Character Analysis: Roy Mustang-Full Metal Alchemist Franchise
Don’t let his calm swagger and
unmoving determination fool you. He’s a dork.
Known as ‘The Flame
Alchemist’, Roy Mustang is a Colonel in the Amestris military. In the show, his
goal is to become the Fuhrer. He wants to be in a position where he never has
to take an order again. Why? He fought in a unjustified war and killed lots of
The show makes it
very clear he has trouble with the fact that he has blood on his hands. He’s
this guy who reads alone and keeps mostly to himself. But here’s the kicker.
He’d die for his crew.
Yesterday I posted about 10 creepy books to read in October and today my review on Sleep, Savannah, Sleep by Alistair Cross went live on my blog! Can you tell I’m in a spooky Halloween mood already? 🎃✨
You can find a link to my blog (romireads.com) down below! ☕️🍂
if you have an eating disorder and are looking for a self help book, i Highly Recommend ‘life without ed’ by jenni schaefer !!! i also Highly Recommend not going Anywhere Near ‘we: a manifesto for women everywhere’ by gillian anderson and jennifer nadel !!
who wants to r e c o v e r? it took me years to get that tiny. i wasn’t s i c k; i was strong.
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.
Wintergirls was an interesting look into ED, I think. Most books that have a main character with an eating disorder want to get better, or start wanting to get better halfway through the book. Lia was absolutely certain that she was fine. The most fascinating quote in this entire book was:
They yell at me because I can’t see what they see. Nobody can explain to me why my eyes work different than theirs.
Which seriously, A+. If you haven’t heard Ana’s Song by Silverchair, I sincerely urge you to go check it out. I was thinking about it the entire time I read this book.
Anyways, I think I’ve grown out of my interest in ED topic books, because I wasn’t overly invested in this book.
If you love your very on-the-nose religious allegories aggressively shoved down your throat for an excruciating two hours, then mother! is the movie for you! Darren Aronofsky’s latest is a big ol’ parable that’s pretty impossible to miss since instead of wrapping its deeper ideas inside of anything resembling a plot of its own he instead throws it right there on the surface with giant sign posts indicating every little thing that anyone needs for even the most basic viewer to “get it”. Of course it’s also just the kind of obnoxiously “ambitious”, “auteur-driven”, “provocative” feature that will ignite a heavily divisive response with its lovers insisting that the detractors somehow “didn’t get it” even though there’s literally nothing else to it. That’s a big part of the problem. Aronofsky just drowns this beast in his giant allegory (which, yes, could also be an interpretation of the creative process, but isn’t that essentially the same thing? And really there’s too much religion here for it not to be that more than anything), leaving no room for anything else.
Certainly not for even the slightest modicum of character development or dimension, as a talented cast led by Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem is criminally underserved by a script that treats their characters as props rather than actual people with inner lives who the audience are supposed to care for. And yet as the deliriously, infuriatingly chaotic final act rages on there’s this odd pull that the movie suddenly wants us to have an investment in these people, but it did absolutely zero groundwork to get us to that point. Ultimately it did zero work to establish practically anything. It’s well and good to work an allegory like this into something, but you have to actually have something there in the first place to work it into and Aronofsky missed the boat on that one. Even more than that he missed the concept of having it all actually mean anything on a grander scheme. Sure, it’s all about religion, but for what purpose? Why does this movie exist? Beats me.
Others who bafflingly love the picture can surely glean out their own satisfying answers for that question and more power to them for finding a way to get any measure of satisfaction out of this ugly and irritating masturbatory slice of filth, but try as I might the only reactions I got out of this haphazard display of an egomaniac director stroking his own arrogance were vehemently negative. If I were able to give mother! one compliment it would have been that it’s refreshing to see a studio movie that doesn’t feel the need to push out a ton of exposition in its dialogue, but I can’t even applaud it for that as somehow the exposition overload just comes straight out of the plot and direction that whacks your head open with a sledgehammer and just violently shoves its pathetically blunt grade school meanings directly into your open skull.
