2015 Grammy Nominations:
"I'm A Mess" picks it up just a little bit. If you've never seen Ed perform live, I highly recommend stopping and checking out some videos online. At least the VH1 performance I saw was a solo effort with pedal perfection. I bet this actually has additional performers and production behind it, but he could probably pull it off either way. The build in this is just amazing. You heart starts racing along with the intensity - it's a rush only certain compositions seem to be able to provide.
As we ease on in to "Sing" I now see the logic in building the album this way. Each song kicks it up another notch. I was really excited when this one hit mainstream radio because it's like some of his lesser-known tracks from "+" that showcase his vocal abilities a little more. The 'singer with a flow' is impressive. And hi Pharrell. I think I saw a story behind this once about how Pharrell told him to take those "ohs" and pull a song out. Damn.
"Don't" is SO GOOD. Rumor has it that this is all about Ellie Goulding and her crazy decision to cheat on this shaggy-haired man. Insane. Now I, on the other hand, in my hours upon hours of driving, have determined how to make this into a duet. Ed, if you're reading this, it could be magic. Those beats, the harmonies, come on.
Anyone else ever played Final Fantasy X or Final Fantasy X-2? Tell me that piano part in "Nina" doesn't sound like it's straight out of that soundtrack! That's something that's bothered me since the first time Pandora selected it on one of my stations. It's also something that's kept me from loving the song for some reason. It has never made it past that thought.
"Photograph" has been the latest single off of this album, and it kind of returns us to our mainstream Ed Sheeran roots. It's light and gentle and makes you long for someone to sing it to you. Waiting on love? Not quite so easy. But if you can hold onto that little piece, it'll mean something in your heart for the time being.
Wait, I may have been wrong. Did "Bloodstream" come out on radio more recently? Was it just the more forgettable of the two? I love the steady rhythm of this though, and it does provide a new sound that the album has had yet to experience. It's one of those, like the last album had, that isn't necessarily going to soar to the top of the charts. But for the purists, it's a musical delight.
"Tenerife Sea" is another one that kept popping up on random plays and playlists. It took a while for this one to grow on me. But the more I hear it, really the more lovely and enchanting it is. And he mentions blue eyes, so I'm entranced. The guitar plays on this little Irish/seafaring sound that propels the song along the waves. I've really grown to adore the gentle rocking on this one.
Oh shit son, it gets funky again with "Runaway." Again, just flowing words over a groovy beat you can get down to. I'm actually not in love with the chorus of this song - it takes me out of the moment. But the verses are where this one is at. There are actually catchier moments in those than the main sing-song parts.
"The Man" mentioned "Holocene" directly, just saying. Lyrically, this one's frickin' genius. It's honest and great, and probably one of those tracks people call him a 'wannabe rapper' for. But these are also usually the tracks that he puts out the most honesty with. I don't think it's a bragging rights thing, or even an attempt to hurt someone else. It's just that this guy is his music and his music is him... and I don't give a damn if that's grammatically correct at all.
Anddddd *swoon*. "Thinking Out Loud" is possibly the most romantic song to come out in the past few years. And the video? Forget about it - the man is now a sex icon for that dance ability. But in all seriousness, this is so absolutely gorgeous that you can't help but get caught up with the romance of it all. It's steady to dance to, and lovely to relax to. It's just about everything a girl could want in a love song.
"Afire Love" might seem like it's letting you come down off of that lovely love high, but listen in - it's the afterwards, like the real, complete afterwards. It's making love and then experiencing the loss. Whew, this is much heavier than I ever realized on casual listening session. But mostly it's the escape into that whole love.
Ah, where the whole "singer with a flow" idea came from - "Take It Back." Goddamn this man is talented. And clever - listen in. I mean it, really listen, and see how he weaves in his own story with pop culture and music references and just... everything. It's rather fascinating. And the fact he can keep that guitar going the entire time is just as admirable, given some of us can even sing a simple song along with the playing.
"Shirtsleeves" is just good and adorable. Okay, adorable isn't the right word to use when the man is singing about thighs... but it's not intimidating. He's got this slight island sound added in that's not overwhelming like so many others tend to be. It actually lends itself to the feel of the music for a change.
This is one of the only songs that I don't think I've taken the proper time to notice before this listen - "Even My Dad Does Sometimes." I knew it was there, but never truly heard it. It may just be hitting me at the right time, but lyrically, this is so fantastic. The idea of having someone tell you it's okay to let go, to cry, to shake, because even the people to respect the most do it - to know it's okay to be human... we all should be told as much more often.
"I See Fire" is the final song, and possibly my favorite on the album. It was used for "The Hobbit" movie, but maintains its own spiritual impact even without the images accompanying it. I've got my own associations with it, as the world crumbles around you, you beg for the memory to remain and the strength to be gained from it. You ask to stand together through the worst of it, even when it seems you can't. Then the music builds in the end, and there's pain, but it's warranted and pushes you through to the end.
- "I'm A Mess"
- "Tenerife Sea"
- "Thinking Out Loud"
- "Take It Back"
- "Even My Dad Does Sometimes"
- "I See Fire"
Again, I went into this knowing it was one of my favorite full albums in recent memory. But hearing it a hundred times before did not deter from the enjoyment that was listening again. Ed Sheeran is a musical icon at this point, and in such a different way then so many other people. I never get tired of hearing this all the way through.