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REVIEW: "Divide"

by Tori Martinez - Lifestyles Editor
Tue, Mar 28th 2017 11:00 pm

 I'm going to be completely honest from the beginning, so I don't have to hear anything from diehard fans: I only started regularly listening to Ed Sheeran a few years ago and his newest album "Divide" is the first of his I have downloaded on Spotify and listened to all the way through. Rest assured, I listened to (at least part of) every one of his songs, even all the way back to "Collaborations No. 5." I can tell you that "Divide" is his best album yet, and I was not prepared for it to be my favorite album.

All of the songs share similar themes to each other and Sheeran's past songs. He's either singing about a girl he wants or a girlfriend he had but doesn't anymore. "New Man" emasculates the boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend. "Goes to the gym at least six times a week/Wears boat shoes with no socks on his feet/And I heard he's on a new diet and watches what he eats." My only problem is this song low key promotes gender stereotypes, saying real men can't carry bags or that they can't pluck their eyebrows. At the same time, it's one of my favorite songs on the album because his flow is unwavering and the instrumentals remind me of the early 2000s. You remember that Gym Class Heroes song "Cupid's Chokehold"? I swear these two songs have the same opening. 

"What Do I Know" is both my favorite song on the album and, at the moment, in general. He's just singing about how music and love can change the world. All he wants to do is spread "love and understanding positivity." This song speaks to me on a spiritual level. The inner hippy in me sheds an endless river of tears every time I listen to it. It reminds me of my favorite quote by Jimi Hendrix, "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." When the current administration is spewing hate and fear, we need a song that spreads love. In an interview with People Magazine,  Sheeran said he plans on ending some of his North American concerts during his "Divide" tour with this song because he feels like "walking away from a gig having 'love can change the world' in your head is a good thing." It's anyone's guess, but this probably has something to do with Trump, don't you think? Reading that made me love Sheeran even more.

Sheeran experimented with rapping in his last album, "X," with songs like "Take It Back" and even a little with "Don't" with song/rap mix. He continues that in "Divide" with "Eraser," "New Man," and "Galway Girl," which is this album's version of "Don't."

"Bibia Be Ye Ye" is one of the last songs on the album, which in Twi, a language mostly spoken in Ghana, means "all will be well." I'd say this falls under the same umbrella as "What Do I Know?", speaking to my soul, reminding me that no matter what, we can make it through even the most difficult situations. "Hakuna Matata", right?