How the critics are rating Ed Sheeran's new album

Ed Sheeran performing on the second night at Chantry Park last month. Picture: Zakary Walters

Music critics have given their thoughts on Ed Sheeran's new album, = - Credit: Archant

Suffolk superstar Ed Sheeran's latest album has been well-received by critics — here's a round-up of what the reviewers are saying.

The Framlingham-raised singer's effort = came out on Friday, following the release of the singles Bad Habits and Shivers over the summer.

It is the 30-year-old's first studio album since he became a father and married his childhood sweetheart, Cherry Seaborn — and critics have picked up on the emotional tones of the tracks.

In a positive review, the BBC's Mark Savage said the first two singles proved Sheeran "had lost none of his knack for writing slick, memorable pop hooks".

Savage said the rest of the album is "similarly polished", praising songs such as The Joker and the Queen and the "folksy" Leaving Hours.

The BBC's review concluded by saying the album was full of "no-nonsense melodies and burnished beats".

The album comes after singles Bad Habits and Shivers were released over the summer

The album comes after singles Bad Habits and Shivers were released over the summer - Credit: Matt Crossick/PA

Will Hodgkinson, of the Times, was similarly satisfied with the release — saying "singalong pop comes naturally" to Sheeran.

The Times review said Ed's latest album was his "most complete portrait yet" with a 14-track playlist that makes it "a modern equivalent of Abba’s 1970s output".

The Guardian's Alexis Petridis was not quite as positive in his three-star review, but noted how = would likely go down well with Sheeran's die-hard fans.

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The review compared Sheeran to Adele, noting how "each artist has ascended to a plane of success where it doesn’t matter if you make more of the same, and actually, it could be disastrous if you didn’t".

Ed's latest album is his first since becoming a father and husband

Ed's latest album is his first since becoming a father and husband - Credit: Jamie Carter/hmv/PA

Petridis praised songs such as Overpass Graffiti, but was less approving of Sandman and Love in Slow Motion.

NME also gave = a three-star review, with critic Nick Levine saying Ed has "done it again" but "not without a few awkwardly mawkish moments".

Levine described opening track Tides as "the sort of intimate yet anthemic pop-rock stomper that will get another 80,000 singing along at Wembley", while also reserving praise for 2step and Visiting Hours.

The review ended by saying Sheeran's "persistent bad habits make this album a little less enjoyable than it could be" — with some songs "prone to laying it on a bit thick".

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