Ed Sheeran Continues the Mathematical Saga

PHOTO COURTESY/ Youtube Ed Sheeran

PHOTO COURTESY/ Youtube Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran released his fourth album “=” on Oct. 29, following his own theme of adding math symbols to his work. The release came four years after the British singer went on break following his record breaking album “÷” as well as his world tour by the same name. This break contained not only a pandemic, but also a wedding and the birth of his baby girl for the “Shape of You” singer. “=” is a reflection of these recent changes in his life. 

In terms of sound, the album is much more heavy in production. Sheeran leaves his acoustic sound in the corner and ventures into a new pop singer era with hits such as “Bad Habits” and “Shivers,” songs that are more beat-driven. Granted, he has songs like “Shape of You” that also follow a similar theme. However, there are more songs of this nature in “=“ than in any of his previous work which had not been seen before. 

In terms of lyrics, listeners can clearly see the change in Sheeran’s life and where he is right now mentally. This album, unlike “+” and “x,” is much more hopeful and joyful. The very first words in “=” are, “I have grown up, I am a father now, everything has changed, but I am still the same somehow.” This phrase perfectly sets the scene for what the rest of the record is going to be like—a reflection of Sheeran’s journey through a stable relationship and his experience of fatherhood. Through these songs, Sheeran is letting people know that he is not a 20-year-old experimenting with music anymore. But rather, he is an established artist who has gone through a lot of change in recent years and yet is still the same humble man that he is known to be. 

Going into the album, my hopes were astonishingly low. Over the summer, Sheeran released “Bad Habits” as the lead single of “=.” Although it is undeniably a catchy song, one that if you are not careful will insert itself in your brain for the rest of the day, it is not one of his most notable ones. The disconnected lyrics as well as the Halloween vibes (even though it was released in the middle of summer) were simply not appealing to me. At the same time, the release of his disappointing collaborative project  “No. 6” made me lose hope in the incredible singer-songwriter I once was obsessed with. But, thankfully, “=” proved to be more than just a collection of tunes with catchy beats. 

Although this record is not his best work, there are a couple of excellent songs. Since the first listen, the memorable songs from this record were “Tides” and “Love in Slow Motion.” The former is a perfectly clear juxtaposition of two important aspects of the singer’s life—being a celebrity and being a parent. This song is a journey; it adds tumultuous and upbeat sounds as a way to represent Sheeran’s hectic life as a worldwide star. But the song turns acoustic and much more peaceful when it changes to him talking about his family. The song is a personal and deep look into Sheeran’s life and how he is dealing with his new changes. 

On the other hand, “Love in Slow Motion” is another of Sheeran’s personal and romantic songs that we all know and love. This tune is basically about taking a step back and admiring your lover’s company and thinking about why you love each other. This song also captures the feeling of the album as it is very hopeful and amorous. 

“=” is an enjoyable album that has multiple songs that will simply be stuck in your head for days. Although to me it does not surpass the other albums’ excellence, it is still a fine body of work. If you are happily in love and want the whole world to know it, then this album is for you.