It seems that some artists these days are appearing out of nowhere and rising to the top quicker than you can say “two singles in the top 10 and a number one album”. Ed Sheeran is definitely an example of a quick rise to fame, a few months ago his name was whispered around industry types but yet was unknown to the masses. Fast-forward (a bit) and his debut album ‘+’ has gone straight to number one, knocking his old pal Example off the top spot. Not bad for a guy who has lived on people’s sofas for the past year or so.
‘+’ Opens with his hit single ‘A Team’ which I am sure you are all familiar with by now, as it has been played on nearly every radio station across the country. This is then followed by ’Drunk’ and the re worked version of ‘U.N.I’ which some earlier Ed Sheeran fans may recognise as it appeared on the ‘One Take’ EP, this is the first track to give us more of a taste of his grime/hip hop influences that are included in the album.
The next four tracks, ‘Grade 8’, ‘Wake Me Up’, ‘Small Bump’ and ‘This’ are the more ‘soulful’ songs, with instruments stripped back to basics, either being acoustic guitar or piano and the lyrics are all evocative, these are most likely the tracks that listeners could ‘relate’ to in some way or another, and it shows Ed’s voice at his best.
‘The City’, ‘Lego House’ and second single ‘You Need Me’ see the addition of extra instruments, more drums are added and the acoustic is swapped for an electric, particularly in ‘The City’. These songs also provide the evidence of the skill Ed has with his voice, and that he clearly knows how to work it to get the sound of the album perfect.
As you reach the end of the album, everything slows down again, treated with what could almost be described as a ballad in the form of ‘Kiss Me’, an intense song that couples everywhere will adorn as ‘their song’. The album is then finalised by ‘Give Me Love’, which for the first three and a half minutes gives the impression of just another slow, acoustic track that is very similar the some of the others. But this song has got a trick up its sleeve that turns an otherwise boring song, into possibly one of the best tracks on the whole album. Come 3:30, extra vocals, not belonging to Ed, are introduced followed quickly by African drums. All of a sudden it feels like you’ve been transported to The Lion King and you should be watching animals stampede around you!
The song continues with Ed pushing his voice harder than any other song, which quite frankly gives me goose bumps every time I hear it. It’s an utterly brilliant way to finish off the album, kudos to Ed for that one.
Overall, it’s an excellent debut, though it could possibly have been improved with more hip hop/grime features to give the album more of a variety, each of the tracks are excellent in their own way and it’s an album that a lot of listeners will be able to relate too and there’s nothing bad about that!
Let’s see where this fiery haired fellow travels next on his adventure to the top…(Probably the biggest venues this country holds).
This review can also be found on the Propaganda blog website at www.thepropagandamag.com