Since Ed Sheeran broke into the pop music scene in 2011, he has repeatedly proven himself to be a musical jack of all trades. His latest album “÷” pronounced “Divide,” has only bolstered this impression. With hints of rap, Irish folk, and club beats, among others, Sheeran’s “÷” effortlessly melds together a wide variety of musical styles into a collection of music brimming with potential Top 40 hits.
Each song on the album possesses a unique style. “÷” starts off with “Eraser,” a song in which Sheeran reflects on his fame through several verses of rap and a catchy chorus that seems to sound better with each subsequent play. Next comes “Castle on the Hill,” one of two tracks on the album that were released early in January. “Castle on the Hill,” a pop-rock track, has an essence similar to the sound of bands like U2 and Coldplay which allows for a solid, but stale, sound.
Following “Castle on the Hill” comes “Dive,” a bluesy pop tune and one of the best tracks on the album. With a John Mayer-esque quality, “Dive” is a song that will certainly work its way up the Top 40 charts in the coming weeks. Next comes Sheeran’s smash-hit “Shape of You,” a song that, along with “Castle on the Hill,” was released in early January. “Shape of You” utilizes a strong beat and some Caribbean flavor to create a song that could make anyone dance.
Next up, with a tough act to follow, is “Perfect,” a sweet ballad with an orchestral sound. The album boasts several other songs in a similar style, “Happier,” “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here,” and “How Would You Feel (Paean)” that may remind the listener of some of Sheeran’s past hits, particularly “Thinking Out Loud.” “Galway Girl” comes next, and this track is sure to put a smile on the face of anyone who hears it. The song, about an Irish girl, is full of Irish folk influence which creates a distinctly Irish pop sound that’s not commonly heard.
Later in the album comes “New Man,” a gritty, rhythmic hit that pushes some content boundaries when compared to Sheeran’s past music. Other songs on the “÷” include “What Do I Know?” an upbeat, optimistic tune about changing the world through music, and “Supermarket Flowers,” a sad, slow track in which Sheeran reflects on the death of his mother and allows the listener an intimate view into his life. On the deluxe album, four additional songs are included.
There’s “Barcelona,” a catchy tune about dancing in the streets of Spain with Spanish sprinkled throughout, “Bibia Be Ye Ye,” a track with lyrics partially in a Ghanaian dialect, “Nancy Mulligan,” a song about the relationship between Sheeran’s grandfather, from Northern Ireland, and grandmother, from the south of Ireland which delves into the tumultuous history between those two regions, and “Save Myself,” a sad song about self-medication and self-loathing. It’s not often that an artist creates a collection in which every song has the potential to be a Top 40 hit but, arguably, this album meets that mark. Since its sprinkled with so many different styles of music, this album doesn’t get old. With each play, the listener is able to hear something new and further appreciate Sheeran’s amazing talent.