Sheeran’s newest draws much inspiration from his family

Ed Sheeran’s new album, = (Equals) released on Oct. 29. The album is a total of 48 minutes and 30 seconds long. It consisted of 14 tracks including his previously released singles, “Bad Habits,” “Visiting Hours” and “Shivers.” In this article, I will be covering every single song on the album, one by one. Before that, though, let’s look at his previous albums and greatest hits. 

By far, Sheeran’s most famous song is “Shape Of You,” which was released on his album, ÷ in 2017. It has almost 3 billion plays on Spotify and is the most listened to song on Spotify in history. 

Sheeran has seven songs with a billion plays, “Shape Of You,” “Perfect,” “Thinking Out Loud,” “Castle On The Hill,” “Photograph,” “Beautiful People” andI Don’t Care.” He also has a couple songs dancing on that one billion plays marker, “Galway Girl” andHappier.” Here’s the tracklist of the album, we’ll be covering each song one by one, so sit back and enjoy!


  1. “Tides”
  2. “Shivers”
  3. “First Times”
  4. “Bad Habits”
  5. “Overpass Graffiti”
  6. “The Joker and the Queen”
  7. “Leave Your Life”
  8. “Collide”
  9. “2step”
  10. “Stop The Rain”
  11. “Love In Slow Motion”
  12. “Visiting Hours” 
  13. “Sandman”
  14. “Be Right Now”



The first track on the album is “Tides,” and it’s the perfect opening song for this album. The verses are chaotic, and this is to reflect the craziness of Sheeran’s music career and everything that has led up to this album’s release. The choruses are very acapella and calm, and this is to reflect the calm of his family life. 

This song is preparing us for what is to come in the next 13 songs. The first verse catches us up with what’s happened in Sheeran’s life since his previous album(s). 


I have grown up, I am a father now

Everything has changed, but I am still the same somehow

You know I’ve never been afraid of death

But now I wanna see the things that haven’t happened yet

I still love getting out of my mind, I should cut it down

I still know people I don’t like and I should cut them out

I feel embarrassed ’bout the things that I did in my youth

‘Cause now I have a child, I know one day that you will do it


He’s saying that he’s now a dad and has new responsibilities. It’s changed him but he is also very similar to who he was before he became a dad. The chorus is saying that life is continuing to change as his daughter grows up. 


Timе stops to still

When you are in my arms, it always will

And life, lifе is changin’ tides


Sheeran did a great job creating a song that reflects his career and home life not only lyrically, but also musically. 



“Shivers” was the third single released off of this album. “Shivers” is about Sheeran’s wife and his love for her and the way she loves him. He’s essentially saying that she’s perfect for him and no one else has ever made him feel this way. This is stated in the second line of the first verse: 


I never kissed a mouth that tastes like yours


The pre-chorus is a perfect build up to the chorus, and it emulates the sound of the chorus while still managing to be a bit more calm than the chorus. 

“Shivers” is a great follow up to “Tides,” and it’s a bit less chaotic and perfectly leads into “First Times.”


“First Times”

“First Time” is the first slow song off of = and it’s about Sheeran’s firsts. He explains how when he first played at Wembley, he didn’t feel very excited or overcome with emotion. (If you don’t know, playing at Wembley is a very big deal. It’s a huge stadium and some of the best artists have played at Wembley Stadium.) 


I thought it’d feel different playin’ Wembley

Eighty thousand singin’ with me

It’s what I’ve been chasin’ ’cause this is the dream

When it was all over, I cleared out the room

Grabbed a couple beers, just me and you

Then we started talking the way that we do


In an interview for the album’s extra content for Spotify, Sheeran talked about how when he sat down with his wife after the show, he was flooded with emotion. 

In the rest of the song, Sheeran talks about his first times with his wife and how he can’t wait to make more memories and have more first times with her. 


The first kiss, the first night, the first song that made you cry

The first drink, red wine, on a step in Brooklyn

I still feel the first fight, and we both made it out alive

And I can’t wait to make a million more first times


“First Times” is a great addition to the album and really does a great job of saying how in love with his wife he is. 


