Beautiful People (feat. Khalid) – Ed Sheeran
South of the Border (feat. Camila Cabello & Cardi B) – Ed Sheeran
Cross Me (feat. Chance the Rapper & PnB Rock) – Ed Sheeran
Take Me Back to London (feat. Stormzy) – Ed Sheeran
Best Part of Me (feat. YEBBA) – Ed Sheeran
I Don’t Care – Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber
Antisocial – Ed Sheeran & Travis Scott
Remember The Name (feat. Eminem & 50 Cent) – Ed Sheeran
Feels (feat. Young Thug & J Hus) – Ed Sheeran
Put It All on Me (feat. Ella Mai) – Ed Sheeran
Nothing On You (feat. Paulo Londra & Dave) – Ed Sheeran
I Don’t Want Your Money (feat. H.E.R.) – Ed Sheeran
1000 Nights (feat. Meek Mill & A Boogie Wit da Hoodie) – Ed Sheeran
Way To Break My Heart (feat. Skrillex) – Ed Sheeran
BLOW – Ed Sheeran, Chris Stapleton & Bruno Mars
Ed Sheeran’s No.6 Collaborations Project is ultimately the album that exposes Ed Sheeran’s rigid compositional techniques, for better or for worse. It’s also a perfect representation of everything wrong with the mainstream music scene right now. With over 68 million Spotify listeners, Ed Sheeran’s mammoth success speaks for itself but with that many subscribers comes a certain expectation from the core fanbase. While there’s nothing wrong with many of the pop-orientated individual tracks on the album, together this feels like a cacophonic, chaotic collection of tracks that lack identity and meaning.
The album opens with ‘Beautiful People’, a fitting track that will no doubt light up the charts given its catchy hook and repetitive lyrics. From here, we see various collaborations across the album from Eminem and 50 Cent through to Travis Scott and Justin Bieber, bringing the chart-winning formula across to different genres with varying degrees of success. In theory, the idea is an interesting one and brings a whole host of musical talent and genres together but the execution reeks of exploitation, highlighting the problems right now that the music scene faces.
The lyrics feel flat and uninspiring throughout, there’s a profound lack of emotion or storytelling through many of the tracks and the genre hopping never settles into a consistent groove. Compared to Bring Me The Horizon’s Amo earlier this year, Ed’s wildly different styles never feel cohesively part of the same album and ultimately give No. 6 Collaborations Project more of a chaotic feel than it perhaps should.
Now, having said that there are some stand-out moments here with ‘Take Me Back To London’ but a lot of that is thanks to Stormzy’s rapping rather than Ed Sheeran himself. The reverb effects, echoing lyrics and big-room, simple choruses designed to get audiences to sing along are all pretty well designed throughout but there’s always that niggling feeling that everything’s a little overly manufactured.
While many of today’s mainstream stars clamour for that perfect winning formula to hit the high points on the charts, Ed’s secret recipe is repeated again here, but spread thinly across multiple genres instead. What we’re left with when the album finishes is a collaborative effort that’s neither here nor there; an indifferent collection of mainstream pop hits and genres that’ll be forgotten as quickly as they are praised and highlighted in the charts.