The seasonally appropriate Autumn Variations, Ed Sheeran’s seventh consecutive UK number-one album, has achieved this feat.
It indicates that the singer’s whole discography—from his 2011 debut to his most recent album—has achieved the highest position.
But because this is the first record he has released on his own label, he claimed that his most recent accomplishment “means more than any other award I’ve had.”
The artist’s second album of 2023, Autumn Variations, is a joint effort with Aaron Dessner of The National.
It finds Sheeran in contemplative mode, assessing the personal difficulties and upheavals his friends went through in 2022, similar to its predecessor.
The 32-year-old claimed that Edward Elgar, whose 1899 Enigma Variations included 14 sketches of his wife, friends, and colleagues, served as a loose inspiration for the album.
When it was released last week, it drew mixed reviews—both tricks and treats, to keep with the October theme.
The album received two stars from Rachel Aroesti of The Guardian, who described it as “as flat and dull as a grey sky.”
“Plodding, genre-hopping songs all end up as unimaginative ballads, their dreary lyrics littered with gibberish – though Sheeran’s hooks remain strong,” she stated.
Thomas Smith from NME concurred and gave the album two stars for being “a pumpkin-spiced snoozer”.
“Four months after the soul-baring Subtract, Sheeran returns with a cloying, seasonal-themed endeavor,” he stated.
Helen Brown of The Independent awarded the album three stars, writing: “There’s enough soupy holiday sentimentality to fill the Royal Albert Hall, of course, but there’s no standout tune on here to match Elgar’s Nimrod.”
Will Hodgkinson of The Times was more kind, giving Sheeran four stars and stating that the artist “has a way of taking mundane aspects of life and imbuing them with real feeling within a melody that sticks in the mind.” He went on to say: “For all his apparent normality, that really is a rare skill” .
Sheeran has shrugged off critics, telling Rolling Stone magazine their opinions are redundant in the streaming era.
“Why do you need to read a review? Listen to it. It’s freely available!” he said.
“Make up your own mind. I would never read an album review and go, ‘I’m not gonna listen to that now.'”
Instead, he said it had been “amazing to get reconnected with the fans” over the summer, and promised a follow-up album next year.
One fan, Kari, was even treated to a surprise home visit from the star who performed the album’s lead single American Town for her and her friend in her living room.