Ed Sheeran Kicks It Up a Notch with x

“SING!” Before June 20, this command made the population panic to decide which hit song to start screaming. But after the release of x, Ed Sheeran’s newest album, there is only one response: “Woah-oh-oh-oh!”

Sing” is Sheeran’s first single off of x (pronounced “multiply”), and it sets a fun yet funky vibe for the rest of the album. x retains the standout aspects of +, Sheeran’s debut full-length album, such as raw lyrics and rhythmic acoustic guitar. But with the help of producer Rick Rubin, and Pharrell Williams on songs like “Sing,” Sheeran has found a pop-funk groove that pairs his already soulful vocals with a more danceable instrumentation.

One,” the first track on the record, keeps with the acoustic feel of Sheeran’s previous album. The song builds through Sheeran’s vocals as his low, soothing melodies in the verses raise to falsetto in the choruses, culminating in the line “You are the only one” at the end of each chorus. The next song, “I’m A Mess,” begins acoustically as well with Sheeran belting out powerful vocal riffs, closing the chorus with the unforgettable line “Put your faith in my stomach.” But once the drums kick in for the second verse, it’s clear that the x has begun.

The track transitions into Sheeran’s more urban-influenced songs that define the new album, like “Sing” and “Don’t.” “Don’t” opens with octave “Ah’s” and flows through lyric-packed verses into sultry choruses. The bass line loops through the entire song, and the piano and the synth cause the choruses to hit hard. The song still retains, however, Sheeran’s signature acoustic guitar when it moves into the choruses.

Every song on the album features acoustic guitar and unmistakable vocals, giving the record that unique Sheeran vibe. Rubin first advised Sheeran to record the entire album acoustically, and they afterwards added the other instruments to fill out each track. The result is an album that has an intimate acoustic feel with funk instrumentation.

For example, there are tracks like “Thinking Out Loud” that, with a slow beat and Sheeran’s passionate vocals, are reminiscent of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” And “Take It Back” is completely acoustic, featuring Sheeran’s rap flow during the verses and his belted riffs during the choruses. “Take It Back” exemplifies Sheeran’s raw approach to lyrics with the lines in the third verse, “Now I don’t ever wanna be perfect / cause I’m a singer that ya never wanna see shirtless / and I accept the fact that someone’s got to win worst dressed.”

x is unique in that it combines singer-songwriter pop with smooth funk, and it still manages to feature powerful lyrics. If you turned to + to start off the summer with calm, catchy melodies, it’s time you listened to x to get the hot weather started. The production will make you sway, and the vocals will make you sweat. So put your faith in Sheeran’s stomach, check out the album, and “SING!”


  1. Kyle Ong

    July 9, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Did any of you get to check him out at the Welcome America fireworks show in town? He was flippin’ amazing! Great article as well!

  2. Lauren S

    July 9, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    I really like the growth Sheeran makes on this record. Nice review!

  3. Amie

    July 10, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Nothing better than when an artist can put on a great live show as well, Ed did a fantastic time at the Welcome America show debuting a few songs from his new album.

  4. Amie

    July 10, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Nothing better than when an artist can put on a great live show as well, he killed it at the Welcome America show in Philly this past weekend where he debuted a few songs from his new album(which is awesome by the way!)

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