Ed Sheeran has released his third album – and not all the critics are impressed.
Everyone is agreed that the record, named after the mathematical division symbol, will be a best-seller.
But while some describe the new songs as “meaningful” and “beautifully sung”, others point to “a flagrant sense of scheming behind every lyric”.
The Telegraph’s Neil McCormick gave the album four stars, writing that “the quality doesn’t let up from beginning to end”.
He added: “This is a set of direct, punchy, melodic, catchy, meaningful songs, with verses and choruses in all the right places.”
His only “very small” complaint is that “it does not push into new places”, but offers a “perfect synthesis” of all that has made Sheeran so popular.
But The Guardian’s Harriet Gibsone only offered up two stars, pointing to “a flagrant sense of scheming behind every lyric, piece of instrumentation, expression of sentiment and change of mood”.
So buzzed to see the reaction today. What's your favourite song guys? Lemme know x— Ed Sheeran (@edsheeran) March 3, 2017
She added that Ed’s gap-year has clearly had an impact, with the lyric “‘I think that money is the root of all evil’,” having “the youthful optimism of a wide-eyed gap-year student volunteering at a turtle sanctuary.”
The Independent’s Roisin O’Connor awarded the album four stars, saying that “Divide is astonishing for its sheer ambition alone – this is a polished, well-executed effort from one of the hardest-working men in music”.
But the Evening Standard’s Rick Pearson is not as keen, writing in his three-star review that the record was “not a truly great album”.
“During the album’s best moments … Sheeran sounds tremendous – a multitasking, modern pop star who can sing, rap and strum,” he wrote.
“However, the Flamenco-influenced Eraser ends up sounding like an appeal for Pop Stars In Need, while the iPhones-aloft ballad Perfect is drippier than water torture.”
Ed’s first two albums, also named after mathematical symbols, both reached number one.
The former “sofa-surfer” has already enjoyed success with tracks like Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill from his new album.