12 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

British tunesmith Ed Sheeran finally drops his debut album, + (pronounced “plus”). He jumps right into his lead single, “The A Team,” a catchy and melancholy narrative about a junkie prostitute on a downward spiral. Sheeran soulfully coos her sad story over minimal piano parts, ambient electric six-string effects, and muted acoustic guitar rhythms. He cleverly imports hip-hop beats and handclaps into the following “Drunk” before balancing smoothly sung verses with choruses rapidly phrased to match the rhythm track. In “Wake Me Up,” his lyrics take on a rhetorically conversational approach, earning the adoration of his muse with pop culture references and witty confessionals; it's sung like a handwritten letter signed and sealed over spare piano notes. There's live beatbox accompaniment in the pitter-patter backdrop of the harmonious “Small Bump” and the Justin Timberlake–inspired “You Need Me, I Don't Need You” (which boasts more a cappella rhythm tracks than a Bobby McFerrin album).

EDITORS’ NOTES

British tunesmith Ed Sheeran finally drops his debut album, + (pronounced “plus”). He jumps right into his lead single, “The A Team,” a catchy and melancholy narrative about a junkie prostitute on a downward spiral. Sheeran soulfully coos her sad story over minimal piano parts, ambient electric six-string effects, and muted acoustic guitar rhythms. He cleverly imports hip-hop beats and handclaps into the following “Drunk” before balancing smoothly sung verses with choruses rapidly phrased to match the rhythm track. In “Wake Me Up,” his lyrics take on a rhetorically conversational approach, earning the adoration of his muse with pop culture references and witty confessionals; it's sung like a handwritten letter signed and sealed over spare piano notes. There's live beatbox accompaniment in the pitter-patter backdrop of the harmonious “Small Bump” and the Justin Timberlake–inspired “You Need Me, I Don't Need You” (which boasts more a cappella rhythm tracks than a Bobby McFerrin album).

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