The last few years have been a crazy ride for 23-year-old singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran. After signing with Atlantic in 2011 following a series of EP releases, he soared onto the British charts that summer with “The A Team”, which debuted and peaked at #3. Parent album + (“plus”) did even better, securing a #1 debut in September in the United Kingdom. It’s one of the rare debut efforts to go six singles deep in that country, all of which went top 40 and sent album sales up to 6x Platinum status, or 1.8 million units. A similar story happened around the globe in the next few months.
In the U.S., Sheeran’s rise was more drawn out. “Team”, sent to AAA radio in February 2012 and Hot AC in March, rose to #3 at the former in July, but slowly crept up to #5 at the latter (and #9 CHR) in January 2013. The extra time paid off: the single sold 2 million copies during its U.S. run, + went Gold and he, himself, has garnered two GRAMMY nominations in the Big Four in two consecutive years. The era ended rather abruptly over the summer as third single “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” (followup to “Lego House”) was serviced as duet “Everything Has Changed” (with Taylor Swift, from Red) went to radio in July, with “Changed” winning out. Yet, times have changed again and he’s back for more.
“Sing” leads off the second full-length album from Sheeran, x (“multiply”). It’s issued worldwide on Monday, June 23. It was produced by an unlikely collaborator, Pharrell Williams, who describes the song as “a dance record… not because it’s electronica, but because it’s danceable.” (Billboard) He’s certainly right. The massive track, built on a booming drum line straight out of the 80’s hip-hop scene, the singer’s charming falsetto and a guitar riff sounding plucked out of “Long Train Runnin'” by the Doobie Brothers, is bound to be a huge hit during the summer season and certainly give him the needed momentum to have a well deserved big sophomore era on the worldwide charts.
Out on the town, Sheeran and his lady make their best of their crazy situation by “ignoring everybody here/We wish they would disappear/So, maybe we could get down now.” Intent to woo her more directly, he opines, “I want you to be mine, lady,” and into the stripped-back chorus, becomes decidedly more sensual: “If you love me, come on, get involved/Feel it rushing through you from your head to toe.” Their passion for one another grows rather quickly, as he quickly raps to open verse two: “This love is ablaze/I saw flames on the side of the stage/And the fire brigade comes in a couple of days.” The songs rides along in this zone for much of the rest of composition, grooving to a solid beat against Sheeran’s shouts of “Can you feel it?” much like a Jacksons disco record. It’s fresh, yet inspired, and it’s bound for a whole lot of attention.
Look out for more information on Sheeran’s forthcoming album and tour dates in Europe (and hopefully the U.S. as well) on his official social media sites.