Whether it’s the gratuitous violence and debauchery (good luck to Lawrence for actually falling for the director during the making of this), the full-on obnoxious anarchy of a filmmaker given complete control and displaying absolutely none in the final act, or the paper thin characterization and allegory on display throughout this nonsense, mother! is a movie that fails hard early on and somehow only gets worse from there as it stretches on for an agonizing two hours that feels like at least three by the time it mercifully ends with the most predictable, eye-rolling ending of the year. Aronofsky has claimed that this movie is the most similar to Black Swan that he’s made in his career, but the truth is that it more rightly fits alongside the obnoxious aggression, infantile lecturing, and overbearing toxicity of Requiem for a Dream. In that regard, Aronofsky would surely find at least some satisfaction in the fact that I can’t recall the last time a film has made me as angry as this one. You know, the way that a child with not a lot else going on will needlessly attack others in order to get attention.
Annabelle: Creation | Movie Review (Non - Spoiler)
100 / 100: Annabelle Creation’s provides nerve shredding terror and excellent film making, and makes for a great addition into The Conjuring universe.
The first Annabelle movie wasn’t that great, I quite liked it but most people didn’t. However any worries you have due to the first Annabelle movie about Creation are quickly dismissed just by the opening 10 minutes, which provide an excellent prologue to set the scene and instantly pull you into the Conjuring universe.
The movie is superbly directed by David F. Sanberg, who also directed last years Light’s Out, a movie which I wasn’t a big fan of, however it definitely was a well directed movie, and here he ups his game. Excellent tracking shots are used throughout to provide an uncut feeling of dread. He also knows how to use objects alone to strike fear into audiences. Things like cupboard doors, chairs, light’s and stairs are all used in a way to tense up the audience and prepare us for a good scare.
Speaking of scares, jump scares. Jump scares are like an infestation in the horror genre. Most of the time a horror movie will be full of false, irrelevant and annoying jump scares accompanied by a jolting loud music. However in Annabelle: Creation the jump scares are used expertly though generously. However they aren’t ever really false scares, the scared lead to something or provide some sort of payoff for the scene, they aren’t a friend shouting boo at the main character.
The antagonist of the movie, the demon, is fantastically realized and used in this movie. The times in which we actually see him are completely terrifying, specifically in one scene involving a shed and scarecrow, that scene got me so much I accidentally threw my popcorn in the air.
Talitha Bateman plays one of two of our protagonists, and she does an excellent job. The way her character is written and the way she plays the character really make you feel for her and care for her.
Lulu Wilson who made a stand out appearance in Ouija: Origin of Evil does an equally good job here. However the movie doesn’t fully utilize the ability of Wilson as she is a terrifically good “creepy” actor, and the movie doesn’t really use that to it’s advantage.
I have pretty much no major problems with this movie and nothing to warrant it being downgraded from 100. I can’t wait to watch this movie again, as it is a fantastic cinematic experience, and one that SHOULD be seen in cinemas with a nice energetic (but not phone using, talking, Brenda Meek’s style) audience. Seriously if someone is on their phone or talking ask them to stop, if they don’t go to the staff and if nothing is still done I really do recommend you simply ask for a refund and leave, as this movie is so immersive and so reliant on atmosphere for it’s scares, that a bad audience would mean many of the scares won’t work for you.
I guess Lulu Wilson is a good luck charm for any prequel to a shitty horror movie… Annabelle: Creation gets a well earned 100 / 100.
Previous installment:Stones (Jamie struggles with what separation from Jenny and his loved ones really entails.)
Anon requested: Claire takes Jamie to the North End in Boston for Italian food.
October 20, 1950
It was not the first time I had noticed that Jamie’s raised eyebrow was quite dashing, no matter how scornfully-raised. “And you’re certain this is what ye want for your birthday, lass?”
“Positive! Dig in, darling!”
The restaurant was dimly lit, but even in the candlelight, I could see that he was staring at the plate of spaghetti bolognese as though it were a sleeping wolverine.
He poked the fragrant mass with his fork. “It just looks so—unwieldy.”
“I have full faith in your ability to wield your dinner,” I laughed, sipping my wine before picking up my fork again.
Jamie watched me carefully, studying, then slowly imitated my motions of twirling the pasta around the fork using the bowl of the spoon as an anchor. I tried my best to stifle giggles into my wine glass as the load slipped off his tines halfway to his mouth not once, but twice. He fixed me with a gimlet eye. “If ye wished your present to be me making a fool of myself, I could think of half a dozen other more enjoyable—”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I snickered, “I’m not laughing, I promise.” I tightened my lips and looked angelically over at him. “Come on, once more?”
He sighed, twirled once more, and managed to get the bite into his mouth.
“So…? What do you think?” I asked eagerly.
“But it’s good!” he said through his mouthful, sounding highly surprised. “A bit slippery, but the sauce is quite nice.” He took a swallow of wine and sat, considering. “Aye, that’s lovely. How d’ye say it? Spag—?”
“Spagh-EH-tti,” I said, in my best exaggerated Italian accent, digging in to my own plate. “I’m so glad you like it! I haven’t had much Italian food before, either, but this is one of Tom and Marian’s favorite joints. You’ll have to have lasagne next time! Definitely less effort required!”
He managed another bite, losing only one noodle on the journey. “Do they have any wee bibs like the ones we have for Brianna? Tasty as it is, I dinna ken how I should be able to finish the serving wi’out splattering myself filthy.”
In the end, he settled for a napkin tucked into his collar, and good thing, too, for otherwise his white shirt would have taken two direct hits before the meal was out.
It was a lovely evening, with good food, good wine, and a gorgeous trio of singers serenading the diners from the far corner.
As the raucous Funiculì Funiculà was replaced by the sweet, sad strains of Musetta’s Waltz over our coffee and tiramisu (which Jamie did not enjoy— “It’s just wet cake!”), Jamie took my hand and squeezed it, his eyes crinkling with happiness. “Happy Birthday, Sassenach.”
“Thirty-two,” I said, a bit ruefully. “I think that means I’m firmly out of the spring chicken years, don’t you?”
“Hey, now, I’ll have no such talk,” he chided gently. “Every year we have together will be the best year—no matter how old we grow.”
I felt my face grow flush with feeling and in seeing the fervor in his expression. “That’s a good way to think of it. Think we’ll still be this happy when I’m seventy-two?”
“Oh, aye, I’ll stake my life on it. I canna wait to see ye wi’ grey hairs. You’ll be the Sexiest grannie ever seen.”
“You’re unbelievable,” I laughed. “But thank you.”
He stood halfway to lean across the table and kiss my hand. “I’m verra, verra glad ye were born, mo chridhe,” he murmured.
My throat felt thick. “I’m glad you were born, too.”
“Aye, but it’s no’ yet my day for it,” he grinned. As he sat back in his seat, he suddenly looked sharply up at me. “I didna think on it before, but this day is significant for another reason, forbye.”
“Oh? What reason is that?”
“'Tis five years to the day since ye first told me the truth….” he said, eyes wide and wondering. “….about where ye truly came from, aye?”
I gasped, remembering.
“Do you know when I was born?” I had hissed, voice tremulous, my hair wild and my eyes staring. “On the twentieth of October, in the Year of Our Lord nineteen hundred and eighteen.”
“Do you hear me?” I demanded, for he was blinking at me unmoving, as though paying no attention to a word I said. “I said nineteen eighteen! Nearly two hundred years from now! Do you hear?”
I had been shouting, but he’d nodded slowly.
And then a long time later, many frantic words and tears later, he’d looked down at me and smiled faintly.
“Happy Birthday, Sassenach.”
It took me completely by surprise and I’d just stared stupidly at him for a moment. “What?” I’d managed at last.
“I said, ‘Happy Birthday.’ It’s the twentieth of October today.”
“That was quite a day, no?” the present-day Jamie said, refilling my coffee cup and scooting the rest of the tiramisu toward me.
“I was… so scared,” I said, feeling suddenly breathless from the remembered terror.
“Christ, me too,” he agreed with a shudder. “When I saw ye there on the platform in Cranesmuir—To think they might have burned ye, if I hadna arrived in ti—”
“No, no,” I cut in, “not then. I mean, I was terrified during the trial, of course…but it was there in the woods, that I meant. With you.”
That startled him, and I went on. “I was so frightened to tell you about my past. I was convinced you would think me mad—or even the witch you’d just vowed publicly that I wasn’t.”
That same faint smile crossed his lips but he said nothing.
“Tell me truly, Jamie…” I started, my stomach suddenly in knots, dreading the answer. “Did you really believe me… or did you just care for me enough that it was easier for us both that you should pretend to?”
He spoke without hesitation. “No, I believed ye, Sassenach.”
My exhale of relief and my, “But how? Why?” seemed to escape me simultaneously.
“Because your face betrays ye, mo sorcha—it always has. It’s why Colum and Dougal didna trust ye for a moment. They didna ken what it was ye were hiding, only that something was there ye wouldna tell. And in the time after we were made man and wife,” he reached across the tiny table and laid a warm hand on my cheek, “just as I kent your feelings for me were growing wi’ every passing day, I could see that there was something ye were holding back, still, even from me. It’s why I said ‘secrets, but no’ lies,’ aye?” He lowered his hand to gently hold my chin. “But this day, five years ago, was the first time I saw ye look back into my eyes wi’ nothing held back: no lies AND no secrets…. Your eyes told me that ye spoke true, no matter how unbelievable the truth was. And it slew me, Claire, then slew me again…because I knew I had to let ye go; go back to him.”
I couldn’t speak, just then, and he sat back in his seat, shaking his head, dazed. “I still canna believe ye chose me; still canna fathom what I felt when I awoke to find ye there in my arms…thought I surely was dreaming.”
I reached for his hand. “I just…couldn’t give you up.”
“And I thank God for it every day.”
We sat for a time in silence, touching each others’ rings and feeling the warmth of our hands together.
Jamie was the one that broke the stillness, pulling away with purpose. “Now, as glad as I am that you’re a woman for whom watching a numpty suffer through a plate of Spaghetti is a sufficient birthday present—” he reached down to his feet and withdrew a parcel wrapped in brown paper, “—I did get ye a proper gift as well.”
I grinned and reached for it; a book, surely, from the size and weight. Sure enough, as the paper fell away, I could immediately see the crisp page-edges and the shiny binding that read: Medical Education in the United States: rankings and reviews (1950 ed.)
“Oh, Jamie…” I breathed, opening the cover and flipping through the pages. Harvard. Princeton. Stanford. Osteopathic and Medicine programs of California. Texas. Pennsylvania. MCAT procedures. Top residencies by specialty. And on and on it went.
“I ken we’ve been talking a great deal about the new bairn and the hope that we’ll conceive soon; but I didna wish ye to think I’d forgotten your other wish. I’ve been reading up on what it’s like—the requirements and the different options you’ll have. I didna ken there were half so many programs in Massachusetts, let alone the whole country!“ He gave a small shrug. "Perhaps it all goes wi'out saying, but I wanted ye to hear from my lips that I want ye to go to the best medical school ye can, if that’s your wish—even if it’s in—” He hesitated, speaking tentatively. “Hah-wheyyy?”
“Hawai’i,” I corrected, laughing with happy tears in my eyes.
“Aye, there,” he grinned, “or wherever the best spot for ye may be. Whither thou goest, I will go.”
“Thank you, darling,” I whispered.
“My only requirement,” he said, suddenly stern, “is that you make it so they have to republish this wee book soon, for there isna a single mention of the possibility of a woman attending. Tis all ‘his’ and ‘him’ and ‘gentlemen in the class of such and such.’ You’ll need to change that, aye?”
I grinned at him and shook his hand playfully. “It’s a bargain.”
After watching After The Bone a few days ago, I’ve been looking forward to watching this to see how they compare. And I was very impressed with Feed. They both deal with similar topics, but in very different ways. I think I prefer Feed. It’s not as triggering. It doesn’t mention calories or excessive exercising, or show someone who is severely anorexic (which is something I found difficult to watch in TTB). This movie personified that voice in your head telling you not to eat and I’ve never seen that done this way in a movie before.
Olivia and Matt are twins and are inseparable. But after Matt dies, Olivia can’t handle it. She begins to see Matt and she tells her what to do and say, and when not to eat. She saves all her food to give to him. She thinks that in order to keep seeing him, she has to give all her food to him. She’s restricting but she doesn’t realise she is.
That’s the thing about having an ED. There’s this voice in your head telling you to do things, and you believe that the voice knows whats best for you, so you listen to it. Olivia’s voice looked like her brother, and her brother always knew what was best for her. In her mind, she had to listen to that voice. Matt always looked out for her and she was convinced that the things he was telling her to do were right. But actually, the Matt she was seeing wasn’t him, it was the personification of her mental illness. She didn’t realise, but that voice made her start to unknowingly starve herself.
Even when she was put into an inpatient treatment centre, she kept seeing Matt. The doctors were telling her one thing, but her brother, the one person she could always count on, was telling her something different. It was an inner battle with herself. That’s exactly what an eating disorder is. You think this voice in your head is right, even though other people are telling you otherwise. It’s not easy to just stop listening to that voice. It is so hard to ignore it. This movie showed that struggle.
