I’m about to make a bold statement: Divide is Ed Sheeran’s best album yet.
The Deluxe version of Divide carries 16 tracks and each song contains its own special kind of magic. Sheeran serves a hint of Jason Mraz with the opening track, “Eraser”; he raps each verse but hits you with a chorus full of soulful melody. “Eraser” describes the struggles he’s encountered since reaching fame, “I used to think that nothing could be better than touring the world with my songs/I chased the picture perfect life/I think they painted it wrong/I think that money is the route of all evil, and fame is hell”. This song is the perfect introduction to this new catalog of music.
The love songs took the spotlight in this album; Sheeran has always been a master at leading his music with his heart but the love songs on Divide are some of his best. “Perfect” is a beautiful First Dance waiting to happen, “Baby, I’m dancing in the dark, with you between my arms/Barefoot on the grass, listening to our favorite song/When I saw you in that dress, looking so beautiful/I don’t deserve this, darling, you look perfect tonight”. “Heart Don’t Break Around Here” and “How Would You Feel (Paean)” follow the adorable trend with their love-filled chorus and sweet lyrics.
Sheeran’s Irish roots shine bright with the foot-stomping “Galway Girl”, “Bibia Be Ye Ye” and “Nancy Mulligan”, while “Barcelona” reminds us of what made Ed Sheeran initially stand-out. He stands in unapologetic honesty with “What Do I Know” and “Save Myself”. He recycles his old sound with “New Man” and is painfully-vulnerable with “Happier”. Admittedly, a couple of the tracks took more than the first play for me to love them; “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You” took 4 replays each for them to finally creep into my heart. With that being said, I’ve listened to the entire album 5 times and each time I find something new that I love about it.
I found my favorite song by the time I hit the third track on the album; “Dive” shook my soul and I’m struggling to describe how impactful it truly was. THIS is the kind of Ed Sheeran that I need in my life. “Dive” takes me back to “Make It Rain” which was an Ed Sheeran song from Sons of Anarchy. I need the soulful Ed Sheeran to make a more prominent appearance; though I enjoy his rapping, his acoustic love songs and the touch of Pop that he brings to some of his songs; his talent shines when he takes a soulful approach. “Dive” is raw, gritty and blues-inspired; his vocals sound genuine and passionate, the lyrics are sincere and my heart slowly breaks every single time it plays.
In its entirety, Divide is Ed Sheeran’s best album. It stays true to the formula that has made him successful but he also continues to find new ways to tell a story. Though my favorite side of Sheeran is the soulful one, there is no denying that it’s his eclectic sound that has catapulted his career.
Have you heard Divide yet? What are your thoughts?