By Sergio Burrueta
Ed Sheeran’s “Divide” is a decent follow-up to his previous effort, but is riddled with moments that miss the mark.
Sheeran’s talents and effort have come a long way from that of his first hit “The A Team” and the instant classic “Thinking Out Loud,” but “Divide” shows that even the best artist can make minor missteps every now and again.
In this follow-up to Sheeran’s “X,” the singer-songwriter dives into a flurry of different genres from his signature acoustic pop, the vibrancy of hip-hop and pays homage to celtic pub songs of the past. It is an unique pastiche that Sheeran experiments with, even if the results are rather hit-and-miss.
As evident in the first two singles released from the album, “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You,” Sheeran shows off his talent by dipping his toes into the different sounds explored across the album. “Castle on the Hill” delivers a jaunty tune recollecting his life before fame with a thumping drumbeat that seems tailor-made for those losing hope in their lives.
It’s a positive look at his life and what it takes to reach an ultimate goal. Songs that standout on the record, however, show great promise in his genre-bending.
Tracks such as “Eraser” and “Galway Girl” combine his acoustic vibes with a throwback to hip-hop of yesteryear. “Eraser” is simply terrific with Sheeran delivering a flow and cadence most modern rappers would envy even dropping a Run-DMC reference to boot.
Sheeran does go back to what made him famous with tunes such as “Dive,” “Perfect” and “Happier.” These range in order from boringly drab, sickeningly sweet yet absolutely great wedding song material and overly bombastic.
This also reveals Sheeran’s overly idealized sense of romance, especially in “Perfect” where he sings about finding someone that “carries more than secrets, to carry children of our own.” Lines like this can cause one to cringe due to the seemingly outdated idea of romance.
“Divide” is now streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.