Ed Sheeran
x


2.0
poor

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (186 Reviews)
July 1st, 2014 | 54 replies


Release Date: 06/23/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Too much can still mean too little.

Internet critic and comedian Todd in the Shadows has coined and frequently brought up a genre he likes to call the "White Guy with an Acoustic Guitar" genre. Basically, the phrase refers to (as the name would imply) usually white solo guitarists and singers who either play overly simplistic indie folk or boring reggae chords with no depth or meaning whatsoever. Obviously this isn't a stab against every white male with an acoustic guitar (considering how much great folk and blues there is, among other genres), but rather the modern pop trope that concerns the aforementioned qualities. And the one who appears to be leading the charge currently is the British Ron Weasley doppelganger Ed Sheeran, who broke out into the mainstream in a big way with his 2011 single "The A Team." While he does indeed land in Todd in the Shadows' phrase, he definitely displayed much more depth and vocal prowess than many of his peers on +. His mixture of folk, soul, and R&B on the debut won him a lot of supporters and garnered the acclaim of critics and fans alike, but how would such a mellow and soulful debut be followed up? Well, with X, we've unfortunately got a case of an artist who's trying to do too much and ends up failing in a multitude of areas as a result.

As many of you might have already noticed from promotions and the album's lead single "Sing," the emphasis of Ed Sheeran's style has shifted quite a bit since we last heard him. Instead of a sincere folk album, we get a weird and frankly unappealing mish mash of sterile-sounding indie folk, frequent hip-hop elements, alternative rock, and other stuff Sheeran just kinda threw in there. The hip-hop in particular sounds really forced, and Ed now utilizes more of his higher falsetto-based vocal range a la Pharrell Williams (who does indeed help in the songwriting process of "Sing" so maybe he threw some influence his way). Despite calmer folkier numbers like serene opener "One" or the nicely harmonized vocals of "Tenerife Sea" rearing their heads, it feels as though the overconfidence of the faster tracks ends up negating the meaning and intimacy of these bright spots. But things become even more blurred, as even the faster tracks sound too safe and - as said before - sterile. The songs are confident, but safe enough for the pop crowd to easily digest. Sheeran found a formula that works for the general public, but why bother when it sounds like a passionless craft? Even the folk tunes get extremely old once you realize how similar each chord pattern and vocal melody is; "Photograph" might have some nice sentimental value with its light drum work and varied array of background instrumentation to give it atmosphere, until the song builds and turns into a boring pop arrangement with the all-too-familiar I-V-vi-IV four-chord set-up (used in "Let it Be," "Don't Stop Believin'," "Let it Go," etc.). And songs like "Don't" and "Runaway" are just insulting in the way they recycle such similar damn "minimalist" hip-hop beats and "bluesy" vocal lines from Mr. Sheeran. Everything sounds so samey, and even when a breath of fresh air like the piano-driven R&B number like "Nina" comes along, it's already too late. X is a vapid and overly confident album that feels more like regression than progression for Ed Sheeran's indie folk sound. Go buy a Bon Iver record instead.



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user ratings (78)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Necrotica
July 1st 2014


10137 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Haven't done a two-paragraph review in a while, but there wasn't too much to say about this

SPRFanOf5H
July 1st 2014


248 Comments


Nice review man, mind pos. Not much of a Ed Sheeran fan, a ton of his material sucks expect maybe The A-Team. Hate Sing with a burning passion.

ILJ
July 1st 2014


6741 Comments


this guy drives me nuts

Digging: FKA Twigs - LP1

ExplosiveOranges
July 1st 2014


3904 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Good review, Necro. Never found this guy to be particularly interesting.

Digging: Millicent Waffles - Under Dark Blue Blanket

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2014


3503 Comments


Good review, Necro. Never found this guy to be particularly interesting.[2]

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Motorpnakotic Fragments

Mall
July 1st 2014


1601 Comments


Shit album, good review

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2014


10383 Comments


"this isn't a stab against every white male with an acoustic guitar (considering how much great folk and blues there is"

Blues originated primarily in the black community, though. Nice work otherwise.

Digging: Thou - Heathen

Gameofmetal
July 1st 2014


3737 Comments


I dig Ed Sheeran but this makes sense. I might check it out and skip the bad songs.

BMDrummer
July 1st 2014


9982 Comments


Good review, never even heard of this guy before

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
July 1st 2014


13454 Comments


Todd in the Shadows is an idiot

Feather
July 1st 2014


1467 Comments


"White guy with an acoustic guitar" should be a valid genre. Great review.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
July 1st 2014


11807 Comments


Great review man. This guy is soooooooo boring.

Digging: Rishloo - Living as Ghosts with Buildings as Teeth

RivalSkoomaDealer
July 1st 2014


979 Comments


GF loves this dude.

I still haven't forgotten the cringeworthy credits song in the last Hobbit film.

Digging: Nero di Marte - Derivae

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2014


3545 Comments


you're missing an i in the chord progression (it's vi not v) but otherwise sweet review

Digging: Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

RobbaqPL
July 1st 2014


162 Comments


Todd gets a lot of references here lately. Which is fine by me, I really like the guy.
As for Sheeran... I dunno, I only heard that he was supposed to be this white guy with acoustic guitar, and the first thing I actually hear from him is "Sing", which is basically radio pop that can be played on any station. Sounds like selling out.

Arcade
Contributing Reviewer
July 1st 2014


3366 Comments


this guy is and always has been dreadful

Digging: Viet Cong - Viet Cong

Green Baron
July 1st 2014


20327 Comments


I'm so glad fellow Sputnikers revel in TitS's glory

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
July 1st 2014


13454 Comments


hes an idiot

fallenbird
July 1st 2014


4122 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I like I See Fire and Give Me Love despite how repetitive it is but that's about it from this guy. Wish he kept the lyrical quality of the A Team on all of his songs rather than write boring love songs all over again

Green Baron
July 1st 2014


20327 Comments


Based on what I heard this is a pretty big departure from his folkier debut.



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