Review - Ed Sheeran - X
X shows what several years becoming one of the biggest stars in music around the world can do to an artist’s sound. Where his debut + was just a guy with a guitar singing his heart out in a delicate fashion, his second album has a lot more going on musically, some of it being rather surprising.
Lead single “Sing” was produced by Pharrell and sounds like a Justin Timberlake cast off, but he takes it and makes it his own. I may not love it, but I respect him taking a risk and making a noticeable departure from his biggest hit up to this point “The A Team”. Hip hop is audible in many other tracks as well (“Take It Back” especially, which has a rap breakdown by Ed himself), which is truly the last thing you’d expect from a ginger British boy, right?
In my opinion, some of it works alright, but the rest doesn’t sit a swell. It’s fine enough, and certainly never offensive or obnoxious, but I’m not sure it’s what we were looking for from Sheeran. Thankfully, he doesn’t give up on what brought him to prominence, still strumming that guitar and talking about the girls he’s loved and those that have broken his heart.
The loveable falsetto voice is still there, cooing to you in that way that makes you love him in a way you wouldn’t think you would if you’d just met him at a bar. Ed Sheeran is that kind of guy; if he hit on you in a bar, you and your girlfriends might giggle and walk on, but there’s something there. An odd sensuality is lurking there, and it comes out a lot more on X.
The CD also feels like a respectable sophomore slump. “Sing” may be his biggest hit in both the UK and the US, but the album doesn’t have the same umph that + did. This time around, more of the tracks feel skippable, and there may not be as many singles as before--six in total. Is it worth listening to? Absolutely. You’ll want to hear his debut again afterwards.
Listen to: “One”, “I See Fire”, “Don’t”