Only when she is told that she’ll die if she keeps this up does she start to fight that voice. But that is so hard for her. She found a way to see her brother again, and telling him that he is not her brother was so fucking hard for her to do. By restricting her food she could see him. It was the only way she could see him.
Olivia starts to recover, but recovery is a very long journey and this movie did not gloss that over at all. She’s started to eat and put on weight, and had a much healthier mindset. But when she went out for lunch she ordered a salad. She kept making excuses that she wasn’t very hungry or she’d already eaten. Which are typical excuses people with an ED will make.
And even though she was starting to recover, that voice came back. Even when you’re almost recovered, that voice can come back. Sometimes that voice doesn’t ever go away. Recovery isn’t easy. It’s a day to day struggle. Everytime you have to eat it’s a struggle. The movie didn’t have a happy ending, because ED’s usually don’t. It’s an ongoing struggle and you may not ever fully recover.
I related to this movie on so many levels. Having recovered from an ED, this movie got inside my head. It personified that voice that I heard. It showed the struggles of trying to fight it or tune it out. And it showed that sometimes when you’re restricting, you don’t realise you are. In your mentally ill mind you don’t see anything wrong with what you’re doing.
I did not find this movie triggering to watch, but it was definitely confronting and challenging at times. It somehow managed to get into the head of someone with an ED and portray that on screen. It felt like something I’d gone through. It felt honest and real. I’ve never seen a movie that I’ve related to as much as this.
This is an important movie that will hopefully show people what going through an ED is really like. Thank you Troian for this story that you brought to life. Thank you for putting this out in the world.
Plot: A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.
It’s kind of difficult for me to talk about this movie, as a lot of what I could say would somehow spoil it. This film works best when you walk into it not knowing anything. Because then you have the full surprise factor at your hands and you are given this puzzle that you slowly begin to unravel until by the end of the film you either solve it or have even less of a clue of what’s going on than you had before you watched the film. But that’s just the risk you’ll have to take, as I am going to be as vague as possible in this review and only comment on aspects that I don’t really consider to be a spoiler.
Let’s talk about the cinematography. Darren Aronofsky is a great filmmaker who always strives to make controversial but gorgeous looking films. Even with his weakest movie ‘Noah’, with all it flaws you cannot deny that that movie looked gorgeous. With ‘mother!’ there is no grand spectacle of the style of ‘Noah’, as the whole film feels very confined as it is all set in this one house, however Aronofsky still manages to experiment with the camera here, as for mostly the whole movie the camera spends either facing Jennifer Lawrence’s character or showing us everything from her perspective. Which means if you are not a fan of Lawrence, this might be an issue for you as you spend the entirety of the movie with her. And in all fairness to her, she stays strongly in character all the time and does a great job at portraying how we the audience felt. As in she didn’t know what the hell was happening around her, and neither did we in the audience. So in some ways you could say that we the audience are a part of the film, and that we are one with Jennifer Lawrence’s character. We are experiencing this just as much as she is.
The performances are all great. As I already said, Jennifer Lawrence is on camera pretty much all the time, and she does a solid job leading this film. Javier Bardem was great as her husband who has come to a creative writer’s block of sorts, and is desperately in need of inspiration to create his next masterpiece. He definitely delivered on the level of passion, as you could really see how much he cared for his work, at times even more than for his wife. Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer play the mysterious guests (both giving strong calibre performances also) that show up at Lawrence’s and Bardem’s house and begin to be a little intrusive, then more people start showing up and then eventually Darren Aronofsky goes full on crazy. And by crazy I mean that the third act of this film is simply bonkers. That is kind of the main issue with this film. The first two thirds of this film are paced really nicely, with us slowly gathering the pieces together whilst still being creeped out by the general vibe of the situation and the way some characters act. But then the third act comes in, and then for one it just feels like we are watching a completely different film then, and secondly so much crazy things happen that you feel like the studio went and told Aronofsky “you cannot add more than 30 minutes to your film, however for those added 30 minutes you get an unlimited budget and our support”. Which Aronofsky embraces to the full and just goes completely nuts showing us non stop shocking imagery in those final 30 minutes that honestly I have to say was too much. I get what he was trying to go for, but the first two thirds of the film did such a great job at building up that metaphor anyway that the final act didn’t need to go that mental. Something big should have happened, yes, but not to this extent. It took me out of the film completely and made me feel rather unpleasant. Which is what Aronofsky probably wanted, but I don’t think that’s the way he should have gone about it.
