Ed Sheeran dropped new music Friday — here are some songs he wrote during his time off

By Alex Heigl
January 06, 2017 02:29 PM

Ed Sheeran sent his fanbase into paroxysms of polite, Sheeran-appropriate joy Friday when he released two singles off his forthcoming album, ÷.

Sheeran dropped the songs after about a year off, during which he spent a month in Japan. But it’s not like he’s been doing nothing since the release of his last album, 2014’s x: He actually contributed to some of the last two years’ biggest pop hits. Let’s take a look below.

Cold Water” by Major Lazer (featuring Justin Bieber and MØ)

A collaboration with Major Lazer and surprise Sheeran-bro Justin Bieber — more on that in a sec — “Cold Water” is actually credited to a small army of songwriters, including Benny Blanco, but it proves the range of Sheeran’s songwriting talent.

Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber

Yes, despite the pair being polar opposites in virtually every other way, Sheeran cowrote this kiss-off tune with the Biebs, which went on to conquer the world after “Sorry.” It’s the slightly meaner-spirited of the two songs, considering it includes the line, “My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone.”

Tattoo” by Hilary Duff

A breakup song about tattoos? We’re hitting levels of Sheeran previously thought unreachable!

Dark Times” by the Weeknd

Another “writing hits makes strange bedfellows” case — it’s hard to imagine nice-guy-for-life Sheeran cozying up to the Weeknd’s sex-and-drugs-and-the-night aesthetic, but apparently the pair banged this number out after a post-show awards party that went till 5 a.m.

I Was Made for Loving You” by Tori Kelly

Kelly is just one of many people who praised Sheeran’s easy-going charms. “He’s like the realest person ever,” she told MTV. “Watching him be natural with everyone around him really inspired me, because I think a lot of times you get in front of a lot of people and you feel like you have to be this person, like this star, and just the fact that he can keep it real and you feel like you can just hang out with him, that’s something that I took.”