Internationally acclaimed artist Ed Sheeran has returned with another single as well as announcing his new album, “=.” Unlike the lead single, “Bad Habits,” which saw Sheeran experiment with electronic production and house beats, “Visiting Hours” sees Sheeran go back into his dramatic ballad bag, a la “Thinking Out Loud.” Centered purely around Sheeran’s vocals and acoustic guitar, “Visiting Hours” reflects on the loss of a loved one and wishing they could see them one more time.
“=” is due out October 29th, and it seems like it will be a return to form after Sheeran’s No. 6 Collaborations Project in 2019. “Bad Habits” carries some of the energy of that project, but “Visiting Hours” shows that Sheeran can absolutely still make the songs that made him famous. The acoustic ballads gave Sheeran his following, and while he should be commended for branching out and trying new things, it’s actually somewhat relieving to see him return to this style. Sheeran’s voice works best when he is leaving it alone in the mix and allowing it to actually exist, and “Visiting Hours” absolutely does that. The instrumentation is gorgeous as well, but it never detracts from the primary focus of the song: Sheeran’s voice and lyrics.
The 14-track album will be out in just two short months, but be sure to check out “Visiting Hours” – and, to a certain extent, “Bad Habits” – and let us know what you think! While one could argue that this return to a style is “lazy” or “pandering,” I’d argue that it shows that Ed Sheeran knows that he has experimented all he can at this point in his career, and he wants to prove that he can still do what made him who he is. Check out the performance video below, and be sure to listen to “=” when it comes out!