Bucket List 2013: Music! Ed Sheeran + Album Review

One of the items on my 2013 Bucket List was to “Immerse Myself in Music.”

Every week, I’ll be indulging in an album that I have never before had the pleasure of listening to from start-to-finish. I’ll write about it here… not as a music critic but as someone that just enjoys music. Part of this Bucket List item is also to attend 5 live music events this year.

I’ve got to thank reader Sally Tomato for her comprehensive list of album suggestions that she posted earlier today in the comment section of my original post. I will absolutely be looking into those in the weeks to come.

For New Year’s Eve, I drove to Indianapolis for a party. On the way there, I heard this beautiful and soft voice come onto the radio singing about angels and pastries. Turns out that my friend Shelly, in whose car I was traveling, had the CD in her player at that exact moment and highly recommended it.

On this fluke, I had my first album of 2013: + by Ed Sheeran.

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Never heard of him… but apparently others have– lots of others. He is playing in Detroit later this month. Tickets are sold out. And he’s opening for Taylor Swift on her big tour later this year. I can take or leave Ms. Swift… but the concert might be worth it just to hear “The A Team” performed live by Mr. Sheeran.

“The A Team” was that song about angels and pastries that I heard on the radio. Upon further digging, apparently this song is also nominated for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards. And apparently I’m wayyyyyyy out of the loop.

“The A Team” is the first song on the album + and it does not disappoint. Here, have a look and listen:

How can a song that talks about prostitution and drug addiction sound so sweet and beautiful? Probably because only a naive 18-year-old with wide open eyes could write it. Listen to it a few more times and you’ll find so many stories in this one song, which Sheeran wrote after a gig at a homeless shelter.

The next song on the album, “Drunk” will let you know that Sheeran is a Brit. Hey— I may be generalizing here, but every English citizen I’ve ever met isn’t afraid of the drink. And neither am I.

“U.N.I.” is a nice mix of soulful breakup song and rap, if there is such a thing. Oh– and he mentions being drunk here, too.

“Grade 8” is a poppy little love song that the kids will like. When Sheeran sings that he’ll “never let you down,” he sounds earnest.

I can see why Ed Sheeran is touring with Taylor Swift when I listened to “Wake Me Up.” It’s clear that they’re both fond of gleaning song subjects out of relationships and diaries. But Sheeran does it in a way that’s believable and lyrically cool.

The song “Small Bump” could be disturbing to some, about losing an unborn baby. The song, while sung from the perspective of the artist, is actually about a friend of Sheeran. I could really see some families taking comfort in this song, as well, if they experience this awful tragedy in life.

“This” seems to be about wanting to start a new relationship… getting that opportunity… and losing it. We’ve all been there. Sheeran just puts it into a beautiful piece of music.

I love cities. Energy. Personality. Creativity. Cities seem to breed these things, when I need them. Never been to London, so when I heard “The City,” I thought of NYC and New Orleans and any other large metro area that I’ve drawn inspiration from. This is my second-favorite song on +, behind “The A Team.”

“Lego House” is a nice, simple love song, with a lyrical twist that can only come from a singer-songwriter.

I like it when an artist is confident. There is such a thing as ‘too confident.’ But I don’t think Sheeran crosses that line in “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.” The kid writes his own songs and he is proud of it– no shame in that.

Oh, the teenage girls that love gingers will love “Kiss Me.”

A young artist knows they’re on their way when their music makes it on a CW show. “Give Me Love” was used in The Vampire Diaries and it’s easy to see why: this song and this entire album will relate to young adults dealing with love, lust, relationships and all things of that nature.

All in all, pretty good stuff. Although, the seriousness disguised in insanely awesome lyrics in “The A Team” is the album’s brightest star. But look for good things from Ed Sheeran… whether he wrote it and sang it… or just wrote it.

I’m still taking suggestions for future albums-of-the-week. Next week, we’ll go back in time a bit. I promise.

 

 

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