Ed Sheeran is building the buzz for Divide, his upcoming third album, with the release of a third track from it.
After the record-smashing whirlwind that was the advance release of Divide tracks “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill,” the Englishman changes pace on “How Would You Feel (Paean),” a Kleenex-clincher of a slow ballad assisted with acoustic guitar, piano and drums played with brushes.
The singer and songwriter dropped the promo track as his birthday gift to fans (he turned 26 on Friday). Sheeran sings in the chorus, “How would you feel/If I told you I loved you/It’s just something that I want to do/I’m taking my time, spending my life/Falling deeper in love with you/So tell me that you love me too.”
“How Would You Feel” is not the next single,” Sheeran tweeted Thursday, “but is one of my favzzzzz.” For what it’s worth, “How Would You Feel (Paean)” is track 11 of 16 on Divide, which is due out March 3.
Sheeran has been in record-busting form since he double-dropped “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill” in January. Both tracks crashed the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, making Sheeran the first artist to ever accomplish that feat. In his homeland, those comeback songs set a new mark for the longest-ever run in the top two of the U.K. chart at five weeks (besting Justin Bieber’s four week stint at Nos. 1 and 2 with “Sorry” and “Love Yourself” in 2015).
Sheeran also became the first artist to debut in the top two spots on the Official U.K. Singles Chart in the same week, and he’s the first living British solo act to hold the top two chart positions in the same week (John Lennon posthumously did so in 1981). He’ll perform at next Wednesday’s Brit Awards in London.
Stream “How Would You Feel” below: