TRACK BY TRACK: Ed Sheeran
Written by Natalya Gioiella
Ed Sheeran continues to dominate the music industry today. He’s previously owned his own label, from which he released nine EPs and has since made 20 music videos, released 24 singles, and 3 albums. Whew!
His third album Divide just came out via Asylum Records and Atlantic Records and we think it's his best yet! The album is jammed full of emotional, folksy, upbeat pop songs with the occasional bit of rap mixed in. With every song he sings, a personal narrative is told, most of which are about a breakup he went through, past mistakes he's made (like drinking and smoking too much), and the feeling he had when he fell in love. He hopes that by painting his fans these personal pictures, he can send a message to them, and that is to follow your dreams, to try and make mistakes you won’t regret, and to find someone who truly cares about you.
Most of us Sheeran fans have probably heard the top hits off his new album, and many of us probably can’t stop singing them, but ready those vocal chords once again as we break down Divide track by track!
The first song off the album is his strongest, and that is why it’s the perfect song to open the album with. It sets the tone for the rest of the album, speaking about personal experiences he’s had to deal with as he became acquainted with the industry. This song in particular is about the difficulties associated in any industry, warning fans to be aware of mistakes that will inevitably be made. The song has a heavily populated upbeat tone to it and it is infused with guitar and rap to further relay the message to fans to be careful what you wish for and to really be aware of mistakes that will end up being made, like not doing drugs or smoking when things get too stressful but to have an amazing support system that can get you through the rough times!
Favorite lyrics: “I wish my private life would have never gone public / I will find comfort in my pain...”
2. "Castle on The Hill"
This song is one of our favorites off the album. We loved it before it was even on the album itself, as this was one of the few singles he released when promoting the album. The tune is just so catchy that most of us couldn’t turn off the radio. Lyrics practically became engrained in our brain and we just loved the dramatic, upbeat tone it had to it. It sort of helped personify the song as a sort of speech or anthem, if you will, about not doing drugs, smoking, or getting so drunk that you miss out on all the good times. Because of all of our adoring fans out there, we really appreciate the message he is trying to convey. We hope that all are fans are listening too!
Favorite lyrics: “I missed the way you make me feel / Had my first kiss on Friday night, I don’t reckon I did it right...”
This song sparks revolution amongst Sheeran’s previous two songs. For one thing, the song is more emotional, the beats slower, and you can distinctly hear the one sole feature the song offers, and that’s him playing guitar. Sheeran really wants to let whomever he’s singing about know how much they hurt him. We can distinctly understand that, in the song, he’s singing about a girl he once loved who had only pretended to love him back. So, just a tip to anyone who thinks they’re falling in love: make sure they are on the same page before you commit. It’s no fun being hurt. In fact, make sure the person you fall for is someone you explicitly trust.
Favorite Lyrics: “You’re a mystery, I have traveled the world / I could fall or I could fly...”
4. "Shape of You"
This song is another favorite of ours that was first released as a single back in January, and it’s a hit on radio stations today. In fact, it’s very popular amongst friends in my age group; I haven’t heard them stop singing along, It’s just so catchy! The song returns Sheeran back to his upbeat pop tune roots but it also features a marimba rhythm that makes people want to dance. Perhaps it’s even a good song for couples, as it is about a romance that is just starting to take shape. Quite a different tune from "Dive"...
Favorite Lyrics: “I’m in love with shape of you / I want your love...”
Buddha Have Mercy! Another love song? Seriously, Sheeran? Ah, just kidding. We love love songs. This song, although written for his own love, is also the perfect song for couples, as it talks about finding happiness with your loved one and the great feeling it brings. The song features the strongest vocals we’ve heard from Sheeran yet, the sounds of his guitar, and a more emotional but happy vibe in a slower tune. Sheeran really wants his fans to feel how he felt when he first found love.
Favorite lyrics: “I found a woman stronger than anyone I know / I hope that someday I will share her home...”
6. "Galway Girl"
Ed, it’s hard to keep up with your ever-changing tempos. This song now returns to how the first song played out in the beginning. It features an upbeat tempo infused with rap. He’s singing about an Irish girl he fell in love with who played the fiddle, and he’s reminiscing about all the good times he had, which, now looking back, he’s telling his fans to have fun but not so much fun that you’re drunk and smoking as its bad for your health. The dramatics of the song is even more indicative that what he did with this girl was a mistake...
Favorite Lyrics: She played the fiddle in an Irish band / She fell in love with an English man...”
