It’s been two weeks since the musical return of Edward Christopher Sheeran. On December 12, 2015, a note appeared on his instagram account. It informed everyone reading that he would be taking a personal sabbatical from his phone, emails, and all social media “for a while.” He said the phrase “See you all next autumn” which many took to mean Fall 2016. We entered a new year and there were sporadic sightings of the elusive musical genius all over the world, most notably his appearance at his bestie Taylor Swift’s annual Fourth of July extravaganza. Fall 2016 came and turned into the holidays. Still no sign of a return. Then on December 12, 2016, exactly a year since his farewell note, a blue square appeared with no caption. Fans of Ed and fans of music alike immediately speculated. Blue was significant in that both of Sheeran’s previous albums have had a bold color theme. His first LP + (plus) was orange and his second X (multiply) was green. Blue had to be the color of his new album, right?
On New Year’s Day, a video with no sound appeared with Ed smiling, waving and holding a sign that said “New Music Coming Friday”. THAT sent everyone into a tizzy. There was rampant speculation in multiple music publications and a virtual meltdown on social media. Would it be a single? A whole album? A music video? No one knew. His manager remained vague but funny in his twitter responses, coyly shutting down rumours. The next day, another video without sound appeared, displaying a fading divide symbol. Since Ed is keen on albums with math titles, the assumption was that it was the album’s name. This continued until January 5 when we finally got two videos, each with a different beat.