Review: Ellie Goulding – Lights

Ellie Goulding’s impressive UK chart success is further evidence of our oft-suggested mainstream embracing of electronic music. While many may take a cursary glance over Goulding’s impressive debut album and just think “pop” they would be mistaken by not digging further. She first came to our attention when she opened for Little Boots on her recent tour and what started as a folk-influenced singer songwriter has emerged as a full-fledged creative electronic artist. The folk influence is still there but it’s the powerful synths that stand out here.

It’s actually somewhat surprising that this album has been so widely embraced, at least in her home country. While lyrically it’s far from subversive stuff, with its typical love songs, the music is wonderfully layered in a way we’re not used to seeing on the main stream charts these days. Goulding has crafted an album that may not stand out as the most original offering of 2010 but it’s already one of the most purely fun to listen to. We knew this could be good from the lead-off single “Under the Sheets” with its stutter/layered chorus and thudding electronic percussion. Even lesser advance tracks like “Stary Eyed” and “Guns and Horses” showed an artist willing to experiment to bring out the best of her various musical influences.

The lead-off tracks only hinted at how great this album could be. Songs like This Love (Will be Your Downfall)” and “Wish I Stayed” are terrific electro-pop songs, “Salt Skin” is a bleepy, bloopy synth mid tempo number that gets in your head and stays there, like it or not. What’s interesting is the absence of any real ballads. This is a party that is never meant to slow down. Mid tempo songs like “I’ll Hold My Breath” and “The Writer” are the only real variation from the straight ahead synth pop that drives the bulk of the album. Few duds here. When Goulding pushes the mainstream pop thing a little too hard it results in the rare misfire like “Your Biggest Mistake” which just sounds too ordinary (and relies to heavily on the Autotune, a crutch she frankly abuses far too often throughout the album). But minor quibbles aside, this is a real winner. Time will tell if it manages to hold up or ends up sinking under the disposable pop weight but at this juncture, early in the cycle it’s a genuine joy.

Watch: Under the Sheets


One Response to “Review: Ellie Goulding – Lights”

  1. Hey. I really love your site. Is there any way to get in contact with you via email?

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