The Nice Guy™ Songs in Ed Sheeran’s DIVIDE


It’s not very often that one listen to a new song has me typing in a furious, feminist rage by the middle of the second chorus. But the eighth song of Ed Sheeran’s Divide, released Thursday, got me there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving this album. Rather than sticking to whatever formula got the most radio play on Multiply and beating it to death (lookin’ at you, Jason Mraz), he’s continued to explore the several distinct but connected sounds that make him so satisfying to listen to. Songs like “Shape of You” indulge fully in his clear affection for hip-hop, while “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan” spin Irish reel–inspired melodies that have you stomping your feet and smiling compulsively.

But while his sound has continued to grow and mature, Sheeran’s content seems mired in the same teenage angst that made him famous with Add, and then some. “Eraser,” the album’s opening track, finds Ed complaining once again about how hard it is to be rich, famous, and living the dream. “Castle on the Hill” is the slightly better version of that, though his vignettes of friends’ everyday English lives are unremarkable and clumsily worded.

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Wrecking Trump.jpg

The most romantic and seeming true picture of the writer is this: fevered at his desk in the late hours of the night, hands dotted with ink, floor littered with crumpled stanzas, hunched and scribbling in a fit of inspiration as sleep, that temptress, eludes him.

In the early morning hours of Friday, the 30th of September, presidential candidate Donald J. Trump took up this standard and assumed the ultimate expression of creativity—with a few minor adjustments. His paper was an Android smartphone. His lines of verse were semicoherent tweets. His pen was a tiny, tiny finger. Continue reading



I came across this work—it’s poetry, really—in the comment stream of an article from the New Yorker that had been making the rounds on Facebook. The article, a lively if sometimes trite treatise calling for the abolition of high heels from everyday wear, turned fashion into a feminist issue: The author argued the almost painfully obvious position that footwear that constricts, pains, and even damages the body does not belong in a world where women are working tirelessly to maintain sovereignty over their bodies. I shared it most vigorously—being myself unable to wear high heels as they are expensive and I would rather pay for something pleasant—and it was well received by those in my online cohort who have also revoked diets, body hair removal, and other painful “necessities” of womanhood that are really just bullshit if you stop to think about them.

At any rate, the article crossed my digital path again earlier today, and I thought I might check out the comments to gauge public opinion on the issue—I knew that my friend group was likely not a representative sample. There was, of course, the usual nastiness that one encounters whenever women exercise their voices in public online spaces—from men who would rather the author have stopped wearing heels in silence than complain about it, to men who thought the article’s topic disqualified the author as a feminist when she could have been building homes for burn victims in Somalia. And then there was “Women Like This,” a singular work of verbal mastery—a poem, truly—that left all the other hecklers and supporters and “Becky have you read this”ers in the dust. Continue reading