Ed Sheeran can be annoying, but I have to give him credit for using his massive celebrity in interesting ways sometimes. One of those ways: He’s releasing a full album of collaborations this summer.
A lot of major pop stars shovel as many collaborators onto their album as they can, but usually not folksy balladeers like Sheeran. One of the reasons he has thrived this decade is his ability to crossbreed his baseline soft-rock style with hip-hop and dance-pop, and he’s apparently taken a page from those genres’ playbooks with No.6 Collaborations Project. The album is a sequel to No.5 Collaborations Project, an EP he released in 2011 before he was famous. Something tells me this one will be a bigger deal.
“I Don’t Care,” Sheeran’s hit duet with Justin Bieber, is the lead single. Another track with Chance The Rapper and PnB Rock called “Cross Me” is out tonight, when the album goes up for pre-order. He’s sharing the rest of the tracklist today, too, but not the names of his other collaborators. However — and this is where the goodwill about using his fame in intriguing ways starts to dissipate — if all the songs are going to be as bland as “I Don’t Care,” it doesn’t really matter who else is guesting on this thing. Here’s hoping he finds more of a unique spark elsewhere on the album.
Apparently Sheeran is doing a big feature interview with radio host Charlamagne Tha God to promote this project, like Kanye West did for Ye. You can watch a trailer for that below, where you’ll also find the tracklist.
No.6 Collaborations Project is out 7/12 via Atlantic.