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Review: “Autumn Variations” gives a musical sound to fall

Ed Sheeran releases new album to return to roots
Ed Sheeran released his album, Autumn Variations on Friday, Sept. 29. Courtesy of Gingerbread Man Records.
Ed Sheeran released his album, “Autumn Variations” on Friday, Sept. 29. Courtesy of Gingerbread Man Records.

Grammy-winner Ed Sheeran released a new album on Friday, Sept. 29 titled “Autumn Variations,” which was co-written and co-produced by Aaron Dessner, and was Sheeran’s second album of the year. The platinum-selling artist released his sixth studio album titled “” in May, but this new album has a vastly different sound. “Autumn Variations” has a sweet, softer feel to it than his more recent projects, but it connects back to Sheeran’s more acoustic roots.

The first song on the album is titled “Magical,” which perfectly showcases the feeling of the song, as it resembles a fairy tale in song form. The song has a soft acoustic guitar playing underneath a crisp, layered vocal, sounding like something from an old Disney-princess film. Between the second chorus and third verse of the song, there is a wonderful instrumental sequence with soft trumpets and electric guitars that give it a surreal, serene sound to add to the fairy-tale feeling of the song.

The third song on the album is titled “Amazing,” which is an upbeat, realistic song about looking on the bright side of mental struggles. The highlight of this song is the lyrics, saying in the chorus “Yeah, I’m trying to feel amazing, but I can’t get out of my way. I’m trying to feel amazing, but this is all that I can feel today.” Millions of people struggle with mental issues and a lack of motivation, and this song is the perfect anthem for that situation. The message of this song is too impactful to not give a listen; it’s the perfect song when you’re in a slump.

The seventh track on the album is “That’s On Me,” is a great example of why Sheeran has won so many awards for his musical talents and lyrics so far in his career. The musicality of this song is impressive and admirable when you notice the lyrics and small details. The song has an upbeat, happy-go-lucky feeling which perfectly matches with the hopefully-naive lyrics imprinted over the music. The fast pace of the song and the sixteenth-note drum beat throughout the song truly gives it the glass-half-full energy to tie the song together. This track will either make you tap your feet to the beat or swing them back-and-forth like a child.

The 11th song on the album is titled “Punchline,” and it has a strong folk sound to it. The song has a somewhat morbid meaning to it and has a soft electric guitar underneath the lyrics which gives it an indie-folk feeling, something Sheeran tapped into frequently in his earlier releases. Songs like “Lego House” off his debut album “+” have that folk vibe to it, which works beautifully with Sheeran’s voice and style of lyrics. 

The 14th, and final, song on the album, titled “Head > Heels,” is a perfectly sweet ending to an impactful album. Head > Heels has a youthful, naive sound. The drumbeat in sixteenth-notes time throughout the whole song makes you feel like you’re walking into a middle school, hoping to catch the eye of your crush. The youthful spirit of the song matches with the stunning lyrics of being hopeless in love with someone, similar to a teenager and their first crush. As related to the rest of the album, the lyrics beautifully mesh together with the music to create the perfect ambiance within each song to grasp the attention of audiences. Leaving on a perky high note was an impeccable way to go for this album.

The album altogether is beautifully crafted for any audience: young or old, and in any stage of life. Sheeran went back to his roots with the acoustic, slightly folk, sound for this album which worked flawlessly with the lyrics for each song. This album is the perfect fall soundtrack and consists of tracks for whatever mood you’re in – upbeat or mellow. This album deserves a 9/10 rating for its well-thought-out musicality and stunning vocals from Sheeran.

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