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Ed Sheeran’s releasing a new album — with 14 songs written about 14 of his friends

Get ready for “Autumn Variations,” coming this fall.
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/ Source: TODAY

Ed Sheeran has announced a new album coming in 2023, one with a concept inspired by his own friends and their experiences with love, loss and heartbreak.

"Autumn Variations," out Sept. 29 and available now for preorder, aims to capture the feeling of the fall season, the singer-songwriter wrote in an Aug. 24 Instagram post. It includes 14 songs written from the points of view of 14 different people, an idea he said composer Edward Elgar used for his "Enigma Variations" work.

“Elgar has this thing called the ‘Enigma Variations’ where he did 14 songs about 14 friends, so I wanted to make 14 songs about 14 friends and base it on Autumn,” Sheeran said in an accompanying Instagram video. “I find that Autumn is a season with a lot of change coming out of summer. People are getting out of relationships, getting into relationships, being very lonely. I just found my friends and me were all going through sort of different things in Autumn and I just thought it’d be an interesting subject to write about.”

The four-time Grammy winner made "Autumn Variations" with musician Aaron Dessner and said it has been in the making for some time.

“This is a record that I was sort of making at the same time as ‘-,’” he said in the video. “It's what Aaron and I went in originally to make.”

Sheeran added that it's his first album on his own record label, Gingerbread Man.

Read on to learn about Sheeran's past collaborations with Dessner and more about his discography.

Who is Aaron Dessner?

Dessner is member of the band The National and also a producer who has worked with artists like Taylor Swift, Sharon Van Etten and Gracie Abrams in addition to Sheeran. He collaborated closely with Swift on her two albums released in 2020, “Folklore” and “Evermore,” the first of which won the Grammy for album of the year.

He continues to work with Swift; most recently he produced three songs on “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)”: “Foolish One (Taylor’s Version),” “When Emma Falls In Love (Taylor’s Version),” and “Electric Touch (Feat. Fall Out Boy) (Taylor’s Version).”

‘Autumn Variations’ track list

Below is the track list for Sheeran’s “Autumn Variations,” according to a press release.

  1. "Magical"
  2. "England"
  3. "Amazing"
  4. "Plastic Bag"
  5. "Blue"
  6. "American Town"
  7. "That’s On Me"
  8. "Page"
  9. "Midnight"
  10. "Spring"
  11. "Punchline"
  12. "When Will I Be Alright"
  13. "The Day I Was Born"
  14. "Head > Heels"

The sum of it all: Ed Sheeran’s ‘mathematics’ albums

Sheeran has released several albums (plus deluxe versions) since 2011 that have become colloquially known as his mathematics series: "+," "-," "x," "÷" and "=." In 2023, he released “The Sum of It All,” a documentary series on Disney+ about his personal life that's titled in the same theme.

He is currently on his "Mathematics" tour, which concludes Sept. 23 in Canada.

‘+’ (‘Plus’), 2011

“+” was the first of the “Mathematics” albums to release in 2011 and has songs titled “Autumn Leaves,” “Give Me Love” and “Drunk.”

‘x’ (‘Multiply’), 2014

“x” was nominated for the album of the year Grammy at the award show in 2015 and includes hits like “Thinking Out Loud,” which went on to win song of the year and best pop solo performance at the following Grammy Awards in 2016.

‘÷’ (‘Divide’), 2017

"÷" is one of Sheeran's most successful records (it's still Spotify's most-streamed album of all time) and earned the Grammy for best pop vocal album. "Shape of You" is on this album and won the Grammy for best pop solo performance.

‘=’ (‘Equals’), 2021

“=” was released in 2021 and was followed by a tour edition the following year. Songs include “Bad Habits” and “Shivers.”

‘-’ (‘Subtract’), 2023

Sheeran released "-" earlier in 2023 and includes the singles "Eyes Closed," "Boat" and "Life Goes On." Dessner also co-produced and co-wrote this album with Sheeran.