/ ASYLUM RECORDS / SOUNDS GOOD /
Ed Sheeran is someone everybody can appreciate. The singer-songwriter from Suffolk performs music that allows girls to fangirl, boys to fangirl, middle-aged people to enjoy and, most importantly, allows preppy boys wanting to impress to appear soft and emotional by putting on “Thinking Out Loud” and comment on how they feel exactly the same as Ed does. Ed, to some people you’re the best, to others you’re their hero, and to the preppy boys, you’re a proper bro.
After exploding on to the music scene Mr. Sheeran decided to take some time away from music and social media, spending the last three years travelling the world to see what’s beyond the phone screen, what’s not trending on Twitter and see some sights that doesn’t involve CLICKBAIT TITLES?! and over-exaggerated reactions of Pewdiepie proportions. With his return to music and reality celebrated wildly, we have been granted a new album in the form of Divide, a record that sticks to the perfect pop template, but doesn’t seem to reference anything about what Ed saw on his travels.
The two main singles from Divide – ‘Castle on the Hill’ and ‘Shape of You’ – were released at the same time, and as per this particular review from the Guardian, it seems there was some thinking behind it. As referenced by Ed himself, one single’s for Radio 1 and the other for Radio 2. ‘Shape of You’’s bouncy, hip-hop flow and club-heavy beats fits right into the core demographic of Ed’s audience whereas ‘Castle on the Hill’ features all the personal lyricism and passionate vocal delivery to get all the middle aged peeps feeling heartwarmed.
While it’s easy to make points about how Pop Music 101 this record is, it’s still a record that holds a lot of personality. Opening track ‘Eraser’ sees Ed state the struggle of being known all over the world, which kind of gets lost in the effortlessly catchy instrumental, ‘Dive’ is the ‘Thinking Out Loud’ of the record that immediately wants all guitar players wish to learn, and ‘New Man’ features jealously of an ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, with straight up statements of eyebrow plucking and butthole bleaching. It’s all very contrived and set out to appeal to the masses, but Ed does do a fair job at keeping it somewhat original.