It’s hard to believe that Ed Sheeran’s X has already been out for a year now. His sophomore album generated a very popular response and only made the Brit even more of a superstar (especially in the U.S. since he was obviously already big in the U.K.). I’m surprised that I haven’t already reviewed this album since I absolutely loved it from the first time I listened to it, but I figured it’s better late than never.
“Photograph” is one of my favorite songs on the album and I’m not completely sure why. It’s one of the more underrated tracks on X, but it’s a ballad filled with emotion. The big thing I love about it is how much range we get to see from Sheeran. The song also showcases his strong abilities as a songwriter, he paints a beautiful story. It reminds me a lot of “Wake Me Up” from his first album due to how sad yet honest it is. I’m also a huge fan of the music video.
This is a big contrast to the quiet and lovely “Photograph.” This track, “Don’t” is passionate and emotionally charged in a completely different way. This one is filled with built up anger that pretty much all unravels in one track. Somehow, Sheeran makes it work and the catchy lyrics combined with the brilliant music behind it make it one of the most memorable songs on the album.
“Sing” is probably one of my least favorite Ed songs. I think this is a little bit due to how popular and overplayed the song became. Mostly though, it’s because the lyrics just don’t connect with me personally. Although one could say the same about the last track I talked about, I still felt connected to his passion and the music as a whole. With this one, it just seemed like a totally pop song and didn’t even resemble an Ed Sheeran track in my book. Yes, I know that Pharrell produced it which is a huge deal, but I’m just not a fan of it.
“Now I don’t wanna ever be perfect, cause I’m a singer that you never want to see shirtless,” raps Sheeran on yet another underrated track, this time it’s “Take It Back.” I like this one because his general attitude is similar to the witty “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” from his first album. “Take It Back” is just packed from start to finish with clever pop culture references that are classic Sheeran. The melody is simple enough, it just features Ed on his acoustic guitar, but it’s the lyrics that make it worth listening to.
I chose to talk about “Tenerife Sea” instead of “Thinking Out Loud” for a number of reasons. First of all, I felt like everything that needed to be said about the track has already been said. Second, while both are respectable ballads, I just felt like this was the one that needed to be discussed. It’s one of my favorites even though it took many listens for me to really love it. The lyrics aren’t as complex and undeniably clever in the way that “Thinking Out Loud” is, but it works in its own way. It further proves the fact that Sheeran is insanely brilliant at weaving together lyrics naturally. What I loved about “Tenerife Sea” was the vivid picture he painted for us.
Even though I’m beyond late to the party, I just wanted to stress the point that Ed Sheeran is an artist worth listening to. His songwriting skills are arguably superior to the majority (if not all) of his peers. He’s an artist who deserves all of the popularity that he’s received the past several years and I couldn’t be happier for him. This was a sophomore album that couldn’t have been any better. I definitely recommend listening to it from start to finish at least one time.