No Sophomore Slump For Ellie Goulding’s “Halcyon”
We know. You hear “Lights” and your automatic reflex is to switch the station or tell someone to turn on the new Mumford album. But don’t rule out Ellie Goulding as a one-hit wonder so quickly.
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Debuting in 2010 as the cute, British girl-next door, Goulding rose to fame with her album “Lights,” mainly the hit single named after the album. She rocked the indie scene in Britain before coming to the United States last year.
In a year full of life changing events—singing at the White House, performing William and Kate’s first dance song, taking the stage Coachella—it’s hard to believe the inspiration for this album came from Goulding’s own loneliness.
This is not to say all the tracks are a depressing, melodramatic mess. Actually, her sophomore album “Halcyon” is a forceful follow up to “Lights.” The lyrics may be a bit darker than they have in the past, but these breakup tunes certainly ignite a dancing sensation, instead of the usual Ben and Jerry's breakup ballads we’re used to hearing from the likes of Adele and Taylor Swift.
The album begins with the summoning serenade “Don’t Say a Word,” which is a track with haunting, tribal beats that automatically captivate the listener for more.
Ellie’s own personal favorite is “My Blood.” It’s hard to argue with lyrics such as, “With all the blood I lost for you / In trials of love I thought I knew.” Showcasing emotional lyrics such as these, this breakup number certifies Goulding’s artistic mastery.
The first single off “Halcyon” is “Anything Could Happen.” If you liked “Lights,” it’s almost certain you’ll enjoy this fun jam. Another track bound to be a hit at concerts is “Figure 8,” with its pulsing beats and catchy lyrics.
In a new music video starring Dakota Fanning, “I Know You Care” is a moving ballad, showing the softer side of Goulding’s angelic vocals. The song is also about her relationship with her absent father.
The title track, “Halcyon,” is mainly about finding herself. Whereas her previous image for her first album was a product of the record company painting her as the cute, girly British indie artist, Ellie certainly has become her own artist, as seen not only in this song, but the whole album, which she co-produced.
Besides, she sings the refrain: “It’s gonna be better.” Who can really argue with this girl?
One of the strongest tracks by far is “Joy.” With an eloquent orchestral build up, her melodic voice illustrates the ache of heartbreak.
The aching in her voice as she sings “I've figured out that joy is not in your arms” makes even the hardest of hearts melt, and the building piano and violins captivate even the most inattentive of listeners.
In some of the album's tracks like “Hanging On” and “Atlantis” it's evident that Skrillex is her boyfriend. These tracks are electro-infused songs just begging to be remixed by countless DJs.
The sassy, bluesy “Only You” and the dreary “Dead in the Water” are also interesting singles on the album.
“Explosions” is another moving song that begins with a choir of angelic voices. Whereas most of the album illustrates how one is lost after a breakup, this song emphasizes independence. Ellie, you go girl.
Expect “I Need Your Love” to be the next chart-topper not just because Calvin Harris is featured, but because it’s the perfect number to start your weekend.
After listening to “Halycon,” it is obvious Goulding has an array of talent, plenty to make her more than a one-hit wonder. So turn on this little slice of “Halcyon” bliss and enjoy.
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Reach Staff Reporter Jillian Morabito here.