Ed Sheeran has had some difficulties lately in his life. Being the subject of a major copyright court case (which he won), along with some other issues, such as his grandmother’s death, changed the ball game a little for the superstar. The previous album he released, = or Equals, did not sound as consistent or as amazing as his earlier works on albums, which was disappointing. Still, we have a new album that should be interesting listening. How does it sound? Let’s find out here.
Boat begins with just Ed Sheeran just singing and playing acoustic guitar here. It seems that Ed Sheeran is dealing with some relationship issues and similar demons here, and he doesn’t sound particularly happy. Still, this is a much better song than expected, and it is very melodramatic. A pretty, interesting and deep tune, this is instantly a winner, at least from this album. A great tune from the start, this is continuing the musical tradition that Coldplay and others have set musically before him. Gorgeous. A good song, even if Ed Sheeran himself is not overly happy here.
Salt Water begins with a very Coldplay esque intro, with Ed Sheeran singing over piano and organ. He sings well here but sounds very depressed and lonely throughout. Indeed, there is little euphoria here. Ed Sheeran lifts his soul up into the chorus nicely, and he bares his painful experiences nicely here. In any case, this is another decent musical composition from the singer-songwriter. It has some interesting percussion sounds in the background. Still, this sounds fairly morbid. “Now I am standing on the edge, gazing into hell. Or is it something else? I just can’t tell,” is a dark set of lyrical lines here. Let’s hope that Ed Sheeran gets some happiness soon. Fairly dark, sad and dreary.
Eyes Closed is the first single from the album. It has a minor key descending melody, and Ed Sheeran sings in a very sad way. Unfortunately, it seems that Ed is having some personal issues in his life, particularly his love life, and is unafraid to show that here. For all its gloom, this is a good song, even if it isn’t Shape Of You. Regardless, it carries its musical weight and sounds like a prediction for Ed Sheeran’s marriage. A good song nonetheless, even for its bleak lyrics and minor key melodies. One cannot help but feel a little sorry for Ed at this point, things aren’t as good as they could be. Good song.
Life Goes On begins with some unusual sounding acoustic guitar, with Ed Sheeran quickly entering the scene. He sings with a much more honest intent than he ever did previously, This has some piano in the background and some excellent singing by Ed Sheeran here. This song is likely about his grandmother’s passing, which is quite deep. This is very beautiful and moving, and this tune is a real tear-jerker, especially upon hearing this for the first time. Regardless, it works nicely. Very miserable and raw listening, but something that is super effective, and works wonders. Excellent tune. A better album than one would expect.
Dusty begins with some digital beats, layered vocals and is an interestingly structured tune to listen to. This is about relationship issues but is far more positive than what has come before. By Dusty, of course, this song is an ode to Dusty Springfield, the famous singer. Ed Sheeran bares his soul and sings about his (seemingly) failing marriage and other issues abound. A laidback and relaxed listen, even if this is not particularly guitar heavy. It’s good, however. Still, this is not the greatest moment by Ed Sheeran, but this is much better than most musicians and music today. A good ending to a bittersweet tune, it has some nicely cut-up percussion in the outro. Decent.
End Of Youth sings about unfortunate events and sounds very morbid, once again. Singing about getting older and more miserable about things, Ed Sheeran doesn’t sound very happy here. At all. Sure, he has a lot of fame and riches, but he delivers an album about losing love and feeling down about that. Regardless, the music is good, with piano, electronic textures and no really prominent guitars, which is really weird. This album is very much a tearjerker project and a reminder of one’s struggles through life. One can half expect Ed himself to separate from Cherry Seaborn at this point. He sounds really depressed here. A miserable listen.
Colourblind is a short piece with some trippy textures and more lyrics about the past, and Ed Sheeran reflects on what has gone on in his life. Again, this is U2 esque melancholy miserablism. This is less Pop/Rock acoustic stuff that Ed is famous for, and instead is too much balladry of sad topics, which isn’t as appealing. Still, Ed Sheeran makes a good song here, even if it is not a really great one. Ed Sheeran does sing very well here, and he delivers a really introspective and sensitive listen. In some ways, this music does wonders, but not to the nth degree. With lyrics about colours and relationship difficulties at hand, Ed Sheeran sounds as though he is really having a hard time in life. Another good song, even if it is depressing and miserable throughout.
Curtains launches straight into it with lyrics about opening and closing curtains, quickly launching into an EDM beat styled piece that is rubbish, to be fair. This is exactly what someone like Ed Sheeran should not be doing, you cannot make a singer-songwriter do EDM, it generally does not work. In any case, it’s about sleeping off bad emotions, which is sometimes difficult for one to do. The guitar riffing throughout is good, but despite that, this isn’t the greatest from this album. It is a drag on the overall quality of the listen. Anyway, it’s okay but rather naff. The repeated vocals at the end aren’t the best, and this ends with sustained keyboards.
Borderline begins with melodic piano, sounding really moody and with Ed Sheeran singing about his failing marriage. It’s fairly obvious that this is the case. The chorus has some interesting falsetto vocals by Ed Sheeran before he returns to the verses at hand. Ed is not a happy chappy here. Instead, he expresses his vulnerabilities and fears here and just sounds quite unhappy and miserable. A happier album than this would make more sense by Ed and sell better, but he is going through some demons here, quite obviously. Nonetheless, Ed Sheeran does melodrama well here and he delivers a good piece of music, but not a great piece of music. It’s over after nearly four minutes in length.