“Bad Habits”

“Bad Habits,” the first single off of the album, is the song that introduced Sheeran’s new era of music. The synth really gives the song a new feel compared to some of Sheeran’s past albums. “Bad Habits” is talking about a drug addict and how whenever he gets the chance to get drugs, he can’t refuse.


Every time you come around, you know I can’t say no


In the chorus, he goes into detail about the negative effects of the drugs and how he just ends up feeling empty afterwards. 


My bad habits lead to late nights endin’ alone

Conversations with a stranger I barely know

Swearin’ this’ll be the last, but it probably won’t

I got nothin’ left to lose, or use, or do


Even when he has good intentions, when he starts taking drugs his morals go out the window and his good intentions end. 


Every pure intention ends when the good times start


“Bad Habits” really fits in with what we’ve seen from the album so far and leads into “Overpass Graffiti” really well. 


“Overpass Graffiti”

“Overpass Graffiti” is the fifth track on the album. In an interview Sheeran said, “The song’s about a breakup that was years ago. You still hold on to the memory of that and it will never fade, like graffiti on the overpass. Originally, this song was a power ballad, it was very slow. Then Fred said, ‘Have you ever thought about making it double time?’ It gave it new life.” 

“Overpass Graffiti” talks about his ex’s friends having a celebration of their breakup because they hated Sheeran so much. 


I know your friends may say

This is a cause for celebration, hip-hip-hooray, love


It’s a very straightforward song, he’s saying how he’ll never forget her and will always remember the good times they had together even though he’s moved on now and is married. 


“The Joker and the Queen”

“The Joker and the Queen” is a ballad about Sheeran feeling not as good as some other guys but his wife loves him more than them anyways. 


And I know you could fall for a thousand kings

And hearts that would give you a diamond ring

When I fold, you see the best in me

The joker and the queen


Sheeran’s analogy, “the joker and the queen,” really goes to show how highly he thinks of his wife. He sees himself as very little compared to her, and he feels very lucky to be married to her. He never would’ve thought that they would end up together. 


How was I to know? It’s a crazy thing

I showed you my hand and you still let me win

And who was I to say that this was meant to be?

The road that was broken brought us together


“Leave Your Life”

“Leave Your Life” is another ballad and it’s the halfway point in the album. This song is about Sheeran’s daughter. In an interview for Apple Music, Sheeran said, “I flew over to Australia for the memorial of my friend Michael and was quarantining for two weeks. We watched the funeral via a live video link, and afterwards I was on the phone to his daughter, who said, ‘My dad always said that he loved me. The last thing he ever said to me was “I love you”.’ I was like, ‘My daughter is six months old. If I went tomorrow, she would never know.’ So this is a letter to her, saying that. I think this is my favourite song on the album. There aren’t a lot of lyrics in this, but every single line, I feel, means the most.” 

He realizes that if he passes away before his daughter is old enough to understand that he loves her, people will tell her that he loved her but she won’t know so he wrote a song about it. 

If I forget to say goodbye 

Before I catch the plane 

Would you know the way that I 

Feel when I’m away?


This beautiful ballad really shows his audience that he loves his daughter and wants her to know. 



“Collide” is the eighth track on =, and it’s about Sheeran’s marriage and what it’s like when he and his wife are together. How the world doesn’t hurt as much; everything is so much better when they’re by each other’s side. 


Yeah, the world hurts less when I’m by your side


When they’re together, Sheeran is brought to life and he can really be himself. 


When you and I collide

You bring me to life

Yeah, you bring me to life

You bring me to life


“Collide” is a beautiful dance song about love. 



“2step” is a dance song where Sheeran raps the verses and sings the chorus’s (but if we’re being honest it falls flat compared to his previous songs off of X: “Take It Back” and “The Man”). “2step” is about dancing with his wife despite both of them being bad dancers. They’re dancing two steps because that’s all they can do but they love it because they’re dancing with each other and that’s all they need. 


We’ll go all night

Two-steppin’ with the woman I love

All my troubles turn to nothing when I’m in your eyes, electrified

We’ll keep turnin’ up and go all night

Oh, we had dips and falls in our time

But we know what it feels to be low, then up, alone, then loved

And all we need is us to go all


“2step” really paints the picture of two people who love spending time together even if they’re bad at what they’re doing. 


