First, The Beatles, then Natasha Bedingfield, and now British singer Ellie Goulding crossed over to the U.S. music scene. Ellie, born Elena Jane Goulding, abandoned her college days at University of Kent in England in order to gain the status she now has. The music video for her new single “Anything Could Happen” is being played on MTV and her new sophomore album Halcyon was released in the States on October 9.
Ms. Goulding was introduced to the U.S. with a teenage innocence, long blonde hair and two singles, the title track to debut album Lights, and its second single “Starry Eyed,” released in 2010. I first heard it a couple of years ago while rummaging the racks for off-shoulder blouses at Forever 21. The track was produced by one of her British electro pop DJ friends, Starsmith, who remixed songs from Passion Pit’s “Sleepyhead” to Gypsy and the Cat’s “Jona Vark.” Goulding’s initial electro, space pop beginnings were a sound you’d probably hear on a clothes retailer soundtrack.
The English singer has come a long way from her young sound. In her new song “Anything Could Happen,” Goulding serenades us listeners like a chirping robin with high pitch soprano riffs reminiscent of Mariah Carey in the early 1990s. You can’t help but notice how Goulding has shied away from her unique alternative flair and is heading in a different direction with her newly released composition. “It’s a bit more tribal and anthemic; a bit more piano and vocal than anything,” said Goulding in an MTV interview behind the scenes of her new video.
What she meant by this is that there will be less dreamy synth effects, less catchy guitar chords and even more of a pop influence. After listening to the album, it is safe to say that this new sound is something that may work in her favor. Goulding’s sudden pop interest may astonish old fans, but what’s even more shocking about the new album is that it is filled with sweet, spontaneous surprises.
One of them is the electro-house bonus track “I Need Your Love” featuring Calvin Harris. Harris is responsible for hits like Rihanna’s “We Found Love.” On the energy bursting track found exclusively on the deluxe edition, Goulding got emotional with lyrics like, “And I feel so helpless here/Watch my eyes are filled with fear.”
Apprehension seemed to be the underlining theme of Halcyon, where Goulding articulated her vulnerable side of previous relationships in ballads like “Explosions” where she admitted, “It’s okay to be afraid, but it will never be the same.” The grand metaphor for fear and love is the album’s title track, “Halcyon,” where Goulding managed to develop an ambient hit song by channeling the tranquil Zen of Enya and repeating the phrase, “It’s gonna be better.” The album is centered around the idea of peace and tranquility in a complicated love situation. “Halcyon” definitely sounds like the perfect Taylor Swift-esque, “get over him” track for the wounded soul.
The album gets even more interesting by the second. Fumbling through the 13-track compilation, you can hear how Goulding has lyrically matured with scandalous lyrics in worldly, dubstep injected songs like “Figure 8” where she demanded, “Breathe your smoke into my lungs.” It isn’t just the pop genre that Goulding has emulated for inspiration. On the track “Only You,” she explored a collage of piano chords, combined with a haunting high pitch over a humming hip-hop beat that sounded like it could’ve been part of an old Wu-Tang instrumental.
The diversity of genres that Goulding infused into Halcyon gave it panache. I guess there are some things you learn from having DJ friends.
Now is a great time for Ms. Goulding. Her album Halcyon was released in the U.K. on October 8, and the day after it hit U.S. CD stores. Her album also was released digitally and in less than 24 hours it made the Top 5 on U.S. iTunes. After October 9, it will officially be Halcyon season and Goulding, like the songbird she is, will prevail in soothing us all with her new album.
For more info on Ellie Goulding, visit her official website.Powered by Sidelines