BOPPY, poppy and full of summery zing, it’s quite frankly no surprise that Sing, the lead track from X (say it “multiply”), recently secured Ed Sheeran his first UK number one.
As the first fruits of his collaboration with Pharrell Williams, it’s far better than could reasonably have been expected, good enough in fact to have sat comfortably on Williams’ poptastic GIRL album from earlier this year.
The even better news is that there’s far more where that came from, and better too. Don’t, a tale of a cheating girlfriend, packs in squelchy synth parps, low slung bass and a supremely infectious groove into three and a half minutes of perfect pop that’s way too funky for a geeky-looking ginger from Suffolk.
Sheeran keeps his dancing shoes on for at least half the album – Runaway, a second Pharrell production, is another highlight – and cheekily slips into Mike (The Streets) Skinner’s clothes on The Man, adding some flamenco guitar for good measure.
Listeners who fell in love with the sensitive singer-songwriter responsible for + need not fret, though. Pharrell isn’t the only super-producer on X and Sheeran’s collaborations with Rick Rubin on big ballad Photograph and doe-eyed love song Tenerife Sea take him firmly back into AOR territory.
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By Andrew Greenhalgh