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Pop - Released March 3, 2017 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released June 20, 2014 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released March 19, 2012 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released June 25, 2021 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released December 21, 2020 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released March 3, 2017 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released July 12, 2019 | Atlantic Records UK

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No.6 Collaborations Project is a strangely utilitarian title, describing the contents lying within the confines of Ed Sheeran's fourth studio album. That's right -- fourth album. The "No.6" in No.6 Collaborations Project refers to what was originally intended to be his sixth EP, following a 2011 set that was also dedicated to collaborations. The line separating this full-length LP from the previous EPs is blurry: No.6 weighs in at 50 minutes, which is just 15 minutes longer than No.5. To complicate things further, Sheeran designates No.6 Collaborations Project as a compilation, which could be a roundabout way of lowering expectations after three blockbuster solo albums in a row. It also could be an admission that No.6 Collaborations Project plays not like an album but rather a digital play list, purportedly hopping from genre to genre but maintaining a low-key, amiable groove that can pass as pop, hip-hop, R&B, adult pop, mall music, a retro throwback -- whatever genre you'd like, really. It's a feature endemic to streaming services, where seemingly disparate artists are united by tempo and chill, but it's something of an innovation to replicate this aesthetic in album form. Not only could No.6 Collaborations Project substitute for a cannily constructed cross-genre play list, each of its tracks could be swapped into any mood-based play list -- something that's true not only of the chill hip-hop/folk hybrids but the blaring closer, "Blow," a churning rocker featuring both Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars. This pairing shows how savvy Sheeran is in his choice of collaborators: Stapleton brings him a country audience he heretofore ignored, while Bruno is one of the few pop stars as big as the ginger man himself. Throughout No.6 Collaborations Project, he slyly targets different demographics in this fashion: Camila Cabello and Cardi B show up on "South of the Border," "Cross Me" has Chance the Rapper and PnB Rock, Justin Bieber is on "I Don't Care," while the presence of Eminem and 50 Cent on "Remember the Name" makes it feel like a conscious throwback. The cast of characters suggests a wilder album than No.6 Collaborations Project is, but that's a deliberate choice on Sheeran's part. Its glassy, placid groove isn't a reflection of his blandness, but how Sheeran knows that this is the sound that defines global pop in 2019. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 30, 2017 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released May 10, 2019 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released March 3, 2017 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released November 13, 2015 | Atlantic Records UK

It's a little glib to call Ed Sheeran the U.K.'s answer to Jason Mraz, yet there's a grain of truth in that statement. Like Mraz, Sheeran plays around with hip-hop cadences but at his core he's a singer/songwriter, and a sensitive one at that, one who prefers love tunes to songs of protest, something that is quite evident on X, his second collection of original songs. Although he sometimes pours out his heart armed with no more than an acoustic guitar, he's not a troubadour; those hip-hop roots means he'll not only ramble out a rap, but he's also quite comfortable with luxurious, shimmering textures and buoyant melodies. Naturally, these traits surface clearly on "Sing," a collaboration with Pharrell Williams that contains some of the natural ebullience of "Happy," along with the upscale whitebread rap of "The Man," but this good cheer surfaces on songs that are far removed from rhythm. When Sheeran sings slow, he rarely sings sad: he's a hybrid of Chris Martin and David Grey, a boy next door who hasn't lost his shaggy romanticism. His sweetness isn't cloying, not even when the productions are aimed straight down the middle of the road, which they often are on . His boyishness doesn't give these immaculate confections grit so much as a wet, wide-eyed puppy dog heart. Sheeran is so good at this AAA gloss that whenever the mildly manic rapping surfaces -- which X does about every three songs or so -- it's a bit of sand in the Vaseline, preventing X from operating as smoothly as it'd like. Nevertheless, these gangly excursions in rap are evidence of Sheeran's youth and his generation, something that keeps X from being merely a bit of excellently crafted mature pop and gives it some appealing character. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released December 15, 2017 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released November 29, 2019 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released December 9, 2011 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released February 10, 2017 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released March 19, 2012 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released June 28, 2019 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released July 9, 2021 | Atlantic Records UK

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Pop - Released May 31, 2019 | Atlantic Records UK

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