Ed Sheeran offers up his follow-up album to his breakthrough record ‘+’. His latest work ‘X’ (pronounced ‘Multiply’) continues on from the first album, offering up a mix of acoustic-folk tinged tracks, combined with elements of hip-hop and rap here and there. It is easy to hear the progression in Sheeran’s work on his latest work, which seems to expand upon his own sound much more than on his debut record. For the most part, ‘X’ is a rather enjoyable record, featuring some well written songs, though the whole album experienced seems to come across as very confused and mixed up.
On Sheeran’s latest record, we’re treated to a large mix of new tracks from the singer-songwriter, as well as the production values of many producers, and the input of a number of collaborators. Each collaborator has helped push out Sheeran’s style just a little bit, widening the edges of how the singer’s music comes across. For the most part, it’s resulted in a very varied mix of tracks, much more-so than what was present on the singer’s debut effort. There’s a number of strong tracks present on the album, many of which will surely go on to become very popular tracks in the charts no doubt.
What’s a little confusing is why Sheeran has opted for so many producers on different tracks. Every other song present on the album has been produced by somebody different, resulting in a bit of a mismatched selection of tracks. There doesn’t seem to be much structure here at all, as the album goes from typical acoustic ballad straight into a typical Pharrell Williams hip-hop pop tune. Some efforts from some collaborators seems a little pointless at times, as their input seems to add very little to the tunes they’ve worked on. It’s a shame as it’s nice to see Sheeran really progressing in terms of what he is capable of, but it seems he’s let too many people get their fingers in, taking away the honest element that came across on some of the singer’s earlier releases.
There’s some very enjoyable moments on ‘X’, which features some great songs here and there. As a full album experience though, the whole effort feels very flawed, with the best of Sheeran’s capabilities being overshadowed by over-production. Sheeran has certainly pushed out a lot of his own experiences and ideas into his latest album, but they don’t seem to come across as strongly as he might have wanted them to. ‘X’ is by no means a failure of an album, but it does come across as an album that has let itself down on a number of counts.
- ★★★☆☆ 3/5
- Tenerife Sea
- Afire Love
Ed Sheeran’s second studio album ‘X’ is out now.