Again, I’m not going to spoil much, but ‘mother!’’s plot is a metaphor for a certain thing, with each character being a representation of a certain something. Mostly I admired the metaphor, but at times I feel like Aronofsky let his ego get the better of him. Also, this being a metaphor and all I get why some characters did certain things, but in context of this story it did feel a bit weird. Like for example Javier Bardem’s character tends to be very forgiving in this film, and there’s a reason for it, but some of the things he forgave and so many things that he could have avoided so easily make him look a little dumb. Which sort of gives you an idea on what stance Darren Aronofsky has on this matter, but I think that that could have been worked on better for the context of the story. I know that I’m not making much sense, but if you watch the film and then re-read this paragraph again you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
‘mother!’ is a special kind of film. It’s not one I’d want to watch again, but I think it has some powerful stuff going for it, and the first two acts are spectacular, however the film is severely ruined by its third final act. But for the direction, the performances, the cinematography and if you just feel like you want to be weirded the hell out, this movie is definitely worth seeing. Also, look out for a few small cameos!
Ed and Lorraine own my entire life & there’s nothing more I’d rather do than continue watching films of my favorite demon hunting duo.
declarations of love in the pouring rain while demonic forces played the hand of fate is my new aesthetic apparently.
“I married him” I cried for 10 years
I’m no expert in the renowned field of demonology but… shouldn’t either Ed or Lorraine keep their Bibles close to them, maybe in a hip satchel whenever they go investigate demon related cases? Lorraine spends every Conjuring film looking for her Bible at the peak of the plot.
“I NEED MY BIBLE” - Lorraine Warren aka the most iconic line of this film.
“I prefer Ed” - Ed Warren 110% done with this particular demonic presence who mocked him.
demon: “BILL, BILL, BILL, BILL!”
me: “BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY! BILL BILL BILL BILL!“
The dog made it out alive *thanks God wholeheartedly and James Wan*
The entire “religious symbolism and rhetoric in direct rivalry with demonic presences” aesthetic this film was giving off warmed my cold dead God fearing renounced Catholic heart.
the demon dressed as a nun & named “Valak”
religious church choir music every time the demon decided to make an appearance
crosses, cross necklaces, rosaries, crosses turned upside down announcing the presence of evil (good times)
All films should end with their leads dancing tenderly to Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” I sobbed the entire time.
Also, having Patrick Wilson do a rendition of this song was everything I never knew I needed.
Every time James Wan did a tight, close-up shot of Vera Farmiga’s face I gained 10 years of life.
The music score to this film, or should I say the theme to the opening sequence, eerily reminded me that of the one from the opening sequence of “The Shinning” which upped the creepy factor.
Here’s to stopping Ed Warren from drawing demons that later on come to life 2K16.
Vera Ann Farmiga: 10/10 would recommend, follow, subscribe, accept, like
Patrick Wilson: those side burns deserve their own opening sequence and cinematographic shot.
All in all, as someone who does not search out for horror films and avoids that genre in general, I would be more than happy to see another “Conjuring” film.
Also, the camera work on this film was brilliant but it left me exhausted.
All in all, did not get possessed which was great. *sprays self with holy water*
The album is technically 12 tracks, but is there a soul alive that will listen to it that way? It’s unlikely that most listeners will even realize that the 16 track version available online is comprised partially of bonus tracks — the blessing and the curse of the digital music era.
“Sex With Me” by Rihanna and “New Romantics” by Taylor Swift are bonus tracks on the singers’ respective albums despite being better than plenty of music that made the cut, and it doesn’t matter much. Swift even gave “New Romantics” a video — an honor not awarded to half of the album’s actual tracks.
Speaking of Swift, Sheeran’s learned from the best. His first brush with international fame came form his association with Tay and a duet on Red, which is a pretty good template for pop stars testing the waters of what they can be. Swift learned she could be a Pop Star beyond her country roots, and the blockbuster success of 1989 came together according to plan. Now she appears to be doing her own market research by zig zagging all over the music scene, ghostwriting for Rihanna, Calvin Harris, Little Big Town and possibly working with Drake without revealing her cards until a hit was a done deal.
Divide, taken as a whole, feels like a resume. Like Swift and Drake, Sheeran’s in a place right now where he’s too big to really fail. It’s everything Sheeran is and could possibly be. And for now, he can have his cake and eat it, too. So why not fill his pockets and jump off the plane knowing there’s a parachute?