- Students use alternative art materials for one-night-only exhibition June 18
- Digital Media wins national prize for TEDxBirmingham video
- Trip to New York brings national attention to Birmingham renaissance
- Clothes that work for new grads hitting the market
- Hagel emphasizes leadership to Naval Academy graduates
- Birmingham Chosen To Host 2015 C-USA Basketball Championships
- On The Money: How new graduates can take on the job market
- Canvas unrolled for new school year
- Tornadoes Leave Trail of Devastation (Photos)
- Campus closes early Tuesday due to severe thunderstorm
- Alabama does a double take: ‘Urinetown: the Musical’ hits home twice
- A+ Performance by Legend
- UAB Women’s Softball defeat Charlotte 49ers (8-0)
- A Fun and Fluffy Study Break In Lister Hill
- UAB Earth Month Festival
‘X’ by Ed Sheeran
Let me just start out by saying that I believe that Ed Sheeran can do no wrong and that everything his brilliant voice touches turns into gold in a way that would make even Midas jealous, but I digress.
Sheeran’s 2012 album + (pronounced Plus) broke the mold for what a guy with a guitar was able and supposed to sound like. Blending pop, hip-hop and his killer vocals, he created music like no one had done before. Like who raps as they play guitar? But it was this uniqueness that made him stick. When I first started getting into his music, he reminded me a lot like Taylor Swift with the way he could create a catchy song while also having deep, meaningful, sometimes heart wrenching lyrics. (I’m looking at you “Small Bump”). It’s funny that I say that because apparently Swift saw the same talent and brilliance that I and so many others did, as they themselves became fast friends and even collaborated on a song called “Everything Has Changed” from her 2012 album Red. And the boy has it.
With x (pronounced Multiply) Sheeran roars back with another flawless album that once again demonstrates his amazing writing and vocal abilities. While + had tenderer moments, x is darker than its predecessor. He pushes the boundaries just enough without overdoing it. It’s raw and blunt, full of just about every feeling humanly possible to feel: love, hope, anger, pain, depression and confusion; to name a few. It’s actually kind of surprising how honest and open he is on this album. Not that he shouldn’t be or hasn’t been before. It’s just not every day an artist is so comfortable with letting themselves go in their writing. It’s one of the main reasons he’s as popular as he is. He’s not afraid to go there. Hit that nerve. Call that person out. And do it all while making you tap your foot.
On the lead single “Sing” Pharrell’s production complements and magnifies Sheeran’s talent, turning a simple guitar riff into a full blown pop song. “Runaway” brings the funk while Sheeran details wanting to get out of a bad home situation. “I’m A Mess” is a simple yet brilliant cut about self-reflection, admitting mistakes, and going through the motions of a relationship and life. On “Tenerife Sea” Sheeran assures that his focus is on his lady and that outside talk doesn’t matter by saying, “And should this be the last thing I see/ I want you to know it’s enough for me/ Cause all that you are is all that I’ll ever need.” Even I swooned over that one, y’all.
On the opener “One” Ed he realizes he might have messed up a relationship for good, but with lyrics like “Take my hand and my/ Heart and soul, I will/ Only have these eyes for you,” how can you stay mad at him? Like really.
On “Don’t” (possibly one of the best songs on the album) he tells off a former flame that played him, with an irresistible beat, saying “But you didn’t need to take him to bed that’s all/ And I never saw him as a threat/ Until you disappeared with him to have sex of course/ It’s not like we were both on tour/ We were staying on the same f**king hotel floor/ And I wasn’t looking for a promise or commitment/ But it was never just fun and I thought you were different.” Now those are lyrics my friends. When you finish listening to it, it’s one of those songs that you just sit back and go “wow” to.
On “Afire Love”, one of the most heartbreaking moments on the album, he laments about losing his grandfather to Alzheimer’s singing, “Things were all good yesterday/ but then the devil took your breath away/ And now we’re left here in the pain/ Black suit, black tie, standing in the rain”. It’s not exactly the best song to listen to if you’ve just lost a loved one, so basically the song did what he wanted it to do.
On “Thinking Out Loud” (which is certain to be a staple at every upcoming wedding) you get one of the most beautiful moments on the album; with Ed telling his girl that his love for her will never die, saying “And darling I will be loving you till we’re 70/ And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23/ And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways/ Maybe just the touch of a hand/ Oh me I fall in love with you every single day/ And I just wanna tell you I am.” Like, I seriously can’t handle how romantic this song is and if I’m at your wedding and you play this I can’t be held accountable for the buckets of tears you will have from me.
Second albums can be risky, but Sheeran glides into this album with ease, giving us an album of growth and maturity, rather than a step backwards. Ed Sheeran is a true storyteller and an artist we’re lucky to have around in music right now. On x, Sheeran leaves no feeling unearthed and presents us with a refreshingly candid album that demonstrates just why he has the adoring fans he does. He pours his soul into these songs and you can really feel him trying to work through all this pain through his music. Whether or not it’s a good thing we’re reveling in his pain, the pain makes for an amazing album. Bravo, Mr. Sheeran. Bravo.