There are a few certainties in this crazy world: The sky is blue. Basketballs are round. Christmas is on December 25. And Ed Sheeran makes pop music.
Only… that latter statement may not actually be true anymore. The Brit singer recently revealed that he’s already started writing the follow-up to his Grammy-winning 2017 album, ÷ (divide), and it looks like he’s changing up his tried-and-true pop formula for album No. 4.
“The next record that I’m making is not a pop album,” Sheeran told his pal George Ezra on the first installment of the George Ezra & Friends podcast. “The reason it’s not a pop album is people expect you to come and the next album they’re going to be like, ‘it has to be bigger than ‘Shape of You’ and it has to sell more than this.’ … But if I control it and I’m like, ‘Here’s a lo-fi record that I really fucking love,’ my fans are gonna be like ‘Yay!’, and the pop world are gonna be like ‘oh well, maybe the next one.’”
He added, “The label hate that. The label really fucking hate that. They want a big pop album again, but I think that shit’s dangerous.”
So why the sudden change in sonics? Sheeran explained that he thinks it’s “dangerous” to have a pop career that gets bigger and bigger, and he wants to control expectations from fans and from his label.
“The worst thing in the world is when people think they’ve got you worked out,” he said, adding that he wants to be like Coldplay, whose sixth album, 2014’s Ghost Stories, was much more stripped-down and experimental than the band’s previous records.
“My whole career I’ve studied Coldplay — Coldplay are fucking geniuses,” Sheeran said. “Ghost Stories was their artistic moment, where they just brought it back down. They controlled it.”
Hmm… so what does a pop-less Sheeran actually sound like? Who knows, but you gotta love an artist who keeps the world on its toes.