Since the release of his debut album ‘+’, Ed Sheeran has single-handedly changed the face of popular music. Instead of mindless lyrics about putting our hands up and getting on the floor, songs once again have meaning. People are now engaging with lyrics and there has been a surge in this kind of heartfelt music since Ed released ‘The A-Team’ in 2011. Who knows if Hozier or Sam Smith would be as readily accepted if it weren’t for Ed breaking down that barrier.
Following some stellar sold-out UK and Ireland arena shows and a coveted supporting spot on Taylor Swift’s tour, Ed has released his highly anticipated second album titled ‘x’ (multiply). Once again, Ed is doing what he does best and letting us in on some very personal experiences. The thing about Sheeran, which i believe is what sets him above all the rest, is his ability to tell stories. Each track on ‘x’ is a personal story full of detail and in a world where everyone wants to know everything it’s extremely clever.
‘Don’t’ is the one track that has everyone talking. It’s all about a relationship Ed had with someone else in the public eye. The lyric “Me and her get paid the same way” caught everyone’s attention as people tried to figure out who he was talking about. Most people believe it to be Ellie Goulding but nothing will ever be confirmed. ‘Don’t’ also shows off Sheeran’s innate ability to switch from one genre to another in a split second as he does on ‘Sing.’ The Pharrell produced track is Ed’s most successful single to date as he goes from a Justin Timberlake falsetto, into a slick quick rap all in the one breath.
Apart from those upbeat tracks, most of ‘x’ will in fact break your heart in the best possible way. Ed just has a way of reaching in and touching your heart with his lyrics as he explains the story of a teenage love gone wrong in ‘Nina’ and the loss of his Grandfather on ‘Afire Love.’ If you’ve ever lost a close friend or family member then ‘Afire Love’ will hit very close to home. It is so beautifully composed and expresses the emotions of grief in the most honest way that, although it made me cry, has become my favourite track from ‘x.’
Although some songs like ‘Photograph,’ ‘Bloodstream’ and ‘Tenerife Sea’ may blend into each other when played in a row there is no reason to discount them. Each song on ‘x’ has been carefully constructed from the funk fused ‘Runaway’ to the hard-hitting, hip-hop inspired ‘The Man’ and the thoughtful ‘Shirtsleeves.’ Ed knows exactly what he’s doing and is an artist to get excited about. Popular music is finally gaining substance once again. If one man can take over the pop world like this with just a guitar and a loop pedal then anything is possible!
Make sure to get your hands on a copy of Ed Sheeran’s ‘x,’ which is out now and let us know what you think.