Few could predict a more meteoric rise to stardom than that of Ellie Goulding. Her demure cover of Elton John’s “Your Song” and her sleeper hit “Lights” brought her international acclaim and even garnered her an invitation to play at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Royal Wedding Reception.
Her new album “Halcyon” is indicative of a young artist coming into her own. Her debut EP ‘An Introduction to Ellie Goulding’ and her first full length album “Lights” were ultimately simple, yet fun electric-tinged pop albums with songs like “Under the Sheets.” With “Halcyon,” Goulding kept her signature pixie vocals but fused them with lush, layered electronics and orchestral backings to make a pop album that has a little bit of something for everyone.
Goulding’s love interest, dubstep superstar Skrillex’s presence can be most certainly felt on the track “Figure 8,” the most dub, drum and base influenced track on the album. Careful not to alienate the casual observers of electronic dance music, she created a surefire hit “I Need Your Love” by collaborating with Scottish DJ and producer Calvin Harris to produce a track that will surely rival “We Found Love” with Rihanna from earlier this year.
The single “Anything Can Happen” a bouncy, synth filled track with creative use of looped vocals used the London Community Gospel Choir to help complete the song. “Only You,” “Atlantis” and the album’s title track “Halcyon” are all electro-thumping songs with sweeping vocals that are a departure from form for Goulding.
However, Goulding made sure she did not forget her roots as a grounded singer-songwriter in the midst of booming and often bloated electronic production value. The tracks “JOY” and “I Know You Care” are both solemn, ethereal, introspective piano-driven ballads that of Adele whose emotional resonance is something to behold. The lyrics somehow convey a sense of childlike wonder and deep melancholy at the same time.
Goulding found a way to mix emotionally profound lyrics with catchy, earnest dance floor melodies. It’s an album that tries to catch everyone at the gate and it does so in a dazzling fashion.