To the alt-gang, nobody loves an underdog more than me. But that doesn’t make the mainstream the enemy. Believe me, I know what it’s like to hear that new voice crash through the sound waves, pounding the speakers with the rhythm that with will be locked in your head for life. For me, that happened when I heard the song The A-Team.
At that point in time, it didn’t have 213,287,392 views. In fact, it was around the 100,000 mark. The song delicately recounted the story of a woman selling her body in exchange for cocaine. Soon after, Small Bump came to the fore, telling a friend’s account of what it is like to experience a miscarriage. Whilst these were the richest in content, the sonic layering of Give Me Love and Grade 8 is in my eyes still yet to be beaten. That was Ed’s first album.
We’ve now hit the third, and the verdict in, the boy is good. He became the first artist to have every single track from an album enter the Top 20, he broke Spotify with more than 218M streams in four days and scored the biggest one-week vinyl album sale in more than 20 years. Despite the acclaim, I do admit that this isn’t my favourite Ed Sheeran album. But! You have to give credit where it is due.
Today, Pitchfork was retweeted one too many times with caption ‘Ed Sheeran’s new album is awful’. Taking her fangs to the jugular, the writer labelled the album soulless and lacking in introspection. But unfortunately, Divide wasn’t the only thing under fire. She attacked Sheeran’s brand as a humble, innocent act, and instead crowned him generic and feeble in his pursuit of love. Before finally delivering the sucker punch, whittling down his entire body of work down to Bublé-esque wedding tunes.
After a year of peddling upbeat music reviews for zonked out teens with droning twangs, who for some bizarre reason are highly regarded in niche pockets, I find these reviews a little hard to take. Undermining artists for what appears to due to their success makes little to no sense. Absolutely, there are artists that are undeserving of the title. But choose your targets wisely, and with reason. Not because of spite and clickbait.
P.S. Dare you to play this at your wedding.