Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ellie Goulding – Halcyon (2012) – Review

Review: Ellie Goulding’s first album Lights took a while to catch on in the States (as she found success much quicker in her native United Kingdom), with her biggest hit (also titled) Lights climbing the billboard Hot 100 for forty-two weeks, reaching number two. Her sophomore album Halcyon again shows off Goulding’s wonderfully unique voice and electronic pop sensibilities. Goulding started 2012 off releasing her cover of The Weeknd’s High for This (which is fantastic) and followed it up with her cover of Active Child’s Hanging On (which is on the album), setting the stage for Halcyon’s atmospheric dream pop sound and lyrics dealing with love and loss – escaping the dark into the light.

The album is littered with great tracks (which made it difficult for me to pick three for my ‘essential tracks’), showcasing Goulding’s voice – both her singing ability and the use of her voice as an instrument contributing to the music or beat of a song (for example: Explosions and I Know You Care). She has one of the most interesting and different voices in pop music. It has a raw quality to it that seems to add emotion and power to her songs, making them all the more compelling.

Her single Lights and its subsequent remixes have placed her among the most popular dance pop artists right now, but instead of trying to capitalize on that market she has gone another way with her sound. The album is still very much electronically influenced and infused. But it is not a dance album, though there are a few songs that are club ready (and certainly remix ready). It is much more atmospheric, with almost an ethereal feel to many of the tracks. Goulding has great producing chemistry with Jim Elliot who co-produced most of the songs with her. Billboard, Starsmith, Calvin Harris, John Fortis, Justin Parker, and MONSTA also worked on the album.

Unlike many pop artists (especially younger popular singers), Goulding writes her songs. Halcyon is a very personal album. It is not really a commercial pop album in as much as the songs are not particularly catchy in terms of having killer hooks (that fans can sing along with and get stuck in the heads of casual listeners). Again, the album is more a complete work creating a feeling for the listener, and not a collection of singles.

Halcyon is a better album than Lights (I think), with Goulding growing and blossoming as an artist. It is well worth checking out for fans of dream pop/synthpop. 4/5

Essential Tracks:
1)      Anything Could Happen – Produced by Ellie Goulding and Jim Elliot
2)      Only You – Produced by Ellie Goulding and Jim Elliot
3)      Hanging On – Produced by Billboard, featuring Tinie Tempah

Available on CD and Digital Download

No comments:

Post a Comment