Di­vide and con­quer

New Straits Times - - Groove -

DI­VIDE

Ed Sheeran

EX­TREMELY fa­mous and very loved but prob­a­bly the least cool-look­ing pop star on the scene. That’s what makes him so cool though. Ed Sheeran’s lat­est al­bum, Di­vide, has taken the world by storm. As of March 14, the re­lease has al­ready bro­ken sev­eral Guin­ness world records: Fastest-sell­ing pop al­bum in the UK and all 16 tracks were in the UK’s Top 20 chart.

It’s any mu­si­cian’s dream, yet Sheeran, who was on a year-long hia­tus, makes it look oh so ef­fort­less. His Di­vide de­liv­ers as there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one.

His song­writ­ing skills are amaz­ing, each track has its story and the record is a beau­ti­ful com­bi­na­tion of joy and heart­break, and life in gen­eral.

It’s all pretty re­lat­able and no longer just cheesy love songs; Sheeran has re­ally stepped up his game here and it’s pos­si­bly his best al­bum yet.

The first sin­gle, Shape Of You, flooded the air­waves the mo­ment it was re­leased and be­came the most streamed track on Spo­tify in 24 hours with more than six mil­lion lis­tens (de­feat­ing One Di­rec­tion’s 4.75 mil­lion streams record for Drag Me Down in 2015). Shape Of You was my per­sonal favourite back then but I’m gen­uinely spoilt for choice now.

One track that’s worth not­ing is Gal­way Girl, which Sheeran fought real hard to keep on the al­bum. It cel­e­brates his Ir­ish roots and fea­tures a girl who re­fuses to con­form to the rules of love. Very up­beat and fun. No sur­prise then that it has so far gar­nered 79 mil­lion streams on Spo­tify, one of the high­est af­ter Shape Of You and Cas­tle On The Hill.

An­other favourite is Dive, which, in my opin­ion, best show­cased Sheeran’s amaz­ing vo­cals. Al­though the in­stru­men­tal beat re­minded me of John Mayer’s Slow Burn­ing In The Dancing Room, this tune is very well writ­ten and hits right at the heart.

“So don’t call me baby, un­less you mean it, don’t tell me you need me, if you don’t be­lieve it, so let me know the truth, be­fore I dive right into you”, he sings dur­ing the cho­rus.

Singing aside, Sheeran’s rap­ping skills aren’t too shabby ei­ther. Al­though it’s prob­a­bly not his best, he pulled it off like a champ in the open­ing track, Eraser.

The al­bum closes with Su­per­mar­ket Flow­ers, ded­i­cated to his late grand­mother. A very beau­ti­ful and del­i­cate bal­lad de­pict­ing painful loss, Sheeran’s abil­ity to por­tray so much love and emo­tion in his mu­sic is pure magic. Over­all, Di­vide ex­ceeded my ex­pec­ta­tions. It’s pol­ished and very well ex­e­cuted. A melt­ing pot of gen­res, the tracks evolve through­out the al­bum and fin­ishes per­fectly.

I’d say take some time and just en­joy Di­vide: It’s worth every minute of your time! Now, let’s keep our fin­gers crossed on him mak­ing his way to KL at the end of this year!

5/5

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