sat 19/10/2019

CD: Ed Sheeran - Divide | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Ed Sheeran - Divide

CD: Ed Sheeran - Divide

A new grown-up edge to the familiar sound

After a plus sign came an X. Now it's time to divide. Things are getting more complicated.

It's part and parcel of Ed Sheeran's success that both your nan and your teenage kid can bond over his music. His newest album, Divide, pushes that generalisation even further, with its easy-to-compartmentalise songs underpinned by a distinctively down to earth sound.

"Shape of You" is the one that everyone already knows, currently melting the airwaves and double-repeating on the dance floor, with its clipped, quick lyrics, base-y hum and dance beat. There are familiar soppy ballads full of youthful promises of eternity that will delight those of prom age, like "Perfect" or "How Would You Feel", which gushes about stolen kisses and feelings like flowing rivers. "Dive" is a slow n'sexy number that will be used in contemporary duets on every forthcoming TV dance show from now until forever.

But there is a new edge to Sheeran's familiar sound. He's grown up (a bit), been travelling (a bit) and written a bit of poetry. "What Do I Know?" is a peaceful protest song that perfectly captures millennial mindwaves. "Supermarket Flowers" is an authentic, beautifully touching song about the passing of his grandmother.

"Galway Girl" is the weirdest world music addition to Divide - a Gaelic folk song about a hard-drinking, darts-playing Irish fitty that's full of pipes and fiddles. "Nancy Mulligan" of the same genre tells how his Irish grandma and grandad fell in love down by the Wexford border. There's also a Ghanaian song, "Bibia Be Ye Ye", and "Barcelona" is a self-indulgent song about how much Sheeran enjoyed dancing in the Mediterranean moonlight.

There's autobiographical reflection in songs like "Castle on the Hill", "Happier" and "Save Myself". They are real and honest whether about the trappings of the industry or who his real friends are and where his best memories come from. The musical investigation into his own truth is admirable, but coupled with an appeal to the everyman (particularly the millennial generation as well as the Saga crew) it's clever in terms of content as well as commercial appeal.

There is a new edge to Sheeran's familiar sound


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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