REVIEW: Why “÷” was worth Ed Sheeran’s one year hiatus

Alex Brown, editor in chief

On Dec. 12, 2015, the music world went into a state of panic and sadness that lasted for a year. On December 12, 2015, Ed Sheeran announced his year-long hiatus from social media and the public eye. Some were angry. Some understood why the year off was necessary. Sheeran recently dropped two new singles, “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill,” on Jan. 6  and the immediate success of both songs satisfied listeners, but also left them ready for an album. Continuing his pattern of past album titles “+” and “x”, Ed Sheeran released his third studio album “÷” on March 3.

Sheeran’s past albums have brought numerous songs that have made their way onto millions of people’s playlists; this album is no exception. “New Man” brings a familiar sound to the album, yet the song is unlike any Ed has released, with a new feeling of pride and confidence that fans haven’t seen in Sheeran before.  “New Man”  gave me the impression that the year hiatus gave Sheeran a new sense of self.

“Dive” and “Perfect” also create nostalgia towards past Ed Sheeran albums by addressing the genuine passion of music that fans have been missing. “Dive” addresses the vulnerability of entering a new relationship and is reminiscent of classic Sheeran songs, while “Perfect” is a song of admiration and ideal contentedness with a partner. You know, the type of song Ed Sheeran releases that makes everyone suddenly crave finding their true love? Yeah, that kind of song.

Past Sheeran albums have brought plenty of emotions, but wow, is “÷” a whole different story. “How Would You Feel (Paean)” and “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” are guaranteed to be played at wedding after wedding over the next few years. Both songs consist of Sheeran assuring his S.O. that his heart is hers, no matter what. While both are classic love songs, they pale in comparison to “Happier,” “Supermarket Flowers,” and “Save Myself.” “Happier” details the pain of seeing a past love move on while showing a sense of maturity and realness that many younger listeners can learn from. The song that everyone was talking (and crying) about when “÷” was released is “Supermarket Flowers.” The song chronicles the loss of Sheeran’s grandmother from the perspective of his mother and perfectly entails all the pain before, during and after a loss. The adorably sweet Ed Sheeran reveals his own personal struggles in balancing his own needs and the needs of others in “Save Myself.” The song consists of Sheeran ultimately coming to the decision that he needs to prioritize himself before he can be capable of truly helping others.

So I guess it’s time for me to really answer the question and give my reasons for my response. Was “÷” worth the year without Sheeran? Yes. Yes. Yes. Indisputably, yes.  The past albums have been great, yet they have lacked the diversity and intensity that “÷” has. Throughout his year, the journey Sheeran has gone through has been physical and emotional, much like the album. He has traveled around the world, and fans have been able to listen to music with inspiration drawn from the countries of his travels. This album has added a whole new level to who Ed Sheeran is, or at least who the public thinks he is. Hopefully, Sheeran has some more musical surprises in store for 2017. For now, Sheerios sit in wait for “-.”

[playbuzz-item url=”//”]