No.6 Collaborations Project just dropped and do we love it? Ed Sheeran’s latest album hits us hard with some insane collabs that we’ve all been dreaming about, including the likes of Cardi B, Bruno Mars, Khalid, Camila Cabello and many more.
With all these collabs, at surface value the entire album appears almost as a mix tape of the pop artist singing catchy tunes with all his most famous friends. I’ll give him this, that’s a sure fire way to blow your record sales through the roof. However, when listening through track by track a more good natured story plays out of ‘some guy’ that got famous one day, and is now getting hitched and is ready to settle down.
The Story Played Out
This sentiment is captured best on his first track with Khalid, “Beautiful People” which breathes life back into the original idea of Ed Sheeran being that ‘regular guy’ who just happened to become a celebrity. It’s a strong start. The song is instantly attention grabbing and catchy. Followed by tracks such as “Best Part of Me” with YEBBA, and his collab with fellow newlywed Justin Bieber, “I Don’t Care” (which I know is going to be played wherever I go), a touching picture of Ed Sheeran turning from a young, bright-eyed, ginger haired, budding star into a guy ready for commitment and excited to spend the rest of his life with the girl he loves.
Genre Confused? Or Style-Switching Master Mind!
There’s covering all the bases, and then there’s No.6 Collaborations Project. With so many collaborations it’s only natural that each track becomes a single on its own with a very distinct sound attached to each. That being said, so much genre in one album can make for a very stylistically messy appearance. Like a carnival squashed into 15 tracks.
Not that fusion is a bad thing, there are definitely some tunes to highlight here that you’ll never get out of your head. “From the Border” with Camila Cabello and Cardi B stands out as one of the more musically eccentric and surprising turns on the album. A combo of Latin and pop in the song is obvious without fully derailing or taking away from the original sound. But…there’s a one-off track, and then there’s making a whole album of one-off tracks. It lacks a certain amount of personality and singularity that we’ve grown to love with Ed Sheeran.
Still, throughout the entire album you will hear the familiar guitar and funky off-beat percussion driven beats that we fell in love with in hits like “Shape of You” and “Sing”.
If we talk personal, three songs in particular have stolen my heart on this album. The first being “Remember the Name” with the stellar collab of Eminem and 50cent. Ed Sheeran opens the track with “I was born a misfit, grew up ten miles from the town of Ipswich” yet again hollering back to his signature ‘normal bloke on the street’ style. The song’s beat strangely seems as if it is both driving and sitting in the passenger seat, with a strong emotional message about starting from the ground up and becoming something from nothing.
The second is “Put It All on Me” with Ella Mai, which heralds a sound of early 2000s hip hop. So, you already know it’s going to be a banger in the club. Ella Mai has always had a soft spot in my heart for her smooth tone and wonderful lyricism, so this Sheeran-Mai combo really was a dream come true.
The third, and coincidentally, the final track on the album, is “BLOW” with Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars, which plays on the artist’s love for old rock. Rustic vocals, open hi-hats and distorted guitars galore, much like “From the Border”, this one is a surprising turn. Except, it derails entirely from the original sound. Strangely enough, I don’t even care.