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The Talisman

The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

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Computer science should be accessible for all and integrated with both the humanities and social sciences.
Opinion: Computer science education needs a major update
Grace Metz, Editor-In-Chief • May 19, 2024
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The Senior Music Award Ceremony took place on May 7, 2024.
Music department honors graduating seniors
Ava Vogel, Staff Writer • May 18, 2024
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Coach Vincenzo talks with player Landon Vanderwarker during a game.
How Coach Vincenzo’s character shaped not only the Hayes Basketball program, but the community and players alike
Josie Morrow, Views/Entertainment Section Editor • May 17, 2024
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Engineers work on the Voyager 2 probe. The Voyager probes have now been in space for nearly 50 years.
Opinion: What the Voyagers odysseys mean
Brody Counts, Staff Writer • May 17, 2024
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Next years Hayes Talisman editorial board (Left-Right): Natalie Heckert, Abby Stahl, Izzy Kelly, Dre Nelson, Mia Saksa and Ava Vogel.
Meet our new 2024-2025 editorial board
Grace Metz, Editor-In-Chief • May 15, 2024
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Ed Sheeran’s new album ‘Autumn Variations’ explores sentiment with emotional rollercoaster

Photo credit: Gingerbread Man Records
Ed Sheeran’s album “Autumn Variations” was released September 29 through Gingerbread Man Records.

Following Ed Sheeran’s first album of 2023, “Subtract,” is “Autumn Variations,” which was released on September 29, 2023. The album captures the emotions of hopelessness, desperation and comfort in 12 simple tracks.
The album starts off with “Magical” which describes the feeling of falling in love for the first time. Backed by smooth guitar chords, it has lines like “Silence is filled, as time stands still” which expresses the hopeful feeling that one has when falling in love; everything stands still when they’re with that person.
Throughout the song, Sheeran walks listeners through the first buzz of love with a calm backing track and hopeful word choice. Although this song is very sweet and optimistic, the rest of the album isn’t as positive.
The second song, “Amazing,” has a very misleading title. It takes audience members on a journey alongside the singer, who is trying to “feel amazing” again. Early on, Sheeran sings, “I drown in my sadness, embarrassed by the shame of it.”
The track represents the feeling of depression with the line “I know I’m on the edge, and one push of the wind will send me flying into the unknown,” representing the numbness those with depression feel.
Then come the first storytelling tracks. “England” displays his feelings of sentiment towards his home country, showing openness and calm with the line “But on the coast this south to the east follow ground I find serenity I never found.”
“American Town” is more upbeat with strong guitar chords and a drumset background. It portrays the bustle of a city with a new partner in a new place. The second half of the chorus, “Dungarees over the hoodie, we’re out, feet are three feet off the ground, lost in love we don’t wanna be found, it’s just you and me” captures the rush of love and the celerity of the life around them.
With the line, “We get Chinese food in small white boxes, live the life we saw in Friends, your room, it barely fits the mattress, wake up, leave for work again,” Sheeran illustrates the quickness at which their life is moving. He counters that with “I wish time would freeze” in the first half of the chorus.
While listening to both songs, the audience can feel that they both tell a different story, but how important each one was to him.
Next are “Blue” and “Page” that recount the feelings of loneliness and mourning after losing someone close. Sheeran opens “Blue” with, “Oh it took a while to read the signs but she used to be a friend of mine,” a line that perfectly displays how quickly a loss can come on and leave the person grieving. It’s not a good song to listen to in a crying mood, especially because the track includes a slow, mournful viola, but it is still beautiful.
Right before the chorus he sings, “I can’t help but holding on,” depicting someone who is struggling to let go. The song is deeply rooted in the pain of loss, and how hard it is to move on from them.
“Page” begins with “Why did you take me down as if I needed your help?” That line on its own might be confusing, but later on he sings, “Better luck next year, there’s nothing left here” and “Maybe I’m destined to be always lonely, alone, a loser, pathetic” referencing the pain of his loss. He ends the song with the line “But I’m stuck on the page,” bringing his listeners in with a quiet ending.
One of the last songs on the album and very similar to “Blue” and “Page” is “When will I be alright.” After the first listen, listeners notice that at the end of every stanza he says “When will I be alright” after listing things that are going wrong in his life.
The song is very clearly about depression, and that theme is most prominent when the line “Listen to my heart beating, why is there this empty feeling? Losing hope and all reason, when will I be alright?” is sung. For anyone who has experienced the hopelessness that comes with depression, whether mild or severe, this line easily captures the feeling of emptiness.
It ends with “I tried my best to stop her leaving, I wonder about the arms she’s in, this is it, the end is nearing, when will I be alright?” Despite the person the song is about, it still encapsulates the loss and pain that the singer experienced.
Similar to the feel of “American Town” comes “Midnight” and no, it’s not a rip-off of Taylor Swift. This song explains how Sheeran feels in his busy lifestyle, yet his partner is “[his] calm.”
He goes on to sing, “But in this darkness you’re my sun, I will find my feet again, ‘cause even the worst days of my life will always end,” emphasizing how important his partner is to him, saying that his hardest days will “always end.” He tops the chorus off with “at midnight in your arms.” For him, this line really brings home the anchor his lover is, even when surrounded by chaos.
Near the end of the album is the tune “Spring,” which is the season most commonly associated with positive change. However, the song isn’t quite as happy as the season, especially when Sheeran sings “I’m holding out for spring, we can’t let winter win.” Winter is the season commonly associated with depression, whereas spring is linked to joy, love and regrowth which is exactly what the singer here is trying to do.
When Sheeran says “holding out for spring” he is waiting for his opportunity to change rather than being in the midst of it, like the title might lead listeners to believe. This song is hopeful rather than mournful unlike so many of the other songs in the album, especially when he ends this song with the line “That’s why I’m holding out for spring, oh, what a state we’re in.”
All in all, the album is a much better listen than expected. Compared to past songs like “Galway Girl” or “Nancy Mulligan” which have a folk and fiddle feel, this album is more tethered to the raw human emotion people so often avoid mentioning.
Listening to the album would not be a waste of time, as it perfectly captures the rush of falling in love, the despondency of depression and the hope that spring will come again.

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About the Contributor
Emily Little
Emily Little, Staff Writer
Emily Little (she/her) is a junior at Hayes this year, and this is her first year on staff. She is in Hayes Players and plays the violin. Outside of school, she enjoys being with her family, reading and writing creatively, and watching movies.
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    NatalieDec 5, 2023 at 10:44 am

    I enjoyed reading somebody else’s opinion on such an emotional and well-written album. Sheeran did a great job with the mix of songs about falling in love, dealing with loss, and working through personal issues. This must have been a very difficult album for Sheeran to write, process, and then leave it out there for the world’s judgment. My personal favorites from the album are Amazing, American Town, and Head > Heels.