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Ed Sheeran – +

Catherine May


There’s something about Ed Sheeran that separates him from the thousands of other young singer songwriters out there: Commercial success. What is it that’s made him progress from being another constantly gigging singer songwriter to someone with a number one album?

+ helps give listeners an idea of why he’s succeeded. The thing about him that is immediately evident is that he’s real. Not in a ‘down wit da kidz’ way, but lyrically he’s not pretending to be anything other than what he actually is. There seems to be an autobiographical undercurrent in every track, with one of the leading singles You Need Me and I Don’t Need You offering a particularly honest look at Sheeran’s stance in the music industry. There’s a throwaway line about Gabriella Cilmi (it rhymes with “where some fella filmed me”, ok?), a dig at Brit School and a nod to starting out and selling his CDs from a rucksack.

Sheeran’s worked hard to get where he is. There’s been a vigorous touring schedule over the past few years and + is the culmination of hundreds of gigs. In fact, The City has been doing the rounds in Sheeran’s raw live performances for many years and strikes a chord with his back story. “London calls me a stranger, a traveller. This is now my home” he sings of moving to the capital to try and forge a career.

The album showcases everything he’s got to offer. There’s his speed-singing ability in the verses of U.N.I, his soft vocals in the radio friendly The A Team and solid lyrics in the likes of Grade 8.

Fighting to be more than just another singer songwriter, Sheeran has got what it takes to break the mold and make a name for himself as a credible artist. + really is an album full of positives.