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Mace & Crown | April 30, 2017

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Sheeran Bares All on 'Divide'

Darryan Miller | Contributing Writer

After taking a year-long hiatus, Ed Sheeran is back and better than ever. His third studio album, “Divide,” released March 3, is an amazing combination of love, growing up and self-acceptance.

The 12-track album, which shares the same theme as Sheeran’s sophomore release, “Multiply,” is electric, melancholy and heartfelt. It will hit you emotionally as you’ll want to dance, sing at the top of your lungs and maybe even cry about the one that got away.

With his familiar style of folk, pop and hip-hop, Sheeran delivers cheeky and poetic lyrics, giving you insight as to where he’s been for the past year. Each song flows perfectly on this album to the point that there won’t be one you’ll want to skip.

Upon opening the CD case, you are immediately greeted with a shirtless Sheeran, photographed in black and white, looking off camera with a rather serious expression. He is holding his chest, which is adorned with several intricate tattoos, such as a lion, and then others that are completely different, like the Heinz Ketchup logo. The booklet also displays lyrics that include little doodles on them, keeping up with the artistic theme.

The name “Divide” fits perfectly because each song is completely different from the last. The album is definitely sentimental and personal, with a powerful message emphasizing the importance of stopping to enjoy the little things. Or, as Sheeran croons on “What Do I Know?” the importance of spreading love, understanding and positivity.

Life lessons, nostalgia and love are the epitome of “Divide,” making the album relatable in almost every way. Each song will pull at your heart strings, providing you with a sense of familiarity and create that “coming home” feeling.

“Dive,” is relatable in the sense that it depicts the reality and emotions of becoming involved with another person. Sheeran sings, “So don’t call me baby / Unless you mean it / And don’t tell me you need me / If you don’t believe it / So let me know the truth / Before I dive right into you.” The lyrics define the vulnerability of opening up our hearts to an individual–whether we are reluctant to jump into a relationship for fear of wasting our time, or we’re worried that the feelings will be disingenuous and not reciprocated.

“Castle On The Hill” is nostalgic and talks about growing up.

“Had my first kiss on a Friday night / I don’t reckon that I did it right / But I was younger then / Take me back to when we found weekend jobs / When we got paid, we’d buy cheap spirits and drink them straight / Me and my friends have not thrown up in so long, oh how we’ve grown / I can’t wait to go home.”

His words exemplify youth and being a carefree teenager. We’ve all been there.

Sheeran is cheeky in “New Man” as he raps about a love lost. In a culture where social media makes it impossible to forget about the past, it seems just as impossible to get away from the present. Sheeran lists all the flaws of his ex-lover’s new man.

The lyrics, “I don’t wanna know about your new man / We’ll get there eventually / I know you’re missing all this kind of love / But I’m positive that he don’t wanna know about me,” dig into how sometimes we try to remain friends with ex’s because we still love them, even if we don’t like the person they are in a current relationship with.

In an interview on The Breakfast Club, Sheeran talked with Charlamagne the God and DJ Envy about his inspirations for “Divide,” which included his experiences from a trip to Ghana, Africa. The sounds of the album share many different elements, as he has a bit of Irish, Island and English culture wrapped up in the project.

It’s as if Ed Sheeran never left the scene, pulling us into the sea that is “Divide,” swimming through each track, causing us to never want to come up for air. This album does not disappoint as we are very much thrown into the heart, mind and soul of the singer. He bares all, quite literally and metaphorically. No page is unturned and no secrets are kept as Sheeran gives us many different elements to enjoy.

Perfect for sitting on your porch drinking tea or driving down Interstate 95, this album deserves a listen. Sheeran has created a cozy niche for himself in the music industry and as an artist, celebrating his very own genre. His growth is nothing other than transformative, as he continues to play with his signature style while adding unique elements, musically and lyrically. Sit back, relax and enjoy the soulful sounds that make up “Divide.”

  • Leia Manibusan

    This was a great review! You honestly described exactly how i felt about the album that i just couldn’t put into words.