While merely a side project for Ed Sheeran, No.6 Collaboration Project boasts a guest list big enough to make DJ Khaled jealous. The collaboration album is essentially 2019 in a nutshell with a who’s who of popular music in pop, hip-hop and R&B. It isn’t a stretch to say this record was made for radio and Spotify playlists and the release schedule of the singles leading up to the album wouldn’t dispute that. Prior to the album’s release, six songs were given the full single treatment with radio putting support behind four of them simultaneously. Ed basically responded to Ariana Grande’s back-to-back-to-back singles early this year: “hold my beer.”
As expected, the results are mixed – though sometimes surprisingly so. I Don’t Care, the lead single with Justin Bieber, is the best Maroon 5 song they didn’t record this decade, but plays fairly bland in comparison to its followup, Cross Me, with Chance the Rapper and PnB Rock, whose hook makes the song. The most unexpected moment comes at the end in the form of the rocker BLOW with Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars – a song that self-professed blowhard rock fans actually dig. The highlight on the opposite end of the spectrum is the hip-hop single Antisocial with Travis Scott who steals the track with his verse in a song that ends prematurely after the second chorus.
The highly anticipated tracks were most likely to end in disappointment. The Cardi B collaboration with Camila Cabello, South Of The Border, is catchy enough but will be passe before summer’s over. Remember The Name with Eminem and 50 Cent marks familiar territory for both, therefore is underwhelming because it’s too familiar. On the flipside, Take Me Back To London with Stormzy plays as the most authentically Ed song on the record, while Best Part Of Me with YEBBA works as a better duet than last year’s Perfect Duet with Beyonce – though it’s still much too similar to Ed’s dozen+ other love songs to want to hear on regular rotation for the next year.
No.6 Collaboration Project is the best possible representation of 2019 in music and just like the charts right now, half is filler and half is good enough to enjoy in the present moment. Very little on here will stand the test of time and by this time next year, anyone looking for an Ed fix will be going back to + or X – but for now, it works because it’s current and that’s good enough to enjoy it!
Check out: Antisocial, Cross Me, Blow, Take Me Back To London
1. Beautiful People [featuring Khalid]
2. South Of The Border [featuring Camila Cabello & Cardi B]
3. Cross Me [featuring Chance the Rapper & PnB Rock]
4. Take Me Back To London [featuring Stormzy]
5. Best Part Of Me [featuring YEBBA]
6. I Don’t Care [with Justin Bieber]
7. Antisocial [featuring Travis Scott]
8. Remember The Name [featuring Eminem & 50 Cent]
9. Feels [featuring Young Thug & J Hus]
10. Put It All On Me [featuring Ella Mai]
11. Nothing On You [featuring Paulo Londra & Dave]
12. I Don’t Want Your Money [featuring H.E.R.]
13. 1000 Nights [featuring Meek Mill & A Boogie wit da Hoodie]
14. Way To Break My Heart [featuring Skrillex]
15. BLOW [with Bruno Mars & Chris Stapleton]