He’s the nicest guy in pop and Taylor’s Swift’s favorite red haired signer, but let’s not forget that Ed Sheeran is also one of music’s most promising young talents. The 23 year old singer songwriter has just released his second album, entitled X, the follow up to 2011’s hugely successful +. But how has Ed (now an international star) fared with the critics the second time around, has the Sheeran magic now only gotten bigger and better?

Ed Sheeran X
Ed is back with X his second album

Writing in The Telegraph, Neil McCormick points out that Ed “does not appear to be obvious pop star material” (tell that to Taylor Swift.) But the Suffolk born singer songwriter has been enjoying a taste of world domination as of late, taking his acoustic guitar and travelling across the globe, eventually cracking America and seeing his debut album land on the Billboard top 5. But on to his latest offering X, where McCormick writes the singer showcases some “genuinely great songs, where melodies flow, rhythms groove, choruses erupt and lyrics jab you with surprises.” His review also notes that Sheeran might be the man who helps older listeners bridge the gap with contemporary pop. We’re not sure if that was Ed’s intention, but he’ll probably take it.

More: Ed Sheeran launches interactive TV advert

The kind words continue in Billboard, who praise Sheeran’s songwriting skills, particularly his lyrical attention to detail and his “unorthodox phrasing.” They give X an impressive 81 rating, describing him as “a hungry artist doing everything possible to elevate to another level, simply by abiding by his instincts.” Similarly, USA Today found themselves entranced by Sheeran, saying that at times, “X becomes an album capable of stopping you in your tracks with a line that's powerfully rendered, unexpectedly perfect.”

More: Ed Sheeran 'wary' of Pharrell

But not everybody’s been so keen to heap the praise on young Sheeran’s flannel coated shoulders. Rolling Stone wonders if the travelling wordsmith’s success might have rattled his head and corroded his liver slightly, since many of his songs seem to focus on too many beers and broken hearts. Still, they give the album a satisfactory three out of five stars and hope Ed finds himself a “nice girlfriend” asap. However The Observer is less complimentary, finding Sheeran’s writing a little too contrived. Could it be that Sheeran knows teenagers enjoy songs about heartbreak? Maybe so, as Kitty Empire writes, “The name of the game here may be multiplying, but Sheeran knows where his bread is buttered and that is in writing chick lit, not window-steamers.”

ed sheeranEd Sheeran and his acoustic guitar are conquering the pop world

On the whole, X, appears to be a step in the right direction for Ed. He’s broadening his horizons slightly, while staying true to those romantic tales of heartbreak he’s so good at telling. You know, the kind of songs that will leave his legion of fans wondering wether he’s singing about Taylor Swift (no) or Ellie Goulding (maybe). They don’t call second albums difficult for nothing, but Sheeran has seemingly passed the test with X. His second album should see Sheeran's place on the pop map only further cemented, even if he is among those of lesser talents who just happen to seem more ‘obvious pop star material’.