Ed Sheeran is back. Anyone with even a passing interest in the music industry will be aware that Sheeran dropped off the radar over the past 12 months. Sheeran told his fans that he needed a break after two massive selling albums and years of constant touring. Sheeran may have been out of the public eye, but he certainly hasn’t been idle. During his hiatus, there has been a ton of speculation over who Sheeran might be dating, but we have heard little about Ed’s music.
Now Sheeran is back with his third album. Divide is Sheeran’s follow-up to the wildly successful Plus and Multiply albums, and critics somewhat divided about the album. Pitchfork is, more than a little scathing, about Ed Sheeran’s Divide album. They claim that “Ed Sheeran sells trite innocence by the pound,” and they call him “bland and unimaginative.” They accuse Sheeran of a “lack of honesty,” and even say that they “suspect that more interesting Ed Sheeran songs may have been left off the record for commercial reasons.”
Spin take an altogether different view of Ed Sheeran’s songs. They say Sheeran’s songs are “more believable” and “touching,” proof that Sheeran is more than just pop music’s “sheepish nice guy.” In truth, the Divide album is a mixed bag. Songs like “Happier” and “Castle On The Hill” are superb examples of Sheeran’s songwriting skills. They also highlight where Sheeran shines. Sheeran is at his best when it is just him and his guitar, that’s when Sheeran songs really connect with the listener.
Contrast those Ed Sheeran songs with the dreadful “Galway Girl” an upbeat dirge, packed with name checks, and complete with Uilleann Pipes and fiddles. Combine that with the numerous attempts at rapping his lyrics, and you begin to understand why Ed divides the critics.
Whilst the critics may be divided by Divide, the fans are united in hailing the album as a masterpiece.
Ed Sheeran Songs And ‘Divide’ Album Almost break Spotify
No artist has dealt with the digital revolution better than Ed Sheeran. He has set numerous records on streaming services and according to the BBC, Divide had over 273 streams in the first five days of its release. Divide has surpassed the previous record held by The Weeknd whose Starboy album had 223 million streams in its first week. A spokesperson for Spotify said that “it’s fair to say Ed Sheeran nearly broke Spotify this week.”
Interestingly, streams of Divide mean that Sheeran songs hold nine of the top 10 slots on the single charts too. It is also interesting to note, that almost two-thirds of the sales of Divide come from physical sales of CD’s and Vinyl, rather than from streaming services.
It is expected that Divide will sell well over 500,000 copies in its first week. It sold 325,000 copies in the first three days. This will make Divide the fastest selling album since Adele’s 25, which sold 800,000 copies in its first week. Behind the nice guy image, it’s clear that Sheeran remains fiercely ambitious. As Divide was released Ed told GQ magazine that he has Adele in his sights.
“Adele is the one person who’s sold more records than me in the past 10 years.”
“She’s the only person I need to sell more records than. That’s a big feat because her last album sold 20 million. But if I don’t set her as the benchmark then I’m selling myself short.”
Ed also revealed that he has set himself targets for each of his albums, his aim, to outsell albums by Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay, for his previous albums. This time Ed has Adele in his sights.
“I love my album. It’s the best album I could have made – it’s the best creative thing – so why not want to win? Why not want to sell 20 million?”
Let’s be honest, love him or loath him, Sheeran continues to smash records. Nothing seems to be beyond him, and the fan reception for Divide proves that Ed Sheeran songs will be the soundtrack to 2017.
[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images]