I love music, but it’s very rare that I feel compelled to write about it. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m musically illiterate or I feel as though good music speaks for itself. Maybe a combination of both.
But I was requested to give my thoughts on this album, so I figured why not give it a try? If my whole philosophy on entertainment is that it’s important and it means something, then it’s only fair to talk about why.
This album first struck me because of its versatility. Where Multiply, as the same suggests, was all about intense feelings of love and loss, Divide carries a slightly different tune. Wait a minute, did I just make a music pun? Maybe I’m better at this than I thought.
Instead, Divide is more about the musical diversity we’ve come to love about Ed. Sometimes he’s singing a lyrically genius love ballad (Tenerife Sea, anyone?), and other times he’s rapping and creating upbeat melodies with a simple guitar. It may feel random at times, but it’s all Ed Sheeran.
Perhaps this album lacks a common theme, unless that theme is chaos. This album is comprised of high highs and low lows, often reminding me of Taylor Swift’s Red. Together, these songs seem to feel like a scattered mind dealing with all aspects of love, life, and loss.
If nothing else, Ed was able to take a variety of different musical styles and inspirations in order to create one very unique album. Whether or not you feel like the album works as a whole, the chaotic nature of it is bound to leave you with at least one song to love.
The Songs You Have to Listen To
“I used to think that nothing could be better than touring the world with my songs / I chased the picture perfect life, I think they painted it wrong”
The opening track of the album is the perfect combination of old and new Ed. This song highlights Ed’s incredible rapping ability and strong, clever lyrics as he sings about the ways his life has changed with fame. I think this is a great, interesting way to start the album and definitely a must-listen, if only to hear how far Ed has come.
What Do I Know?
“You know we are made up of love and hate / But both of them are balanced on a razor blade”
In our current political climate, this song speaks to positivity and the importance of focusing on things like love and understanding over hate. This song also speaks to music and its ability to change the world, which is what Ed seems to be attempting (and I think, succeeding at) with this track. If only you could force everyone in the world to listen to a song…
The Songs You Can Skip
Biblia Be Ye Ye
“And in the pocket of my jeans, are only coins and broken dreams / My heart is breaking at the seams, and I’m coming apart now”
While this song has an OK beat and a good message (the title means, “everything will be alright” in Twi), it feels ultimately lackluster compared to others on the album. It has a fun, upbeat vibe, but not in an overwhelming, memorable way. Let’s be real, it’s not going to replace “Hakuna Matata” anytime soon.
How Would You Feel (Paean)
“We were sat upon our best friend’s roof / I had both of my arms round you / Watching the sunrise replace the moon”
We all know Ed can write an epic love ballad, but this one just didn’t hit the mark for me. It’s pretty in its simplicity, and if I didn’t know what Ed was capable of I might be satisfied with it. But compared to his other love ballads, especially the ones from Multiply, this one is ultimately skippable for me.
The Songs That Will Make You Dance
“I swear I’m going to put you in a song that I write / About a Galway girl and a perfect night”
This track is a perfect example of Ed’s musical diversity wrapped into one incredible song. The unique mix of Irish folk with rap/hip hop elements is exactly the thing that only Ed Sheeran could successfully pull off. The song is catchy, up-beat, and a complete stand out of the album.
Shape of You
“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”
I have no doubt that you’ve heard this song on the radio and probably had your own little head-bobbing, finger-tapping dance party. Where this song lacks lyrically, it makes up for with its infectious beat that feels made for the radio. Sure, it will probably get overplayed, but we are definitely enjoying it at the moment.
The Songs That Will Make You Cry
“Oh I’m in pieces it’s tearing me up but I know / A heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved”
This is no doubt the saddest, most heartbreaking song on the album. In writing, they always say to think small and to focus on the details, which is exactly what Ed did with this song. This song focuses on the smaller parts of death, like putting away the get well cards and folding up the person’s old clothes. Whether you’ve lost a close family member or not, this song will transport you right to that moment. And probably make you say, “damn you, Ed,” as you wipe the tears that will inevitably fall from your eyes.
