What You Need To Know - March 3, 2017

Ed Sheeran’s ÷ - What You Need To Know
by Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio hmv.com Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

Ed Sheeran’s ÷ - What You Need To Know

The year’s most-anticipated album is here! Ed Sheeran returns with his brand new LP.

It’s out today (you can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page), it’s called ÷ (pronounced Divide) and here is everything you need to know about it...


A little background...

Ed Sheeran’s second album X was a slam dunk. It sold over 14 million copies across the world and cracked the top 50 bestsellers of all-time in the UK recently. It yielded five hit singles, one of which, ‘Thinking Out Loud’, sold almost nine million copies in its own right. It was, it’s fair to say, a big success.

The tour in support of it was never-ending and ended up totalling 176 shows, including three sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium. Sheeran, who’d spent the previous decade working steadily, decided that after he finished the live run, that he would take a break and he stuck to his word. He had a full-year off, he went travelling across Australia and Iceland, spent plenty of time with girlfriend Cherry Seaborn and tried his best to return to normality.

When he did come back to work sessions for the album all took place in his newly renovated house in Suffolk, with 25 musicians and three studio set-ups working across the recording process. It wasn’t always straightforward, though, Sheeran played the album to super-producer Rick Rubin who listened and then simply told him “Write more songs”. Ouch.

After those scolding words Sheeran scrapped six songs and went back and wrote some more. These met Rubin’s approval and that put the final seal on ÷, which is out today.


Who's producing it?

Sheeran’s called in some big players to help him with ÷. First up is Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid, who has worked with Kodaline and Example away from his day job, he helps Sheeran out on six tracks in all.

Then there’s Benny Blanco, who helped the singer write ‘Don’t’ last time round and who frequently works with Maroon 5. He’s the key producer on eight tracks in all.

Amy Wadge, who co-wrote the monster hit ‘Thinking Out Loud’, she’s back and helps her friend out on four tracks, including the much-fancied ‘Galway Girl’.

Steve Mac, who’s the key man for Olly Murs, is also on board, as is singer-songwriter Foy Vance, who signed to Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Record label and is on two tracks.

Finally, Sheeran’s ballad ‘Happier’ gets help from the king of the genre, OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder.


Any special guests?

Lots of production and songwriting assistance, but the only voice you’ll hear on ÷ is Sheeran’s.


What does it sound like?

While it’s not like Sheeran has abandoned the sound that made him so successful, he’s definitely embraced a bigger scale and chunkier production. The percussion is harder, the choruses are slicker and more direct.

There are some curveballs, though. Opener ‘Eraser’ is a throwback to the occasional hip-hop stylings of his debut album +, while ‘Galway Girl’, complete with its band of traditional Irish musicians, is a proper pub sing-a-long.


Does it deliver?

You bet it does. If you’ve read an interview with Sheeran recently or seen him in action you’ll know that his ambition is boundless, he wants to be bigger than Bruce Springsteen and Adele, which is aiming rather high, but this album will do him no harm in getting there.

Ed Sheeran’s new album ÷ is out now and available here in hmv’s online store.

÷ Ed Sheeran

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