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'=' is here: Ed Sheeran greets fatherhood and his 30s in candid new album

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Oct 29, 2021 3:07 pm

Ed Sheeran has released his fourth studio album, '=' (read as Equals).

The highly-anticipated LP comes in the wake of Sheeran entering his 30s, getting married, and welcoming his first child, Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran.

The first single, Bad Habits, chronicles a time of Sheeran's life when he turned to parties before he gave it up for the family life.

Though Sheeran's '=' era started with wild nights and bad decisions, the album itself is an exploration of Sheeran's feelings about growing old and having to grow up. He maintains the Sheeran equation of soft ballads and heartwarming lyrics, but the new album carries the heavier weight of building a life.

The first track, Tides, makes this distinction clear with the very first words for the album: "I have grown up, I am a father now / Everything has changed, but I am still the same somehow," Sheeran belts amid the beat.

From there, Sheeran takes his fans on the psyche of a new father and someone who is no longer heartbroken but tasked with taking care of other people's hearts.

Standouts include the third track First Time, where he looks back on his relationship with his wife and childhood friend Cherry Seaborn, and Sandman, where we see Sheeran being awed by the sight of his sleeping daughter.

With the authenticity that comes with his music, Sheeran is apparently already planning for a next album.

"It's more a question of stopping him putting another record out the week after this one," Sheeran's manager, Stuart Camp shared. "Ed writes so many songs, and he wants to get them out, he doesn't want them just sitting on his hard drive." 

Listen to '=' here: