Ed Sheeran, Divide: Review

Image: Ed Sheeran, Divide: Review

An album that searches how to erase the pain and struggles of life. But does Ed find any answers?

Ed Sheeran’s new music has rocketed into the charts with his album and many of its tracks moving to the top in the very first week of release. Which is not surprising when you have a listen… it is a great album. With a mix of acoustic soul and upbeat dance tracks, Ed Sheeran follows up his first two successful albums with another great addition. I love the lyrics that he writes, one moment he can cause you to move and the next he will melt your heart.

Yet one thing about this new album is striking. As you listen to the words throughout the album a particular theme can be heard. The very first song called 'Eraser' introduces the theme. The chorus says: “I'll find comfort in my pain eraser.” The theme that follows in the rest of the album could be summed up as: the search for a perfect pain eraser.

The Pain 

You can hear the cry that reveals, that Ed battles against a life full of struggles. The first song alerts us to this by saying “So blame it on the pain that blessed me with the life. Friends and family filled with envy when they should be filled with pride.” The fame of touring the world and playing for stadiums full of crowds is expected to be a life of happiness and fulfillment but turns out to be a life full of pain needing to be erased. Then later on in the album you hear the tragic melody of ‘Supermarket Flowers’ written in remembrance of his late grandmother. These highlight the suffering that all humans face in this life, famous or not, in a really powerful way. We have all gone through difficult times in our life, so what can erase our pain?

Searching for a Pain Eraser 

As the album progresses you hear Ed Sheeran sing about all the different ways he uses his fame in search of a pain eraser. In his two hit songs he sings about a desire to return to childhood bliss (Castle on a Hill) and the bodily feelings of sex (Shape of You). Several of his songs seek relationships as a potential answer (Perfect, Galway Girl) only to be disappointed by separation and loneliness  (Happier, New Man). He rejects religiosity/laws as something only there to restrict him and seeks solace in the party life (Barcelona) or alcohol/drugs (Eraser, Save Myself). All the while revealing his search for the perfect pain eraser. Perhaps you too have used some of these things to try and erase your pain? Yet these things only provide temporary relief instead of lasting freedom from the struggles of life.

The Only Perfect Pain Eraser

In the song ‘What Do I Know?’ Ed Sheeran himself suggests another answer to what could fix the world, by suggesting that what we need is love, understanding and positivity. No doubt these attitudes would truly transform the world beyond what it is now, indeed Jesus calls us to love God and love our neighbour (Matthew 22:37-39). Yet a positive mindset would not deal with the human problem of sin, because it could never change the state of our hearts.

The only hope is in the forgiveness of sins that Jesus offers and renewal of our hearts that comes through the Holy Spirit. God is the only one who can totally erase our pain. As you might know, following Jesus does not stop you from feeling the pain in this world now but instead gives you the certain hope of a painless world to come. As you experience your suffering in this life you can cry out to Jesus and tell him about all that you are going through, no matter what it is, because he has lived like one of us (Hebrews 4:15-16). If you stick with him, the suffering you feel now will feel like nothing compared with the glory that awaits God’s children in heaven (Romans 8:18). This is the picture we get of the new creation, in Revelation 21:3-4.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

I really enjoy listening to Ed Sheeran’s new album but it reminds me that the things of this world can never erase the pain I experience, even if I’m famous! God is the only one who can erase your pain. Put your trust in him because he promises to do that once and for all, in the new creation, the perfect pain eraser. 

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