Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
- By Jon Bye -
- Oct 10, 2012
When Ellie Goulding rose to fame back in 2010, things were arguably a little easier. At a time when female solo artists were somehow a novelty, her quirky electro-tinged debut album 'Lights' quickly led to wide media acclaim and a Critic's Choice Award at the BRIT Awards. From outsider, she quickly rose to an indie darling. Yet full mainstream success seemed elusive. More was needed to crack that nut.
Since then however competition for the limelight has got a little tougher. A wave of female artists of varying talent have come forward with paper thin acts and massive PR departments to compete for the public's attention. And quite frankly, people can't tell gold from guano these days.
This doesn't bode well for Goulding's return with second album 'Halcyon'. That's not to say its a poor effort. It’s still classy pop music with a deep lyrical intensity. Yet the question is whether it goes far enough to ensure Goulding gets a fair crack at the pop game.
Halcyon bears the same vocal production trickery that became Goulding's trademark and unique selling point on her first album Lights. From sound triggers to smartly looped lyrics on the likes of 'Hanging On' and 'Only You', Goulding's strength is in turning the conventional into something extraordinary by turning her voice into an instrument. There's also representations of Goulding's intense lyrical abilities, as proven on 'My Blood'
The problem with the album lies in the fact that not enough has changed since Goulding's debut.
Pretty and multi-dimensional as songs like 'Halcyon' are, they're hardly the attention grabbing efforts that an artist needs to deliver on a make-or-break second album. Whereas her original album had up-tempo and bombastic tracks such as 'Under the sheets' and 'Starry eyed', Halcyon tends towards balladry and slower numbers such as 'I Know You Care' – touching and well crafted, but hardly engaging. Even when the tempo does rise on songs such as 'I Need Your Love', it’s still not the same as the finger tapping efforts of the past, even feeling a little amateurish in places.
Given the competition that's arisen since her debut, Ellie Goulding really needed to knock us all for six with Halcyon. She's certainly had the time to work on these tracks, but when it comes down to it it doesn't feel like she's really delivered. Glossy pop it may be, Halcyon is not anywhere near as edgy or punchy enough to persuade this reviewer that she's got longevity. Far too safe a record, you're better going back to the start with her music than engage with this latest offering. A disappointing offering from someone who should really deliver better.
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