One of the biggest bugbears that pop critics tend to have with Ed Sheeran is that he's just a normal guy. Pop stars aren't supposed to be normal guys: they're meant to be superhuman and sparkly and interesting and outlandishly beautiful. And the probable reason why Sheeran both irritates critics and delights fans—who, fair enough, enjoy his relatability—is that he's just like any other kind of mediocre bloke you went to school with, or know from down the pub, just with an uncanny, almost unnatural knack for writing a catchy hook.
Right now, Sheeran's basking in the enormous success of his most recent album ÷ (or Divide, if you prefer to speak in words and not symbols), which is now spending its seventh week atop the UK album chart. But "sources close to him" (lol, watch out for that flying pinch of salt) have told the Daily Star that it could well be his last one for a long time. The tabloids are processing this as news that he may retire after this tour:
"Ed has pretty much achieved everything there is to achieve in music. He absolutely loves what he does and is riding the wave of his success at the moment, but at the same time he wants a more normal life. When or if he gets married he wants to put his wife and kids first and not his career. If that means going AWOL for years, then so be it."
It's true that at this point Sheeran is kind of writing the same few songs over and over. His small net of topics includes Manic Pixie Irish Girls and his struggle to Remain Normal in the big bad Music Industry—and to this day, one member of Noisey's UK staff still has to do a mental double take to remind themselves that "Love Yourself" was sung and released by Bieber and not Sheeran because his songwriting stamp is so firmly all over it. But despite this he's essentially at the top of his game, and it would be pretty baller—potentially the most baller thing Ed Sheeran has ever done—to quit now to go and live in a massive house in the countryside and learn woodwork and have some kids with his longtime girlfriend.
And the thing is, this also feels like it's actually what Ed Sheeran was always meant to be doing. Songwriter extraordinaire he may be (I am, for example, eternally grateful to him for "Love Yourself") but in literally any other aspect, he really is just an ordinary guy, who likes his shed, enjoys a big night out every now and then, and maybe takes up cycling on the weekends and occasionally does open mic when he's had a few beers and the lads go, "Go on Ed giz a song!" That's who Ed Sheeran is. And maybe he's just going to be embracing it sooner than we thought.
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(Image via Wikimedia Commons)