After completing his decade spanning mathematical-themed album series, Ed Sheeran has begun anew with the release of his second album this year, Autumn Variations.
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Admittedly, on this project Sheeran went to great lengths to do something that he’s actively avoided in the past — mining into deeper realms of his personal life and illuminating on what he, his friends, and family have been dealing with these past couple of years.
Between his best friend Jamal Edwards passing away suddenly, and his wife dealing with a life-threatening health battle during pregnancy, with Autumn Variations, Ed was intent on delving a bit deeper into his world, to share more than just tales of life-altering relationships and hometown stories. But obviously, he kept some of those on the tracklist as well, like the Friends-inspired “American Town,” which he teased just last week.
“Last autumn, I found that my friends and I were going through so many life changes. After the heat of the summer, everything either calmed, settled, fell apart, came to a head, or imploded,” Ed announced last month of Autumn Variations.
He continued, “When I went through a difficult time at the start of last year, writing songs helped me understand my feelings and come to terms with what was going on, and when I learned about my friend’s different situations, I wrote songs, some from their perspectives, some from mine, to capture how they and I viewed the world at that time. There were highs of falling in love and new friendships among lows of heartbreak, depression, loneliness and confusion.”
Sharing about the inspiration behind the name and concept of his album, Ed went on to say, “My dad and brother told me about a composer called Elgar, who composed ‘Enigma Variations’, where each of the 14 compositions were about a different one of his friends. This is what inspired me to make this album. When I recorded Subtract with Aaron Dessner, we clicked immediately. We wrote and recorded non-stop and this album was born out of that partnership. I feel he has captured the feeling of autumn so wonderfully in his sonics and I hope everyone loves it as much as I do.”
Arriving to mixed reviews, not that Ed cares much anyway, as he questioned the need for cultural criticism earlier this year, asking Rolling Stone, “Why do you need to read a review?” Either way, we’ll let you make up your own mind on Ed’s new album. Check out the full tracklist and listen to Autumn Variations below.
Ed Sheeran - Autumn Variations tracklist:
4. Plastic Bag
6. American Town
7. That’s On Me
12. When Will I Be Alright
13. The Day I Was Born
14. Head > Heels