First, Ed Sheeran launched a hot sauce line. Now, he’s readying a new album: After a bit of teasing, Sheeran announced – (aka Subtract), which is set to be the last of his mathematically-named albums following +, x, ÷, and =. The new project is set for release on May 5.
The album features 14 tracks (listed below), while the deluxe version has an additional four: “Wildflowers,” “Stoned,” “Toughest,” and “Moving.” Press materials note the project “revisits Ed’s singer/songwriter roots” and that Sheeran worked on it with The National’s Aaron Dessner after meeting through Taylor Swift. A press release also indicates that “the album’s fourteen tracks are seamlessly tied together by exquisite production from paired back, folk-leaning textures to bolder, full-band/orchestral arrangements.”
He also shared a teaser video:
In a statement about the album, Sheeran explained how it came about after a particularly rough stretch:
“I had been working on Subtract for a decade, trying to sculpt the perfect acoustic album, writing and recording hundreds of songs with a clear vision of what I thought it should be. Then at the start of 2022, a series of events changed my life, my mental health, and ultimately the way I viewed music and art.
Writing songs is my therapy. It helps me make sense of my feelings. I wrote without thought of what the songs would be, I just wrote whatever tumbled out. And in just over a week, I replaced a decade’s worth of work with my deepest darkest thoughts.
Within the space of a month, my pregnant wife got told she had a tumour, with no route to treatment until after the birth. My best friend Jamal, a brother to me, died suddenly and I found myself standing in court defending my integrity and career as a songwriter. I was spiralling through fear, depression and anxiety.
I felt like I was drowning, head below the surface, looking up but not being able to break through for air.
As an artist I didn’t feel like I could credibly put a body of work into the world that didn’t accurately represent where I am and how I need to express myself at this point in my life. This album is purely that. It’s opening the trapdoor into my soul. For the first time I’m not trying to craft an album people will like, I’m merely putting something out that’s honest and true to where I am in my adult life.
This is last February’s diary entry and my way of making sense of it. This is Subtract.”
Find the – artwork and tracklist below.
2. “Salt Water”
3. “Eyes Closed”
4. “Life Goes On”
6. “End Of Youth”
13. “No Strings”
14. “The Hills Of Aberfeldy
– is out 5/5 via Atlantic Records. Pre-order it here.
Ed Sheeran is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.