You gotta love Ed Sheeran.
Everybody loves Ed Sheeran.
Ed Sheeran seems to be the pop star who lives next door.
What we have all been amazed about for years is how Ed Sheeran can take 80,000 people in a stadium and draw them in to a ridiculous feeling of intimate community with just a guitar and a voice. Phenomenal.
What I have been surmising listening to = (Equals) is that he does the same in his work in general. It is a phenomenal ability to be so globally massive but make yourself so intimate to the listener of a billion streams.
Wherever you put Sheeran in the pantheon of pop and rock superstars I don’t feel I know as much about any of them as I do about Ed.
Sheeran has this ability to seemingly invite you into his life. He sounds like your mate when he sings about playing to 80,000 at Wembley. You might feel like a gooseberry as you listen to love songs like First Times, Love In Slow Motion and Collide.
You are almost baby sitting yourself as he sings Sandman to his daughter Lyra. Songs for your children have turned into syrupy mush for many songwriters. Sheeran with all his sentimentality gives a lesson to his peers. Sandman is a beaut.
I would not call myself an Ed Sheeran anorak but as someone who footers around with words and lyrics and rhymes I am an admirer of how he churns out catchy songs with original couplets on familiar themes.
As I have listened I have heard an artist growing up in life (he speaks a lot about having a daughter doing that) but also in the honing of his gift. = (Equals) seems another step up from ÷ (Divide).
Most of these are songs of Sheeran’s life and love and family and loss but that lead off single Bad Habits is a shift in Sheeran’s sonics. Dance, not for Rihanna but Ed himself. It works wonderfully as Sheeran shows us he doesn’t need to be introspective all the time but gives us a social critique of a greed infested world addicted to more.
Every pure intention ends when the good times start
Fallin' over everything to reach the first time's spark
It started ounder neon lights and then it all got dark
I only know how to go too far
The sonics change throughout = (Equals). From beats and electronic to stripped back acoustic and then there’s the paint led The Queen and The Joker with tasteful strings from one Matthew Sheeran that might challenge Adele to big ballad of the year.
I imagine in a couple of years from now we’ll have a few more Castle On The Hills, Thinking Out Louds and Shape Of Yous omnipresent across our radios. A good number are in contention… and Ed… we’ll all love Ed, probably even more.