Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Pharrell Williams is pretty much everywhere these days. He sang on two tracks on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories last year, produced a track on Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz, appeared on Beyoncé’s recent self-titled album and, of course, repeatedly shouted “whoo!” on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Williams is basically Billboard chart gold, and it was probably only a matter of time before he teamed up with Sheeran — who has written songs for One Direction, collaborated with Taylor Swift, and made a big splash of his own with his 2011 debut, +. Based on personnel alone, if “Sing” doesn’t become a massive hit, I’d be extremely surprised.
That doesn’t necessarily mean I like it. On the surface it’s fine enough — a blend of Sheeran’s strummy sincerity and Pharrell’s futuristic beat-knocks that’s perfectly catchy. But in the process of combining the two artists’ individual styles, something ends up lost in the process, ending up like one of the more forgettable tracks from Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience Part 2. Not that Sheeran’s sing-rap style isn’t impressive in parts, or that Pharrell’s beats don’t adequately bump. But no matter how much ear candy there is, when you get right down to it, “Sing” is a love-in-this-club pop song by the numbers that has little personality beyond the names of its personalities.