Written Before Listen
Ed Sheeran is one of the biggest artists in the world. His blend of pop, folk, and bar-band music is flatline to most but amazing to some. I never got why Ed Sheeran was so famous. He is surely a respectable musician and he’s passionate about his craft, but his music is awful. It’s a one in a million but if he comes with some perfectly crafted pop record, that would be a blessing.
Let’s start by talking about the production of this album. There is a lot of drum machine-based pop tunes alongside the folky ballads that Ed Sheeran usually brings. It’s your typical Ed Sheeran album. This album is just generic radio mixing with a mediocre songwriter.
God the songwriting is awful. Simple two chord progressions, platitudinous performances, basic hooks, recycled ideas, and the track “Sandman”. How do I even start? I know this is devoted to his daughter and everything but god, This is like a “Well be right back on Nick Jr” type beat. This song makes me want to check my assignments on ABCmouse.com just to check what 3+4 is. This song is literally for the people who think 9+10 is “ninety ten”. And what the hell is “Collide” supposed to be? What is this “yee-yee” ass beat with a forgettable melody? I guess so. I also should say that Ed Sheeran does not have an original style on this album whatsoever. The numerous impressions of The Weeknd on this album, the attempt of doing a Lorde track on “Leave Your Life”, the generic hip hop of “2step”, the Dua Lipa plagiarism of “Stop The Rain” and the Taylor Swift plagiarism of “Visiting Hours”. God damn. How is he this famous?
Well, Ed Sheeran is not a terrible vocalist at all. He can keep a tune, but his range is where my problems occur. He has his limits. He can’t go in the lower register and his higher register only goes so high and when it’s high, he can only use his head voice. He’s just a street performer vocalist.
One thing that I can give Ed Sheeran props for is his versatility. There are numerous styles and switches that he goes with that avoid the Dance-Pop and Folk on this thing. Right off the bat, we got the song “Tides” which is an Alternative Pop Rock song with a 90s flair to it. “The Joker And The Queen” is like a Pop Soul cut with a melancholic feel to it reminiscent of Adele. “Leave Your Life” is like one of those melancholic alt-pop cuts of the mid-2010s but with some synthpop thrown in. The weirdest outlier on this album is the song “2step” where Ed Sheeran does a full-on hip-hop track. Trap drums, 808s, and the whole kitten caboodle. Overall, despite my dislike for the majority of the songs, I will give it to him for his versatility.
Well…” The Joker And The Queen” is pretty innocent I guess. It’s a below-average soul song but it doesn’t have any hatable qualities to it. I can also say a similar thing about the retro-sounding closer. It’s not a bad track but it’s only because there’s nothing hatable about it but like expected, Ed Sheeran has created an album that sounds like an Ed Sheeran album.
Yeah, this was pretty bad. Just another album with a group of underwhelming songs that only work well on contemporary pop radio.