By Rayiah Ross
After three long years since his second album X, Ed Sheeran has finally released his third album. Within only 24 hours, his album ➗ (Divide) broke Spotify records, receiving 56,727,861 streams. Early tracking estimates indicate the album will sell between 400,000-450,000 copies, ensuring a No. 1 debut. Divide is made of 12 original songs on its standard edition and of 16 in total on its deluxe edition. All songs have been either fully written or co-written by Ed Sheeran himself.
In the past Sheeran has been completely open about life before fame, such as his hardships with homelessness, alcoholism, and drug abuse. Even now, Sheeran expresses his emotions through the music he writes. Divide is a beautiful album about living life, falling in love, and growing up. He expresses hardship and compassion through the lyrics and sings them with such passion that the audience immediately feeds off of. “I’m spending four months in America,” he told Today’s Carson Daly, Savannah Guthrie, Willie Geist and Al Roker. “It’s the most time I’ve spent in any continent at all. We’re going to put this tour on sale and see how it goes, and then maybe come back next year for some more.” This time, he’ll be headlining arenas, as opposed to singing at more intimate venues. “It’s all about the crowd and whether the crowd gets onboard with it,” he explained. “If someone connects with you, it doesn’t matter how far away you are, if you can get them connected with a song.”
Ed Sheeran’s two lead singles from the album are “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You”. He took the somewhat unorthodox step of releasing all the album’s tracks as audio videos on YouTube. It’s not an unheard-of promotional tactic, but it paid off when his album’s songs passed the billion views mark over the weekend. “Ed Sheeran is one of the biggest stars in the world and his new album is his best yet,” said Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music. “For years, he’s paired his songs with consistently creative music videos, so it’s great to see fans rushing to YouTube to watch them and show support for his new album.”
Ed Sheeran’s Divide is now for sale, and his North American tour dates have now been released. Ed will be coming back to North America to play 48 dates starting this Summer, including four shows in California. Tickets are on general sale Friday 17th March. A limited number of tickets will be available via a fan presale that starts 10am local time on the 13th of March. This is clearly the shaping of a good year for Ed Sheeran, and more than that, a great year of outstanding music for us.