I’ll start off with the most obvious comment: Ed Sheeran‘s debut album sure has a weird name. From what I can gather, the plus symbol is simply supposed to represent good (positive) feelings. And/or perhaps Sheeran drew inspiration for the title from the same place he draws influences for his music: Damien Rice, whose debut album was the similarly one-character O. I suppose that’s a bit better than the typical self-titled debut album, and it works well online (once you actually realize that it’s the album title), but how do you refer to it in a real conversation? I’ve ended up calling it “Ed Sheeran’s Debut Album Called Plus,” which is probably not the effect he was going for.
In fact, it’s hard to say what effect Sheeran was going for, in general. His album touches upon several different genres. “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” involves a bit of beat boxing, while “Grade 8″ has an R&B feel. Then, there’s the pretty acoustic tunes, such as “The A Team” and “Small Bump.” The instrumentation is a simple guitar and piano, for the most part.
There’s something rather juvenile about his lyrics. For example, those from “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” including the following: “I sing, I write my own tune and I write my own verse/ Don’t need another wordsmith to make my tune sell … I sing fast, I know that all my shit’s cool … and I didn’t go to BRIT School.” Channeling his inner Marshall Mathers? The rap sounds a bit unnatural to me. I’ve read that Sheeran loves folk as well as rap, but this album doesn’t mesh the two together in an elegant way. Luckily for Sheeran, no one really cares. What intrigues most fans is his edgy (British-accented) voice. There’s no question that this young man has musical talent; he hits every note in a charmingly perfect way.
+ was released on September 9, 2011 in the U. K., but only saw release in North America in mid-June this year. The hype around the lead singles from the album (“The A Team” followed by “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”) and a strong YouTube fanbase helped propel the album to the top of the iTunes selling charts in America in no time. We can’t help but fall for this young, charming, English musician. Though I’ve been listening to the “A Team” for a few months now, I noticed that its radio-play has been increasing in recent weeks; I’m sure it will reach “overplayed” status soon enough.