Ed Sheeran has released his soul-baring new album ‘-ʼ (Subtract) through Asylum/Atlantic.
An album that revisits Ed’s singer/songwriter roots, and one that was written against a backdrop of personal grief and hope, ‘-’ (Subtract) presents one of the biggest stars on the planet at his most vulnerable and honest. Ahead of the album’s release, Ed released two tracks – the heart wrenching ‘Eyes Closed’, which earned Ed his 14th UK No.1 single, and ‘Boat’.
‘-‘ is the result of Sheeran pushing the boundaries of his songcraft, as he delivers the most profound songwriting of his career. Teaming-up with Aaron Dessner (The National) on writing and production after the pair joined forces following an introduction from mutual friend Taylor Swift, Ed and Aaron began crafting the album in February last year. Writing over 30 songs during their month-long studio stint in Kent, UK, the album’s fourteen tracks are seamlessly tied together by exquisite production from paired back, folk-leaning textures to bolder, full-band/orchestral arrangements.
Speaking about the album upon its announcement, Ed said – “I had been working on Subtract for a decade, trying to sculpt the perfect acoustic album, writing and recording hundreds of songs with a clear vision of what I thought it should be. Then at the start of 2022, a series of events changed my life, my mental health, and ultimately the way I viewed music and art.
Writing songs is my therapy. It helps me make sense of my feelings. I wrote without thought of what the songs would be, I just wrote whatever tumbled out. And in just over a week, I replaced a decade’s worth of work with my deepest darkest thoughts.
Within the space of a month, my pregnant wife got told she had a tumour, with no route to treatment until after the birth. My best friend Jamal, a brother to me, died suddenly and I found myself standing in court defending my integrity and career as a songwriter. I was spiralling through fear, depression and anxiety.
I felt like I was drowning, head below the surface, looking up but not being able to break through for air.
As an artist I didn’t feel like I could credibly put a body of work into the world that didn’t accurately represent where I am and how I need to express myself at this point in my life. This album is purely that. It’s opening the trapdoor into my soul. For the first time I’m not trying to craft an album people will like, I’m merely putting something out that’s honest and true to where I am in my adult life.
This is last February’s diary entry and my way of making sense of it. This is Subtract.”
Next Wednesday, May 10th Ed will kick off the second season of Apple Music Live. In the intimate live performance, he’ll showcase ‘-‘ in full for the first time alongside a 12-piece band including Aaron Dessner. Fans around the world can stream the performance on demand on both Apple Music and Apple TV+ beginning at 1 p.m. PST on May 10.
To celebrate the release of ‘-ʼ, Ed will premiere 14 official music videos on YouTube @ 4pm BST today. Following the premiere, fans will be able to go to Ed’s After Party on YouTube, where he will be delivering an exclusive acoustic performance of ‘Eyes Closed’.
Ed Sheeran burst onto the UK music scene in 2011 with his debut album ‘+’. Rapidly establishing himself as a history-making artist, he followed with ‘x’, ‘÷’, ‘No.6 Collaborations Project’ and ‘=’ – a catalogue that has seen Sheeran become one of the world’s biggest musical success stories of the 21st century.
‘-‘ (Subtract) Tracklisting:
Life Goes On
End Of Youth
The Hills of Aberfeldy
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