2017 was his year! Ed Sheeran’s third studio album “Divide” was the best-selling pop album of last year. He released “Divide” on 3rd March 2017 and everyone was obsessed with “Shape of You”. The album reached number 1 in UK and US even in Switzerland. I must admit that I’m not a huge fan of Ed. I respect him as a singer-songwriter and like some of his songs but I’m just not a fan. When his album came out, I listened to some tracks on the album but not to every song. But the whole world was obsessed with “Divide” very soon and Ed’s name was everywhere on the top of the charts. His album is still number 2 this week on the Billboard 200 charts, even though 10 months are passed since the release. Therefore, I assume that I must give this album another chance and listen to every song carefully and interpret the lyrics of each track. So, this one’s for you, the last album review on an album released in 2017.
He stated in an interview that he wants people to cry while listening to the album at some point. So, I am an emotional music listener, let’s see if I will be moved to tears during listening.
With the first song, Ed welcomes you to his life and to this album. He raps during the verses about him living the dream, but he mentions the dark side of fame and how his life has changed in a negative way. He claims that he will be fine with his pain eraser, I assume that pain eraser is used as a metaphor for music, but he also could mean alcohol. Since he likes to drink and get drunk. Just remember the EMAs when he was hosting with Ruby Rose and he was holding a poured glass in one hand all night long. The bridge is written as an opening speech for this album. I’m glad about how honest he is with his fans in this song, he is not faking something at all. He tells everything just how it is.
Castle on the Hill
Ed released this song together with “Shape of You” as a single exactly one year ago, on the 6th January 2017. He sings about his first experiences made with his childhood friends in his hometown. He admits having grown since then and that everyone has changed, but he still cannot wait to see this place and all his friends again. It is again an honest personal song with a fast beat. He shows in his lyrics that he wasn’t a well-behaved teenager since he smoked and drunk with fifteen.
Here goes the first love song on the album. Ed has fallen in love with a mysterious girl. He is not sure if she really loves him too. Therefore, he doesn’t want to get used by her and wants her to be honest with him. Ed has powerful vocals during the chorus. The bridge of this song consists of a soft guitar solo and of the pre-chorus. He uses the title again as a metaphor in the chorus, in the following lines: “So let me know the truth. Before I dive right into you”. With dive right into you, he means to completely fall in love with her.
Shape of You
Now it’s time for the song of the year 2017. I assume that everyone knows this one by heart. So, no further explanations are needed. I really believe that “Shape of You” stole the show from all the other songs on the album. Yes, it is an excellent earworm with a beat, to which you must move your body. But I assume that most of the people, besides his fans, only know this radio hit and they didn’t give the other songs a chance to listen. Maybe this single caused the whole album to be the best-selling album of the year.
Ed told in an interview that “Perfect” was the first song he wrote for this album and that he is very proud of this ballad. Therefore, he released this song as his 4th single, also as a duet with the queen Beyoncé. In my eyes, this song is the new “Thinking Out Loud”, so you can play both songs during your wedding and dance along with your spouse. They describe perfectly how it is to have found the love of your life. Since I didn’t find any love in 2017 I had no reason to listen to this ballad, besides for this review. What about you, have you found your perfect lover?
Ed admitted that the 3rd single of the album tells a fictional story. With this song, Ed brings up some Irish vibes and sounds into the album. He used an Irish band while recording this song, which played classical Irish folk instruments. The story is about him, how he meets an Irish girl in a pub and how they have an unforgettable night together. Ed almost raps during the verses. It is a song that will make you move your body for sure. Alcohol consumption is again a topic of the lyrics. Let’s hope that Ed won’t get addicted one day or is he already?
The next ballad, which is a breakup song appears next on the album, and I admit that I’m moved to tears this time. Cause I can relate to the story of this song. It is not easy for a man to see your ex-girlfriend with a new man, and it is much harder to take if she is also happier with her new boyfriend. Ed admits in the lyrics that he is still in love with her and even that he will be there for her if her new boyfriend breaks her heart. What a song, my favorite so far. I hope this will be the next single.
The theme of a new man continues in this song, but this time it’s not a ballad. It is a groovy song, in which Ed describes how the new boyfriend of her ex is and how he acts, and how her ex-girlfriend changed in a negative way. He is glad that her new man doesn’t want to get to know him. But again, he encouraged his ex that she doesn’t depend on her new man and that he will be there for her. It seems like his ex-girlfriend really means something to him. Therefore, he can’t let her go and move on without her.
Hearts Don’t Break Around Here
A slow love song with a nice guitar arrangement. Ed proofed again that he knows how to fit metaphors into his lyrics. He sings about a couple, which is probably married, and in which the spouses still love each other. With the title of this song, which occurs in the chorus he emphasizes that their love will last forever that their hearts won’t break.
What Do I Know?
