As his world tour continues to play sold-out stadiums in Brazil and the USA, yet another single from Ed Sheeran’s latest album, x (pronounced multiply), is slated to be released soon. The British singer announced April 22 via Twitter that “Photograph” will be the fifth radio single from the album.
“Sing,” the album’s lead single, was released more than a year ago, on April 7, 2014. Since then, Sheeran has proved to be tough competition to fellow artists: Sheeran won both British Male Solo Artist and Best Album with x at the 2015 Brit Awards on February 25. His nominations for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards included Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Song Written for Visual Media, although Sheeran failed to pick up a trophy for any of these.
x has received countless accolades and chart-topping statistics around the globe since its release. OfficialCharts.com places the album as the 2nd-best selling album of both 2014 and 2015 to date globally. Additionally, Spotify named Sheeran the most-streamed artist in the world last year, garnering more than 860 million streams in 2014.
Sheeran collaborated with multiple producers and fellow artists, including Pharrell Williams, Johnny McDaid, and Foy Vance, to create the set of tracks that comprise x. A total of seven producers contributed to the album, which was recorded in Los Angeles with producer Rick Rubin.
According to Sheeran, who said he wrote hundreds of potential songs for the album, cutting the track list down to just fifteen songs was an enormous task. After working with the master list for almost two years, Sheeran said that being in the studio to record the final fifteen songs gave the songs a “raw and interesting” sound at a moment when he was beginning to tire of them.
x is pleasing to listen to and offers a variety of sounds and styles to appeal to multiple tastes. The album is primarily acoustic, but Sheeran himself describes it as “a neo-soul-funk record.” Sheeran’s crooning romanticizes his rollercoaster love life and will leave you in a contemplative yet happy mood.
He brings his diary of love stories to life with powerful imagery and descriptive lyrics. “Don’t” vocalizes Sheeran’s struggle to find direction in a deteriorating relationship. “Bloodstream” is a vulnerable glimpse of Sheeran’s alcoholism and loneliness. “Thinking Out Loud,” the final track on the standard album, even touches on spiritual themes and our own brokenness: “I'm thinking 'bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways / Maybe it's all part of a plan / I'll just keep on making the same mistakes / Hoping that you’ll understand.”
If you haven’t listened to x yet, give it a try. Even if you aren’t a Sheeran fan, you’ll likely enjoy at least one song on the album. Giving the full deluxe edition a spin will allow you to experience the artistry and flow of the album; if you’d rather listen song-by-song, “Sing,” “Runaway,” and “The Man,” will give you an idea of Sheeran’s variety.
As the x World Tour progresses, Sheeran is sure to continue composing authentic and thoughtful songs for his next album. Maybe he’ll be writing another song with a homemade whiskey-bottle guitar in a hotel room, or violently scribbling lyrics about the memory of an ex-girlfriend; such unparalleled writing ability is doubtless why x continues to top charts and gather awards. It’s clear that Ed Sheeran can create and perform quality music, and I’ll definitely be on the edge of my seat until I can purchase his next album.