Ellie Goulding – Halcyon Days
The ten new songs don’t have the full-album feel that would justify making them their own separate record, if that were to matter. For the most part, these new songs are an extension of the sound Ellie had on Halcyon, though some are lighter fare which gives it a varied, unsteady feel.
First single Burn, which just became Ellie’s first #1 single in the UK, isn’t as interesting sounding as most of the era’s songs. Co-written with Ryan Tedder, Burn feels forced into Ellie’s brand of layered electro-synth-pop. It does the job fine but still comes off feeling empty.
The next track Goodness Gracious, co-written with fun.‘s Nate Ruess, feels much more natural as it fully embraces its musical fluffiness. The song is instantly catchier than anything Ellie has recorded before but will also likely lack any staying power. It’ll be a fast burner and the one song to skip after repeated listens.
It is when Ellie digs deeper into the sound of the audio underworld that things pick up and she returns to the home-base she established on Halcyon. Songs like You My Everything, Under Control and Stay Awake are what we expect from Ellie. Heavy beats and synths with nice electronics and melodies. Each a musical adventure.
The contrast to that sound comes with the album gem, her cover of the Waterboys‘ How Long Will I Love You, which stands out just enough to catch your ear but not so much that it feels out of place. (Remember, Ellie did do a cover of Elton John‘s Your Song for her first album.)
Ellie continues to capture the emotion she expresses with her vocals without competing with the layers of production that make up the songs of Halcyon Days. These ten new tracks confirm Ellie’s abilities as an artist, songwriter and collaborator and with any luck are just a prelude to what she’s planning next.
2. Goodness Gracious
3. You My Everything
4. Hearts Without Chains
5. Stay Away [Ellie Goulding & Madeon]
6. Under Control
7. Flashlight [Ellie Goulding & DJ Fresh]
8. How Long Will I Love You
10. Midas Touch [Ellie Goulding vs. Burns]