Yeah, ok. But what did we really expect? I mean, ok, it’s nice, easy-listening, but that’s all. Ed Sheeran’s third studio LP ÷ lacks the artistic strengths of + and x. There’s no song that reminds me of the magnificent achievements like Give Me Love, Photograph or even Thinking Out Loud. Instead we got another set of pop, but shallow tunes.
And really, rapping in an opening song? Ok, it’s brave, but that should be something a pop singer like Sheeran does occasionally. Is he trying to sound like The Streets? That would be interesting, but obviously he is not succeeding. I got used to the two leading singles: Castle on the Hill and Shape of You. Despite the former sounding like Sheeran meets Coldplay, and second like Sheeran meets Rihanna. They’re good songs. Catchy, greatly produced, which you do not forget easily.
I can’t say the same about the rest of ÷. This album is just forgettable in the ways + and x were not. I can think of only few songs that were close to being as good as two singles. Galway Girl has a nice Irish ring to it, Happier reminds me of Sheeran’s previous albums’ strongest love ballads, and Supermarket Flowers being great closing track.
However, when you take all of the songs into consideration – an album as a whole – ÷ offers very little we didn’t know about Sheeran already. And it’s a pity. I was really disappointed he didn’t record something more experimental, that he didn’t go full Shape of You with sampling, but with more James Blake-ish way. Maybe he would succeed. Having in mind his enormous talent, this could’ve been extremely interesting.
And it hurts even more when you’ll listen to the extra tracks on the deluxe edition. They are the answer to what could make this album more interesting. Rhythmic, Simon’s Graceland-ish vibe, but with an Irish twist. That could make this album great. Could. But instead we got another batch of classic, but mediocre Ed.
Listen to: Shape of You, Castle on the Hill, Happier