Review: Ellie Goulding - Halcyon Days - Def Pen Radio - Def Pen Radio
In preparation of this article, I tried to remember how I learned about Ellie Goulding’s existence back in early 2010 but unfortunately I can’t quite remember. It makes no real difference because I can clearly recall how I became kind of obsessed with Ellie Goulding once she released „Starry Eyed“, the second single of her debut album Lights.
When I found out she came to my city, I didn’t hesitate to get tickets to see her perform in a small club. It was great but you could tell she was nervous. This is part of the reason why I kept following Ellie’s further steps. She constantly improved and her sophomore effort, Halcyon, was the best possible answer to critics who had doubted her. Halcyon may be more poppy than Lights was but it was neither a jump on EDM (let’s exclude „I Need Your Love“) or Dr. Luke kind of music.
Ellie Goulding convinces her listeners with her unique voice and her own style – and she’s one of a few artists who is able to cover old songs without ruining them. And cover songs do play a big part in the re-release of Halcyon.
„Midas Touch“ by Midnight Star is technically just a bonus track but a good example to hear that everything Ellie touches turns to gold.
Along with with „Tesselate“, a song by origingally by Alt-J and one I don’t relly get into, she also sung her own version of The Waterboys’ „How Long Will I Love You“ which serves as the soundtrack for the movie „About Time“ by Richard Curtis. Her version will probably be played at the next couple of weddings you attend.
„You, My Everything“ was already known due to its appearance on the Skins finale and received good feedback. The album version was changed a little, but personally I don’t think it makes a big difference as the song stays as catchy as before.
The upbeat „Goodness Gracious“ is definitely a fan favorite already and would work pretty good as a single. Ellie explains the track which was co-written by fun.’s Nate Ruess as „dissing yourself for not thinking straight and not being fair“. Although this sounds quite negative, „Goodness Gracious“ transports a happy feeling to the listener.
I must say that I was a little disappointed when I heard „Flashlight“, probably because it was the song I was most looking forward to as it is a collboration with DJ Fresh. I’m not really happy about the beat and how Ellie’s voice works with it – or doesn’t. It’s not the first time she did sung on a electro beat (e.g. „I Need Your Love“, „Fall Into the Sky“ etc.) and it often works out, this time I’m afraid to say I expected something else.
“Burn”, the lead single of the re-release, is most likely Ellie’s poppiest work so far. It marks the songstress’ very first number one single in the UK. The track was originally sent to Leona Lewis who recorded it for her last album Glassheart but turned the song eventually down. Good for Ellie although the Ryan Tedder song is not as memorable as some of her other singles.
Another highlight of this album is definitely the heartfelt “Hearts Without Chains” in which Goulding sings “Have you lost the same things I have lost? / Do you know that panic I know? / Would I see the terror in your face? / Do you know that fever I know?”.
“Stay Awake” is also featured on Halcyon Days although it is not really to be considered a new song. It already appeard as a bonus track on Halcyon. The song is superb but I can understand why this party anthem fits better to the theme of the re-release.
Last but definitely not least there is a song called “Under Control”. The powerful vocals and lyrics really make it feel like this song is the breakthrough from the rather dark Halcyon: ‘It feels like I’m breathing again / I got it under control’…
Summing it up, Ellie Goulding hasn’t disappointed at all. Songs definitely worth checking are: “You, My Everything”, “Hearts Without Chains”, “Goodness Gracious”, “How Long Will I Love You”