Ed Sheeran has teamed up with The National’s Aaron Dessner for his final mathematically titled record, ‘-‘ (Subtract)

It's set to arrive on 5th May.
Photo credit: Annie Leibovitz

Ed Sheeran has announced his next mathematically present and correct album, ‘-‘ (Subtract).

The last in a decade-spanning era, the full-length will arrive on 5th May, and is described as a record “that revisits Ed’s singer/songwriter roots, and one that was written against a backdrop of personal grief and hope”.

The album is also produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, after an intro from Ed’s mate Taylor Swift. Writing over 30 songs together, they paired it back to 14 for the new record.

Ed explains: “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.”

So there we go.

A press release reveals a “further announcement” is set to follow later today. It also comes with new photos of Ed taken by legendary portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz.

‘-‘ (Subtract)’s tracklisting reads:

Boat
Salt Water
Eyes Closed
Life Goes On
Dusty
End Of Youth
Colourblind
Curtains
Borderline
Spark
Vega
Sycamore
No Strings
The Hills of Aberfeldy

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