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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. Indeed, the unexpected hugely popular response to lead single "The A Team," an achingly tender tale of a heroin-addicted prostitute (think a socially aware James Blunt) seems to have thrown him off course, as rather than pursue the more urban direction that set him apart from his contemporaries, the majority of Plus' 12 tracks feel like self-conscious attempts to replicate its sound. The sparse piano chords and stream-of-consciousness delivery ("I knew you loved Shrek cos we've watched it twelve times") of "Wake Me Up," the gentle percussion and lilting piano hooks of "Small Bump," and the melancholic wistful folk of "This" are all melodic, Damien Rice-esque numbers that would no doubt go down like a storm on one of the many open-mike nights Sheeran used to frequent. But for an artist who has built up a reputation for his inventive fusion of sounds, they are disappointingly back-to-basics affairs which offer little that hasn't been heard before. However, Sheeran is a much more interesting prospect when his unassuming manner is accompanied by an array of skittering hip-hop beats and staccato R&B licks. "You Don't Need Me, I Don't Need You" is a blistering swipe at the music industry which shows that while he may not have the conventional image of a rapper, he certainly possesses the quick-witted attitude; "U.N.I." combines Snow Patrol-esque guitar hooks with a breakneck-speed delivery reminiscent of Craig David's early 2000s output; while some dirty, scuzzy guitars and electronic bleeps are thrown into the mix on "The City," which deals with his experience of moving from his hometown of to the bright lights of London. With his casual jeans and hoodie, and relatable tales of relationship woes, university, and getting drunk, it's easy to see why Sheeran has struck such a chord with the late-teens/early-twenties crowd. But his debut's failure to capitalize on his unique selling point means it's likely to leave everyone else nonplussed.

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Product Details

Release Date: 06/12/2012
Label: Elektra / Wea
UPC: 0825646592180
catalogNumber: 530433
Rank: 6071


  1. A Team
  2. Drunk
  3. U.N.I.
  4. Grade 8
  5. Wake Me Up
  6. Small Bump
  7. This
  8. The City
  9. Lego House
  10. You Need Me, I Don't Need You
  11. Kiss Me
  12. Give Me Love
  13. [CD-ROM Track]

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ed Sheeran   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Piano,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping,Beat Box
Tom Greenwood   Piano
John Metcalfe   Viola
Chris Worsey   Cello
Chris Leonard   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Charlie Hugall   Percussion,Drums
Louisa Fuller   Violin
Jake Gosling   Piano,Strings,Drums,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Oliver Langford   Violin
Leddra Chapman   Background Vocals
Ben Hollingsworth   Drums

Technical Credits

Sally Herbert   String Arrangements
Gordon Mills   Composer
Guy Massey   Engineer
Julie Frost   Composer
Ben Cook   Executive Producer
Rob Kinelski   Engineer
Chris Leonard   Composer
True Tiger   Composer
Charlie Hugall   Producer,Engineer,Additional Production
Jake Gosling   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements
Justin Franks   Composer
Ed Sheeran   Composer,Producer
Robert Conlon   Composer
No Id   Programming,Producer
Sukhdeep Uppal   Composer
Stuart Camp   Management
Phillip Butah   Illustrations
Ed Howard   Executive Producer

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