British tunesmith Ed Sheeran finally drops his debut album, + (pronounced “plus”). He jumps right into his lead single, “The A Team”, a catchy and melancholy narrative about a junkie prostitute on downward spiral. Sheeran soulfully coos her sad story over minimal piano parts, ambient electric six-string effects, and muted acoustic guitar rhythms. He cleverly imports hip-hop beats and handclaps into the following “Drunk” before balancing smoothly sung verses with choruses rapidly phrased to match the rhythm track. In “Wake Me Up,” his lyrics take on rhetorically conversational approach, earning the adoration of his muse with pop culture references and witty confessionals; it’s sung like a handwritten letter signed and sealed over piano notes. There’s live beatbox accompaniment in the pitter-patter backdrop of the harmonious “Small Bump” and the Justin Timberlake-inspired “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” (wich boasts more a cappella rhythm a Bobby McFerrin album).
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