Spark begins with keyboards and piano, launching into a melodic piece of music, again about relationship issues. Despite the fact that Ed Sheeran himself would be denying that this is the case, it is about his deteriorating marriage, fairly obviously. The music is fairly moody and has some very digital production throughout. This album may be more heart-on-his-sleeve than other Ed Sheeran albums, but it is very patchy musically and suffers for that. Still, it’s listenable and one hopes that Ed can take some MDMA and chill out instead. A good song anyway.
Vega sings about the falling rain and takes Ed Sheeran through the morbid experiences of his life. It seems like fame and riches don’t exactly make Ed happy. The guy needs to cheer up, really. In any case, a good listen but this is not outstanding music as it is quite depressing and morbid. It sounds quite like Ed Sheeran is regretting not getting prenup with Cherry and has to live with his choice as a result. In any case, this is very pretty and beautiful listening, and our man needs to cheer up. The production is very expensive sounding mind you. Okay, but quite miserable.
Sycamore has Ed Sheeran singing about his young daughter here and the experiences he is spending with his family. Again, this is miserablism to the nth degree. This is quite a dreary listening experience, to be fair, and it is clear that one cannot feel enthusiastic about the music by this point. Regardless, the music present is gentle and pretty, and it sounds really different as a piece of music. Shorter than three minutes long, Ed Sheeran questions what will happen to his broken love. Good work.
No Strings begins with pounding piano and some pretty vocals by Ed Sheeran. He sings more openly and deeply about his troubled marriage, and he accepts that inevitably, it will fail. This makes one ask Ed if his choice of wife was logical in the first place. Regardless, this is a good song filled with pain and regret, and Ed Sheeran does this sort of piano led ballad nicely. Some strange percussion is in the background here, and this tune comes alive for a bit. Ed pleads with his love that, no matter what, he will never change nor stop loving her. Rather deep.
The Hills Of Aberfeldy is the last main track on this album. This tune, thankfully is not as miserable as the other tunes here, and Ed’s singing is really great and excellent to hear. All the same, this is a nice and deep tune that is an exploration of sound and great musical listening here. There is some 12-string acoustic guitar and some gorgeous string sections in the background, along with some multitracked vocals. Fortunately, Ed Sheeran sounds a lot happier here and reflects on love and life. An enjoyable listening experience, this has a really emotional ending. Wonderful.
Wildflowers – Bonus Track begins with some loose drum beats and keyboard styled sounds, with Ed Sheeran singing along. This tune is rather dull, to be fair, and it doesn’t do Ed Sheeran some real justice. In any case, this is okay but not absolutely wonderful or brilliant. An ode to love and flowers, which is really weird, this is an unusual listening experience for this extended album. There is an awful guitar solo in the background of the second half of the song, which is not needed here. It ends with almost whispered vocals and wraps up. Fairly ordinary.
Stoned – Bonus Track goes straight into a piano led ballad with Ed Sheeran singing about his personal issues, and it isn’t a good listen. It’s about Ed having some jealousy of his friends and what they are doing with their lives, whilst he is alone, stoned. All the same, the music present is okay, but this is not a great song. Fortunately, it is a bonus track, so you can skip it if you wish. A weird and odd addition to the mixture of sounds and songwriting here, this is a failure. The album does not sound overly inspiring, and this should not be on this release. A weird and whiney tune, Ed needs some therapy by the sounds of it.
Toughest – Bonus Track is more traditional Ed Sheeran with his acoustic guitar and singing, and sings directly about some real-life issues he has had. Not really a cheerful or original sounding piece of music, this sounds a lot like Hillsong’s music, to be fair. Regardless, Ed Sheeran’s music sounds fairly selfish and self-interested, rather than writing about emotions people regularly deal with. Regardless, this is a good song but not exactly a smash hit here. It’s okay but could have, again, been dropped from the album. A depressing listen, this is very selfish. Avoid it, it’s really ordinary to hear.
Moving – Bonus Track is the final track on this album. It has Ed Sheeran give an ultimatum to listeners, and possibly to Cherry as well, at least for this album. In any case, this has a rather awful falsetto vocal part that doesn’t suit the acoustic guitars and other instrumentation present in this tune. Regardless, it’s okay but it doesn’t work as well as it should. Good, but not great, this is just a very ordinary tune. Fortunately, this is the last tune, so you can easily skip this one. It wraps up a fairly underwhelming album and is perhaps proof that Ed himself needs some serious help at this point.
Overall, this album is very bland, repetitive and there are no standout hits from it, either. Ed Sheeran sings over and over again about how he is unable to cope with a failing marriage per se. Therefore, this falls flat. Understandably, we all have our own personal life issues at various points in our lives, but this is not a way to address them. The music doesn’t hold up, and the lyrics especially do not. Should you listen to this album? No, unless you are an Ed Sheeran fanatic. Everyone else will find this release disappointing, however.
Lame, atrocious and too selfish.