If I hear that tired out "plonk, plank, plonk plonk plank, plonk plonk plank, plonk plank plonk" that heralds the arrival of Ed Sheeran's song "Shape of You" once more, I will actually lose it. The same for the tired old earnest guitar twanging, faux-Irish violins about his Galway Girl, or anything else of his godawful musical beige shitdiscs named after mathematical operators. Speaking of which, can't he just call his next album "/0" and disappear out of existence, doing the world a favour in the process.
You've probably heard a song by Ed Sheeran today even if you didn't know it. The ginger guitar-rapist had the dubious honour of making up 90% of the UK Top Ten earlier this year even though without looking it up, at the time, I couldn't tell a single one of his songs from another. I have educated myself since then and I know now what they sound like. And the answer is this - they sound like Just Girly Things memes. They sound like deer Snapchat filters. They sound like your boring work colleague who says "vacays"or "holibobs" rather than "holidays" like a normal person and claims to be "so random" or "eclectic" as a result. Ed Sheeran's music is the very essence of mediocrity. Competent but uninspired. Catchy but neither startlingly original enough to be worth remembering or awful enough to be mockable. I've never seen him live because I don't think enough glue in the world exists for me to sniff to blot out the memory of such a performance but seeing recordings of same tells me all I need to know - he stands or sits on stage twanging a guitar and singing shit songs about shit "stories" and no-account bollox that nobody cares about, and the hordes of mediocre Glastonbury-attending fans whoop and holler and clap like seals after each number, and I'm left to think, people pay money for this?
Yes. People pay money for this. Why is some inoffensive mediocre mildly talented ginger boy so tremendously popular? And then I realise it's because he's inoffensive and mediocre, because we live in a generation (which I also have the misfortune to fall into, having been born in 1985) which doesn't like anything with the potential to offend or stoke controversy because some of them might demand a trigger warning or get all aeriated on behalf of their mate or even some rando who might conceivably be upset by it. We live in a generation which went to school during the 1990s, when teachers were rationed in how much correction they can put on work because it might hurt the little dears' feelings. We live in a generation that handed out participation trophies, both physical and emotional, like anything. Tall poppy syndrome is alive and well in 2017. So of course, if you want to sell massively, just be mediocre. Don't try to be a character or a showman or larger than life or tackle anything that could conceivably court controversy because someone will be Offended or decree it Offensive to a Protected Group and then your career is over regardless of whether or not anyone was actually offended. (Case in point: Blurred Lines, which several British university campuses banned in case it triggered (their words not mine) a female student who might have been sexually assaulted, even though nobody could point to this actually having happened, and even though people with PTSD over anything are more likely to be triggered by something specific to the incident, like the specific colour of the attacker's clothes or similar, yet there was not a peep over grime and hip hop songs that were actually glorifying sexism and rape). Don't show off your instrumental skills because you might make others jealous that they can't shred like Luca Turilli or Herman Li. Don't try to have any real creativity or innovation because you might look pretentious. No, just rip off whatever's hot right now and do each of those things adequately but on the same album because you're "eclectic" remember.
Right, I'm off to listen to Nile's "Cast Down the Heretic" because ancient Egyptian curses set to death metal are objectively more interesting than this pabulum. Ed Sheeran, Horus repusleth thy crocodile.