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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

'X' - a Fan's Perspective.

The first time I heard Ed Sheeran's music was on a bus back from Kensington High Street. My friend reached for her phone and started playing a 'YouTube' version of the future hit, 'You Need Me, I Don't Need You'. It was rush hour so I couldn't hear it very well but I remember thinking that he had a unique and interesting sound. Out of intrigue, I looked him up when I got home. He was clearly talented and his lyrics were witty. His music was like a mix of pop, rock, and rap which made me wonder whether he'd ever enjoy commercial success. It seems like artists have to conform to a certain standard of appearance and their music has to be fun and radio accessible in order for them to achieve any kind of success. I assumed that Sheeran's music wouldn't appeal to the masses. But I couldn't have been more wrong. You couldn't escape his debut album, '+', when it was released in 2011. What I love about Sheeran's music is that it's easy listening and have wonderful melodies yet he tackles challenging issues. 'The A Team', for instance, is a beautiful song in itself but the fact that it humanises a woman struggling with drug addiction makes it that much more poignant.

Sheeran playing at my local pub before making it big.

As expected, 'X' has its fair share of moving love songs - something Sheeran does extremely well - but what I enjoyed most about this album is its sense of adventure. I feel like Sheeran has the confidence from his prior success to experiment with his sound and explore other options. What I did notice about 'X' is that it's even more personal and revealing than Sheeran's last album. If he was a trashy reality TV star, then 'X' would be Sheeran's magazine exposé.
And yet, he's quite a hard character to suss out. At first, he's the guy that duets with Taylor Swift and writes incredible modern-day love songs ('U.N.I.', 'Kiss Me', 'Give Me Love', 'One', - just to name a few) and yet he also gives insight into his one-night stands ('Sing') and comes across as pretty arrogant in 'You Need Me, I Don't Need You'. In this sense, he appeals to a greater audience - Sheeran has captured what it means to be a young successful guy in your twenties and put it into song.
The real gems of Sheeran's new album, however, are 'Nina', 'Take It Back' and 'Thinking Out Loud'. These tracks stood out to me for their rawness and personal edge. They don't fall into the typical categories of either happy and uplighting or depressing and sad. They're catchy in their own right and are more interesting than your average pop song. 'Take It Back' depicts Sheeran's difficulty in finding success whereas 'Nina' charts a complicated teenage relationship. I personally love 'Thinking Out Loud' for its sweet and vulnerable description of a young romance.
I've really enjoyed Sheeran's new music and if its first single is anything to go by, 'X' will definitely be the sound of Summer 2014. However, my favourite Sheeran song will always be his cover of the Pink Floyd classic, 'Wish You Were Here', which he performed at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. It was one of the highlights for me. I love how he gave a well-loved rock song a new lease of life by toning it down in this acoustic performance. In this sense, Ed Sheeran is an artist to watch. He isn't afraid to try his hand at new sounds and so far he hasn't failed.



  1. You explained that so well, and I totally agree. When I first heard a dog of his, I didn't imagine him to one day be as big as he is now!

  2. Awww thank you! I'm so happy he is though, he's come such a long way since his YouTube days xx


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