We, as the ginger society, have often dreamed of the redheaded overlord who will step up to represent our community when the revolution arrives and the rest of the world has to once and for all acknowledge our superiority within the human race (…just me? Never mind). And I think with a three-year hiatus under his belt, Mr Sheeran is ready to step up for the job, coming back with the big bang that is his banger of his new album, Divide.
The third mathematically themed LP from our belovED comes to us too long since Multiply was released, but for good reason. Ed needed a break (well duh) so he spent the last two and a half years touring the world with his phone, and his music business brain, switched off. But it seems to have done his craft the world of good, as his newest album is his most varied yet.
His greatest skill remains producing songs that can appeal to varieties of audiences and circumstances. Festival tent roofs will be raised by tracks like ‘Eraser’ and ‘Shape of You’, where he brings his well-honed rap skills together with his nifty guitar plucking. ‘Castle on the Hill’ is an anthem Snow Patrol would have been proud of in 2004, and wedding playlists around the world will now swap their first dance tracks from ‘Thinking Out Loud’ to ‘Perfect’, track 5 on Divide.
His boldest choice in this album is throwing in a couple of Irish folk-inspired tracks, fiddles and all, with ‘Galway Girl’ and ‘Nancy Mulligan’. Seems like it should incite a “Ha boy, what’s the craic wi’ that?” in mainstream music fans everywhere, which his label apparently predicted, but Ed has defended himself, referencing the 20m record sales of The Corrs. Of course, he was right, and has been proven by the fact that all 16 tracks on Divide were featured in the UK Top 20 at the same time, a phenomenon thus far not yet seen since streaming numbers have been considered in the charts. #gingerpower indeed.
Welcome back, Ed. We’ve missed you.