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Ed Sheeran Announces New Album '=': 'I See It as My Coming-of-Age Record'

It’s official: Ed Sheeran’s new album will be called = (equals), and it’ll drop in late October.

The superstar British singer and songwriter revealed the details of his fourth solo album on Thursday (August 19), the title of which continues a sequence of mathematical symbols. Sheeran’s forthcoming album spans 14 tracks, and includes his tribute to late Australian promoter and mentor Michael Gudinski, “Visiting Hours,” as well as the current hit single “Bad Habits.”

Due to drop Oct. 29 via Atlantic Records, = is nothing short of a coming-of-age effort, one that reflects the life experiences of a fully-grown man, the 30-year-old singer said in a statement.

The forthcoming LP is “a really personal record and one that means a lot to me,” Sheeran said. “My life changed greatly over the past few years – I got married, became a father, experienced loss, and I reflect on these topics over the course of the album. I see it as my coming-of-age record, and I can’t wait to share this next chapter with you.”

The loss he appears to be speaking of is the shock death of Gudinski earlier in the year at age 68. Sheeran wrote “Visiting Hours” during his stint in quarantine, en route to the legendary entrepreneur’s state memorial in Melbourne March 24, where the Brit tearfully performed the song live for the very first time.

Also joining Sheeran on stage that night were Kylie Minogue and Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes. Minogue and Barnes both contribute vocals to the new recording, which was released on Thursday, along with a reverent video (see below).

With “Bad Habits,” the album’s lead single, Sheeran has locked down the U.K. chart title ever since its June 25 release. Based on midweek sales and streaming data in the U.K., “Bad Habits” is on track to log an eighth successive week at No. 1.

The IFPI named Sheeran as the Global Recording Artist of 2017 following the release of his third album ÷ (Divide), which yielded “Shape Of You,” the most-streamed song on Spotify. At the time of the announcement, ÷ had achieved multi-platinum status in 36 markets.

Written and recorded across Suffolk, London, Sweden and Los Angeles, the new set was executive produced by Sheeran, FRED (No.6 Collaborations Project) and Johnny McDaid (Divide), with additional writing and/or production provided by Steve Mac, Joe Rubel, Amy Wadge and others.

It’s the followup to Sheeran’s star-studded 2019 record No. 6 Collaborations Project, which gave the Englishman his third No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart.

Check out the album tracklist and watch the "Visiting Hours" video below.

‘=’ Tracklist:
1." Tides"
2. "Shivers"
3. "First Times"
4. "Bad Habits"
5. "Overpass Graffiti"
6. "The Joker And The Queen"
7. "Leave Your Life"
8. "Collide"
9. "2step"
10. "Stop The Rain"
11. "Love In Slow Motion"
12. "Visiting Hours"
13. "Sandman"
14. "Be Right Now"