Artist – Ed Sheeran
Album – X (Multiply) (2014)
Check it out – https://open.spotify.com/album/1xn54DMo2qIqBuMqHtUsFd
Ed Sheeran has grown in popularity substantially over the past few years. From participating in 100s of gigs a year, to releasing E.Ps and collaborations, Ed Sheeran earned a fan base worthy of many major artists, before he’d even been signed. Ed then went on to release his first LP ‘+’, Showing his worthiness amongst the pop elite of the time. A few years later Ed brings out his hotly anticipated second LP ‘x’. Will it live up to his debut? … we’ll see.
The most pleasing thing to initially hear from this album is that Ed hasn’t diverged too far from what makes him special. Many artists tend to commercialise and simplify their music once the debut has been released, to gain more of a following. Ed and Rick Rubin (Producer) obviously recognise what ed’s audience are drawn to, therefore have catered to it, bringing the soft acoustic ballads, percussion driven tracks and occasional rapping that made ‘+’ such a hit. Although a lot of the album seems similar there are instances of progression and experimenting in this LP which display Ed’s progression as an artist. Vocals seem to have been taken to the next level harmony wise and Ed is spending a lot more time in his higher register than ‘+’ or previous EPs. Tracks such as ‘The Man’ show ed take on different musical styles, this one in particular reminiscent of ‘Original Pirate Material’ The Streets vocal style, whilst the track ‘Sing’ displays Ed’s pop side (with Pharrell Williams help).
This album is without a doubt a great follow up to Ed’s debut album … but i feel it doesn’t surpass it. ‘+’ had its hits after hits with ‘Lego House’, ‘A-team’, ‘Give Me Love’ etc, ‘x’ just doesn’t seem to have these, even with the ever popular ‘Sing’. This possibly stems from the oh so original ‘2nd album problem’, in which bands have spent years gigging and perfecting a select few songs, to then chuck them all into the first album and then to have to quickly come up with new tracks for the second. This feels very present in the new Ed Sheeran album.
To conclude, this album is certainly worth a listen (even multiple listens … get it!), and has brought new and interesting ideas to Ed’s pallet. I personally just feel ‘+’ is a more catchy, hit friendly album.