Seriously, fuck him.
My confusion and annoyance at the hype surrounding this man began a few years ago as I watched him as a support act, (I cannot remember who for) I was surrounded by screaming fans who were loving every moment as this ginger guy with an acoustic guitar beatboxed and accapella'd his way through a short set list, wondering why on earth people were loving it so much. Later I saw him on Jools Holland doing the same thing. Suddenly, he was everywhere.
'+' was no doubt the sales success of whatever year it came out in. I even bought it myself (for my mum). It sounds petty to say so, but it annoyed me for a long time seeing this chart juggernaut hog the top ten, pushing many more worthy records off the top-spots they deserve.
It also sounds petty to say that he lacks talent, because that obviously isn't true. I admit I liked his 'Slumdon Town' joint ep with Yellawolf, (mainly because of Yellawolf). I also admit that I kind of liked 'You need me..' it sounded fresh for a bit, until i got sick of hearing it
And, yes it's great that a man who put a lot of hard work into his music and worked his way up from a homeless busker into a massive success. But fuck me some of his songs are boring, take 'The A-Team' I get that prostitution is an important socio-political subject, but you have to sound so bloody wet while singing about it? where's the anger? where is that fire in the belly?*
What angers me most is the fact that people seem to think that he is a genius for simply standing up on stage and playing a guitar, something mankind has been doing for hundreds of years, has mainstream pop music really got so plastic that people simply cannot believe a man is playing acoustically?
Honestly if you are a 'sheeranator' then answer this, have you ever listened to Bob Dylan? Leonard Cohen? or if you want something more modern then check out Willis Earl Beal. There is more passion and heartfelt emotion in one of his songs than ED's entire back catalogue, the same goes for Sharon Van Etten, Ben Howard, or even Jake Bugg. If you like Ed's more social commentary/rap based side then you should hear Scroobious Pip or Kate Tempest, both are genius storytellers, who create incredibly believable, characters and scenarios in their songs.
What annoys me most about the man is that in an era where musicians have had to go back to basics and rely on touring and merchandise to barely scrape by. His face and album covers are everywhere, he's one of the most marketed artists of the past 5 years, and as such it is impossible to get away from him. Don't just listen to what is in the charts, go explore that huge musical world out there.
One last question Ed, are you the critical darling? the man who makes the heartfelt ballads? or the twee pop star who sells millions of records about drinking and partying to teenage fans?
You can't have your cake and eat it, ED.
Other recommended acts: Raury, Courtney Barnett, S.Carey, The War On Drugs, Kurt Vile, Jamie T, Lou Reed, George Ezra, Gary Clark JR.
* Action Bronson has an amazing song about prostitutes called 'hookers at the point' I don't recommend it if you like Ed Sheeran though.