He may have taken some time away from the spotlight, but Ed Sheeran is back and here to stay.
Sheeran released his third full-length album last week, and despite having received mixed reviews from critics, the album has broken records around the world and has soared to the top of the charts.
The 26-year-old British singer-songwriter began teasing the album at the beginning of the year, when he announced that he would release new music that Friday. The songs he put out that day, "Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill," are the two most popular songs from the record and have earned extensive recognition from fans worldwide.
Sheeran released one more single, "How Would You Feel (Paean)," before the full album was released last week.
Each of the 16 songs on the deluxe edition of the album are different from one another, and combined they show the vast talents the singer has developed.
Sheeran is known for one special thing in most of his songs – storytelling. Each of his tracks, whether happy and exuberant or more emotional, tells a story. And in this album, more than some of his others, he delivers on this front.
From the lifelong story of two lovers in "Nancy Mulligan," to the story of a fiddle player in an Irish band in "Galway Girl," Sheeran entrances listeners with fascinating stories that bring these songs to another level.
The album features some more upbeat tracks, such as "Bibia Be Ye Ye" and "Barcelona," while contrasting these with more poignant songs like "Supermarket Flowers" and "Happier."
Sheeran uses love as a major theme for many of the tracks, whether it be about his love for his parents in "Supermarket Flowers," the love he shares with a girl in "Dive," or a recently ended relationship in "Happier."
He also gets notably personal in this album, using moving lyrics based on his experiences to impact listeners. "Castle on the Hill" and "Save Myself" use lyrics that are profoundly personal, but nonetheless add a flair to the album not seen in much of today’s music.
Despite these, Sheeran does take a few wrong turns on the album, such as taking his lyrics a little too far in the opening stanzas of "New Man," but these missteps add to his growing character as a performer.
This album is a huge step for Sheeran, as he further develops his songwriting expertise. His talent surely comes through on "Divide," and this should resonate with listeners everywhere.
Alex Renzoni is a freshman at Clarence High School.