Friday, January 6th saw the return of one of modern pop music’s major players.
Ed Sheeran reentered the world of pop music after a year-long, social media black-out hiatus, and if I do say so myself, it’s about damn time!
As an unabashed lover of modern pop music, especially that which hails from the United Kingdom, the return of Ed Sheeran was a breath of fresh air.
He released two singles, Shape of You and Castle on the Hill to celebrate his upcoming return to the limelight. His new album Divide (otherwise known as ÷, following in suit from his previous records) is set for release on March 3rd and is available for pre-order now.
Shape Of You
Ed Sheeran always plays solo. Literally. He usually takes the stage with just an acoustic guitar and a loop pedal, but his recorded works are really where his hip-hop influence can take the forefront.
This song, originally written with Rhianna in mind, kicks off with a marimba hook that remains consistent throughout the song while a percussive acoustic keeps the beat. As the song progresses, subtle additions such as vocal hums, harmonies, and simplistic percussion that we know will soon be replicated live with nothing but acoustic guitar and loop pedal.
Castle On The Hill
Ed reunited with producer Benny Blanco (who previously produced Ed’s hit, Don’t) for Castle On The Hill, a hometown anthem steeped in the nostalgia of a pop star yearning for the simplicity of his country roots.
The syncopated guitar that moves the song along from a march to a sprint helps evoke the imagery of the lyrics. Illustrating the country roads, rolling hills and grass covered mountains of his youth. It has a massive chorus makes you sing along with as much passion as he possesses when he alludes to singing to Tiny Dancer down his old country lanes.
The bridge brings in the darker side of nostalgia. Friends who have fallen short of their dreams, or barely getting by. A heartbreaking turn from the idealistic ideas of youth.
It makes complete sense why Ed Sheeran would choose to release these two songs. They are perfect examples of two themes he’s proven himself adept at writing. Sensitive ballads and youthful party tunes. However, I’m sure that Divide will deliver much more.