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"Lights" by Ellie Goulding
Reviewed by SPINSYR
Holy CRAP have I been waiting for March 8th! I was SO excited when this album finally dropped here in the fabulous US of A. I downloaded it early this morning as soon as it was available, but didn't give it a listen in full until after the chat earlier with Ellie herself! I did my best to talk to her, but with 290+ people in the chat at once, things were flying so fast it made me "starry eyed." I refused to be a spammer, so I didn't get to talk to her directly, but I did get to watch her navigate the white-water-rapids of a chat with poise and grace. A big thank you to Dean and Andrea for moderating the chat as well as they did... it wasn't a simple task to keep tabs on all of us, but they stood there ground and didn't let anyone break the rules. Thank you both!
After the chat I sat down and buckled up for the folktronic magic that is Ellie's debut US album. If this girl isn't huge, we're all idiots and I'm moving to the UK. Below is my album award section followed by a track-by-track review of what I liked, loved, and listened to. :-) Obviously, these are all my opinions and I am the first to tell you I am not the auithority on music. I do know Pop music and I do know what I like, so this is what I have for you!
USA Release Date: March 8th, 2011
iTunes Price: $7.99 (worth every penny!)
Album Length: approx. 43 minutes
Must-Haves: "Lights" // "Starry Eyed" // "Animal"
Replay-Worthy: "Your Biggest Mistake"
Skip-Worthy: "Every Time You Go"
Overall Star Rating: 5 out of 5
Lights (Single Version)
My oh my, this song changed it all. I remember first logging onto facebook and seeing the ad for "An Introduction to Ellie Goulding" ad about a hundred times. I finally decided to check it out, and wasn't too terribly impressed with it... until I heard this song preview. It was like that moment when the beam of light cracks through the clouds above, ya know? I still prefer the more stripped down version on the original EP, but this song kick a** no matter where you start the drums. I jammed to this for my first live performance at K-State Idol, a real crowd pleaser. I have Ellie to thank for that. I'll post a video when I finally get it from the crew. This song is just fantastic, and this is where my love for Ellie really started. 5 out of 5, easy.
Guns and Horses
Can I just say YES to the guitar at the beginning of this song? I love the prominence of the bass, and of course, Ellie’s voice really shines on this one I think. The little chiming bells are very melodic and head bounce worthy. I quite like the harmony on the chorus of this one as well. Lyrically, this song is very straight forward, which I like. Some of her tracks are a deeper, and this strikes a nice balance for me. The poetry of the verse with the simplicity of the chorus mix well. And I LOVE the ending of this one. And the giggle... yes. 'Nuff said.
MEOWMEOW classic Ellie here. I wasn't a fan of this one at first, for me it was one of those strange ones I was singing 3 or 4 days after the fact. Now, I kick myself for being stupid! This song is very heavy with imagery, which I LOVE. Ellie paints such a clear picture that we can see as she does, which is what any good song should do, in my opinion. I really enjoy the supplementary vocals on this one... the oohs and ahhs on the outer edges of the mix. This one is sure to get stuck in your head! 5 out of 5, for being the original star of the show.
This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)
YES. Anyone who knows me or has heard the album knows that I am an avid fan of 80's dance-pop. This to me is very reminiscent of that era, particularly with the bass. The synths have an almost Robyn like quality that makes me smile, a lot. Lyrically, this is a situation MANY of us have experienced... the fear of love, the fear of that connection and those questions that rage through our mind that make us doubt it all. A beautiful track for sure, but not the best on the album. This is a bit of a lull for me, which is welcome after 3 star-studded records. Again, not a bad record at all, just not the best. 4 out of 5.
Under The Sheets
When this track popped on the first time I was snapped right back into Ellie's control. This is the first song on the album that sounds quite different from the rest, which fits perfectly after the bit of a lull with the previous track. The beginning gives me that sense of "oh no, I'm still here, and you're still listening." in a confident rather than pleading manner. As the track progresses, it doesn't do much for me personally, I'm just not a huge fan of the hook. I quite like the harp that twindles towards the end, though. I like the snap of attention at the beginning, but I don't think the track really goes anywhere for me. If you love, by all means, rape the replay button. I wouldn't stop you. 3 out of 5.
YES. More classic Ellie, for me anyway. Lyrically, that strong sense of poetic imagery is back, I can see the sun, and when I close my eyes I totally see her jamming in the beautiful UK countryside. The hook is BEAUTIFUL in this one. You be the artist, and make me out of clay. Beautiful, that's it plain and simple. 5 out of 5.
The hypnotic riff at the beginning instantly gives me that "Alice in Wonderland" sort of whimsy. Then Ellie's angelic voices blares over the mix and I find myself quoting Natalia Kills, "take me to wonderland, Ellie!" I love the repetetive "the one, the one, the one" bit. You just know something good is gonna happen. And then we finally hit the chorus, and Ellie has "stolen all my senses." This song is fierce and worthy of it's title, for sure. It's very reserved in the verse, but the chorus gives off that "club banger" vibe that I love so much. Not gonna lie, I quickly found myself jamming out, effortlessly. After the soft, purity of "The Writer" the contrast with "Animal" is well placed and welcome. This may be the next single, it was asked countlessly on the chat with Ellie earlier today. I'd support this decision! 5 out of 5, easy.
Every Time You Go
Lyrically, this is a place we've all been I think. When you're tired of the relationship and how much work you're having to put into it. Musically, this doesn't do much for me. Dunno why, could be the fact that it's right after "Animal" which feels very confident to me while this feels very vulnerable. Not that it's bad to explore all of these areas, it's just putting them back to back gives me whiplash. Unfortunately, this song is skip-worthy for me. Don't hate, I won't stop you from jamming to it if that's your pleasure! 2 out of 5, sorry Ellie.
Your Biggest Mistake
This is my FAVORITE new song, hands down. I feel a deep connection to this song, and someday, I WILL sing this to some people in my past! The vocoder use in this track is what really makes this song for me, next to the lyrics. It's almost as if Ellie took a tip from Imogen Heap and it's FANTASTIC marriage. I like the bassline very much as well, giving the song a good deal of motion in the chorus. This wins the replay award from me! 5 out of 5, with no hestitation!
I'm definitely feeling the 80's vibe again here, and I welcome it whole heartedly. This song sounds similar to "Your Biggest Mistake" musically, which is a little bit of a draw back for me, but I do like the overall sound of the song. It's got a real drive to it, which makes me super-cool-subtle-head-nod to the beat. I'd give this one a 4 out of 5, mainly for it's similiartity to Your Biggest Mistake.
When Ellie covers a song, it's like the pop world stops everything to listen. This sounds very different to all the other tracks on the album, and the stripped down sound truly showcases Ellie's OUTSTANDING vocal ability! The song itself is obviously a classic and phenomenal on it's own, but when Ellie croons it out, it's like cuddling up with a warm blanket and hot cocoa. Just shut up and enjoy the sounds. Check out her Rihanna "Only Girl" cover too. Phenomenal as well. 5 out of 5.
Starry Eyed (Live at the Cherrytree House)
Ok, first of all, THIS is why I worship Cherrytree. The Cherrytree sessions are BRILLIANT because they prove the true talent of the artists they represent. In the pop world especially, it's easy to cry "AutoTune," and this is just like a giant f*** you to all the non believers. Now, as for this song specifically, what else can I say other than WIN. If you've ever had a single doubt in Ellie's vocal ability, this clears it right up. So glad I got this as an iTunes bonus. 5 out of 5, times 10.