Album review: Ed Sheeran +
There seems to be a rise in this trend of boyishly cute men with naught but piano or guitar and their voices singing about cutesy things that tug on girls’ heart strings.
It started with John Mayer, I think. Jack Johnson got into it. James Blunt made it sexy. Jason Mraz and James Morrisson came along with the same style. Paulo Nutini perfected it.
Now we have Ed Sheeran with the weirdly named ‘+’.
He’s not doing anything particularly different or special, but his silliness and charming voice will surely be a hit. I mean, the dude’s already won two Brit Awards. There must be something to his ‘90s-style quirkiness what with singing of Lego and being a stalker.
Men love showing their sensitive side in song just to get laid, and I’m sure this is no different.
His voice, like Morrisson and Mraz, is exceptional, with unrefined edges, hitting the right notes perfectly every time. But he sounds almost insincere and too self-conscious about the fact that he’s being unusual.
Like he’s trying a bit too hard to be that guy in the subway with the houndstooth scarf who looks at his feet listening to Bon Iver on his iPod as he pretends not to notice that pretty girl on his right looking at him from the corner of her eye.
We’ve seen this movie before. It’s called 500 Days of Summer.
While the music itself is appealing, easy listening and charming, it’s nothing new. In fact, it’s about eleven years too late.
If I had heard this album in the early 2000s, it would have been a refreshing break from the very, very irritating Your Body is a Wonderland, and a nice precursor to Mraz’s masterful We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.
But its sameness is disappointing. The only difference with ‘+’ is that it’s less polished than the likes of Nutini and the lyrics are saying the same thing, just using different words.
Don’t get me wrong, I can’t fault the dude’s talent. Sheeran’s voice, his great guitar work and piano skills really do place him a cut above most artists nowadays. And I will definitely include some songs on my roadtrip car compilations.
I particularly like The A Team, U.N.I. and Lego House.
But it’s not something I’m going to play for my kids in ten year’s time.