Plot: MTV follows singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran during the whirlwind that surrounds the release of his sophomore record while also examining his rise to fame.
Whoever came up with the idea to create a docu-series about Ed Sheeran is an absolute genius.
Because you’ve taken probably one of the most likable and charming musicians in the pop world and put a camera on him. When the 60 minute premiere ends, it’s hard not to absolutely love Sheeran as human being, and, damn it, you want to listen to his new record too.
Marketing ploy aside, Nine Days and Nights of Ed Sheeran is actually a novel idea — putting music back on MTV. Instead of incessantly whining teen moms and their douchebag baby daddys or the 97th incarnation of The Real World, we get back to what put MTV on the map, music. And in a world, where larger than life personalities like Kanye West, Miley Cyrus and even Taylor Swift dominate (she’s featured in this series and is more likable than she has been in the past few years), it’s refreshing to see someone who’s just a regular guy trying to make it.
Yes, despite being showered with adoration by T. Swift and Pharrell throughout the premiere episode and despite documenting encounters with famed producer Rick Rubin and despite all the celebrity name checking, Ed Sheeran is just a a dude. He’s a self-deprecating, introverted yet charming and witty singer/songwriter. He’s not unlike the guy you’ll see at open mic this week or cutting his teeth as an opening act at the local dive bar. And that’s what makes this show work. Despite all the fame and hype around him, Sheeran seems to be the same guy he was prior to fame. We experience all of his music geekery, showing his collection of beer bottles of famous musician he swiped from stages as a kid, for example.
There are also a few other, unexpected sides of Sheeran the series explores as well. First, there’s his honest side. The ginger-haired singer often admits that his second record could in fact be a complete dud and that he could be known as “that guy who had that one hit record.” He openly admits this and speaks to his fears about this. Not something you’d expect to hear on a show that is being used as a marketing tool (whether intentional or not) for that album. He is also very open about his desire to become a husband and father and if it were up to him, he’d be out of music and living that lifestyle instead of being a famous musician. It’s candid moments like this that make for true “reality” television. These comments are made in the moment and you could tell from Sheeran’s personality that this isn’t an act or “the politically correct answer.” No, this is Sheeran straight from the heart.
Musically, Sheeran’s new work really shines throughout the premiere. While this reviewer has never been sold 100% on being a “Sheeranite” the opinion may have changed after this episode. Sheeran’s love of hip-hop comes through greatly and we discover that he’s not willing to settle for the expected acoustic ballad. Again, extremely refreshing.
MTV should really do more shows like this. Last year’s Miley Cyrus special and now this reaffirms that MTV still knows how to do music and that they can produce documentary work better than most networks. In a music world that’s being dominated once again by pop stars, why not take the time to reveal what’s behind the onscreen persona? It’d add an interesting new dimension to the network, and would probably bring back a lot of the old guard who left MTV once the M no longer stood for music.
Fan or not of Ed Sheeran’s, Nine Days and Nights is totally worth checking out every week. It’s funny, charming, honest, heartfelt, entertaining and chock full of new and exciting music. Definitely worth spending time on.
Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party, weekly reviews on Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU and regular contributions throughout the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site and he’s always on the A-Team. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom