By Nicolas Jozefczyk | Staff Writer
Ed Sheeran’s “Divide” is a spectacular album that culminates different sounds and genres together to form one cohesive work. Ed Sheeran traveled around the world during his three year hiatus, and that travel seems to have influenced the songs on his album. From “Barcelona” to Galway, Ireland, the 16 tracks take the listener on a small world tour through the different instrumentation found on each tune.
Sheeran’s ability to fit the maximum about of syllables into a measure, his gravely voice, and songwriting prowess all shine through in “Divide.” The album takes turns from fast paced tempos and staccato guitar strumming to slower, sultry beats accompanied by piano and violins. The change in pace and instrumental variety is refreshing and captures the listener’s attention.
“Galway Girl” highlights the use of instrumentals and vocal chants to aid in the world-traveling imagery. The tune mainly uses short guitar strums, a pan flute and bagpipe to create a happy and carefree feeling. The final thirty seconds of the song features fast paced chanting, which puts the listener in an Irish bar drinking a beer and singing a drinking song.
“Supermarket Flowers” takes a completely different turn by applying just a piano which highlights Sheeran’s voice and heart-wrenching vocals. Although it is does not take the listener anywhere geographically specific, the ballad’s focus is on Sheeran reminiscing about his grandmother, who passed away. This track is very powerful and able to evoke emotions about a person’s parents, grandparents, or just loved ones in general.
“Eraser” is the opening track on the album and is highly influenced by rap and hip-hop genres. This song easily focus on Sheeran’s ability to fit many lyrics into a measure and his impeccable breath control. It is relatively easy to compare this song to Eminem’s rap style. Although Sheeran may not be a “Rap God,” his ability to connect strings of lyrics that all work together is quite impressive.
Although it might sound like a cop out, the only dislike I have about “Divide” is that I wish there was more of it. Yes, the deluxe album has 16 tracks, but I wish Sheeran would have written more for all of the emotions put on “Divide.” The listener only gets a taste of Sheeran’s different sides, instead of a whole album that focuses on the same genre.
“Divide” highlights rock, pop, rap, hip-hop and R&B genres, with an average of about three or four songs following into each category. Now that it is even more evident about how skillful Sheeran is, it would be nice to see more focused albums on each of the genres. Imagine Sheeran releasing a rap album, although it might sound crazy, “Eraser” is proof, at least for me, that he could do that.
“Divide” is not only a great comeback album from a three year hiatus, but it further proves Sheeran’s remarkable singing and songwriting ability. Yes, the album is sporadic switching between different instrumental sounds and genres, but I view that as a good thing. The switch keeps the listener on their toes and also helps the listener pay attention to the lyrics instead of just daydreaming away. “Divide” is a required album purchase for any music lover in 2017.