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CRITIC REVIEWS

80
The Telegraph

With the stadium dynamics of Coldplay, sing-along craft of ABBA and romantic balladry to rival Adele, Britain’s favourite one-man band seems determined to prove he is first amongst Equals.

70
Gigwise
Love him or hate him Ed Sheeran is the undefeated champion of perfectly pristine pop that soundtracks romance from all over the world.
70
The Young Folks

On the whole, where ÷ was a largely external record, with Sheeran acting as a sharp conduit for vivid stories, = is an internal record, with Sheeran —  gladly —  pivoting to face himself and his new life.

70
AllMusic

He's not chasing trends, he's making music for people who have aged out of the clubs but have yet to wallow in nostalgia.

60
The Guardian

= is an album of foregone conclusions: everything from multi-platinum success to the accompanying backlash feels preordained. For all the negative words that might sometimes cut deep, you get the feeling Sheeran might have quietly come to an accommodation with things as they are.

60
Evening Standard

He’s the unglamorous everybloke who conquered the world and moved back to his home town, but settling down clearly doesn’t mean giving up on superstardom. Everything about the = sound is calculated to keep him on top for a long while yet.

60
NME
So, ‘=’ adds up to another album on which Sheeran comes off like a millennial Lionel Richie – namely, a very gifted singer-songwriter who’s sometimes sunk by his saccharine streak.
60
The Independent

He’s clearly well aware that fans tend to fall for what sounds familiar, so he skilfully – surreptitiously, perhaps – weaves in the signatures of better songs ... When he’s not doing that, though ... he has a perfectly good pop album on his hands. Equation solved.

60
Clash

Unashamedly broad, it can lack detail and punch; yet ‘=’ has something about it that is difficult to shrug off, while being hard to truly relate to.

60
Rolling Stone

Much of = ditches the folk-pop of his first album for choruses meant to incite cell-phone-lit sing-alongs in baseball parks.

60
The Irish Times

= is an album of foregone conclusions: everything from multi-platinum success to the accompanying backlash feels preordained.

60
The Observer
Despite keeping one foot in the club-pop groove, commitment and maturity set the tone for settled-down Sheeran’s latest outing.
50
Sputnikmusic

On paper, clocking in at nearly forty-nine minutes, you would think that = is going to be this big experience; in reality, all its length will do is have people picking out a handful of their favourite songs from it, and the rest they will callously throw away.

50
Spectrum Culture
For every impressive idea Sheeran comes up with, he also falls back on the bland trends and boring songwriting that gets him to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
40
The Arts Desk

There’s no exceptional music here, no gleam of stardust to lift us. Just a levelling down, an ordinariness, a sufficiency.

36
Pitchfork

= offers plenty of songs that will make someone out there say “aw” while waiting to fill their prescription at a pharmacy.

20
The Needle Drop
Not as bad as the collaborations album, albeit not by much.
thomaslind
40

This isn't Ed Sheeran death metal album. My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined.

Doublez
28

I don't know what scares me more, between the fact that Equals is flavored with deja-vu, or that Ed Sheeran is still (currently) the second most streamed artist

It's been 10 years now that Ed Sheeran is on the roof of the world, as one of the only real male superpopstar. We won't rehash the story, the British singer has been a monumental commercial success since The A Team (2011), passing by Shape of You (2017) which became clearly the most streamed song of all time on Spotify. Clearly, we're ... read more

redbded
NR

reasons why i will not be listening to = by ed sheeran 💯😤

#1: he is a ginger "person" (they do not exist)
#2: ed sheeran
#3: this is the most dogshit album cover have ever seen
#4: ed sheeran
#5: i do not like math
#6: i think that he smells like stinky cheese
#7: go white boy go
#8: self explanatory
#9: he made a song named the joker (too political) and the queen unironically
#10: i wanted a nu-metal album (dissapointing)
#11: ed sheeran

thank you for listening

60

HIGHLIGHTS: Overpass Graffiti / Bad Habits / Be Right Now / Tides

Asteris
87

The hooks are strong. Production is nice. Its a grower.

30

I actually really enjoyed 2Step and some other songs weren't too bad but overall this was not a good music experience.

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Track List

1Tides
3:15
60
2Shivers
3:27
38
3First Times
3:05
45
4Bad Habits
3:50
38
5Overpass Graffiti
3:56
51
6The Joker And The Queen
3:05
45
7Leave Your Life
3:43
35
8Collide
3:30
39
92step
2:33
31
10Stop The Rain
3:23
39
11Love In Slow Motion
3:10
40
12Visiting Hours
3:35
58
13Sandman
4:19
31
14Be Right Now
3:31
48
Total Length: 48 minutes
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Added on: June 29, 2021