÷ ‘Divide’ by Ed Sheeran – Album Review


Elisia Lawrence, Music Critic

Almost 3 years have passed since the release of Ed Sheeran’s 2nd studio album, x. After a long break from social media, the world’s favorite singing Brit is back and better than ever with his new album, ÷ ‘Divide’. Released on March 3rd, 2017, ÷ features 12 new songs, with the deluxe version including 4 bonus tracks. Sheeran’s new album is filled with a variety of genres and cultural influences. The first two singles “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill” were released on January 6th 2017 and have been on the Billboard Top 100 since. “Shape of You” has been topping the charts for 7 consecutive weeks.

During Sheeran’s social media hiatus, he was able to explore the world music and ‘Divide’  presents that in a very appealing way. “Bibia Be Ye Ye”, influenced by the Ashanti region of Ghana, features African beats, as well as the title phrase “Bibia Be Ye Ye” meaning “all will be alright/ everything will be okay.” The songs “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan” are both greatly influenced by Irish folk music showing his love for his family’s culture. Similarly, “Barcelona” features Spanish flavors and rhythms along with a section of Spanish lyrics.

This record has some big differences from Ed Sheeran’s previous albums but seems to stick with his singer-songwriter style in all the right ways. Divide has the same love ballads that we’d expect from Sheeran, as well as the occasional song that makes you want to dance.

This record has a fascinating variety of music that anyone can enjoy and Ed Sheeran continues to be the same fantastic artist and performer that he’s been since day one of his career.  I am definitely a fan of Ed Sheeran and his previous albums, so I was very happy about a new album, especially after 3 years without any new music. My personal favorites from Divide are “Castle on the Hill”, “Nancy Mulligan”, “Bibia Be Ye Ye”, and “What Do I Know?”. When the first two singles were released, “Castle on the Hill” was immediately my favorite and I found the video to be stunning as well. It has a certain essence of nostalgia that everyone can relate to. I also really loved “Nancy Mulligan” and I loved it even more after learning that it was written about Sheeran’s grandparents and their love story. Bibia Be Ye Ye” is just such a happy song, so it’s perfect to listen to if you’re not feeling 100%. Lastly, “What Do I Know?” was definitely at the top of my favorites list because I really like the message behind it. It shows a very positive outlook on life which I really enjoy. Sheeran is saying that “love can change the world in a moment, but what does [he] know?” and the whole song is about music and kindness solving the world’s problems. Being kind and positive about life can affect the entire world. With all of the hate, anger, and destruction going on on our planet, the timeliness of such a musical message is welcoming and uplifting. Ed Sheeran’s music truly encapsulates all of the feelings that we, as humans, have and expresses them in a wonderful, creative way that most of us could only dream of doing.