Ed Sheeran might be just 21 years old, but this English singer/songwriter is the whole package when it comes to his music. Recording and releasing music for quite a few years now, his major label debut and first full length record simply entitled + (likely pronounced plus) contains a track list of songs in which he is the lead songwriter for each one.
The record starts out with his already established European hit The A Team, a song that is being used as his introduction in North America (which he also performed on the recent MuchMusic video awards). A proper introduction as it shows off his writing, singing and guitar abilities, The A Team is a song about the downward spiral of the life of a prostitute with a drug addiction and is delivered in the same style that continues for the rest of the record.
In addition to being a self-proclaimed ginger and singer/songwriter, Ed also incorporates a lot of hip-hop into his music as well, with the help of pop and hip-hop producers Jake Goslin and No I.D. His passion for writing rap verses rubs off in many of the songs on + as the style of writing is similar to the results of freestyle rapping. Songs like The A Team and Drunk show off the combination of rap-formed lyrics sung in an acoustic style song. Meanwhile, Grade 8 mixes them both together showing off his rapping abilities. The album’s highlight is You Need Me, I Don’t Need You which is Ed spewing rhymes in the style of some of Jason Mraz‘s early material. The song is reminiscent to Jason’s track Curbside Prophet in the delivery of three fast-paced verses announcing his arrival and summarizing his abilities as a writer and performer. As he describes himself ingeniously, “They say I’m up and coming like I’m fucking in an elevator.”
Such a style from Ed also means that the myth of British singers singing without a British accent doesn’t apply to him. Ed’s accent is a huge part of the charm as is his sentimental side, which shines through the lyrics. However, sometimes it is laid on thick and he can come off a bit too cheesy, like on Wake Me Up where he describes even the most simple of incidents such as the awkward lines about watching Shrek twelve times on DVD rather than on a VCR though not on Blueray because he’s never owned one.
Ed isn’t as versatile a vocalist as Jason Mraz but when it comes to rapping in his songs, he does that better. He’s honest with his vocals and how he comes off as a writer, bringing with his recordings a complete and satisfying album of songs that sound true to his heart and open up to what could be one of England’s best newcomers. Be sure to check out the video for the song Lego House posted below, it stars Rupert Grint.
1. The A Team
4. Grade 8
5. Wake Me Up
6. Small Bump
8. The City
9. Lego House
10. You Need Me, I Don’t Need You
11. Kiss Me
12. Give Me Love