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Review: Ed Sheeran 'Bloodstream' Lacks Heavy Weight Of Fellow 'X' Songs [LISTEN]

by Carolyn Menyes   Jun 17, 2014 11:18 AM EDT

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Thus far, Ed Sheeran has released the studio versions of four songs from his new album x, blending together the sharpness of love gone wrong with the tenderness of a breakup or a loved one's death. All the meanwhile, he's somehow managed to stay within the comfortable world of "singer-songwriter" while straying enough away from the music of his debut + to now be seen as a one-trick pony. Today (June 17) though, Sheeran is back to form with the release of his fifth x track: "Bloodstream."

"Bloodstream" follows the release of "Sing," "One," "Don't" and "Afire Love," all of which manage to play with the listener's emotions in one way or another. "Bloodstream," which Sheeran released as a part of a one-song-a-day-until-x-comes-out series, is the first of these new tracks that has fallen a little bit flat.

The song begins with a bit of winding acoustic guitar work, with Sheeran's skillful hands plucking away at the strings, echoing a sense of heaviness despite the song's slight Spanish flair. The guitar's melody of "Bloodstream," despite its attempt at an emotional weight is really what falls flat about this song - it just sounds like what fans and critics have come to expect from a Sheeran song.

That's to say: there's nothing inherently bad about it, it's just a little boring and expected. On an album with punchy hits like "Sing" or the beauty of a song like "One," this track just falls short.

Sheeran explores familiar lyrical themes on "Bloodstream": he's taking refuge from like in booze, possibly drugs and fast women. It paints a lonely life picture, one of a man trying to find his own way in this world and succumbing to the world's vices when things don't quite go his way.

Though it doesn't particularly stand strongly on its own, "Bloodstream" falls right in the middle of the x tracklisting, meaning it could work well as a quieter, more subdued piece of a much larger album puzzle.

Listen to Sheeran's "Bloodstream" below:

X will hit stores worldwide on June 23.

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