Sheerios only have to wait it out until Friday (Oct. 29) to finally get their hands on Ed Sheeran‘s upcoming fifth full-length studio album, =. After keeping the sessions shrouded in secrecy, Sheeran has been gearing up for the big push by releasing the singles “Bad Habits” and “Shivers” and, on Monday (Oct. 25), dropping 14 eclectic shorts previewing all 14 tracks on the collection.
It’s more than enough to tide fans over for a few days. In the meantime, Billboard has compiled everything we know about the album (so far).
The latest in Sheeran’s series of mathematically themed albums — a companion to his 2011 debut, +, 2014’s x and 2017’s ÷ — is the follow-up to 2019’s No. 6 Collaborations Project and it’s due out on Friday (Oct. 29) at midnight via Asylum/Atlantic Records.
Pre-order of = is available on Amazon Music, Apple Music and Target, among other retailers. In addition to pre-ordering the album in various formats, you can also order a special t-shirt box set, exclusive red cassette, recycled vinyl, deluxe book vinyl and other formats here, with extras including a 20-page hard-cover book with lyrics, credits, photos and exclusive artwork and t-shirt and autographed CD.
The 14-song album features the singles “Bad Habits” and “Shivers,” as well as the homage to Sheeran’s mentor, late Australian promotions giant Michael Gudinski, “Visiting Hours.” See the full tracklist below.
Already Releases Songs
The uptempo first single, “Bad Habits,” rode the top spot on the English singles charts for eleven weeks and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 tally. It was accompanied by a high-gloss video in which Sheeran stars as a glam vampire. The dance pop tune “Shivers” entered at No. 1 on the UK charts, displacing “Habits” and topped-out at No. 10 on the Hot 100. He spends another late night looking for love in the special effects-heavy “Shivers” video, which finds Ed dressing up in an homage to pal Elton John’s feathery outfits and hanging out in a morgue with his beloved.
YouTube Shorts Preview
If you simply cannot wait to hear the album, Sheeran provided Sheerios with a first-of-its-kind preview of the album via a collab with YouTube on a series of 14 video shorts — one for each song on the album — which dropped on Monday morning (Oct. 25).
The clips, which each run 20 seconds or less, cover a wide range of scenes, from Sheeran pounding the drums to the high-energy opening track “Tides,” to him stepping into a bathtub filled with ice while wearing a suit in the “Shivers” bit and smiling at a man dancing in a doorway with a giant bowl of chips for “Bad Habits.”
Elsewhere, Sheeran and his wife Cherry lounge around, kiss and flirt in the affecting preview of the gentle acoustic ballad “First Times,” Ed busts out a spray can for some freestyle painting to the strains of the wistful acoustic pop gem “Overpass Graffiti” and he spotlights his cat’s adventures in the adorable “The Joker and the Queen” short for the hushed piano ballad.
We also hear a bit of the yearning mid-tempo “Leave Your Life,” the remix-ready dance pop tracks “Collide,” “2Step” and “Stop the Rain,” as well as the sweeping acoustic jangle of “Love in Slow Motion,” the tear-stained acoustic homage to those we’ve lost, “Visiting Hours,” the bouncy lullaby “Sandman” and the bubbling, beat-driven album closer “Be Right Now.”
Though he hasn’t yet unveiled his North American tour plans, Sheeran has dropped the dates for his upcoming 2022 UK/European stadium tour, which will include shows in Belfast, Manchester, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Copenhagen and Belfast. The tour is currently slated to kick off on April 28 in Cork, Ireland and last through a Sept. 23 gig in Frankfurt, Germany.
Sheeran is slated to head back to Saturday Night Live as the musical guest on its Nov. 6 show to promote the album. At press time Sheeran was self-isolating after being diagnosed with COVID-19, with plans to continue scheduled interviews and performances virtually in the days leading up to Friday’s release date; it was unknown at press time if Sheeran’s COVID status will impact his ability to appear on SNL.