Being the biggest artist in the world, Ed Sheeran has gone a little leftfield here on this recording, and quite rightly so. Featuring the top artists of today, it is another great listen from the man himself and proves, once again, the staying power of Ed Sheeran in the postmodern music scene of today.
We begin with a click and some beats with Beautiful People which features Khalid. It’s a great start to the album, and Ed Sheeran’s singing is excellent here. It’s catchy and exciting enough to get the room pumping. An excellent start to the album.
The follow-up South Of The Border which features Camila Cabello and Cardi B sounds a bit like Shape Of You but it’s somewhat different. It’s still very catchy but great all the same. “Come south of the border with me,” is what Ed Sheeran wants you to do, whilst you sing along to the song. Nice.
Cross Me which features Chance The Rapper and PnB Rock, feels more urgent in its delivery. But it’s a good piece nonetheless, showing the good rapping skills of the guests and Ed Sheeran’s chorus delivery is unique. Epic.
Take Me Back To London featuring Stormzy is a wonderful piece which is almost like a rap battle. Ed Sheeran aims to please and does so very well. It’s about Ed Sheeran’s sort of life, which he has worked very hard away at.
The next piece is a bit different. Best Part Of Me featuring YEBBA is an excellent acoustic guitar and a piano-driven ballad that has the two main artists switch verses on this song. It’s a great effort, although slower than some of the other songs on the album.
The hit single I Don’t Care with Justin Bieber is an interesting take on a night out in Ed Sheeran’s world. It shows an edge of romanticism about it. It’s an excellent piece, however, and shows some decent substance from these two young men.
Antisocial refers to Ed Sheeran’s life, in which he is exceptionally hated at a party or in a social setting. Featuring Travis Scott, it’s a direct rant against people who Ed Sheeran cannot socialise with. It’s still a good piece, however. It does seem a little weaker than the other cuts though.
Remember The Name which has Eminem and 50 Cent, seems reminiscent of some of the older hits of Eminem’s early days. Eminem’s voice hasn’t aged very well, but the song is very very good. The album so far is very consistent.
The next piece, Feels, has Young Thug and J Hus on it. It’s an okay piece, but not as good as the others. It’s good to hear Ed Sheeran branching out somewhat on this album with different musicians. That is very cool indeed.
The cut after, Put It All On Me, with guest Ella Mai is very good. It’s a much more rapid-fire vocal delivery and is reminiscent of a Led Zeppelin style approach to the two main voices on this piece. A nice song, and worth listening to.
Nothing On You with Paulo Londra and Dave is a rather ordinary piece about romance making at night. The two guests’ contributions don’t really fit well here and could have been better thought out in retrospect. It’s okay, but nothing special.
I Don’t Want Your Money featuring H.E.R. talks about the comparison between love and money. It’s a good moral story about love in comparison to materialism. It’s an excellent listen, and the call and response bit towards the end is very good.
The next song, 1000 Nights, refers to the time Ed Sheeran has done gigging and features Meek Mill and A Boogie wit da Hoodie. It could also refer to drug use, however, not openly. It has a great rapid-fire delivery by Ed Sheeran.
The following song, Way To Break My Heart featuring dubstep star Skrillex sounds rather chill with the sonic instrumentation, although it’s a plea from Ed Sheeran himself lyrically. It sets the rules for Ed Sheeran in his life and is the calm before the storm of the song after this one. There are some trippy sound effects at the end.
BLOW which features Bruno Mars and Chris Stapleton is likely the best song of the whole album and is the ‘last but not least’ sort of thing. It’s loud, raw and rocking, with fantastic lyrics at hand. If you should listen to one Ed Sheeran song, this should be it.
Although this is a very new release and has received mixed reviews, ignore the critics for the most part. This is a great moment from Ed Sheeran, and as we continue into the 21st century, hopefully, many more great moments will come from the man.