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Ed Sheeran Is Back With Not One, But TWO Amazing New Songs

After a social media and musical hiatus in 2016, Ed Sheeran has graced us with two new tracks off his upcoming album. The British singer-songwriter teased the songs and album art on Twitter in the days leading up to Friday, January 6. The two new songs are titled “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You.” 

The art for “Castle on the Hill” has a subtraction sign painted in black on a blue background, and “Shape of You” has a colon in the same artistic style. The subtraction sign combined with the colon creates a division symbol, which led many fans to speculate that the new album will be called “Divide.” This falls into the pattern that Sheeran has created for naming albums after mathmatical symbols — “Plus” in 2011, “Multiply” in 2014. 

As for the actual songs, “Castle on the Hill” reminds me the most of his first album, while “Shape of You” seems to be moving in a new direction.

No fear Shakespeare, “Shape of You” is still very classic Ed. It’s got the same homemade sounds vibe as “Sing!” and “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.” Why I say it’s a new move is that it is a song explicitly about sex, something he’s definitely written about but never been too forward about. With lyrics like “I’m in love with your body” and “my bedsheets smell like you,” there’s no mistaking what this song is about. However, the line “your love was handmade for somebody like me” keeps the song veering towards cute and sensual than graphic and sexual. There are specific details about the relationship he forms with the girl and their first date, which keep her from being objectified as just a body he wants to sleep with. I so appreciate Ed’s ability to create a song about having sex with someone but not focusing entirely on the physicality of that action. Of the two songs, this is the one you’ll hear more on the radio and in the club.

“Castle on the Hill” is one that I cannot wait to hear Ed perform live, but this video will get me by until then. It’s an homage to Suffolk, England, where he grew up. “This is a love song for Suffolk, because I don’t think anyone has ever done that,” he said about the song. The song is nostalgic, driven by a sense of urgency to get back home after a long time away. It feels like a return back to “Plus” both in sound and lyrics, as the material in his first album cover his time in Suffolk as well. “Castle on the Hill” is definitely more indie-pop, though, and it’s one I can see many people blasting in the car on road trips. “I’m on my way, driving at 90 down those country lanes” brings us into the chorus, where Ed himself is singing along to music in his car. He’s aware of his own distance from this time in his life too: “Me and my friends have not thrown up in so long, oh how we’ve grown, but I can’t wait to go home” and “I was younger then, take me back to when.” The castle on the hill in question is most likely Framlingham Castle in Suffolk, a historic landmark

“Castle on the Hill” has been filling me with an overwhelming amount of nostalgic for my own teen years (which I didn’t know was possible), while “Shape of You” has me dancing around in my socks while cooking. Ed, I officially forgive you for leaving me for a year and I am SO glad you’re back. 

Click here to listen to “Shape of You” and here for “Castle on the Hill.” 

 

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Jules Wilson

Vanderbilt

I'm a girl caught between being a Northerner and a Southerner, but currently residing in Music City. My dorm room is covered in tapestries from Bonnaroo, black and white photos of Paris, a Van Gogh painting-in-a-poster, blue and white christmas lights, and an array of Taylor Swift posters (she is queen). My dream is to write for Marie Claire magazine.  
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