In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard about Ed Sheeran’s grand return, our favorite British ginger just released his third album at the beginning of this month. And you need to listen to it right now because let me tell you, it’s bloody brilliant. Never on an album have I heard such a variety; it’s got worldly tracks that derive from places like Ireland, Ghana and Spain, to exactly the beautiful, guitar-ridden ballads that we have come to love from our dear Ed—all the while being completely new and inventive. Check out this track-by-track commentary while hearing the songs for yourself!
Dynamic as ever, this rap ballad about failure and success will have you jamming one second and belting the next.
2. Castle on the Hill
In typical Ed-fashion of telling stories, he walks us through exactly what growing up in the English countryside was like, and the rasp in his voice just might make you cry (I’m totally projecting; it was me who cried at his rasp).
This slow jam will have you swaying and wishing you had someone who made sure it was real before diving in. Why isn’t everyone that straightforward? There is an inordinate amount of rasp in this song as well that will have you melting.
4. Shape of You
The first single off of this album is so different from anything we’ve heard from Ed, but it has seen immediate popularity for its ability to make us all want to dance. Plus, the music video is totally feminist, telling a story about a black, strong, female boxer, rather than a sexy body grinding it up on the dance floor.
Check out the music video here!
What can really be said of this song? It’s perfect, for lack of a better term. I predict it will be popular for first dances at weddings for the slow dance compatibility and story of pure love.
6. Galway Girl
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Is this like, Irish rap? How does Ed not only create a completely new sound we’ve never heard before, but make sharing a cigarette and bag of Doritos extremely appealing?
This song is so real. It wrestles through how if you really love someone, you just want to see them happy, although you wish it could be with you. Even if you’ve never had a relationship, “Happier” will have you missing the ex you never had.
8. New Man
Hilarious. Purely hilarious. I can picture the exact guy Ed is referring to, and his line about Instagram might be the most relatable pop culture reference I’ve heard in a song ever. The quick one-liners make me want to memorize the whole thing, so I can whip it out at a party.
“He wears sunglasses indoors, in winter, at nighttime.”
9. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here
Ugh, this album is just so filled with sweet love. (Also lots of flowers like the daisies and roses mentioned in this one; be on the lookout). How can Ed take a single moment of cuddling in bed and turn it into a ballad of eternal love? Such talent.
10. What Do I Know?
Ed mentioned on Ellen that his album was meant to be released in November (you mean we had to wait FIVE EXTRA MONTHS?), but because of all the drama surrounding the election, he postponed it. This seems to be his response to that drama; a poppy, happy tune to tell us the most important thing to do in life is love—a message we could all use.
11. How Would You Feel (Paean)
Again with the most precious love songs, Ed. Can our hearts really take it? The answer is probably not, but we’ll make that sacrifice.
12. Supermarket Flowers
If you cry easily, please prepare the tissues. Lyrics written from the perspective of his mum about her mum having passed away will have you curled on the floor, wanting to call your mom ASAP to tell her how much you love her.
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Ed.
This song will instantly make you want to dress up in sequins and cha-cha in the streets of Spain with your bae.
14. Bibia Be Ye Ye
Produced in Ghana, the phrase “bibia be ye ye” means everything will be alright. Even when his lyrics talk about losing his shoes and puking (you know, the average, everyday stuff), he gives us an uplifting, happy tune that will, again, have us dancing.
15. Nancy Mulligan
ANOTHER Irish-influenced song? And it’s about the love story of his paternal grandparents? Are you kidding me with this? I need to hop over to the nearest pub and get me a pint.
16. Save Myself
A somber end to the deluxe version of the album, “Save Myself” gives a hard look at self-love and just how hard it can be when we’re so caught up in caring for others. It’s sadder than most other songs, but it’s an important note to end on.
Ugh Ed, you got us deep in our feels.
I have been trying to figure out why this album is called “Divide,” and I have come to the conclusion that it was only to keep for the pattern of mathematical operations because this album has to do only with unification and love—a fun and beautiful compilation that came at just the right time.