Sheeran and Harlow Release New Albums [REVIEW]

It is always an exciting time when a musical genius releases a fresh album. What happens when two lyrical geniuses release two albums merely a week apart? That’s what the world got to experience last week with Jack Harlow and Ed Sheeran. Unfortunately, they did not release a collaborative album. Although, after Sheeran’s feature on Eminem’s “River,” we may be collectively dodging a bullet. 


Harlow announced “Jackman.” just two days before the 10-track album dropped. “Jackman.” came out a little less than a year after Harlow’s sophomore album “Come Home the Kids Miss You,” which received mixed reviews. “Jackman.” unlike his second attempt, was solely performed by Harlow without any of the attention-grabbing features he is known for. At first listen, I wasn’t impressed. Each track blended together without much creativity or uniqueness. As a big fan of Harlow’s debut studio album, “That’s What They All Say,” I was hoping for a return to the catchy, upbeat music of his youth. On that front, Harlow didn’t deliver. Fans of the album are arguing that its true value lies in its storytelling and lyricism. Not wanting to pass judgment prematurely, I sat down and read through every word on the album and came to my conclusion: they are nothing special. The main theme of the album is that Harlow has something to prove. He makes numerous comments about being a white rapper and how that has boxed him in, particularly in “It Can’t Be” and “They Don’t Love It.” 

As far as standout tracks go, “Denver” sampled Douglas Penn’s “Do You Know,” which made for a lighter, catchier track. “They Don’t Love It” has also been a fan favorite. It is also the only track from “Jackman.” that has an accompanying music video. Personally, I enjoyed “Blame On Me.” It told the story of two brothers and a father from all three perspectives, possibly a reflection of Harlow’s own upbringing. On the opposite end, I felt like Harlow really missed with “Gang Gang Gang.” The song was intended to question the “ride or die” mentality by describing Harlow finding out that his childhood friends committed horrible crimes. While I appreciated the message– hold your friends accountable for their actions–the song wasn’t particularly moving or well thought out. I also had a gripe with the track “No Enhancers.” I think the whole idea of calling women fatherless, even if it is to applaud their strength, is a bit cliché. 

While I will eagerly await Harlow’s next album and will continue to watch every interview he does, his music has lost some of its appeal for me. “Jackman.” makes it abundantly clear that Harlow is neither the best lyricist nor rapper in the industry, despite what he claims. However, there is still no one else I would rather be coerced into buying New Balances by.

Final rating: 4/10


As I sat down to listen to Sheeran’s latest album, “Subtract,” I promised myself that I would be objective. It quickly became clear that that would not be a possibility. As a proud Sheerio, I was eagerly anticipating this 18-track gem. Now, let me clarify. I am a fan of Sheeran’s work on “Divide” and earlier. Once he started getting into heavier pop and lost the guitar I said goodbye to my favorite redhead. Thankfully, our estrangement was temporary. “Subtract” is the last in a five-album set titled after mathematical symbols. From the first chords, it was clear that Sheeran was giving the fans what they have been asking for, a return to his earlier sound, featuring more stripped-down vocals and lyrics. 

Overall, the album was sad, almost reminiscent of “Supermarket Flowers.” It was accompanied by 14 music videos, one for each standard track. Taken together, they tell a story of grief and loss. The evident pain in each video is a direct response to the loss of his friend Jamal Edwards last year and his wife Cherry Seaborn’s cancer diagnosis while she was pregnant with their second child (Seaborn is now cancer free). The visuals were directed in Sheeran’s hometown of Suffolk, England by Mia Barnes. They featured water motifs and were set beside the ocean. Sheeran’s collection of knit sweaters channeled coastal grandmother vibes. 

My personal favorite track was “Hills of Aberfeldy.” Sheeran drew on his Irish roots in the love song and ode to the Scottish landscape. It reminded me of one of my all-time favorite Sheeran tracks, “Nancy Mulligan.” “Curtains” was another standout. Of the newly released songs, this one felt the most like his older work in that it was both upbeat and catchy. I also thoroughly enjoyed the “Dusty” music video, which was inspired by Sheeran’s morning routine with his daughter. While I couldn’t see myself revisiting it for pleasure-listening, “End Of Youth” was another solid track, featuring a poignant, sentimental depiction of the pain of getting older.

Fans and critics alike are calling “Subtract” Sheeran’s best album yet. Aside from “Multiply,” I have to agree. It looks like fatherhood and the ocean breeze was all Sheeran needed to slay another day.

Final rating: 8/10