Ed Sheeran “Subtract” (Deluxe) Album Review

Subtract (Deluxe)

Ed Sheeran

  • Genre: Pop
  • Date: 05 May, 2023
  • Content: Not-explicit
  • Track(s): 19
  • An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2023 Warner Music UK Limited

If you don’t already have a box of tissues around, you should go get some right away because Ed Sheeran has returned with the final installment of his mathematical albums. The 14-track album of expressive songs that strikingly resemble The “A Team” Ed that we have all come to know and love was written by the 32-year-old lyrical genius by going back to his creative beginnings. “Subtract” is not an album; rather, it is a personal diary that is a beautifully melodic whirlwind of loss, misery, melancholy, remorse, hope, sorrow, and overpowering love.

Album Cover Art

Ed Sheeran &Quot;Subtract&Quot; (Deluxe) Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, March 1, 2024

A painting of Ed Sheeran on a yellow canvass is his choice of cover artwork for his new album. On the painting, we can find fragments of Sheeran’s faded face breaking away from something coming apart from within.

Tracks and Features

With the song “Boat,” Ed begins the musical monologue by introducing the notion of a weather motif, which he would utilize repeatedly throughout the record to illustrate his struggle. The depressing phrases are enveloped by a pleasant familiarity that is inextricably linked to the Ed of 2004 from the very first note. His pristine vocals establish the mood and sing with a tenderness that foreshadows what’s to come.

In the same way as “Boat” served as the introduction, “Salt Water” serves as the opening page of chapter one and immediately compels the listener to sit up and take notice as a more somber tone descends over the storyteller and his backing track. While constant drum rhythms emphasize the never-ending anguish that is beating on his spirit, piano keys continue the song that is drowning on. His soul nearly seems to catch fire with the weight of the struggle while female vocal harmonies provide glimmers of brightness to the music. The song’s bridge adopts an ethereal tone that gives the impression that Ed is singing from the ocean’s depths.

With its upbeat tempo and cheery song, “Eyes Closed,” an homage to Jamal Edwards, deceives the listener into believing that everything is going well. Punchy guitar and quick instrumental beats perfectly symbolise the star’s attempts to move on following the untimely death of his companion, in contrast to the lyrics that describe the disintegration of a person overcome by grief.

“Life Goes On” gives you the impression that Ed and you are the only two people in a cozy tavern while he shares his troubles. He dreads thinking of life without his wife in it, so the words float like a plea to her to get better. “End of Youth” plummets once more, dragging the singer down to the lowest points of hopelessness and minor chords, much like the ups and downs of life. In what could be the most brutally genuine song on the record, the soulful chorus lends itself as a scream for aid.

With staccato piano chords and affectionate lyrics, “Colourblind” begins with a sense of innocent youth and recreates a delightful atmosphere. The song, which restores hope, is cheerful, and the listener can almost hear the singer grinning as he gives his tale in a voice that drips with honey.

The song’s childlike simplicity and leisurely lyrics make it simple to understand the singer’s sentiment in “No Strings.” The singer’s confident demeanor is further enhanced by his gappy annunciation. In essence, this song is true in its clear message that love always triumphs over turmoil.

The emotional vortex album’s concluding track, “Hills Of Aberfeldy,” opens with Celtic, traditional, folk singing that atmospherically paints the listener a picture of the woods. Ed uses a dramatic unaccompanied opening that builds gradually and modifies his voice to sound like an old-world bard. As Ed emerges in a wave of acceptance, a sound resembling a piper pierces the smoke and dust, and guitar picking beats away the cloud of melancholy.


1 Boat 3:05
2 Salt Water 3:59
3 Eyes Closed 3:14
4 Life Goes On 3:30
5 Dusty 3:42
6 End Of Youth 3:51
7 Colourblind 3:29
8 Curtains 3:44
9 Borderline 3:57
10 Spark 3:34
11 Vega 2:58
12 Sycamore 2:50
13 No Strings 2:54
14 The Hills of Aberfeldy 3:15
15 Wildflowers (Bonus Track) 2:58
16 Stoned (Bonus Track) 3:17
17 Toughest (Bonus Track) 3:33
18 Moving (Bonus Track) 3:35
19 Subtract – Trailer 0:22

Album Theme

“Subtract” is a reflective album that dwells on themes of loss, sadness, companionship, and regret, occasionally veering into self-pity. Sheeran deserves praise for writing songs that are honest and open about all the recent events that have bothered him.

Production Credits

Aaron Dessner, Fred again.., Max Martin & Shellback produced the album.


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