Guess Who’s Back? Back Again…
It’s been three years since a new album from Ed Sheeran has been released. My love of Ed started back in 2010, in the deep depths of YouTube recommendations and 3 AM fatigue, I stumbled upon Ed’s soothing voice. To clarify, I’ve never met Ed in person (I came damn close, twice back in 2011…one day), but I can’t call him Mr.Sheeran. At this point, we’re on a first name basis, even if he doesn’t know it. After all, I have skipped school, travelled through a snow storm, waited in said snowstorm for eight hours, just to get a decent spot at a concert. I have bought every EP, every (most) feature, or song he has helped to write. I have spent Thanksgiving dinners trying to show my family why they should support some ginger kid from the UK. And this was all back in 2010, when he was relatively unknown stateside, so no one was trying to hear me talk about Ed.
Fast-forward seven years and Ed has won two Grammys, played 3 sold out shows at both Wembley Stadium and Madison Square Garden, and worked with a wide range of artists from Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift to rappers Example and Devlin. I watched as friends and family started to embrace Ed. I include all of this in my review of his three new songs to convey just how much of a fan I am of Ed. I. Fucking. Love. Him. With all that being said, when I first heard ‘Shape of You’ I was disappointed.
It’s not that ‘Shape of You’ is a bad song. On the contrary, ‘Shape of You’ combines a marimba infused with a dancehall beat and his signature undertone of a guitar strumming that is sure to become an instant pop favorite. It opens to Ed singing about finding love, “The club isn’t the best place to find a lover, so the bar is where I go. Me and my friends at the table doing shots, drinking fast and then we talk slow.” Anyone who has been a 20-something-year-old or who has seen any current sitcom out there can relate to drinking and love. Ed has never shied away from alcohol and love, in fact he has a song entitled ‘Drunk’, which you guessed it — is about him wanting to get drunk to feel a little love. I couldn’t see ‘Drunk’ playing in clubs unless it was heavily remixed. ‘Shape of You’ is a club song. It’s the close-your-eyes-and-dance-in-the-shower-until-you-almost-die kind of song. It’s a song you remix. In fact, Ed just released two different remix versions. One with Stormzy (includes Stormzy rapping) and another with Major Lazer (feat. Nyla & Kranium). The former just adding a rap verse while the latter is a full on midnight-dance-club-rave-after-taking-your-third-shot song. Not speaking from experience. All three versions of ‘Shape of You’ are fun. I like them, but my disappointment stems from it feels like he could do more. ‘Shape of You’ sounds like everything else that is on the radio, but if Ed had fun then I’m happy for him.
‘Castle on the Hill’ is a story, its classic Ed. Taking us down memory lane he recounts breaking his leg to having his first kiss. Think Coldplay meets Train with a hint of U2. It’s a walk-in-your-neighborhood-letting-the-sun-soak your-face-as-you-think-about-life-decisions song. This nostalgia inducing song is Ed flexing his lyrically skills. Lyrics depicting life stories laced with the guitar decorate Ed’s discography. ‘Castle on the Hill’ fits Ed. Same with the other single he released, ‘How Would You Feel (Paen)’.
‘How Would You Feel (Paen)’ is a first-dance-at-your-wedding song. It a soft lullaby guitar strumming mixed with lyrics about falling in love. Other than that, it’s not a stand out song. Ed has even stated it’s not a single and that he just wanted to release a song for his birthday (February 17). Although, it is his favorite song off the album since it is rumored to be about his current girlfriend.
Looking to feel warm inside? Listen to ‘How Would You Feel’. Looking to reminisce? ‘Castle on the Hill’ is your best bet. Want to spaz out dance? ‘Shape of You’ is your song. Ed released these three songs that sets a tone for his new album, ¸ (Divide). I don’t know what to expect, but I’ve been wearing my Ed Sheeran bracelet around my wrist for the last seven years, ¸ has been on pre-order since it was announced, and I’m already mentally dancing at his concert that hasn’t even been announced yet. If the three songs that are released are any indication, ¸ is shaping up to be different than his other albums. Whether this is good or bad we’ll have to wait until March 3 to find out.