Ed Sheeran is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in the music industry right now. You have most likely either laughed, cried, smiled or danced to one or multiple of his songs but I wouldn’t be surprised if you had done all of those things. His third studio album “Divide” is an ambitious climb onto the stadium stage adapting his sound to have a more fulfilled depth while still holding onto his organic roots. The album opens with the aggressive strums of “Eraser” which is a biographical look at his life over the past couple of years with the addition of his fame status. He raps about the Wembley stadium crowds and accepting awards before serenading with smooth harmonies in the chorus. “Castle On The Hill” is that big stadium moment he set out to achieve with the Irish themed “Galway Girl” coming a close second. I had to quickly check that B*Witched didn’t make a guest cameo in that song because it seriously sounded like they could’ve. He experiments with RNB influences on the MASSIVE “Shape Of You” which is almost his version of “Senorita”. Instant fan favourite “New Man” continues this sound and heavily impresses with it’s quirky lyrics about a guy who has stolen his girl and he describes him as a hipster who has his asshole bleached. It’s one of those moments when you hear it you go “NOW this is a cool track”. But was it really necessary to sensor out the word “Fuck” from the chorus though? We all know that Ed excels in his heart wrenching ballads and there is a quite a few of them on this record. “Happier” is the most impressive. It paint’s a emotional story in your mind of this broken down relationship and will break your heart completely with its raw lyrics. “Saw you walk inside a bar. He said something to make you laugh. I saw that both your smiles were twice as wide as ours. Yeah, you look happier, you do”. Coming a close second is “Dive” which has a slight blues influence in the delivery. Co-written with Julia Michaels I probably shouldn’t be surprised that this is another emotional masterpiece. But a bit of criticism; the structure of the melody is very similar to “Thinking Out Loud”. And while I am being honest I’m just going to say that “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here”, “How Would You Feel” and “Perfect” are average at best and could do with the skip button. Snore. “What Do I Know” is a cool song and is different to rest of the material while “Supermarket Flowers” has instantly become a fan favourite and unsurprisingly stolen a lot of hearts.
“Divide” has it’s highs and its lows. It’s a mixed album of experimentation, playing it safe and absolutely beautiful moments. The deluxe edition is worth a skip with mediocre tracks that just add to the albums length and don’t provide any real great moments. The diehard Ed Sheeran fans will fight me on that fact but I’m sorry, I’m just stating an opinion. This album is a great step for him toward his run of stadium shows and hopefully will encourage him to introduce a band to his live show because the loop pedal gimmick is getting a bit old now.