Don't let the title fool you, as it is a song about breaking up with someone, and therefore it hits a more emotional chord. Sheeran, armed with his guitar, sings about his ex being happier with another man, which is rare for a man to do because most won’t admit that it was all their fault when something goes wrong in the relationship. So, girls, don’t expect a man to do this all the time. Sheeran just happens to be a nice guy, or he’s doing this to help himself get over the pain.
Favorite Lyrics: “Sat on the corner of the room everything’s reminding me of you / Ain’t nobody hurt you like I hurt you...”
8. "New Man"
This is the third song in the album to use an upbeat pop tempo infused with rap, this time with a little bit of a disco beat added in. But it’s the perfect kind of vibe for what he’s singing about, which is mocking his ex’s new man and her for deciding to date the first guy who gave her attention. Maybe this was his way of coping and getting over her; perhaps it gave him closure. Sometimes it helps to find things out about the new man and your old flame and mock them. You want to feel good again, right?
Favorite Lyrics: ”I don’t wanna know about your new man / I know you’re missing all this kind of love...”
9. "Hearts Don’t Break Around Here"
This song is another one perfect as Sheeran is describing all the things that he loves about his woman. His vocals are beautifully backed with the sounds of an acoustic guitar and a semi-slow-paced tune. You can once again feel the love that he feels for this woman just by how dramatic and loud he’s singing!
Favorite Lyrics: “She is the sweetest thing that I know / Shakes my soul like a pot hole...”
10. "What Do I Know"
This song is another one of Sheeran’s greats. Instead of the typical pop that we heard in the previous songs, this song leans more to the folk side. It’s slower paced, features his deep mellow voice and a guitar, but he wants to indicate the feeling of falling in love with that perfect someone and preserve the memory.
Favorite lyrics: “We could change this whole world with a piano, add a bass, some guitar, and grab a beat / I’m just a boy with a one-man show...”
11. "How Would You Feel (Paean)"
This song begins with the distinct sounds of a piano and a guitar, which are soon accompanied by Sheeran’s vocals. His voice in this song is seemingly more emotional than in any of his other songs, but it is the good kind of emotional, representative of a time when he was happy.
Favorite lyrics: ”You are the one girl / Stealing kisses in the front yard...”
12. "Supermarket Flowers"
This song features only Sheeran’s vocals and a piano to give it that melancholy feel of a breakup song. Simple but elegant and powerful.
Favorite lyrics: “Took the get-well-soon cards and stuffed animals / Poured the ginger beer down the sink...”
An interesting take from Sheeran. We must commend him for combining a Spanish beat of sorts with a more upbeat pop sound. It’s a song perfect for a party as he’s talking about having fun with a former flame of his, getting drunk, and partying. It just makes you wanna dance and have fun. This one might be for a more mature audience...
Favorite lyrics: “You and I we’re flying on an aeroplane tonight / I’ve got two left feet and a bottle of wine...”
14. "Bibia Be Ye Ye"
This song is a song about being honest with your significant other, and the tone features a surprisingly upbeat pop tune for someone who is condemning a former loved one of not being honest. We expected this song to be like his others where he ends up rapping and listing off all the things that went wrong in the relationship. We think it helps too that it’s a venting mechanism and a way to find closure with the person you ended the relationship with, but perhaps he had a different ulterior motive in mind and we just don’t know it.
Favorite lyrics: “Someone told me 'always say what’s on your mind'...”
15. "Nancy Mulligan"
Featuring strings, drums, vocals, and a guitar to express the way he used to feel about a woman he fell in love with, the fast-paced tone seems representative of how his heart was feeling at the time that he went out with this girl, but it’s also indicative of the way men and women, or any couple, are really supposed to feel about each other.
Favorite lyrics: "She and I went on the run / I’m gonna marry the woman I love...”
16. "Save Myself"
Quite a way to end the album. Normally you wouldn’t think of ending on such a sad note, talking about a girl who doesn’t love you back, but it’s important to warn your fans that it's not always a happy ending, so I guess you did the right thing, Ed. I mean, we know how some men can be about commitment and we get that sometimes us girls can be a little emotional...
Favorite lyrics: “Life can get you down, so I just numb the way it feels / I gave you all my energy and I took away your pain...”
We hope we’ve inspired you to listen to his new album. All of his songs are very personal, each talking about times in his life he probably wishes he could do over. But he’s sharing these songs with his fans as a guide to be prudent of mistakes that you might make, and to follow your dreams so you never have to live with regret.
(Image via Dan Jackman/WENN)
- Natalya Gioiella, YH Contributing Writer