On his sophomore album "X," the 23-year-old singer mostly gets away from boring, clichÉd narratives of troubled romance. He does this by turning down the schmaltz and turning up the attitude while embracing elements of R&B and rap. This is a surprising choice that, just as surprisingly, works very well for Sheeran. On the Pharrell-produced chart topper "Sing," Sheeran keeps it light and funky, drawing easy comparisons to
Believe it or not, he actually raps on many of the songs, including the eerie "Take It Back," on which he questionably says, "I'm not a rapper, I'm a singer with a flow." Unfortunately, Sheeran--who has previously showcased his talent performing with Lupe Fiasco and writing for One Direction and Swift--doesn't entirely take to his new clothes. Between
"X" remains a step in the right direction for Sheeran. But I'd prefer to hear him leap.
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