In case you missed it, Ed Sheeran released his No.6 Collaborations Project today (July 12). I wrote extensively about why this project was so important, but, truthfully, the record has its fair share of duds. In light of this, I’ve decided to compile an unranked (definitive-ish) list of the five best songs on the new project.
South of the Border (feat. Camila Cabello & Cardi B)
Latin and Latin-influenced music have really begun to dominate Stateside and worldwide. Latin artists consistently drop great songs and even better music videos. Two of the biggest American pop stars of Latin descent, Camila and Cardi, join Ed on the next smash single from this project. Geographically, the song doesn’t make much sense because Ed is from the U.K. and France is south of that border. Nevertheless, with Cardi’s best featured verse of 2019 and Camila’s charismatic vocal performance, “South of the Border” is a genuinely fun song.
Best Part of Me (feat. YEBBA)
I still think that Ed’s debut album, +, houses the strongest lyricism of his mainstream career. He channels some of that energy on this beautiful duet. Sure, it’s a standard Ed Sheeran love ballad, but that first verse is so candid and well-written that you have to run the track back.
Take Me Back to London (feat. Stormzy)
In the states, U.K. rap is widely viewed as a joke. Well, we can laugh all we want, but, truth be told, Stormzy can go toe to toe with a lot of our strongest U.S. rappers. Stormzy, who recently became the first black solo British artist to ever headline Glastonbury, trades rap verses with Ed on this track that flutters between grime, trap, and pop. The premise is familiar (success doesn’t bring the same feeling as home), but the two execute it well.
1000 Nights (feat. Meek Mill & A Boogie wit da Hoodie)
This song has a similar subject matter to “Take Me Back to London,” but it has some great elements of its own. Meek Mill has a tendency to shout when he raps, but on this song he goes for a softer approach. It’s also fun to hear Ed adopt A Boogie’s trademark sing-song flow and get in his rap bag as well.
BLOW (with Chris Stapleton & Bruno Mars)
I highlighted this song in my previous piece about No.6 Collaborations Project. I simply cannot overstate just how great this track is. Hearing a country artist, and R&B/pop star, and an acoustic pop star rip through this no-holds-barred hard rock track is such a thrill. Chris Stapleton is the real star of the show with a vocal performance that puts a lot of today’s actual rockers to shame. This is a true gem.