I’ve never really paid too much attention to Ed Sheeran. I knew he had gained a considerable following over the years but his innocent, every man, so uncool that it’s cool image never really appealed to me. I thought that his career would have a much lower ceiling than it’s had, so to see it reach the incredible heights it has now has been somewhat of a shock and enigma to me. Everyone seems to love him, fans and artists alike, so I figured Divide would be as good a time as any to find out what all the fuss was about.
The lead single off the album, “Shape of You”, has been an undeniable smash hit and it’s showing absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon. I mean I get it, but I don’t get it at the same time. It has all the trappings of a hit song, a simple, infectious synth loop and catchy drums, but I’m just not that into the song. I thought it was your typical chart aimed song but not a whole lot more. Which is a sentiment I have for a large majority of the songs on Divide. On the surface they’re aesthetically pleasing, but there’s nothing wholly original about them. It wasn’t until he really dug into his guitar on songs like “Dive”, “How Would You Feel (Paean)”, and “Barcelona” that I felt his songs really went somewhere interesting.
“I chased the pictured perfect life, I think they painted it wrong I think that money is the root of all evil, and fame is hell Relationships, and hearts you fixed, they break as well And ain’t nobody wanna see you down in the dumps Because you’re living your dream, man, this shit should be fun Please know that I’m not trying to preach like I’m Reverend Run I beg you, don’t be disappointed with the man I’ve become”
While I may not know that much about Sheeran or his rise to fame, I am aware that he is one of the world’s more successful songwriters for himself and others. And it shows on Divide, as he whips out catchy hooks and melodies with ease, and all in a structure that sounds great no matter what he’s talking about. But, much like his production I found the actual content of his songs to be entirely too basic and neat, ultimately leading to songs that feel empty. Admittedly, I find conflicted artists to be the most interesting, and that’s just not who he is; he won’t rock any boats or alienate any fans with his subject matter. While I found his songs all pretty, idealistic, and sickeningly sweet, I often couldn’t help but find myself singing along to a lot of the tunes; which is probably the point of his music in the first place.
Have you heard Divide? What’d you think about it? Do you find his music too sweet and innocent like I do? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.
Divide will undoubtedly be a commercial hit that will continue to catapult Sheeran into mainstream stardom. I found myself singing and humming along, but it's simple and idealistic songwriting left a lot of it feeling empty and uninteresting.