Ed Sheeran has labelled his upcoming studio album as the “best bit of work” he has done.
The new album, = or Equals, is the latest instalment in Sheeran’s symbol series and his first studio album since 2017.
The album contains new song Visiting Hours, which is dedicated to his friend and mentor Michael Gudinski who passed away earlier this year.
The singer announced the news on an Instagram live stream, saying: “It has been two years since I’ve released a project and four years since I’ve released a solo album, actually more than that, four-and-a-half years, but I am putting out my fourth studio solo album on October 29.
“And it’s going to be called Equals, which you might have guessed.”
Discussing the album artwork, he said: “You will have seen the little chrysalis cocoon that is on there.
“Basically the symbolism behind the album is sort of new life.
“You know, I’ve been through, over the last sort of four years, different experiences in life, including, you know, getting married, having a kid, losing a friend, and I just felt like the butterfly symbolism fit in with that.
“There’s 14 songs on the album, it’s been a kind of painstaking process, cutting it down to 14 songs.
“I started with quite a lot, but they all have their place and I love it, I think it’s the best bit of work that I’ve done, and it’s cohesive, and it feels great.”
The musician also explained in another post on Instagram that he had been writing and recording this album since June 2017.
He told fans: “I’ve been through love, loss, new life, grief and everything in between during the whole period of writing it, and I feel like it’s really a coming of age record.”
The themes of the album will explore these emotions, alongside resilience, fatherhood and also tracks which process the singer’s reality and career.
The singer is currently at the top of the singles charts with Bad Habits, which was the first single from the new album.
He had previously been taking a break from music after his daughter Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran was born in August 2020.
He released the mellow acoustic song Afterglow in December but said it was a “Christmas present”, not a single.
His most recent album was the No.6 Collaborations Project in July 2019, which featured artists including Justin Bieber, Camila Cabello and Travis Scott.
Previous studio album Divide arrived in 2017 and included the songs Castle On The Hill, Galway Girl and Shape Of You.