Sheeran’s ‘=’ album makes its official debut

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Courtesy of Atlantic Records Press

Ed Sheeran’s fourth studio album, “=,” was released on Oct. 29 and features songs such as “Bad Habits” and “Shivers.”

Emma Bartlett, Arts & Culture Editor

Ed Sheeran may be running out of mathematical signs for album names, but he certainly has enough creative content to continue producing worthwhile songs. The illustrious British redhead artist — who has taken the world by storm with his music — released his fourth studio album “=” (a.k.a Equals) on Oct. 29.

This 14-song soundtrack reveals a new side of Sheeran, shown as a result of his 2018 marriage to Cherry Seaborn and the birth of his daughter, Lyra, in 2020.

“Tides,” the opening number, immediately addresses this change with, “I have grown up I am a father now/ everything has changed but I am still the same somehow.” Sheeran reflects on his bad choices during his youth, meanwhile alluding to the fears he has moving forward in life.

“=” provides listeners with a diverse selection of enjoyable tunes. The public was already introduced to “Bad Habits” back in June and the song has now stayed in Billboard’s Top 100 for 17 weeks. The song peaked at number two but has since been downgraded to number four. “Shivers” was also released in September and ranks number nine on the top 100 charts – continuously climbing its way up the list.

Now, of course, this would not be an Ed Sheeran album without an iconic slow song. While nothing on the album compares to “Perfect” or “Thinking Out Loud,” “Joker and the Queen” has a slow-paced, whimsical quality to it and sounds like a fairytale through its elegant piano parts and violin segments, which make up the song’s latter half.

This piece tells the story of a princess who falls in love with a court jester, and the jester wonders why she picks him when she could have any prince in the kingdom. Entirely beautiful, this song is extremely addicting and will stay in your head for hours.

Other noteworthy songs to look out for include “First Times,” “Visiting Hours” and “Overpass Graffiti.”
In “First Times,” Sheeran sings about a relationship where he holds the small moments dear and how he hopes for a million more first times. Meanwhile, “Visiting Hours” is about Sheeran’s friend and mentor, Michael Gudinski, who passed away and has a similar tone to his 2017 song, “Supermarket Flowers.” Finally, “Overpass Graffiti” covers a past break-up with someone Sheeran thought he would marry.

“=” gives listeners exactly what they would expect from Sheeran. From songs that make fans crank the volume, to the romantic ditties and the somber pieces in between, Sheeran shares his personal growth with the world. The whole album has a certain tranquility to it and shows how at peace Sheeran seems to be.