Ed Sheeran’s new album X, which was released today in the UK, is like the dusty box at the top of your cupboard. It is filled with love-letters of previous flames, old mix-tapes, and friendship bracelets so delicate to the touch. It holds the faint scent of once-lit match-sticks from our childhood experimentations in the local park, and a shriveled up tissue that once dripped with tears now resides in the corner with a marble, its glassy surface reflecting our now older-wiser face.
The album is the story book of a young-adult in and out of love. The track ‘Sing‘ offers us some rather refreshing falsetto vocals like the moans of guitar strings being stretched. ‘I’m a Mess‘ gives the background to this grand occasion of venturing into the wardrobe for this sacred box of memento’s. ‘Retrospection’ offers a soothing relief to today’s problems, because it shows how we overcame past troubles.
‘Tenerife Sea‘ and ‘Nina’ remind us of past loves. These songs make us feel as if those photographs we promised to never keep have appeared from beneath the mix-tapes and we’ve slipped into the picture and relived that polarized moment of history again. ‘Bloodstream’s’ tempo is hypnotically in time with our pulse as our minds begin to flood with these memories, we are overwhelmed. We reach for the glass of Merlot, its dark maroon hues a reflection on the darkness we feel.
‘Afire Love‘ tells of the death of those close to us. I’ll be frank and say that it starts off with promise, but the chorus somehow doesn’t seem to capture the emotion fully. Perhaps the mind is suppressing the brutal emotion to prevent further pain which is a pity as the verses have such a stunning depth.
‘Take it Back‘ is an interesting addition and fits with this theme of reminiscence. The rap is excellently executed and written, and is a good example of rap’s roots as being a means of escape and protest.
It appears that the best was kept for last with ‘Shirtsleeves‘ and ‘Even My Dad Does Sometimes‘ which are simply excellent songs with great depth yet perfect to sing along to whilst swaying with your lighter in hand. Those of you who have seen The Hobbit will recognize the closing track a beautiful song with such innocent vocals that ache with anxious fear at the possible end.
All-in-all I was impressed with Ed Sheeran’s X, despite my earlier reservations. A lot of thought has gone into this album and it shows some true talent. We may replace all the contents of the box and place it back amidst the cobwebs with great sadness, but these memories will not remain hidden as they are now enshrined in music on our iPod.