Peaks of this fresh Ed find him more in tune with folk, as he includes some unexpected fiddle in two juxtaposed Irish/English songs, in addition to Bibia Be Ye Ye, a track so jolly and strange it works. There’s no doubt he has, once again, divided and conquered.
÷ (divide) is out now via Warner.