Any singer/songwriter knows all too well the perils of that elusive second album. Yet what about if you have enjoyed unparalleled success with 2 platinum selling albums, how must you feel about releasing a third? Last year saw one of the most successful musical comebacks in recent memory when Adele treated us to the new sound of ‘25’. From muting the exclusive video of Hello on the online streaming service VEVO, in a matter of days Adele went from obscurity to once again a worldwide phenomenon and was put forward to close the 2016 Brit Awards.
This year we finally got to witness the formidable power and influence that social media has on the way we consume music when back in January, the celebrated pocket rocket Ed Sheeran tweeted a photo of his new album cover. It seems pretty remarkable that in the space of a few weeks Sheeran went from merely tweeting a photo to having a staggering sixteen singles within the top twenty. His long awaited album Divide is the fastest selling album by a male artist and topped the charts in over fourteen countries. The king of the loop pedal is definitely back where he belongs right at the top of the charts.
It’s pertinent to note that although 2017 has been revered as the return of Ed Sheeran, the singer/songwriter has not been away at all. As a writer, Sheeran has written for the likes of: Taylor Swift, Olly Murs and One Direction not forgetting last year’ winning X Factor single When Christmas Comes Around. But now it was time for Ed to take centre stage once again with this incredible new album and what an amazing impact it’s already made.
The first single, Shape Of You, was originally written for girlband Little Mix but when Sheeran heard it back, he was very reluctant to give it away. In hindsight, that decision proved to be absolutely correct and gave him his second number one single but before Shape Of You was off the top spot, the strawberry blonde hit making machine had another in his armour. Personally, I feel that Castle On The Hill is among the more emotive tracks from the Ed Sheeran back catalogue as it transports the listeners back to their childhood when arguably they were at their most free. This is possibly a factor in determining his universal success for no matter your age, background or gender we can all relate to the themes within Sheeran’s work.
The last track on the album is probably the most beautifully emotional song I’ve heard for a very long time and the perfect tribute to his late grandmother. Supermarket Flowers deals with the pain that Ed and his family suffered when losing the most important woman in his life. Anyone who has ever lost someone close will almost certainly have a tear in their eye by the end of the song. The lyrics really make you reflect upon times gone by and the immensely strong bonds which develop between you and your loved ones. As a wordsmith myself, I remain fascinated by the way language can have a dominant effect on our emotions and this song is the epitome of this.
Who knows what the future holds for Ed Sheeran. Will he continue to grow into an evergreen artist with eternal longevity? Or will he slowly fade into the background of an ever-changing music industry? But one thing is certain that with three worldwide albums under his belt, he has surely made a very dominant impact into British popular culture. Arise Sir Ed