In his hour-long MTV documentary, Nine Days and Nights of Ed Sheeran, British singer-songwriter du jour Ed Sheeran said that the sophomore record is usually an artist’s “make or break” moment. And after such a successful run with his debut, + , it seems that the UK crooner has pretty high stakes riding on his second release, x.
However, this time around, Ed strays away from slow-burning acoustic love songs and dips his toes into uncharted waters, dabbling in hip-hop and even enlisting producer legends Rick Rubin and Pharrell to help with some of the tracks.
So, now the question stands, did the risk pay off? Here is a round-up of what the music world had to say about x below.
:: The Boston Globe praised Sheeran’s change in direction. “If his slow-burning hit 2011 debut “+” — pronounced “plus” — helped break Sheeran thanks to “The A Team,” a hushed lament about a drug-addled prostitute, x will be remembered for the redhead letting loose his inner soulman and MC. It works thanks to his own keening croon and assistance from a wide spectrum of producers known for their work with rock and hip-hop artists, including Rick Rubin and Pharrell.”
:: Billboard gave x a score of 81, saying that “x looks like a smash. Every song synthesizes the catchiest qualities of “The A Team” and its follow-up hit, “Lego House.” “Bloodstream” flaunts a soulful naiveté over the most delicious guitar lick on the album, while “I’m a Mess” builds into an anthemic ending that will surely cap off Sheeran’s future live show.”
:: Newsday gave the album an A-, bottom-lining it to the fact that Sheeran is “broadening his sound and skills.”
:: AndPop gave the disc an A for effort, but a B+ for execution. “While he might have not have reached his full potential, Ed Sheeran manages to deliver a pop album that has a broader array of sounds and which features a willingness to experiment.”
:: The Telegraph granted the album a whopping 5 stars, stating “Throughout it all, Sheeran stays true to the essential artistic notions of the classic singer-songwriter genre by treating his music as a vehicle for emotional veracity, personal revelation and universal inclusion. For older listeners struggling to connect with contemporary pop, Sheeran might just be the artist with the x factor.”
:: Rolling Stone, on the other hand, gave the album 3/5 stars. “He went multiplatinum with 2012′s +, and it seems like the experience might be starting to rattle the English singer-songwriter’s head, not to mention corrode his liver. A better album title might have been XXX.”
But now comes the real verdict. What did you think about the album? Let us know below!
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