I already liked this song, when I listened to the album for the first time in March last year. Ed sings not about love in the sense of between two persons. He sings about love in a broader sense, that love could change the world. He also mentions what he was thought by his parents and that he doesn’t have a university degree, but with a guitar and a song he has a greater influence on people than others, who have a degree. He is again very honest like he was on the opening track, and he tells what he thinks without being arrogant. The song has only his vocals, an acoustic guitar, and a bass. It is a raw, honest, and inspiring song.
How Would You Feel (Paean)
Ed released “How Would You Feel” as a promotional single on his birthday, on 17th February last year. This song is dedicated to his girlfriend; therefore, the middle name of her girlfriend is included in brackets in the title of the song. Again, a beautiful slow love song about romantic events and about an everlasting true love. In the chorus, he asks her girlfriend how would she feel if he tells her that he loves her. He also asks her to do the same. I hope, Ed is happy in his relationship and that he one day marries his girlfriend with an unforgettable wedding. And they should dance to all these love songs together.
After “Happier” I get goosebumps again and this time the tears feel the strength of gravity. Yes, I cried while listening to this song. It is about his grandmother, who passed away while he was in the studio recording this album. He used to visit her often in the hospital and one day when he went again, she wasn’t in her room anymore. In the lyrics, he compares his grandmother to an angel and sings how this angel goes back to God. He also tells the moments right after she passed away. I can relate to this song with my whole heart. My grandmother is also very old and has health issues and I love her so much and I want her to live as long as possible. Because my grandmother is one of the nicest persons on earth in my eyes, she has the biggest heart just filled with love.
In this song Ed is dancing with his partner all night long, enjoying the moment and pretending to be in Barcelona, a beautiful big city in Spain. Ed introduces Spanish Latin vibes on the album. He even sings the most part of the 3rd chorus in Spanish. After you listen to this song, Barcelona must be on your bucket list with the places you want to travel one day. His vocals aren’t the best on this track since he almost speaks fast and not sings during the verses, but the instrumentals compensate this flaw.
Bibia Be Ye Ye
Ok, now I feel kind of stupid. I thought that the title is in a fictional language, maybe you too. But the truth is that it is in Twi, a Ghanaian dialect. Ed co-wrote this song with Fuse, who is a London-based rapper/singer-songwriter with Ghanaian roots. After Irish and Spanish vibes, we now have African vibes. Ed explained in an interview that he wrote this song to change the bad reputation of African countries and people living there, he wanted to present to the world the good side of this culture. The lyrics tell a story how Ed wakes up outside next to a tree with a hangover and tries to remember what happened last night. In the chorus, he sings honestly that he is not perfect and feels lonely and makes mistakes sometimes. If you wonder what the title means in English, it means “All Will Be Well”, which represents the positive and thankful attitude of African people.
The name Nancy Mulligan stands for his paternal grandmother’s name. Ed wrote this song for his paternal grandparents, about their love story. It is written in a full traditional Irish style. Therefore, we have Irish vibes again after “Galway Girl”. Did you know that Ed is half Irish? This fact is new to me. I fought I wouldn’t like this song, but I really like it. Especially, the story told in the lyrics. I guess the love stories of our grandparents are more interesting than ours. We will probably tell our grandchildren one day that we have found their grandma or grandpa on a social media app, what an interesting love story. I’m still glad to be born to this generation.
This one is my favorite track of the album. Because I love emotional ballads with a reality-based story. In this final song, Ed opens his heart, to be honest in the lyrics like he was in the opening of the album. This time he cries for help, he is complaining about his life and how the people have treated him. He mentions again his alcohol consumption and this time he also mentions antidepressants. The message of the song is that you must save and love yourself before you can save someone else. I just wish for him that he should get professional help if he really has an addiction problem. With such issues, he confirms the cliché about successful musicians that they mostly have alcohol or drug addictions.
My Tops: Save Myself, Happier, What Do I Know, Supermarket Flowers
My Flops: None – (maybe this why “Divide” was the best-selling album of 2017)
As I already mentioned I was never a crazy fan Ed Sheeran, I just liked some of his songs. But after listening to this album I really liked what he has produced with other artists. Every song has the potential to be a single, there isn’t a runaway song. This fact makes the album a masterpiece. I liked the honesty in his lyrics, which makes the album extremely personal. This album will be probably the best album that he ever released, I guess. He doesn’t have breathtaking vocals like Sam Smith but he is professional in what he does. He knows like Taylor Swift how to write good songs. This is their talent. For this reason, he deserves all the awards that he is nominated for with this album and a lot of Grammys. I even think about to buy a ticket for his concert, which is this summer in Zurich. If I’ll go, I would write a concert review for sure. So, this was the best-selling album of the year 2017. Now I wonder which album will get this title in 2018. Thanks for reading. Eren