Ed Sheeran has announced a new album, Subtract (stylized as –). It will mark his final mathematical-themed LP, following 2011’s +, 2014’s x, and 2017’s ÷. Produced by Aaron Dessner, to whom Sheeran was introduced by mutual friend Taylor Swift, Subtract comes out May 5 via Atlantic. Check out its cover artwork and tracklist below.
“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,” Sheeran wrote in a statement. “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.” He continued:
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.
Subtract Cover Artwork:
2. Salt Water
3. Eyes Closed
4. Life Goes On
6. End Of Youth
13. No Strings
14. The Hills of Aberfeldy