“Saw you walk inside a bar / He said something to make you laugh / I saw that both your smiles were twice as wide as ours / Yeah you look happier, you do”
Aside from the early releases, this was the first song I heard on the album. I was lying in bed in the dark and just played it over and over. While this song isn’t as lyrically moving as “Supermarket Flowers,” the delicate melody and emotional vocals can transport you to a moment like a scene in a movie. Very rarely can a song immediately take me somewhere else, but this one completely captivated me.
The Songs That Will Get Stuck in Your Head
“I fell in love with the sparkle in the moonlight / Reflected in your beautiful eyes / I guess that is destiny doing it right”
Like a terrible gum commercial with an annoying jingle, if I listen to this song even once it is stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Ed brings a lot of Spanish flare to this one, which I don’t think is quite on-par with the Irish folk jams on this album. Regardless, I still think it’s a fun jam to dance to every once in awhile. But beware, it comes with a warning label. So don’t say I didn’t prepare you.
“From a farm boy born near Belfast town / I never worried about the king and crown / Cause I found my heart upon the southern ground”
This song is another great, heavily Irish-influenced, track. I love that it tells a true story of Ed’s grandparents, which makes it feel much more wholesome and genuine. While I don’t love this quite as much as Galway Girl, I think it is equally catchy and stuck-in-your-head-all-day worthy.
The Songs That Will Make You Nostalgic
Castle on the Hill
“I was younger then / Take me back to when / I found my heart and broke it here / Made friends and lost them through the years”
If you’ve ever spent time looking back fondly on your hometown, old friends, or the “good old days,” then this song is for you. Even though it tells a very personal story, it still feels relatable enough to make it a perfect song for long drives and nostalgia-filled nights. The need to sing it at the top of your lungs is just an added bonus.
“I could live, I could die / Hanging on the words you say / I’ve been known to give my all / And jumping in harder than / 10,000 rocks on the lake”
While this song may be more suited to the likes of John Mayer or Shawn Mendes, I still really enjoy it. Like “Castle on the Hill,” it carries a nostalgic, relatable tone that you can’t help but get lost in. Or rather, dive right into…!! I’ll stop now.
The Songs You Will Want to Fall in Love To
“When you said you looked a mess, I whispered underneath my breath / But you heard it, darling, you look perfect tonight”
This song is probably one of the better love ballads on the album. It depicts a simple, perfect love story that I can easily imagine will become a cliché wedding favorite. Regardless, I’m happy to enjoy it before I hear a million and one people deem it “our song.” Sorry, do I sound too cynical?
Hearts Don’t Break Around Here
“Took my heart upon a one way trip / Guess she went wandering off with it / Unlike most women I know / This one will bring it back whole”
Again, this is another simple love ballad. It’s not overwhelming or out-of-this-world, but it’s still beautiful in its simplicity. I imagine you would probably love this song if you were in a relationship, but I wouldn’t know how that feels, so…
The Songs You Will Want to Quote on Instagram
“But still, I’m just keeping it real, still looking at your Instagram and I’ll be creeping a little / I’ll be trying not to double tap, from way back, cause I know that’s where the trouble’s at”
This is one of the most unique, funny, lyrically clever songs on the album. While a lot of artists shy away from topical references because they don’t have great lasting power, Ed just went all in with it. I’m completely happy to jokingly sing about tribal tattoos, Instagram, and the Kardashians while I still can. The snarky, tongue-in-cheek nature of this song is just too good to pass up.
“They gave me the heartache and in return I gave a song / It goes on and on”
While this track has a very simple message, I think it is one that everyone can relate to in one way or another. I would consider this song a slow love ballad, but for oneself rather than for a significant other. If you’ve ever felt used or neglected, then it may just give you goosebumps. It’s definitely the kind of song that you’d copy the lyrics in your journal or turn on when you need a good cry. Or maybe that’s just me…
While this album is a bit chaotic and not consistently strong, there are definite standouts that make the album worthwhile for me. If nothing else, it gives you a few more tracks to add to your monthly Spotify playlist.
Where the album lacked in slow, emotional ballads, it made up for with fun, upbeat, and interesting tracks that you could only get from Ed Sheeran. And plus, we have multiple great love ballads on other albums. LOL. Get it?
As always, these are just my personal opinions and you are welcome to disagree with them! So let’s chat about it in the comments!
What were your favorite songs? Least favorites? What did you think of the album as a whole?
Are there any other things you would like to see me review? Let me know!