It’s not often that we come across an artist worthy of special recognition, above the normal level of underground excellence. Today at 108MICS we award the Underground Rising Introducing Up Next Ethereal Multitalent Award to Ed Sheeran.
I’ll admit, when I first heard the name Ed Sheeran pop up on social media a few years ago, I wasn’t convinced. He sounded like a man with something to prove and a chip on his shoulder, alongside a little tiny guitar. But as soon as I heard the sweet sounds of Sheeran’s miniscule guitar, I was transported from my room to a world of British charm and sympathetic balladry. His seminal tune “Lego House” hit the charts hard. I was hooked.
Eventually Sheeran found his way into some other career stuff I couldn’t even be bothered to research for this joke article. He released his second album, “X”, and said in an interview: “X is what where the treasure is so it makes it well good and that, butter me crumpets”. Following this he took a brief career detour with the “Michigan Boy Ed” mixtape, which landed middling reviews from critics but was an instant smash with his growing fanbase. Though most fans assume it was his YouTube freestyles, it was actually this mixtape that led Rick Rubin to invite Sheeran to his Florida studio, where he offered some key advice on the upcoming follow up to “X”, “÷”.
I actually liked “Shape of You” when it came out. I didn’t think it was the best thing to happen to music or whatever, he’s not Rachmaninoff or Mozart or F1LTHY, but it was a fun enough pop song with some nice production. But oh my gosh nothing can ever be anything in this country. If you didn’t hear that tune enough times to make you physically sick in the three years from release to global pandemic then you were probably never going to go outside in the first place. At this point my tolerance has gone up, it’s just a fun little song again, and it’s not like this demonic entity lives in that song, it’s just that – remember when Taylor Swift dropped “Midnights” and was accused of an overnight war of conquest on the US vinyl industry? Ed Sheeran did that with the British hive mind via shopping centre PA systems. I look back on “Shape of You” in the way a former sleeper agent would look back on being programmed. And I LIKE some Ed Sheeran songs – “Photograph” is really nice. I don’t hate Ed Sheeran! I think he’s a pretty normal pop guy! I just don’t appreciate waking up feeling deficient in antimemetics (or when people with huge cultural capital disparage the role of criticism in media – fun fact!: read the next paragraph). But I’m free now. We’re all free. Now close your eyes and listen well, it’s time to go back to the story.
Sheeran’s, like, fourth(?) record “Divide” (I’m not clicking “insert special character” again, just on principle) was a smash hit of smash hits, an ethereal album full of vibrant percussion and spectacular other things. He would then drop two other albums, “No. 6 Collaborations Project v3_final_final_newversion_v2_FINAL.wav” and “=”. Unfortunately somewhere along the way some really mean online critics either hurt his feely weelys or didn’t send the Nando’s song to ten of their Facebook friends and he decided to stand on his soap box with his little tiny guitar and tell the truth. “There’s no point in music critics” he said, after thanking the online critics that likely boosted his nascent career a decade ago. Suddenly I was standing up and clapping, and so was everyone else. I was definitely going to take this advice from a man who Pitchfork, one of the most score-inflated websites in music writing history, gave a two-point-eight, which is genuinely impressive when you look at the distribution of scores on that site. You can do, like, the most middling stuff, and they’ll give you a 6.8 and maybe a spot on “The Pitch”. They give so few sub-3.0 scores that at least one list exists on RateYourMusic to catalogue them, and it’s only four pages long. I kind of want a Pitchfork pan now. Popular loner vibes fr.
Ultimately, it was a close contest, but Sheeran’s evolution is sure to keep critics and fans alike on their toes. He is without a doubt the winner of that thing I said in the opener.
– Jamie (Managing Editor @108mics)
This article is a work of parody
it also apparently has no point just like every other music review ever written thank you Ed for enlightening us