MUSIC

"No. 6 Collaborations Project:" Ed Sheeran Is a Mediocre Wedding Singer. Why Do We Love Him So Much?

We're enslaved to his inoffensively pleasant voice and middle-of-the-road songwriting.

Ed Sheeran is known for his ability to take the slow-jam, first-dance-at-a-community-center-wedding ballad mainstream.

Why was he the one, of all the talented singer-songwriters out there, who managed it? It's hard to say. But he did, and now he's out of tricks, but it literally doesn't matter. No. 6 Collaborations Project, the new album from the world's luckiest red-head with a guitar, is full of duets and features and feels almost like a brag, as if Sheeran is saying, "Look at me, I got every major name in music to be on this shitty album, and you're going to listen to it because I'm mother f**king Ed Sheeran and you're enslaved to my vocal runs." And he's right.

Essentially: Remember Sheeran's 2017 hit "Shape of You"? Want an album of that 15 times in a row, but a little worse than the original, and with a different teen-favorite artist featured on each version? That's Ed Sheeran's new album.

In a movie, when an "international pop sensation" is introduced as a character, the audience expects and receives lukewarm pop songs as evidence of the character's musical brilliance.Of course, in reality, the songs were written quickly and carelessly by a busy movie production team operating on a deadline. But still, we buy the supposed "brilliance" of the songs as part of the movie magic; we suspend our disbelief willingly and pretend that the songs played in the concert scene of the movie are exceptional to support the accepted fame surrounding the artist in question. The point is that every track on Ed Sheeran's new album could be one of these songs.

What You Get from Each Song:

"Beautiful People Feat. Khalid:" Music to walk around a budget grocery store to.

"South of the Border Feat. Camila Cabello and Cardi B:" An anthem for 16-year-old boys who decide to go to Cancun and are a little racist about it (Can we say "caramel thighs" any more?)

"Cross Me Feat. Chance the Rapper and PnB:" Ed Sheeran's that awkward white guy unsuccessfully trying to dance at the party he wasn't really invited to.

"Take Me Back to London Feat. Stormzy:" Eddy boy, you and Drake need to leave grime alone. LEAVE IT ALONE.

"Best Part of Me Feat. YEBBA:" A reminder Ed Sheeran is better at being Ed Sheeran than Jason Derulo. Still, only okay.

"I Don't Care With Justin Bieber:" Neither do we, Ed.

"Antisocial With Travis Scott:" Okay, but what's the rule for who gets a "with" vs. a "Feat."? Do you have to have banged one of Kendall Jenner's friends/sisters?

"Remember the Name Feat. Eminem and 50 Cent:" It's rare to hear an auditory depiction of a half-hearted pissing contest.

"Feels Feat. Young Thug and J Huss:" Allow this to be a reminder to go listen to Calvin Harris' song of the same name.

"Put It All On Me Feat. ELLA MAI:" This adds to the difficulty of knowing if you've actually hit "next song" or not.

"Nothing On You Feat. Paulo Londra and Dave:" L.A. gave us Nipsey Hussle, New York gave us Tupac, London gave us...Dave?

"I Don't Want Your Money Feat. H.E.R.:" Don't lie, you're in it for the money. On some level, we all are.

"A Thousand Nights Feat. Meek Mill and A Boogie Wit Da Hoddie:" When Meek Mill says he parties with Ed Sheeran in the verse, you can hear the regret in his voice.

"Way to Break My Heart Feat. Skrillex:" Has Skrillex been castrated?

"Blow Feat. Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars:" Digging rock music's grave ever deeper.

Conclusion: "No. 6 Collaborations Project" is as soulless as its title.

Superfluously: What the f**k is this album even about? Is there any kind of cohesive theme? Is the theme just manufactured emotion? If so, you'd think Sheeran could at least pay for the creation of a more authentic experience?

Unnecessarily: Cardi B deserves better.

Finally: Support real, human singer-songwriters.

This Saturday at 3PM EST, Popdust will be hosting our first ever livestreamed music festival.

Check out the show on Facebook Live (RSVP here!), grab a free ticket on Eventbrite, or register on Zoom.

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MUSIC

Sonta's Seductive New Single Is Exactly What We've Been Waiting For

The R&B Singer releases a new single that is nostalgic, sexy, and catchy as hell.

Sonta has been busy building a buzz over the last few years.

And now she's back to capitalize on it. With the release of her new single, "Favorite Girl," the 22-year-old singer proves that she is not just some passing fad. She is already being compared to the greats. MTV midwest correspondent and member of the Grammy's regional board, Andrew Barber, has repeatedly referred to Sonta as Chicago's Mary J. Blige. Sonta's melodic sensibilities and thematic material have also been compared to Toni Braxton. In a review of her previous single, "Type of Way," the Soul Train award-winning publication, Soul Bounce, said "She [Sonta] takes her man to task for playing with her emotions, at one point even interpolating a bit of Toni Braxton's "Just Be A Man About It" to get her point across."

On "Favorite Girl," however, Sonta smoothly croons on the hook and comfortably lounges on the verses over a '90's-inspired R&B beat with a certain grace and understated confidence that is more than a little reminiscent of Aaliyah. But that is not to say that Sonta is merely the sum of the legends who inspired her. Her voice is still nobody's but her own, identifiable by its unique flourishes and vocal runs. There's a certain characteristic warmth and buoyancy to her voice that allows her to float effortlessly over the beat as she, in the case of "Favorite Girl," puts the moves on a man she's had her eye on.

If you've never heard of Sonta before, now is the time to change that. Check out "Favorite Girl" below, and get ready to bump this in your car all Summer long.



Dustin DiPaulo is a writer and musician from Rochester, New York. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Florida Atlantic University and can most likely be found at a local concert, dive bar, or comedy club (if he's not getting lost somewhere in the woods).


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