Ed Sheeran - x ["Pop"]
I do not understand the hype for this album. Nothing that has been done here is new, nothing especially emotional. The usual garbage is here though; completely unmemorable vocal hooks, terrible, cheesy lyrics, repetitive rhythms (you get sick of the acoustic guitar barely three songs in) and plastic vocals that the masses seem to have no problem lapping up. How many of you actually listen to actual singers?
Dynamic range stands at 6, which is already quite bad before you factor in that most of the album is acoustic, which somehow means that it is brickwalled to death, a classic example of Rick Rubin's disgusting production. Not surprisingly, it's easy to see that most of the compression is in the vocals, his voice pierces through whatever 'instrumentation' exists on the album. Anybody who has managed to differentiate his songs should be applauded for having such a parochial view of music. Though he uses multiple guitar techniques, all of them seem to be taken straight from the textbook without any of his own personal input instrumentally, so I find it amusing that the album has been marketted as one with lush guitar playing. John Mayer looks like a shredder next to this album.
Speaking of Mayer, the themes on the album are so severely immature and plastic, it seems like an obvious attempt to cash in on Taylor Swift's redundant love songs. This man is the male version of Taylor Swift. Whether he refers to hormones as 'chemicals burning in my bloodstream' in 'Bloodstream' or when he literally talks about his first kiss under the lamp post of sixth street (I am assuming it's his first kiss, for his sake) in 'Nina', there is no way a person of normal IQ can listen without cringing at such lame lyrics.
For vocals, I do have a distinct taste for how I like vocals to be delivered, as most people should, so I will try to stay clear of basing this for critique. However, I observe that Ed Sheeran has a rather monotonous approach to vocals, without anything in his arsenal besides crooning and his usual nasal singing. He tends to stay in the higher register, but never seems to go beyond this range. There is some obvious use of autotune here, but I will give it to him to be able to belt a decent tune from time to time. Ironically, a lot of this becomes obvious on the collaboration with Pharell Williams on 'Runaway'. I am not a fan of either artiste, but Williams does elevate the song here. The only other respite from the croons is the rap vocals on 'The Man'. His rap sounds pretty awkward. I will stop here.
All in all, nothing else stands out in this album. I can imagine a lot of people, who do not listen to much music in the first place, will probably make this album a lot more than it actually as, a male version of Taylor Swift's Red. Then again, even that album had hooks here and there. Pure bullshit.
☆☆☆☆☆ Steaming pile of shit