Track Review: Ed Sheeran, 'The A Team'

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ED SHEERAN
"The A Team" (4:22)
Producers: Jake Gosling
Writers: Ed Sheeran
Publishers: Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Warner Music UK


No, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran's single "The A Team" does not discuss the exploits of Mr. T's famous gang of crime-fighters. Instead, the song is a dark yet overwhelmingly tuneful slice of jazz-folk. Built on palm-muted guitars and a simmering string arrangement, Sheeran chronicles a young girl's descent into an endless web of drug addiction and prostitution: "Stuck in her daydream… Lately, her face seems slowly sinking, wasting, crumbling like pastries," he sings. A songwriting prodigy -- he released his first two albums while still in high school -- and up-and-coming phenom in his native Britain, Sheeran has an unflinching eye for subtle details and colorful imagery, and his music is full of soulful vocal runs and patient atmosphere. Although the subject matter of "The A Team" isn't exactly radio-friendly, the hook sure is. - RYAN REED

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