Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022
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Ed Sheeran embodies a spectrum of emotions in new album Autumn Variations

Ed+Sheeran+embodies+a+spectrum+of+emotions+in+new+album+Autumn+Variations
Courtesy of Gingerbread Man Records

Content warning: This review contains a mention of suicidal thoughts

Known for his personal, pop-inspired folk songs, Ed Sheeran’s seventh album, Autumn Variations, which released Sept. 29, chronicles the challenges of different life stages from his friends’ perspectives. Sheeran’s inspiration stems from an English violinist named Elgar who composed his album, Enigma Variations, in which a different person influenced each track.

Autumn Variations marks Sheeran’s second project of 2023, with “”releasing back in May. Sprinkling in a few upbeat songs about the joys of loving someone and getting a fresh start, downcast melodies flow throughout many of the 14 tracks as Sheeran taps into the feelings of despondence and hopelessness that riddle much of society today. 


The first track, “Magical” speaks to the overwhelming process of falling in love. Backed by soft guitar strums, Sheeran walks listeners through the first touch to complete trust between two individuals with astonished lyrics asking, “Is this how it feels to be in love?” 

Upbeat favorites “England” and “American Town” masterfully echo one another throughout the album. “England” transports listeners to the country of the same name with vivid scenery descriptions from the pebbled streets to the pubs on each corner. “American Town” plants Sheeran stateside in love with an English woman who reminds him of their beautiful country miles away. The fast drumming backing of both songs conveys time’s quick passage, with Sheeran singing, “I wish time would freeze.” 

Deeper, more weighty tracks include “Plastic Bag,” “Blue” and “The Day I Was Born,” where themes of loneliness, loss and mania prevail. The slower pace of these songs reflects feelings during periods of stagnancy where hope for the future seems far away. 

In perhaps the most heartwrenching and devastating track on the album, Sheeran addresses suicidal thoughts and feelings of emptiness in “When Will I Be Alright.” Very few instrumentals support this song, as Sheeran’s pleading voice urges listeners to focus on the somber, meaningful lyrics.

Autumn Variations provides a fantastic listen as the weather cools down. The lyrics serve as reminders to celebrate each stage of life, and the instrumentals expertly convey the range of emotions Sheeran tackles with the songs.

4 English countrysides out of 5

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