Ten years of “X”, the album that turned Ed Sheeran into a star

Ten years of “X”, the album that turned Ed Sheeran into a star

“Yes, I’ve felt a lot of pressure in recent months to deliver the album in the right time after the success of the previous one. But now I’ve put it behind me”, said Ed Sheeran in the summer of 2014, ten years ago, on the eve of record that would make him one of the most successful pop stars of his generation. When Warner shipped to stores on June 20, 2014, “X”, the red singer-songwriter from Halifax in the United Kingdom had already emerged for a couple of years as one of the most talented pens of the new scene. His debut album “+” sold 2 million copies overseas in 2011bringing to the attention of the media and professionals the story of the former child prodigy who went from playing on the sidewalks to filling the clubs thanks to songs like “

The A team”, story of a young girl sucked into a vortex of drug addiction and prostitution. At the Brit Awards she triumphed as “Best British Male Solo” and “Best British Breakthrough Artist”. Growing attention had arisen around him, after the releases of his first five EPs as an independent, also driven by the buzz of the internet.

The clues that suggested that “X” could turn out to be one of the best-sellers of the 2014-2015 recording season were all there: the single “Sing”, released a couple of months before the album, it had reached first place in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, becoming a hit. But the success of “X” went beyond all expectations: “That album was made from 2011 to 2014 and was about my life in those three years, a crazy time. I went from playing pubs and clubs to filling arenas, traveling all over the world and working with some of the biggest producers. It was like being on a roller coaster”, he recalls, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the album, which will return to stores tomorrow as a reissue containing the original album plus nine bonus tracks“Take it back”, “Shirtsleeves”, “Even my dad does sometimes”, “I see fire”, “All of the stars”, “English rose”, “Touch and go”, “New York” and “Make it rain”, all nine already to the artist’s fans.

In a handful of months thanks to pieces like “Photograph”, “Tenerife Sea” and the ballad “Thinking out loud”, the album’s most successful single (he dedicated it to the girl of the time: today at concerts it is the soundtrack to marriage proposals under the stage), Ed Sheeran it went from being the “next big thing” of world pop to a classic. The songs of “X” – read “multiply” – took up the potential of those of the previous “+”, but multiplied them, amplified them: now Ed’s songs aim for stadiums and large arenas. In “Sing” there is the hand of that pop genius of the 2000s

Pharrell Williamsin “Don’t” that of the guru Rick Rubin (who also produces “Bloodstream” and “Tenerife Sea”): “While I was thinking about a title for the album I found the idea of ​​using a symbol beautiful, but which still gave the impression of an improvement, of a step forward. This is why I chose ‘+’”, he said of the title of his debut album. Now, however, speaking of “X” he says: “I wanted to build something from the previous record. I wasn’t sure what sound I wanted, so I worked with several producers. I started with Jake Gosling, who produced the previous album, then I tried to expand everything, that’s why I called it ‘Multiply’”. The reasoning flows and makes sense.

The first song that takes on a well-defined shape during the long “X” sessions is “Photograph”: Sheeran is inspired by the pain felt by Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol, with whom he is working on the album, after his father’s death. “She had something special. The album was built and shaped around this song, but it took a long time to finish it,” she says. The last one, however, is “I’m a mess”: “I wrote it in a big shower cubicle because it had great acoustics – it remains one of my favorite tracks ever.” The most malicious ones whisper that “Don’t” is inspired by flirting with a colleague. And not just any one, but that one Taylor Swift who has already started to build an empire destined to become one of the most influential in pop (he will deny any reference). “Bloodstream” instead talks about an experience with MDMA. “My music reflects the life of a 23 year old boy, in the end: I write about what I know and what I experience”, explains Ed Sheeran in the interviews granted to present the album.

“X” it sold 180,000 copies in its first week of release in the UK, immediately reaching the top of the official rankings (beating Coldplay of “Ghost stories”). The disc it remained in first place for twelve non-consecutive weeks, selling 1.7 million copies and winning 5 platinum records (it will turn out to be the most successful album of 2014 across the Channel). With a total of 74 consecutive weeks spent in the top ten, “X” would also break the record of Adele’s “21,” which remained in the top ten of the official UK best-selling album chart for 71 weeks. In the USA it will sell 2 million copies, also winning two nominations for the Grammy Awards as “Best Pop Vocal Album” and “Album of the Year”.