- Nomination: Song of the Year, "A Team"
Did you see this guy perform with Elton John this year?
This is an artist that seems to have alluded me thus far. He's got something I like, but can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it's his slight throw-back style to my old soft spoken favorites with twisted lyrics that get inside your head and make for excellent quotes. Maybe it's that mop top of red hair. Either way, I'm interested, if not excited, to hear what's about to happen.
"The A Team," the hit single, starts off the album. It's such a light, sweet song, and something we haven't seen much of in mainstream music, save Jason Mraz. I still haven't wrapped my hand around the lyrics entirely, which is both fascinating and frustrating for me. He has a way with words, that's for sure, and I think a lot of the song is actually pretty heartbreaking. Yet you can't help but melt in his sweet, quiet natured voice.
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All right, here we go! On to the never-heard-before music! "Drunk" most definitely has a little more to it instrumentally. In fact, I may or may not be dancing a little salsa dance around my room to this one. There's also a very on-the-air sound in the recording style, which is only a little weird, but we'll say it's in a good way. But how sad is this lyrics? "I'll get drunk again to feel love."
The next one is coming on for me a few days later (I fell a bit behind), but I'm finally starting to understand where this soul thing comes in genre-wise. "Grade 8" has a soul/R&B feel throughout the song, and it's funky and different. This one's about love and feeling like a kid because of it. Good times. Better than that is the use of beats, both instrumentally and vocally.
"Wake Me Up" is unbearably quite as it comes in, especially in an entirely quiet apartment at night. It makes all of the words hit a little harder and mean a little more. It's also the first time you can tell there's an accent in this voice. He's British or something align those lines for sure (I'm not doing my research until after the music). This is sort of a weird mode for the middle of an album. It sounds more like an ending that an interlude. I'm a little thrown off on this one.
I heard this one earlier by mistake when I left random on, but hearing a song all about a baby not yet born is really different. "Small Bump" is something I have yet to experience (and won't for a while, sorry mom) but it's very sweet. I've seen it in parents eyes when they hold the baby for the first time, or even just during the pregnancy, and I think Ed hits the sentiment right on the nose with this one.
Next up is a funky little song called "The City." There's some effects on the beat that break it down just a bit throughout. Instead of the hectic-ness of the city, this one seems to capture some real heart and feeling of this insane city. And yes, I assume he's talking about New York, because where else would he be thinking about? Mhmm, I'm a bit selfish. The piano, by the way, is an unexpected and really cool touch.
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"Lego House" is one I put on while I was walking around the room cleaning. It's got a heart-full feeling somehow. It's super sweet not only in lyrics but in feel. There's a sway with a gentle rhythm, and the bass notes used on the piano add this depth and loveliness. As he gets into it, his voice even intensifies, giving even more life to the song as it goes on. Simply beautiful, really. I may be missing the point, but I really just don't care right now. Just give me more of this feeling and warmth and tenderness out of a little bit of music.
A bit tougher drums and that accent comes back on for "You Need Me, I Don't Need You." Obviously, a telling title. Not sure if it's about love or a fallen friendship, though maybe it works both ways. The movement in the melody is rougher around the edges yet doesn't miss a single beat. This is one that is amazing, though could even go a step father in being stripped down to acoustic instruments and highlighted with some great bongos. Feel that reggae nature too, wow. There are also a few remix versions of this floating around on Ed's YouTube page you should totally check out.
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This one may have gotten sort of lost on me. It's "Give Me Love." I don't enjoy the chorus as he trills through the same line over and over. I get the lovely sounds in the background, but the strumming is odd against sweet violins, and the melody isn't entirely meshing in my ears. Now, I could see this, with a slightly different chorus melody, being really great, but it's not hitting me here.
Funny story: before "Little Bird" came on, a commercial played on Spotify for "+." This has probably the most rock-like beat going for it throughout. This is one that'd probably have you bopping down the street with headphones on. It's cute without having a kid-like nature. I guess you could just say that it moves really well It sounds like a song of the frustration of love and being thankful for it.
"Gold Rush" is nice and bouncy again. These bonus tracks have very little production on them apart from the simply cleanly recorded sound. There's mostly just simple strings against each other, building a good general piece. There's a slight island sound that just keeps this sounding good and fun. The main realization I get at this point, which I'm sure I'll throw into that final wrap-up paragraph, is that Ed is a storyteller. His lyrics aren't necessarily meant to be so catchy they get stuck in your head, but they can make you either think or relate (or, okay, both), while you tap your foot along.
Final track time: "Sunburn." Now, I may be listening to this pretty low at work this morning, but I'm only getting actual sound every few seconds. It's like listening to something from across a room on someone else's computer. But the lines I am catching a interesting, and deeper than expected for some reason. The idea is simple: you scar like a sunburn. But I think there's some element of sadness when it's gone, probably some idea about it being cold and depressing at that point of the year. Anywhos, a solemn end to an up and down album.
Added to My Playlist:
- "The A Team"
- "Grade 8"
- "Lego House"
- "You Need Me, I Don't Need You"
- "Kiss Me"
- "Autume Leaves"
- "Little Bird"
First follow-up reaction is still a comparison one that places James Blunt / Jason Mraz / a little Steve Kazee a la "Once" in my head. None of this is bad, I promise, it just makes me a little nervous for his future career. But what is originality anymore anyway? So maybe this'll work. It certainly works for me. The lyrics are complicated enough to warrant me wanting to come back for more, if for no other reason than to grasp a better understanding. The good songs are lovely, and the bad songs just need another chance.