Ed Sheeran Announces His Final Mathematics Album, '-' (Subtract)

2 March 2023 | 10:44 am | Mary Varvaris

Subtract will be released on Friday, 5 May, through Asylum/Atlantic Records.

(Pic by Annie Leibovitz)

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It’s a big week for Ed Sheeran – he performed at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital in an impromptu gig, and tonight and tomorrow, he’s headlining the MCG with two record-breaking gigs in terms of ticket sales alone.

Now, he has another thing to add to his to-do list: release - (Subtract), his final album in the Mathematics series following 2011’s Plus, 2014’s Multiply, 2017’s Divide and Equals, released in 2021. Subtract is dubbed his most personal album to date and will be released on Friday, 5 May, through Asylum/Atlantic Records. You can pre-order the record here.

“I had been working on Subtract for a decade, trying to sculpt the perfect acoustic album, writing and recording hundreds of songs with a clear vision of what I thought it should be. Then at the start of 2022, a series of events changed my life, my mental health, and ultimately the way I viewed music and art,” Sheeran revealed in a statement.

He added, “Writing songs is my therapy. It helps me make sense of my feelings. I wrote without thought of what the songs would be; I just wrote whatever tumbled out. And in just over a week, I replaced a decade’s worth of work with my deepest darkest thoughts.

“Within the space of a month, my pregnant wife got told she had a tumour, with no route to treatment until after the birth. My best friend Jamal, a brother to me, died suddenly, and I found myself standing in court defending my integrity and career as a songwriter. I was spiralling through fear, depression and anxiety.

“I felt like I was drowning, head below the surface, looking up but not being able to break through for air.

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“As an artist, I didn’t feel like I could credibly put a body of work into the world that didn’t accurately represent where I am and how I need to express myself at this point in my life. This album is purely that. It’s opening the trapdoor into my soul. For the first time, I’m not trying to craft an album people will like; I’m merely putting something out that’s honest and true to where I am in my adult life.” 

Sheeran concluded, “This is last February’s diary entry and my way of making sense of it. This is Subtract.”

Tonight’s Ed Sheeran show is up to the final tickets, with the Adelaide and Perth legs also selling fast. You can purchase tickets here.