Ed Sheeran announces new album ‘-’: inspired by “fear, depression and anxiety”

"I’m not trying to craft an album people will like, I’m merely putting something out that’s honest"

Ed Sheeran has shared details of his new album, ‘-‘ (‘Subtract’).

The singer-songwriter’s latest album, which is the follow-up to 2021’s ‘=‘, is released on May 5 via Asylum/Atlantic. Pre-order it here and see more details including the tracklist below.

‘-‘ is described in press material as the “last in his decade-spanning mathematical album era” and is an acoustic-driven album that was written and rewritten against a backdrop of personal turmoil.


Aaron Dessner of The National teamed up with Sheeran on writing and production.

Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran. CREDIT:
Annie Leibovitz

Sheeran explained in a statement: “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. 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.

“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 [Edwards], 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.”


Sheeran continued: “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.'”

Earlier this year Sheeran told fans that a “turbulent” time in his life had stopped him engaging with social media, but he didn’t detail what those troubles were.

Sheeran and Dessner, who were introduced to one another by their fellow collaborator Taylor Swift, began working on the album in February last year, writing more than 30 songs during their month-long studio stint.

Album artwork for '-' by Ed Sheeran
Album artwork for ‘-‘ by Ed Sheeran. CREDIT: Press

‘-‘ tracklist:

01. ‘Boat’
02. ‘Salt Water’
03. ‘Eyes Closed’
04. ‘Life Goes On’
05. ‘Dusty’
06. ‘End Of Youth’
07. ‘Colourblind’
08. ‘Curtains’
09. ‘Borderline’
10. ‘Spark’
11. ‘Vega’
12. ‘Sycamore’
13. ‘No Strings’
14. ‘The Hills Of Aberfeldy’

‘-‘ follows his other ‘mathematical’ albums: 2011’s ‘+’, 2014’s ‘x’, 2017’s ‘÷’ and 2021’s ‘=’. He also released his ‘No.6 Collaborations Project’ in 2019.

The news follows reports that Sheeran declined to perform at King Charles’ coronation this May.

Elsewhere, the soloist recently launched ‘Tingly Teds’, his own range of hot sauce.

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