Ed Sheeran’s debut album Plus (styled +) hit No. 1 in his homeland and No. 5 in the U.S. His followup Multiply (or X), also bowed at the top in the U.K., hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and finished 2014 as the best-selling album in the U.K. and Australia. Do the math and it’s not hard to figure out his new album Divide (or ÷) should go gangbusters.
It’s time to crunch those numbers. Divide has dropped.
After a year unplugged from social media and away from the spotlight, Sheeran completed his comeback by releasing the album at midnight across the various digital music services.
Previously listed with 12 tracks, the “deluxe” edition of Divide balloons out to 16 songs and clocks in at an hour. As expected, the set carries the earlier releases “Shape of You,” “How Would You Feel (Paean)” and “Castle on the Hill,” which respectively lock-up the top three positions on this week’s ARIA Singles Chart, a rare achievement managed by just one other artist since the Beatles did it in 1964 (Karise Eden, fresh from winning The Voice Australia, had four of the top five in 2012).
The British singer and songwriter’s hotly anticipated third album arrives after a record-smashing run for its opening single releases. “Shape of You” set new streaming marks, gave the artist his first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (where it has led for a fifth non-consecutive week), and has ruled the U.K. and Australian singles charts every week since its Jan. 6 release (currently seven weeks). The Official Charts Company’s midweek survey suggests the single will rule for an eighth week when the new U.K. chart is published later today.