It was only a couple of years ago when any summary of Ed Sheeran’s music would have began with an introduction of the man himself. Since the release of his debut record, +, back in 2011, Sheeran quickly became somebody who no longer needed an introduction: he hit the ground running with the massive success he found with hit singles like ‘The A-Team’ and ‘Lego House,’ and he only grew bigger when that success crossed over to the United States. A tour with Taylor Swift and a few sold out shows at Madison Square Garden later, Sheeran is back with his sophomore record, (or Multiply), and it was very well worth the wait.

Ed SheeranEd Sheeran has released 'X'

x came into fruition as soon as + was finished, but delays came when Sheeran wanted to wait until he “broke into America” before releasing, and it could have come out as early as 2012. When x was all said and done, the next release date was scheduled for earlier this year, but then producer Rick Rubin came into play. “The delay happened because I thought the album was done. I had the opportunity to work with Rick Rubin for two months which I wasn’t going to say no to," he told Fuse. “I wanted to make a statement.” With x now released worldwide, that statement is loud and clear. Early reports say the album should sell between 175-200,000 copies in the U.S. this week, which would be good for number one on the Billboard charts. Sales and hype aside, is x worth all the attention, and is it a serviceable successor to +? Let’s break down the highlights.


Sheeran’s comeback single also happens to be one of the best tracks on the album. The Pharrell-assisted tune boasts a big R&B influence that Sheeran has said takes influence from Justin Timberlake’s music, and it turns out to be a track that Timberlake should envy.


A candidate for single number two, ‘Don’t,’ proves early on in the record that Sheeran’s upbeat pop-nature is the style that suits him the best. An addictive chorus coupled with his signature rapping in the verse makes it hard to move on to other x tracks: you’ll just want ‘Don’t’ on repeat.


Undeniably smooth, ‘Nina’ had to have been crafted with arenas in mind. Its got acoustic strums, big drums, and a piano melody in the chorus that’s tough to forget. It’s an absolute blast for the 3:46 it plays for, and the hooks are good enough to make it a standout track on x for anyone.

Ed Sheeran PerformingWhat are the best tracks off Ed Sheeran's new album, x?


Well, it wouldn’t be an Ed Sheeran album without some songs that pull on your heartstrings, right? ‘Photograph’ happens to be the one that just does it better than the rest. It’s somber and full of emotion with every note, and its got everything in it that made Sheeran the household name he is today.

‘Afire Love’

Sheeran ends his sophomore record on an incredible note with ‘Afire Love.’ Produced by Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid, the closer has soaring vocals on top of piano and a beat. Full of rhythm and soul, ‘Afire Love’ just leaves us wanting a third Ed Sheeran record as soon as humanely possible. Hopefully he’ll call it -.

More: Ed Sheeran's 'X' review round-up