Released: 3rd March 2017.
One of the most awaited comebacks was definitely Ed Sheeran, and while others either fall short or didn't match expectations, Sheeran not only matched them but exceeded them.
To initiate the era, Sheeran released two singles back to back on the same day, "Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill". The former shares some similarities in the beat with "Cheap Thrills" by Sia and the latter with the thematic theme of "7 Years" of Lukas Graham. They topped the charts all over the world and gave Sheeran his first number one single as a singer in the US.
But enough about his accomplishments, this album is something else, one of the best of the year so far. Sheeran gives us a throwback to his debut album '+' (pronounced "plus"), on tracks such as "Eraser" and "New Man". Other resemblances can be seen in 'x' (pronounced "multiply") on "Perfect" and "Dive". "Eraser" is clearly an evolution in the right direction, a strong song that might be worth a push for a single just to show a different side of the singer.
This reviewer couldn't let this review carry on without praising the pop ballad "Perfect"; let's call it a "Thinking out Loud 2.0." despite the fact that "Dive" tries to do the same.
Irish folk music group, Beoga, contributed to the cool track "Calway Girl". "Happier" shows a raw hard truth that sometimes goes unspoken. The last four tracks, are probably the weakest, which include an uptempo "What Do I Know" and three ballads "Supermarket Flowers", "Hearts Don't Break Around Here", and "How Would You Feel (Paean)".
The standouts are clearly "Perfect", "Eraser", "Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill". However, not everything is perfect, particularly if you listen to the deluxe tracks; they just sound out of place.
Just a side note on the collaborators, with Benny Blanco becoming an executive producer for the album along with Sheeran. Other producers include long-time collaborators Johnny McDaid and Amy Wadge, as well as newcomers Steve Mac, Mike Elizondo, and Ryan Tedder.
A debut at number one is on lock worldwide, only missing the numbers which are going to be quite high for today's dead music industry. Also expect several nominations at the 2018 Grammys and other award shows. The sky is the limit for this English ginger singer-songwriter!