Ed Sheeran is back with two new songs, “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You.” After a yearlong hiatus from social media, he took to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to tease the songs before releasing them around midnight on Friday morning.
On Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” which he cowrote with Johnny McDaid and Steve Mac, he sings over a Marimba-fueled percussive sway about a budding romance. “The club isn’t the best place to find a lover, so the bar is where I go/ Me and my friends at the table doing shots drinking fast and then we talk slow,” he sings. “Come over and start up a conversation with just me/ And trust me I’ll give it a chance.” Later, he sings, “I’m in love with the shape of you.” Sheeran and Mac co-produced the song.
“Castle on the Hill” has more of a dramatic, galloping rhythmic vibe. “When I was six years old, I broke my leg,” Sheeran sings confessionally. “I was running from my brother and his friends.” The song features an anthemic chorus and reflects on his childhood and growing up. “I can’t wait to go home,” he yearningly sings. Sheeran and Benny Blanco wrote and produced the song.
On December 13th, 2015 the singer took a social media break “to travel the world and see everything I missed” and he also announced that “the 3rd album is on its way and is the best thing I have made thus far.” One year later to the date, the singer returned with a series of mysterious teasers leading to the new songs’ reveal, including snippets that provided clues to the new songs.
This week, leading up to releasing the tunes, he unveiled new music was coming and also revealed some of the lyrics. He then simply tweeted an obelus, the division symbol/sign which may indicate the album title as it follows the symbol themes of his previous albums, 2014’s X and 2011’s +. Later, he teased the music with a pair of videos containing audio clips from the song, one with the marimba flavoring and one with more of a dramatic build and he shared snippets on Snapchat and Instagram as well.
He also unveiled the lyric videos for each song.