The charts are a pretty depressing view this week for those of us who aren’t Ed Sheeran fans. He currently has 9 songs in the UK top 10 alone, with the rest of his album scattered through the remains of the charts. I haven’t listened to Ed’s album, and from what I’ve heard so far (Shape of You, Galway Girl and Castle on the Hill) I don’t think I’m missing out on much and will probably give the album a skip. But the fact remains, Ed Sheeran is a huge figure in our charts and will probably be ever present throughout 2017.
Ed Sheeran’s domination of the UK music scene is nothing new, he’s been a force to be reckoned with since around 2012 and his singles are a constant feature on UK radio stations (remember that time it was nearly impossible to go a full day without hearing Thinking Out Loud?). He’s hugely successful and attracts a mass following of fans. He’s enjoyed huge success as a songwriter, working with the likes of One Direction and Taylor Swift (arguably writing some of their worst songs, but each to their own I guess) and he’s obviously tapped into something that people want to hear and that they relate to, as proven by his constant success. Whilst Sheeran may have been known in his more formative years as the humble, scruffy pop star who always performed in his classic trainers and hoodie, in more recent years he seems to have realised the level of his success. He recently stated in interviews that 2017 will be his year as all his competitors (Beyoncé, Adele, Bruno Mars, etc.) released their albums last year and he’s set his sights high, trying to sell 20 million records in order to out-sell Adele. Sounds like Sheeran’s got a real plan to continue his inescapable domination of the music world.
Shape of You is less acoustic based than some of Sheeran’s other work and focuses on a more digitalised, electronic version of his sound which is becoming ever more popular. As Dan pointed out last week, it does sound like a poor pop-EDM track heavily influenced by the rise of artists such as Avicii. This kind of mix of classic white-boy-with-a-guitar and electronic DJ was also seen at the end of 2016 with Just Hold On, ex-One Direction member Louis Tomlinson’s first attempt at a solo career. Sheeran has arguably made something more listenable that Tomlinson but the classic Sheeran-esque lyrics, such as “your love was handmade for someone like me” are honestly off putting to me. I resent being told over and over again to come on and be Sheeran’s baby. Another Sheeran track in the charts is his quasi-Irish hit Galway Girl which is somewhat similar to B*witched’s classic (and every Cheesy Tuesday regular’s favourite) C’est La Vie. The chorus to this song is a fun, harmless attempt at Irish folk music, but combined with Sheeran’s attempts to rap becomes annoying and repetitive.
Whatever you think of Sheeran however, it seems he’s going to be difficult to avoid in the coming months. His belief that 2017 is going to be his year has only been proven by the fact that his new album has taken up the bulk of the UK Top 20 and he’s just recently been announced as Glastonbury’s third headline act. Buckle up non-Sheeran fans, it’s going to be a long, Ed-dominated year.