(New York, NY – August 19, 2021) Global superstar Ed Sheeran has announced details for his new album ‘=’ (pronounced ‘Equals’), confirmed for release on October 29 through Atlantic Records (pre-order HERE). To coincide with today’s news, Ed has both revealed the album’s official tracklist and released the emotionally charged, album track ‘Visiting Hours,’ alongside a beautiful performance video (watch HERE).
“‘=’ (Equals) is a really personal record and one that means a lot to me. My life changed greatly over the past few years – I got married, became a father, experienced loss, and I reflect on these topics over the course of the album. I see it as my coming-of-age record, and I can’t wait to share this next chapter with you.”
‘=’ – the fourth installment in Sheeran’s symbol album series – is Ed’s most accomplished work yet; the evolution of an artist who continues to tread new ground. A body of songs that were made over a four-year period following his seminal ‘÷’ (Divide) album era, thematically, ‘=’ finds Ed taking stock of his life and the people in it, as he explores the varying degrees of love (‘The Joker And The Queen’, ‘First Times’, ‘2step’), loss (‘Visiting Hours’), resilience (‘Can’t Stop The Rain’) and fatherhood (‘Sandman’, ‘Leave Your Life’), while also processing his reality and career (‘Tides’). Sonically, ‘=’ encapsulates Ed’s versatile musical palette, spanning signature, guitar-led tracks and world-class balladry to weightier, euphoric production moments, as first showcased on the album’s lead single ‘Bad Habits,’ released earlier this summer.
‘=’ Official Tracklist:
3. First Times
4. Bad Habits
5. Overpass Graffiti
6. The Joker And The Queen
7. Leave Your Life
10. Stop The Rain
11. Love In Slow Motion
12. Visiting Hours
14. Be Right Now
‘=’ seamlessly captures both the intimate and every day; elevating universal experiences to a higher plane as reflected by ‘Visiting Hours’ – a track that finds Ed coming to terms with the loss of his mentor and friend, Michael Gudinski, and written shortly after his passing: “I wish that heaven had visiting hours / So I can just swing by and ask your advice”. Performed for the first time at Michael’s State Memorial in March, the poignant track, which is joined by a stripped performance video (watch HERE), features backing vocals from Michael’s close friends, Kylie Minogue and Jimmy Barnes.
Written and recorded across Suffolk, London, Sweden and LA, the album’s executive production comes from Ed Sheeran, FRED (No.6 Collaborations Project) and Johnny McDaid (Divide), with additional writing and/or production provided by Steve Mac, Joe Rubel, Amy Wadge, Foy Vance, Elvira Anderfjard, David Hodges, Andrew Watt, Lou Bell, Natalie Hemby and Ben Kweller. Sheeran’s brother, Matthew, a composer, also contributes stunning string arrangements on ‘First Times’ and ‘The Joker And The Queen’. The album artwork is a vivid collage of butterfly imagery symbolizing the albums’ thread of ‘new life’ and is backdropped by one of Ed’s own abstract paintings.
In June, Sheeran released the album’s lead single, ‘Bad Habits’, which continues its ascent on the US charts, while the companion music video has amassed over 120 million views & received 3 nominations at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, including the coveted “Video of the Year.”
In his native UK, the track has spent seven consecutive weeks and counting at #1, and is the fastest track to reach half a million sales this year. Looking ahead, Sheeran will play an intimate fan show at London’s O2 Shepherds Bush Empire on September 2 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his debut album ‘+’, before coming stateside for a nationally televised performance at the 2021 NFL Kickoff on September 9, ahead of the season opening game between the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys, airing on NBC.