by Morgan Hunt
I’m always skeptical when it comes to an artist’s sophomore album, especially when it comes to someone who hit the American music scene as hard as Ed Sheeran did, but there is not much of a reason to be skeptical when it comes to “X”. There are few albums that require me to take time before writing a review, but this album definitely created a connection and stirred up emotions that I needed to sort out before I sat down to give my actual thoughts.
It’s obvious on “X” that Sheeran has grown up since his debut album. Common themes of love, loneliness and alcohol are combined with a far more produced sound to create a brilliant album. Vulnerability is evident in every song, and it truly is an insight into the mind of Sheeran. The poetic genius that was first showcased on “+” remains, but Sheeran comes into a much more produced sound rather than the classic singer-songwriter that first got him attention. I think this is both a pro and con with the album. I will be interested to see how he will perform these songs on tour, considering both times I saw him he was a one-man show with the help of a loop pedal.
The standout track on the album is not the radio single “Sing” but rather the song I find to be the most honest on the album, “Thinking Out Loud”.
The track is truly a classic love ballad that will bring back memories of your “one true love”. It’s not in typical fashion of Sheeran to write about being so deeply in love, but that’s what makes this track so goosebump-inducing.
If there’s any complaint I have it definitely falls under the category of over-production. Although I think that it lends itself to Sheeran at times (“Even My Dad Does Sometimes”) but really takes away from the authenticity that I most admired in Sheeran’s debut album on tracks like “Sing”. I really do think that this will take away from Sheeran’s live performances in the same manner that it strips the honesty from some of his tracks.
Maybe I am just a sucker for songs about love and alcohol or maybe I am just a die hard Ed Sheeran fan, but there is no doubt that I am a huge fan of this album. I think the drunken love songs make the album such an honest piece of work and a great follow up to his previous release. “X” is an emotional roller coaster filled with heartbreak and happiness, but is definitely deserving of the tears and goose bumps it received from me.