“Stop The Rain”

“Stop The Rain” is another song you could easily dance to despite it being about a lawsuit with Sheeran over a song. He said in an interview, “Every time I’ve ever taken influence from a song, I give it credit. And this thing that I’m in at the moment, I believe I’m in the right. But the rain just won’t stop. It’s just about knowing that you’re in the right, and knowing that you will eventually get out of it.” 

Even though he knows he’s right, bad stuff won’t stop happening but he knows he’ll get out of this alright. 


And it seems like time can be so much more than a wake-up call

And live real life

Every day is a chance that we can start over, read my mind

There’ll be ups and downs, but it won’t change a thing between you and I

There’s one thing I can’t change


It’s a good reminder to keep your head held high even when things get you down. 


“Love In Slow Motion”

In the verses of “Love In Slow Motion,” the lyrics talk about how Sheeran’s been busy and he hasn’t spent time with his wife one on one in a while. 


It’s been a while since we’ve been alone

To turn off the world and the telephone

I need to tell you you’re beautiful

‘Cause it’s been a while and I apologize


The song really dives into making mistakes as a husband and trying to fix those mistakes. 


Sometimes you’re sad and you tell me it’s nothin’

And I brush it off because there’s always somethin’

But I need to change my perspective

And prioritize-ize


The song is a bit calmer than the previous songs and leads cleanly into “Visiting Hours.” 


“Visiting Hours”

Visiting Hoursis definitely one of the saddest (if not the saddest) songs off of the album. “Visiting Hours” is the twelfth track off of the album and it’s about one of Ed’s good friends passing away in early March of 2021. In the song he talks about how he wishes he could just talk to his friend for a little bit again so he could catch up on all that’s been happening in his life. 


I wish that Heaven had “Visiting Hours”

So I could just show up and bring the news


His friend had a huge influence on Sheeran’s life, and Sheeran will remember him and pass on what he learned. 


The things that she’ll learn from me, I got them all from you


He’s going to strive to be like his friend through everything he does. 


And everyone I love will know exactly who you are


“Visiting Hours” is a great song that will remember his friend well. 



“Sandman” is a lullaby written for his daughter. The first verse is beautifully written and right off the bat tells us how much he loves his daughter. 


You were loved before you had arrived

And every day that love just multiplies


Sheeran continues, in the second verse, to talk about the dreams his daughter might have. Crazy dreams about candy and superpowers. 


Chocolate-covered roof and candy cars

Rainbow sugar river we can sail upon

Marshmallow books and strawberries

Snowmen made of ice cream

Over the flower fields, we’ll fly


Sheeran wrote this before his child was born with the intent of singing this to her as a lullaby. 


“Be Right Now”

“Be Right Now” is the final track off of = and it’s about blocking out all of the noise of the world and just living in the moment. 


I don’t wanna miss one thing

We can turn the whole world down

And listen to the in-between

We are, we are the sound

There’s nothin’ but the space we’re in

The hurry and the noise shut out

Just stay here and be right now 


  In the bridge, Sheeran repeats that nothing else matters. He and his wife don’t need anything else. They just wanna be together right now and live in the moment. They just want to enjoy each other. 


Nothing else matters

Nothing else matters

Nothing else matters

Stay here and be right now

Nothing else matters

Nothing else matters

Nothing else matters

Just stay here and be right now


All in all, = (Equals) is a solid album, but in my personal opinion, it’s his weakest album. X (Multiply) is his best album (again, in my personal opinion). Most of the songs are acoustic, but it’s a mix of slow love songs, songs you can dance to and fun raps. Equals is much different than his previous releases. It’s a new genre of music. Lots of synth and effects. 

Personally, the best song off of the album is “Shivers” with a rating of 9/10. My next favorite two songs are: “Overpass Graffiti” (7/10) and “Tides” (6/10). 

Considering Sheeran’s new album, = is a new genre for him, almost like an experiment, it’s very impressive. He’s managed to put together a solid album that has a mix of sad songs, dance songs and ballads. I can’t wait to see what Sheeran is planning to release next.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.