Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Album review: Ed Sheeran, X

Ed Sheeran.
Ed Sheeran.

He's made himself a pop sensation and teen heart-throb on the basis of his songs rather than his looks, and for that, you have to give ginger-haired Pom Ed Sheeran a tip of the cap.

He made himself an international star with his 2011 major label album debut, + (he'd been self-releasing EPs for years before that), and now he has the biggest-selling album in the world, all the while staying true to his easy-going-occasionally-drunk-23-year-old-average-dude image.

So what's he writing that seems to be seducing all these ears?

Well, he's got a way with heartbreak. Songs that talk about love, and lust, and bewilderment in a way that seems honest - Don't is a fairly cutting riposte of someone who betrayed him, and I'm A Mess is an admission that he's equally able to screw up.

Then he's got a few tracks that indulge in the mushier side, some that work better than others - One is probably the most poignant here, stripped to just guitar, vocals, and simple percussion.

And then there's SING, the Pharrell Williams produced single which proves Sheeran can be just as punchy as Mr Timberlake.

The rest of the album isn't quite as irresistible. The Man is Mike Skinner-esque rhyme that has promise but ends up feeling a touch ponderous; Runaway is an interesting perspective on familial relationships, and Afire Love, about his grandfather is thematically touching, but neither really take off in the way that The A-Team did.

Verdict: Both hits and misses
Click here to buy X by Ed Sheeran.

- TimeOut

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