By Jeff Cornell, Radio.com
Ed Sheeran scored the biggest hit of his career with “Thinking Out Loud,” which is nominated for three GRAMMY awards including Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. The catchy blue-eyed soul track is also up for the coveted Record of the Year award against some stiff competition including D’Angelo’s “Really Love,” Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and The Weeknd’s huge hit “Can’t Feel My Face.”
Sheeran’s track is a dark horse to win the award for Record of the Year going up against such heavyweights in the category, but it should take the trophy for a number of reasons.
The GRAMMY for Record of the Year goes to the artist and producer of the song. Sheeran’s hit was produced by Jake Gosling, who also was behind the board for three other tracks on Sheeran’s 2014 album, x, including “I’m a Mess” and “The Man.” “Thinking Out Loud” is a warmly recorded track that brilliantly captures the vibe and performance. It doesn’t rely on heavy-handed studio production and shines with its less is more production style. In an era where big production is king, Sheeran’s infectious track is a breath of fresh air.
“Thinking Out Loud” is something of a throwback to the slow-dance prom jams of the ’80s and ’90s, complete with a tasteful guitar solo courtesy of seven-time GRAMMY winner John Mayer.
The song peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and held that spot for eight consecutive weeks, but was held off from hitting the top spot by Record of the Year competitor “Uptown Funk,” which isn’t to say that it should be kept from winning this GRAMMY by that, or any other, nominees. The song’s success has a lot to do with the song itself, and Sheeran’s performance of it. But it’s the production that makes it sound like a hit from 20 years ago; it’ll likely still be played at weddings in 20 years, and beyond.