In 2011, “The A-Team” artist Ed Sheeran made his international debut with his first studio album +. He followed it up with x in 2014, ÷ in 2017, and 2021 is finally seeing the release of his fourth studio album, =.
After releasing the single “Bad Habits” in June, he climbed to the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed as the number one hit in the U.K. Singles chart for eleven weeks, until it was eventually replaced by his follow-up single “Shivers” in September.
Here’s everything you need to know about the “Perfect” singer’s new album, which is officially available to stream today, Friday, October 29.
How Is = Different From His Other Albums?
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There are fourteen tracks on =, although Sheeran revealed in a new interview that it was a “painstaking” process to pick out his favorite songs. It must have been worth it, however, as Sheeran added that he thinks that this new album is some of the best work he’s ever done.
One of his favorite songs on the album is “Leaving Hours.” Sheeran dedicated the song to his late friend and mentor, Michael Gudinski, who passed away earlier this year. He went on to explain that although his past few albums have focused around heartbreak and love, this album focuses on the “different experiences of life.”
The motif asserts itself in the cover, which Sheeran painted himself during lockdown by splatting paint on canvas. It was then given to his friend Zac to finish designing. A chrysalis cocoon was added to the cover because Sheeran wanted to make it clear that the “symbolism behind the album is new life.”
He added, “Over the last four years, I’ve been through different experiences in life, including getting married, having a kid, losing friends, and I just felt like the butterfly symbolism fit in with that.”
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The “Shape of You” artist took to Instagram to post a statement addressing his new album release.
“= (equals) is out now,” he wrote. “This is my favourite album I’ve made, I’m so proud of it. Thank you to all the wonderful people who worked on it with me. To the fans, I hope you love it as much I do, it’s been a long journey to this point. Have a fantastic weekend xx”
Fans were ecstatic over the album’s release. British comedian Dapper Laughs was one of the first to comment, writing, “Keep inspiring & connecting, bad habits will be stuck in my mind forever and makes me think of my strength.”
“ED WE LOVE IT !!!!,” another fan commented. “THANKS FOR CREATING THIS MASTERPIECE.”
“it’s amazing!!” another shared. “i love it so much. just gives me the feeling of being warm inside. feel so much love in this album. whole album just feels like a big hug.”
In a video recorded yesterday, Sheeran shared, “I’m obviously still in covid isolation but please let me know what you think when it’s out. It’s the most proud of ever been of a price of work and I can’t wait for you all to hear it. Gonna be having a solo party tonight and tomorrow to celebrate, blast it loud. Love you all x”