‘X’ Music Review
He doesn’t have deep dimples or hot abs, but that hasn’t stopped Ed Sheeran from becoming one of today’s most squeezable teen idols.
The new album by the 23-year-old British singer-songwriter crystallizes a character, and elaborates on a sound, that has given him the clout to pack three shows at Madison Square Garden last fall with the screamy set. He has also racked up one of the summer’s biggest singles with “Sing.”
The new music differs crucially from the sound of Sheeran’s breakthrough debut, the 800,000-selling “+.” While that work stressed pop-spiced ballads, “x” laces in traces of soul.
It’s an unlikely switch, and an unconvincing one. But it shows Sheeran’s willingness to bend to whatever his audience craves as well as whichever way the trends blow. Those same traits allowed him to write music for One Direction and to serve as an affable opening act for Taylor Swift’s last tour.
Still, it’s the persona Sheeran has crafted that offers the album’s strongest commercial lure. He exudes the character of the loyal friend, the unglamorous guy you overlook, until you realize he’s the one who really loves you. In song after song on the new disc, Sheeran pines adorably, pledging a love that doesn’t care if you wear any makeup or if you gain weight. It’s a love meant to last well into old age.
For the new album,Sheeran tore a page from Swift’s playbook, imbedding his lyrics with clues to real-life loves. Gossip has it that “Don’t” addresses an ex-girlfriend (some say Ellie Goulding), who allegedly cheated on him with another musician on tour. Many lyrics refer to Sheeran’s life of longing on the road. In “Nina,” he tells a cherished lover she has to let him go because he’ll never be home, in the process deepening his reputation as the ultimate good guy.
Source: NY Daily News
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