Release Date: Jul 12, 2019
Record label: Atlantic
No.6 Collaborations Project is a strangely utilitarian title, describing the contents lying within the confines of Ed Sheeran's fourth studio album. That's right -- fourth album. The "No.6" in No.6 Collaborations Project refers to what was originally intended to be his sixth EP, following a 2011 set that was also dedicated to collaborations. The line separating this full-length LP from the previous EPs is blurry: No.6 weighs in at 50 minutes, which is just 15 minutes longer than No.5.
In 10 years' time, 'No. 6 Collaborations Project', a testament to Sheeran's songwriting skills and well-honed 'everybro' persona, could be the perfect time capsule of what pop was in 2019 Before he broke through with 2011 single ‘The A-Team’, Ed Sheeran self-released an EP called ‘No. 5 Collaborations Project’ featuring team-ups with grime stars including Wiley, Ghetts and Devlin.
The rumors are confirmed: Ed Sheeran finally married his longtime girlfriend, Cherry Seaborn. In an interview with radio host Charlamagne tha God--really, an hour of small talk recorded at the studio of Sheeran's countryside home in Suffolk and released alongside the album in lieu of any major press--Sheeran fills us in with blissful references to their life together. He's ditched the good-natured, drunken shenanigans that once led to a scar on his cheek from the sword of an actual British royal in favor of nesting with the person he calls "his lady." Please congratulate Ed Sheeran on his graduation to matrimony, to becoming an absolute wife guy.
Ed Sheeran is an international pop star, a hit songwriter, a sometime actor, and about as authentically British as tea & scones. And while these descriptors work just fine if he’d simply stuck to what he knows best, they don’t work as well in his attempt to cross over to Hip Hop. And that, in a nutshell, is why No. 6 Collaborations fails as a Hip Hop album.
Since the announcement of his mysterious 'No. 6 Collaborations Project', there was an expected swirl of excitement surrounding who would feature on Ed Sheeran's latest album. Featuring a long list of big names across a range of genres, including Khalid, Camilla Cabello, Cardi B, Justin Bieber, among many others, the album is a collection of feel-good, sincere music that isn't necessarily memorable.
I n 2012, I interviewed Ed Sheeran backstage at Brixton Academy. There was plenty of evidence that his career was in the process of taking off - his album + had just spent its fifth week at No 1, he had sold out two nights at the 5,000-capacity venue and was already famous enough that he couldn't smoke a cigarette out of the dressing room window without bringing the street below to a standstill. But there was nothing to suggest the level of success he was about to encounter.