Well I sure as hell was anticipating this album considering I liked +, though not to a full extent, but it did bear brunt most of Ed's capabilities in that record, and fans had an idea of what he sounded like. Will Multiply, also known as X, showcase that same strength or will it downtime his talents?
+ (Plus) had a lot of problems that probably had some to do with Ed's songwriting structure and melody itself, though it fit the album perfectly. Some of the tracks were varying and inconsistent, at times going for the jugular and then the next moment, the album was taking a step back. While it was surprising to hear some of the content on the album, it was really hard to swallow what one was hearing from the different tracks that was thrown everywhere. So, how did Multiply do?
It's really tough to say what is bad about the album, considering from what I've heard, Multiply feels more like an experimental production record that, in a general scope, would be the same as Plus but with more intricate, retrospective elements to it. Though that may feel like a bad thing, it is one of the few things that really stand out from the album.
The production on the album doesn't necessarily deter itself from the content that Ed is trying to imply and say, but it doesn't also lend a hand all that much without taking some points off it. Say for example on Sing, Ed's vocals do seem tight and out of place, for which perhaps Pharrell had an idea that didn't quite fit for the artist at hand.
Obviously Ed Sheeran's humble approach to his music does put things in perspective and botches up a point for himself, but on this album especially, the under-weighed tracks like One, The Man and Tenerife Sea, are probably the least stand-out ones basically because it tells of something that was probably not necessarily unheard of before. Love was a main subject on Plus, and it is the same here, though it lifts more weigh than it could possibly harbour. While I had wanted to hear more (alcohol does play a huge part on Multiply) it doesn't really knock itself down too. The lyrical content don't necessarily immense the audience, but it does lighten things up and does introduce you to the artist himself more.
While I do expect more of a traditional songwriting, acoustic semblance of it back in Plus, for this album, the tracks feels as if they succumbed to the pressure in which it built from itself from the previous album. They just simply didn't cut it. In fact, for me, the best songs on the album was I'm A Mess and Afire Love. The rich, ever-growing production laced with the guitars and piano was simply too hard to overlook. The two songs were unfortunately, brought back down because of how the album was ordered.
Multiply is clunky. It is a solid album no doubt, but it isn't amazing. It is interesting and intricate, and does lift some weights, but the overall impression is lowered because of how the songs sounded that felt completely overwriting each other on the same level. They were overwhelming and than underwhelming in the next instant, within the same minute. It felt the same with Plus, though here, Ed Sheeran does up the ante and brings up his production, rather than being closed in with his guitar once more.
Favourite Tracks: Afire Love, I'm A Mess, Bloodstream
Least Favourite Tracks: One, The Man
On an overall view, Multiply is a great album. It does raise your expectations high, but be prepared to be underwhelmed. Though the tracks are easy on the ears, they don't necessarily leave an imprint. Ed Sheeran's music is still captivating, and that is all that is needed.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.