From the title down, his current hit You Need Me, I Don't Need You presents 20-year-old singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran as a very cocksure customer indeed. He pours scorn on other artists given a leg-up into the charts by songwriters-for-hire or the munificence of the BPI: "Don't need another wordsmith to make my tunes sell … my shit's cool … I didn't go to Brit School." It all seems a little at odds with Sheeran's likably unassuming image: on his website, he offers retail space to liquorice allsort-themed jewellery designed by his mum. Then again, you can understand his bullishness.
Adopting the old-fashioned route to success by playing a grueling 300 gigs in 2009 alone, Ed Sheeran's blend of singer/songwriter balladry and acoustic hip-hop has built up quite the fan base, ensuring his debut full-length album, simply titled Plus, is one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year. Unfortunately, it's the former, rather than the latter, which dominates the follow-up to his grime-inspired introductory No. 5 Collaborations Project EP.
Lad-next-door troubadour Ed Sheeran is indebted to artists such as Jamie T and Damien Rice, as evidenced by a debut that hops between bullish mockney rap and quavering sentimentality, but there's also a Bieber-ish quality to his appeal. There are the 20-year-old's almost 300,000 Twitter followers for one thing but, more dubiously, he and Biebz share a tendency to address their songs to vulnerable teenage girls. Half-rapped banalities about watching Shrek 12 times and being "crap at computer games" will certainly win hearts, but perhaps only those of a certain age.
Underwhelming debut from a rising artist whose promise hasn’t delivered a set to remember. Natalie Shaw 2011 Lines between genres have never been more blurred than right now, especially in the mainstream. Experimentation with styles and the melding of musical approaches is to be commended, obviously; but to relate authenticity with consistent, similar output is something very wrong indeed, as not everybody singing the same song is coming from the same place.