There was a time when we didn’t know what 2017 could bring to us. Will there be more pop cultural horrors or delights in the New Year? One thing is certain. Ed Sheeran will have a game changer and the news is that he will release some new music.
Sheeran tweeted that the name of his next record will be ÷, and that there will be lyrics like “The club isn’t the best place to find a lover” and “When I was 6 years old I broke my leg.” This tells us that he is not listening much of Usher, but also brings the question: Where does he fit in now?
There was a social media break from Sheeran’s career back in December 2015. The explanation was that he needs a break to travel and regroup a little. But, in the art world, 2015 was 100 years ago. When he decided to step aside for a while, his nice guy love songs had an established niche in the Top 20. In the “Hotline Bling” video, Drake was wearing a sweater, not one of the former One Direction member had branched out on their own and The Weeknd was having his first year as a for-real pop star. Also, there are some game-changing releases like Blondie by Frank Ocean and Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper. They provided a new dimension and depth to the male and young experience.
Throughout the time when Ed was on his break, some of the biggest stars released their personal, earnest work and we had one of the most dramatically shifting years when it comes to pop music. Some of the greatest male stars were busy and we witnessed carefully crafted honesty from them. Zayn went public with his eating and anxiety problems and Justin Bieber opened up about his frustration with the realities of his day to day life. Also, Shawn Mendes explained in his “Treat You Better”, why being passed over sucks.
Long story short, 2016 was the year that young male pop stars used to show a new kind of depth and nuance or just to be explicit as much as they can. And that was possible especially since we have begun to respond to messiness and flaws. We have seen that throughout 2016. Everything around us is bad, and sometimes we feel bad, so it is good to know that stars that we like also feel the same way from time to time.
We hope that Sheeran has evolved as an artist, despite the two lyrics that are not that promising. We all know that his earlier songs were “nice guy” type and maybe he will manage to go beyond that. Taylor Swift and Ed went to the same school and maybe his new album will bring him the same thing the “1989” brought to her. When 2016 got to its end, we all forgot that Taylor sang about short skirts and princesses. Sheeran can become a man who has something smart to say and hi will fit into 2017, just if he could break from the safety net of his guitar and “I love you, please love me back” rhetoric.