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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Ed Sheeran Announces New album "Subtract"


Fri 03 Mar 2023 | 09:14 AM
Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran
Yara Sameh

English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has announced his fifth studio album, titled "Subtract" (-), which is due for release on May 5.

The album is the last installment in Sheeran’s decade-long mathematical album era, following 2011’s "+", 2014’s "X", 2017’s "÷", and 2021’s "=".

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Sheeran got candid on Instagram about the upcoming album, saying: "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,".

He added: "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," he concluded.

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“-” is produced by Aaron Dessner of the band The National. Dessner worked with Taylor Swift on her surprise 2020 album “Folklore”, which received some of her best reviews and won the Grammy for Album of the Year.

The pair wrote over 30 songs during their month-long studio stint, however, the album will include 14 tracks with folk-leaning qualities as well as full-band and orchestral arrangements.

The pop star also talked about collaborating with Dessner on his latest album, saying: "So in 2021, I got a message from @taylorswift to link me up with @aarondessner. She thought he and I would make something great together. I have to be honest I was a bit reticent to work with him that soon after folklore and evermore because I felt that was Taylors thing and they had both been done so perfectly,".

He added: "But we met for dinner, chatted about life and music, and he promised to send me some instrumentals for me to write over whenever inspiration hit. As soon as I got them, I loved the whole overall vibe of it and knew that one day I would write to them, but at the time I was finishing up what I thought was Subtract, so would put them on the back burner for a bit,".

"Then, as I said in my announcement post, a lot of things started happening in my personal life that I just felt the need to vent about on song and write diaristically about them. I had Aarons instrumentals, so just started writing, and writing, and writing,".

"He flew over to the UK and we recorded it in a week by the seaside, and its just been the most incredible process, and an album I'm so bloody proud of. Thanks to Aaron and Jon for the insane amount of hard work and dedication you put into this project, and bringing out a side of me I had put on mute for so long. And of course, thanks to Swizzle, as always, you rock x,".

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