Album Review: Ellie Goulding – Lights

Oh lord. As soon as I saw this, I almost fainted on the floor. You know how much I adored Elena Jane Goulding (aka Ellie Goulding) right? This review might be considered bias as by some but this really is what I thought about Ellie Goulding’s debut album.

It seems that Ellie really holds a lot of pressure as of the moment. After winning the Critic’s Choice Award at the Brit Awards early December and ranking first on the BBC sound of 2010 poll. It doesn’t deny that we are all expecting loads of things from this Herefordshire bred English singer. Will ‘Lights’, her debut album live up to those expectations or will she come short in providing us an album that will ultimately set the bar high as the best album for this year? That we’ll have to find out soon.

With the help of British music producer, Starsmith, Ellie steps up to her game to provide us with a 37-minute 10-track LP that will serve her penultimate impression to people who’d love or hate her music in the near future. ‘Lights’ opens up with ‘Guns and Horses’, which surfaced the internet as an acoustic number. ‘Guns and Horses’ doesn’t disappoint with the synths and the drum paced rhythm incorporated with mythical xylophone undercurrents and a majestic chorus that Ellie announces ‘But I wish I could feel it all for you. I wish I could be in it all for you’ – sounds a bit heroic right? Ellie’s queer vocals stuns us in this powerful opener – which isn’t actually the best part if you may ask.

Second track from the LP is the current single, ‘Starry Eyed’ which she announces as a dance anthem. Ellie’s celestial vocals didn’t disappoint once again as she delivers an astounding pop/dance number. Its radio friendly and very current and it is starting to be favoured as the best moment of the LP.

The ‘Folktronica’ genre that she was trying to popularise isn’t quite that evident in the album as it is mostly filled with synth-laden, almost dancy indulgent pop tunes. Don’t get me wrong, these are ace songs but doesn’t really live up to the utmost expectations we’re trying to get from her. ‘This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)’, ‘I’ll Hold My Breath’ are quite just average in terms of likability and originality but nonetheless, they’re both good.

‘Under The Sheets’ on the other hand was supposed to be a real introduction to Miss Goulding’s character and ability – it kind of did justice by giving us a heavy, heart-warming synth extravaganza that keys in as aggressiveness, fast-paced dance track.

One of the most promising tracks in the album is the beautifully written ‘The Writer’. Ellie pours her heart out as she sings about trying to make the most out of a failing relationship as she sings, ‘Why don’t you be the artist that makes me out of clay, why won’t you be the writer and design the words I say’. It sounds melancholic but beautiful.

‘Your Biggest Mistake’ is another disappointment in terms of finding artistry within Ellie. Having said that, the beat mades up for the lack of personality in it. Being produced by Fraser Smith, it chases to the likes of what Taio Cruz might sing.

The last two tracks on the album, ‘I’ll Hold My Breathe’ and ‘Salt Skin’ doesn’t do much recovery from the loss the album presented earlier. The two songs have definitely separate identities from each other but both suggest a not so good ending for the album. They’re not really memorable in terms of melody but somewhere lurking in the lyrics are streams of emotions Ellie tries to sing for us to embody her purpose.

Artistically, Ellie somehow failed to bring her true potential in most of the album tracks of ‘Lights’. Although lyrically, it presented something otherwise – exceptional songwriting that needs a little bit of makeover to be presented as something magnificent, extravagant and really opinion depolarising. It kind of settles in between Amazing and Good.


RELEASED: March 1, 2010

STAND-OUT TRACKS: ‘Starry Eyed’, ‘Guns and Horses’, ‘The Writer’, ‘Under The Sheets’, ‘Your Biggest Mistake’

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