Ed Sheeran is completing the equation. The star took to social media on Wednesday (Mar. 1) to reveal that his upcoming album, –, will be arriving on May 5 via Atlantic Records.
The album, pronounced Subtract, will be the last installment in Sheeran’s decade-long mathematical album era, following 2011’s +, 2014’s x, 2017’s ÷ and 2021’s =.
“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,” Sheeran shared about the upcoming album in his announcement.
“Writing songs is my therapy. It helps me make sense of my feelings,” he continued. “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 spiraling through fear, depression and anxiety.”
Sheeran concluded by writing, “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.”
Sheeran teamed up with The National’s Aaron Dessner — whom he met through pal Taylor Swift — to write and produce the upcoming album. Writing over 30 songs during their month-long studio stint, the 14-track album is set to feature folk-leaning qualities as well as full-band and orchestral arrangements.
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