A Track-by-Track Review of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Divide’

Ed Sheeran is back! The talented English singer-songwriter has released his third studio album ÷ (pronounced Divide) and sounds better than ever. Sheeran, who is beloved for his meaningful storytelling and delicate acoustic sound, proves that his new music is every bit as impressive as his previous work. We break down his latest effort in a track-by-track review.  

Eraser – Ed Sheeran has a unique ability of fusing together acoustic pop with hints of rap and hip-hop, as showcased in “Eraser.” Treating the album’s opener as his personal diary, he gives listeners a glimpse into his mind and life amid the facade of fame he casts onto the public. He truthfully offers confessions about the darker side of fame and the industry, with mentions of past drug use, sour relationships, body image expectations, and spending life in a bubble. Even if you aren’t a fan of this track’s musical style, you simply have to applaud the lyrics for their honesty.

Standout lyric: “I chased the picture-perfect life, I think they painted it wrong.”

Castle on the Hill – The Grammy winner reminisces on growing up in his hometown in this upbeat, nostalgic tune. It is truthful enough to resonate with anyone who has left home and yearns to go back to relish in the memories of their childhood as if no time has passed.

Standout lyric: “Take me back to when I found my heart and broke it here, made friends and lost them through the years.”

Dive – Bluesy guitar riffs reminiscent of John Mayer songs build up to Sheeran powerfully crying out to know if he is genuinely cared for or just being strung along by a relationship. It is his most soulful song on the album and certainly packs a punch.

Standout lyric: “I’ve been known to give my all and lie awake every day, don’t know how much I can take.”

Shape of You – Serving as the first glimpse into his newest music, “Shape of You” catapulted Ed Sheeran back onto the music scene in a big way, topping the charts in several countries, including the U.S. and his native U.K. It masterfully showcases Sheeran’s vocal range and is all-around one of his stronger singles.

Standout lyric: “Although my heart is falling too, I’m in love with your body.”

Perfect – There’s no doubt that Ed Sheeran knows how to compose swoon-worthy love songs that seem to be years ahead of his time. “Perfect” is yet another example of his ability to wear his heart on his sleeve, describing a love that he knows is The One despite being just a couple of kids in love.

Standout lyric: “She shares my dreams, I hope that someday I’ll share her home. I found a love to carry more than just my secrets.”

Galway Girl – This upbeat track appropriately features a fun, Irish-inspired fiddle riff while the lyrics describe Sheeran meeting the titular Galway girl at a bar. The night that ensues is strongly hinted to be the same events Sheeran sings of in “Shape of You” with the eerily similar lyrics of taking shots, playing Van Morrison on the jukebox and dancing the night away. Overall, it’s a winning tune that is worthy of hitting the radio waves.

Standout lyric: “I swear I’m going to put you in a song that I write about a Galway girl and a perfect night.”

Happier – Sheeran has taken a page out of Adele‘s book and mastered the breakup song with “Happier,” showing his vulnerable side with the melancholy tale of watching someone move on from a relationship with ease. It’s raw, relatable, and just plain heartbreaking.

Standout lyric: “Baby you look happier, you do. My friends told me one day I’ll feel it too and until then I’ll smile to hide the truth.”

New Man – Sheeran is comically bitter about the new guy in his exes life in this harsh tune about changing for the worse in relationships. Compared to the rest of the album, however, “New Man” is not an immediate standout musically. On the bright side, he reminds listeners that he is a regular twentysomething, with references to navigating old Instagram pictures without accidentally double tapping and even dropping Kim Kardashian’s name.

Standout lyric: “You act so differently when you’re with him, I know you’re lonely.”

Hearts Don’t Break Around Here – Blissful, comforting love is the dominant theme here, as the title suggests. It has the tendency to come off as cheesy at times, though listeners who are able to relate to the feeling Sheeran melodically croons won’t even notice.

Standout lyric: “Took my heart on a one way trip, guess she went wandering off with it. Unlike most women I know, this one will bring it back whole.”

What Do I Know? – An appropriate song given the turmoil of today’s current events, Sheeran channels the timeless tunes of the 1960s calling for peace and understanding with “What Do I Know?” He accepts his naivety and admits he doesn’t understand the complexities of the world, but insists that it can be made a better place with plain old love and kindness.

Standout lyric: “You know we are made up of love and hate but both of them are balanced on a razor blade.”

How Would You Feel (Paean) – Sheeran released this sweet love song as a promotional single on Feb. 17, his 26th birthday. Much like his Grammy-winning hit “Thinking Out Loud,” this song is destined to be played at countless weddings, given its soft and simple melody accompanied by romantic lyrics detailing a heartfelt declaration of love.

Standout lyric: “I’ll be taking my time spending my life falling deeper in love with you.”

Supermarket Flowers – Truly a standout track, “Supermarket Flowers” is told through the eyes of Sheeran’s mom after his grandmother had passed away. Delicate piano accompaniment paired with heartbreaking words of loss and grief make for an emotional journey for listeners, whether they can directly relate or not.

Standout lyric: “Oh I’m in pieces, it’s tearing me up but I know that a heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved.”

Barcelona – The Englishman makes an attempt at Spanish flair with this track on the deluxe version of ÷. It may not be a favorite for fan’s of Sheeran’s traditional songs, but is a fun change of pace that will for a brief period transport you to the vibrant streets of Barcelona.

Standout lyric: “I fell in love with the sparkle in the moonlight reflected in your beautiful eyes, I guess that is destiny doing it right.”

Bibia Be Ye Ye – Continuing the bouncy, upbeat vibes of “Barcelona,” this deluxe track is largely nonsensical but nevertheless easy to move to. Call it the guilty pleasure song of this album, if you wish.

Standout lyric: “I get lonely and make mistakes from time to time.”

Nancy Mulligan – Ed Sheeran takes on his paternal grandfather’s persona in a sweet tale of how his grandparents married against family wishes and created a life of their own filled with love and happiness. It incorporates traditional Irish sounds and chants, a style that strangely fits Sheeran.

Standout lyric: “Over sixty years I’ve been loving her, now we’re sat by the fire in our old armchairs. You know Nancy I adore you.”

Save Myself – The album closes with this slower, self-reflective song about healing from the worries and woes of life. The highlight is Sheeran’s use of his lower register, giving his voice a raw tone that would make this song captivating if performed a cappella.

Standout lyric: “Life can get you down so I just numb the way it feels.”


4 thoughts on “A Track-by-Track Review of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Divide’

    1. Different folks will have different opinions, but compared to his previous albums and EPs, Divide seems to be the strongest effort yet. All of the songs consistently stand out and are memorable either for their lyrics or melody. Ed also appears to be exploring new sounds that work extremely well, on top of his usual coffee house acoustic/soft pop style we all know and love! What are your thoughts?

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