Almost everyone knows that I have a soft spot for English Songstress, Ellie Goulding. Ever since I heard her debut, Lights which was released in 2010 it seems as if though I can’t go a day without hearing the catchy tune. Whether it be on at the mall, the 7/11, or the radio Goulding seems to have a firm grasp over the airwaves. Two years after her first release we have her new album, Halcyon.
The album features twelve tracks that were mostly written or co-written by Goulding. The album starts off with the track “Don’t Say a Word” which starts off in a very atmospheric then builds slowly. Next up is the track “My Blood” which is a track I thoroughly enjoyed do to the lyrics and how they worked in the context of the music. I also love how, Goulding who has a very strong voice showed vocal restraint throughout the verses. The album’s single follows, and I have to say I don’t like this track one bit. The modulation on Goulding’s voice is quite simply annoying. It sounds as if they plugged her microphone into a reverb and delay pedal. “Only You” is the fourth track on the album, and on this trick I actually enjoyed the experimentation upon Goulding’s voice as instrumentation.
The title track, “Halcyon” is a great track. Lyrically it shows a very vulnerable side of Goulding that I quite enjoy, but the sound was overproduced. In my opinion due to the nature of the lyrics it would have worked better as a stripped back acoustic track. “Figure 8” is up next, and I have to say this is a very melancholy track, but builds up to a semi-dubstep chorus.
The next track, “Joy” is one I’d really like to take notice of. It starts off very slow, but eventually a nice orchestral section comes in and takes the track to a never level. Sonically the orchestra whether real or synthesized help set the mood, as Goulding’s voice takes off nicely.
“Hanging On” is the eighth track on the album, and it also happens to be the only track that Goulding did not help co-write. This would seem odd because it seems to fit right in on the album. It also feature Goulding in her spectacular upper register throughout the song, but at times it seems as if there is auto-tune used to round out the sound of her voice.
“I know You Care” is the next track that I’d really take note of. It starts with a nice piano driven intro, but just when you think Goulding is about to break into a spectacular chorus she lays back. This leads to a very nice track that is mellow and one of my favorite on the album due just to the barebones nature of it. The album closes out with the track “Dead in The Water” I thought that this was a nice song, but when I thought it was going to build up to a grandiose conclusion it just puttered out.
Goulding seems to be moving to a more mature sound on this album. It’s much different from her debut, but the jury is still out whether that is good or bad. We’ll see!