Unsurprisingly, Ed Sheeran is topping the charts. I will never understand why, though. His music is nothing more than trite. Sure, Multiply was a pretty good album, but unfortunately Divide is, as its name suggests, divisive – more so than Marmite. I say unfortunately because I genuinely believe that there should be controversy: his music at this point is objectively bad. Walk past any open car window, go into any shop, if the radio is playing then I can guarantee it will be some brand of Ed Sheeran or another. There is no escaping, his “Why am I not good enough for you, I’m a nice guy?” backhanded derision of women is sickening, and it is everywhere; it fills your ears to the point of bleeding.
To all the Ed Sheeran lovers out there: I will not apologise. Stop reading. Close this article. If you want me to praise him and talk about his lovable, cheeky chappy grin, I won’t. He’s musically uninspiring. Having released the album after a year-long hiatus, a journey of self-discovery, it seems that his idea of a hiatus is the musical equivalent of backpacking Thailand and coming back dreadlocked and tattooed: he has discovered nothing but hepatitis and sunburn. And I think I would rather have both of those things than have to listen to this drivel one more time.
So Shape of You tops the charts, where he talk-raps unenthusiastically about body positivity and finding love in a bar, as per usual. This on the very same album where he criticizes women for choosing any man other than him, complaining about his inadequacies and touting himself as a nice guy at the same time as being a condescending whingebag (see: New Man). At second is the woeful Galway Girl, which mixes Celtic folk music with tragic club loop tracks and disappointing drops. Throw in a few dashes of lyrical banality and cliché about, surprise surprise, finding love in a bar, and you have classic Sheeran. Somehow he has perfected the art of widely embraced vapid unoriginality. In third place, we hear once again about how much of a small-town boy Ed Sheeran is in Castle on the Hill, as if he hasn’t told us enough about his humble beginnings in his discography thus far.
A song from Drake’s new “playlist”, Passionfruit, sits at fourth, despite being a B-side from Views, which is a B-side of Drake’s career. 12 of the Top 40 are Ed Sheeran, another 12 are Drake, and the rest are singles from bands which specialize in churning out club-bangers so uninspired that one can blend seamlessly into another without drunk partygoers knowing any better.
Divide is the third in a series of numerical albums (Plus, Multiply, Divide), but I wouldn’t care if he never released Subtract. He should probably have never left his hiatus. Music is dead. Tune in every week for a review of Ed Sheeran, because I don’t doubt he will sit in the Top 40 for a tragically long time to come.