The young, shaggy-looking busker from Suffolk turned multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter, Ed Sheeran, once again emerges from the dusk, shimmering in golden lights. It’s been 3 years since Sheeran dropped his debut album ‘+’ (Plus), spurring international hits such as ‘The A Team’, ‘Give Me Love’, ‘Lego House’, and taking the world by storm. The 23-year-old acoustic/folk/pop sensation is loved and praised by many a million, all of whom have been waiting to get their hands on his highly anticipated sophomore album ‘X’ (Multiply).
Indeed, following the launch of his mixed bag of musical material on his soon-to-be blockbuster of an album, released yesterday (June 23, 2014), Sheeran will be multiplying his fan base. The ‘X’ (Deluxe Edition) is already at #1 in the UK iTunes Charts, with ‘X’ falling just behind at #2. With groovy upbeat tracks, mid-tempo tunes, classic Ed Sheeran-esque acoustic ballads, and raw, intimate and emotional lyrics, brought to life by charming and stunning vocals, the lovely English boy is set out to not only serenade us all, but to take us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Whilst still staying true to himself, Sheeran pushes the boundaries tied to his name, broadens his horizons and adds a new direction to his sound.
‘One’ (Play this video in Creation 5)
The album’s opening track is a chill-giving, heart-wrenching lamentation of having found ‘the one’, losing her, and yet still hoping that one day she’ll find her way back to you.
“Tell me that you turned down the man/ Who asked for your hand/ Cause you’re waiting for me/… Would you take away my hopes and dreams and just stay with me?”
With music and video production stripped down to a bare minimum, stunning raw vocals, and emotionally piercing lyrics, Ed Sheeran sure knows how to capture his audience.
‘One’ is at #20 in the UK iTunes Charts.
‘I’m A Mess’ (Play this video in Creation 5)
Sheeran is not the type of artist to release anything that sounds remotely close to a glossy, auto-tuned pop song. The secret of his success lies in his simplicity, authenticity and intimacy. He aptly manages to make each and everyone in his audience feel as if he were singing to them and them alone.
‘Sing’ (Play this video in Creation 5)
Ed Sheeran’s single ‘Sing’, co-written and produced by Pharrell Williams, has secured #1 on the UK Top 40 Singles Charts. Many critics have dissed the song and have compared it to Justin Timberlake’s “Like I Love You” (also produced by Pharrell). Indeed, Sheeran justifies this by saying “It was pretty close to a direct inspiration” and admits to having been influenced by ‘Justified’ and ‘FutureSex/LoveSoul’. No wonder the song is a hit. It’s upbeat, it’s groovy, it’s rhythmic, and it’s so much fun! Yes, it has Pharrell written all over it and yes, it has a JT-esque vibe to it. What’s wrong with that?
‘Don’t’ (Play this video in Creation 5)
Sheeran isn’t afraid to speak the truth or to give the world a front seat look into his personal life as he reveals explicit details about a relationship gone sour due to touring and distrust. In his piano-heavy, jazz-like song, Sheeran raps the lyrics to an anguishing tale of betrayal: “I never saw him as a threat/ Until you disappeared with him to have sex, of course”. Perhaps he found inspiration from his touring partner, Taylor Swift, and learnt to wear his heart on his sleeve and to take his anger out in song. ‘Don’t’ is at #8 on the UK iTunes Charts.
‘Photograph’ (Play this video in Creation 5)
Here’s a pop ballad that carries a beautifully uplifting image of what love can be. Sheeran’s stunning falsetto voice conveys a heartfelt love song, filled with layer upon layer of warm whispers and harmonies. ‘Photograph’ is at #5 on the UK iTunes Charts.
‘Bloodstream’ (Play this video in Creation 5)
Sheeran sings about drowning his sorrows with wine and waiting for the chemicals to react. In a dark-themed and guitar-heavy melancholic track, Sheeran sings: “I’ve been looking for love/ Thought I’d find her in a bottle/ God, make me another one/ I’ll be feeling this tomorrow/ Lord, forgive me for the things I’ve done/ I was never meant to hurt no one… Broken heart, tell me when it kicks in”. ‘Bloodstream’ is at #16 in the UK iTunes Charts.
‘The Man’ (Play this video in Creation 5)
Fearless lyrics and a fantastic chorus! ‘The Man’ goes to show just how versatile Sheeran can be. It’s intimate, soulful and dynamic. What’s more, Sheeran’s rap skills are off the hook! ‘The Man’ is at #11 on the UK iTunes Charts.
‘Thinking Out Loud’ (Play this video in Creation 5)
This classic Sheeran ballad is a lovely little love song. It’s sweet and smooth and highlights how good of a songwriter Sheeran is. ‘TOL’ is at #6 on the UK iTunes Charts.
‘Afire Love’ (Play this video in Creation 5)
Sheeran showcases his vulnerable side with a soft, gentle, extremely personal and emotionally heartbreaking, candid account of his grandfathers’ death. The piano-heavy track has reached #14 in the UK iTunes Charts. Sheeran’s divine harmonies take the song to a whole other dimension. Two words: Pure. Stunning.
‘I See Fire’ (Deluxe Edition) (Play this video in Creation 5)
Sheeran takes a celtic approach in ‘I See Fire’, written and recorded for the film ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’. Sheeran brilliantly builds the song to a crescendo, with spot on acapella vocals that travel to great heights, with incredible harmonies.
Ed has created a marketable and easily digestible album, with great taste. Sheeran showcases his maturity by using his charm and softness to his advantage and by bringing real honesty and originality to the forefront. There’s no doubt that he’s already proven himself as an incredibly talented young musician, teeming with outstanding potential. Worshipped by many, and rightly so, the boy never fails to deliver. Hidden in ‘X’ are a bunch of gems.
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