He made us wait three years but fans’ patience will have paid off as Ed Sheeran delivers a perfectly executed third album.
Divide edges on the slightly more mainstream but each track is so expertly crafted, both instrumentally and lyrically, that it sounds nothing but slick from start to finish.
Expect the usual heart-tugging ballads and catchy acoustic riffs, but brace yourselves for new elements of rap, folk, Gaelic and even Catalonia vibes.
It’s a non stop journey.
The 26-year-old is clearly aware of his marketability within the industry, based on the album’s construction, and while Divide may not appease all critics, astronomical sales are inevitable from his loyal demographic and beyond.
The record starts off with “Eraser” and immediately takes us in a different direction as Ed introduces us to his rapping with his ‘rags to riches’ style verses.
It’s filled with cliche lines but what is lacks in hip-hop, it more than makes up it for it with the chorus and production.
Pre-released tracks “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You”, being more traditional ‘Ed’, have already done exceptionally well in the charts and he does right to get them in early on the track-listing.
He also presents us with “Dive”, a virtual revamping of “Thinking Out Loud”, and it’s understandable why, given that it was such a major hit so why not produce another one? Expect to hear “Dive” at a wedding or two this year.
“Galway Girl” is where it gets interesting.
This is the track Sheeran fought ever so hard to ensure made the final album after firm resistance from his record company.
“They were really, really against Galway Girl, because apparently folk music isn’t cool. But there’s 400 million people in the world that say they’re Irish, even if they’re not Irish. You meet them in America all the time: ‘I’m a quarter Irish and I’m from Donegal.’ And those type of people are going to f**king love it,” he said of his label.
Away from the fiddles and flutes of the Irish jig that will no doubt be a hit with fans, we are presented with “Barcelona” and “Bibia Be Ye Ye”.
If there were any fears Mr Sheeran wasn’t going to expand his horizons and test his limits, then fear no more as these two tracks deliver just that.
And seasoned among the creative and adventurous new tracks lie the nostalgic, favorable sounds of the red-haired man from Suffolk and his guitar.
Divide keeps us guessing throughout but more importantly it will keep your interest, showcasing the perfect combination of pop, folk, acoustic, ballads and hip-hop.
There really is something for everyone, a true masterclass.