by Ed Sheeran


by Ed Sheeran

Vinyl LP(Long Playing Record - Colored Vinyl)

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Even if - (subtract) wasn't the predestined title for the last of Ed Sheeran's mathematic titles, the name would suit the haunted 2023 album. Absence hangs heavy over the record, perhaps the inevitable result of the singer/songwriter coming through a period where he fought a plagiarism lawsuit over his hit "Thinking Out Loud" (he emerged victorious the day before - (subtract) was released), supported his wife as she discovered a cancerous tumor during her second pregnancy (it was successfully removed after her daughter's birth), and saw the death of his close friend Jamal Edwards. As a method of processing, Sheeran hunkered down to collaborate with Aaron Dessner of the National, thereby mimicking an introspective move Taylor Swift made a few years earlier in the 2020s. Dessner's work with Sheeran is as subtle and sympathetic as his collaborations with Swift, yet they don't bear a distinctive fingerprint; he doesn't force the songwriter to follow his lead, he fleshes out their ideas with taste and restraint. As Sheeran is naturally a laid-back performer, the pair fit almost a little bit too neatly: where certain hooks and melodic refrains would've been pushed into the spotlight on previous Sheeran albums, they're lying in the background here. That tender touch when combined with a preponderance of ballads turns - (subtract) into a curiously recessive album; its emotions are raw, but its execution is reserved. Listen closely and the record teems with grief and uncertainty -- and sometimes, as on the bonus track "Toughest," which explicitly mentions his wife's cancer, it doesn't take much concentration to note this turbulence -- yet Sheeran's musical instincts lead him toward resolution. Deep feelings are calmed within the music itself, either through the gentle sway of acoustic guitar strums or Sheeran's keening falsetto, recorded moments that offer reassurance in a way the songs themselves don't. Ultimately, that means - (subtract) provides a sense of comfort that's possibly accidental; even at his darkest moments, Sheeran steers himself toward the light. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Product Details

Release Date: 05/05/2023
Label: Atlantic / East West
UPC: 5054197170577
Rank: 10673


  1. Boat
  2. Salt Water
  3. Eyes Closed
  4. Life Goes On
  5. Dusty
  6. End Of Youth
  7. Colourblind
  8. Curtain
  9. Borderline
  10. Spark
  11. Vega
  12. Sycamore
  13. No Strings
  14. The Hills Of Aberfeldy

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ed Sheeran   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals,Guitar (Acoustic),Guitar (Electric),Vocals (Background)
Aaron Dessner   Bass,DX-7,Juno,Organ,Piano,Guitar,Shaker,Cymbals,Korg M1,Mellotron,Mini Moog,Wurlitzer,Percussion,Tambourine,Synthesizer,Piano (Grand),Piano (Upright),Hi String Guitar,Piano (Electric),Synthesizer Bass,Yamaha Keyboards,Guitar (Acoustic),Guitar (Electric),Synthesizer Piano,Prophet Synthesizer
Bryce Dessner   Synthesizer
Lisa Hannigan   Vocals (Background)
Rob Moose   Cello,Piano,Viola,Violin
Thomas Bartlett   Bass,Piano,Mellotron,Synthesizer,Fender Rhodes,Synthesizer Bass,Prophet Synthesizer
James McAlister   Emax,Juno,Lyra,Toms,Drums,Piano,Shaker,Sampling,Mini Moog,Synthesizer,Moog Synthesizer,Prophet Synthesizer
Benjamin Lanz   Trombone,Synthesizer
Jason Treuting   Percussion
Kyle Resnick   Trumpet
Clarice Jensen   Cello
Dave Nelson   Trombone
James Krivchenia   Drums,Shaker,Percussion
Fred Gibson   Bass,Drums,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals (Background)
Reid Jenkins   Violin
Yuki Numata Resnick   Violin
JT Bates   Drums
Fred again..   Bass,Drums,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals (Background)

Technical Credits

Aaron Dessner   Composer,Engineer,Producer,Recording,Drum Programming
Bryce Dessner   Orchestration
Mark "Spike" Stent   Mixing
Michael Ilbert   Engineer,Recording
Lisa Hannigan   Engineer,Recording
Max Martin   Composer,Producer,Programming
Rob Moose   Engineer,Recording,Orchestration
Thomas Bartlett   Engineer,Recording
James McAlister   Engineer,Recording,Voice Sample,Drum Programming
Jonathan Lowry   Engineer
Foy Vance   Composer
Shellback   Composer,Producer,Programming
Cormac O'Kane   Engineer,Recording
Jonathan Low   Mixing,Engineer,Recording
Benjamin Lanz   Engineer,Recording
Stuart Hawkes   Cut
Jason Treuting   Engineer,Recording
Kyle Resnick   Engineer,Recording
Randy Merrill   Mastering
Alex Cowper   Design
Richard Brown   Engineer,Recording
Clarice Jensen   Engineer,Recording
Dave Nelson   Engineer,Recording
Ed Howard   A&R
Ed Sheeran   Composer
Alex Proctor   Engineer,Recording
Bella Blasko   Engineer,Recording
Fred Gibson   Composer,Producer,Programming
Ashton Miranda   Engineer,Recording
Reid Jenkins   Engineer
Ber Quinn   Engineer,Recording
Matt Wolach   Mixing Assistant
JT Bates   Engineer,Recording
Fred again..   Producer
Cannelle Bencherqi   Assistant
Jelly Green   Paintings
Zak Walters   Cover Art,Creative Director
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