Ed Sheeran – Autumn Variations
Multi-award-winning folk-pop artist Ed Sheeran has climbed his way up the music industry’s ladder and established himself as one of the biggest household names in today’s music scene. His newest studio album release is out in time for autumn and appropriately named Autumn Variations. It reverts back to the artist’s old-school style of easy listening. Although it can be comforting to hear a familiar sound, is this latest release too similar to songs he’s written before? It’s important to avoid an overlap between the two, and it’s difficult to say whether this has been achieved by Sheeran.
The album opens with the track Magical. Although this is a pretty listen with poetic lyricism, this is a prime example of aspects of the album that veer too close to Sheeran’s old style. This continues throughout the first half, with the occasional track standing out more so than others. However, it is true that a talent of Sheeran lies in producing songs that emanate reliability and comfort. Indeed, the track England is a nice nod of patriotism. He sings about beloved elements that will resonate with many, from seaside towns to pubs to typical English weather.
From Midnight onwards, the second half of the record proves stronger than the first: Sheeran finds a happy medium between sounding too alike anything he’s written before, whilst still interspersing elements of his musical originality that make the music his own. In particular, Will I Be Alright brings a melancholic taste to the material. Heavy and raw with vulnerability, a simple yet harrowing touch of violin is layered into the backdrop of the track, creating something almost like that of a film soundtrack, making it by far this writer’s favourite.
Sheeran’s Autumn Variations is generally a simple but nicely constructed release; for listeners who are a fan of his well-known style of slower, acoustic sets, this fits the bill. Otherwise, it would be interesting to hear the artist evolve his new music to something that deviates away from his old writing, all whilst keeping elements of his original unique style.
Image: Annie Leibovitz
Autumn Variations is released on 29th September 2023. For further information or to order the album visit Ed Sheeran’s website here.
Watch the video for the single When Will I Be Alright here: