Album Review: Ellie Goulding – Lights

by Tony Butterworth on March 4, 2010

Ellie Goulding is the hottest new artist in the UK. Championed by Florence and The Machine, she won the BBC Sound of 2010 award along with the 2010 Brits Critic Choice Award which is given to the artist expected to breakthrough in 2010.  She was born in Hereford England, about 10 miles from where I was born, though admittedly it was almost 20 years later.  So should we believe the hype on her debut album Lights, which is out in the UK now and will be released in the US on March 16th?

I’m partial to a bit of female vocal based indie pop, though my preference veers more towards the pop than the indie at times. After seeing some Ellie videos on Youtube I was impressed by her voice and credibility, she really reminded me of Kate Nash, one of my favorites from the last few years, with a touch of Lily Allen thrown in.  I was excited to hear this album.

The album opener is “Guns and Horses.” Lots of synths and dance beats, not what I was expecting even with the indie style vocals.  Her second single “Starry Eyed” follows and is very similar.  It’s a good song though.

“This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)” is once again a very similar and entertaining song, though I suspect we need some variety soon. “Under The Sheets” was her first single, her breakthrough.  While still featuring the dance beats and synths, there is something different about the vibe on this one, less indie, more night club but also somehow more original. It sounds something like an English version of Shakira.

“The Winter” is a slower track, moving towards a ballad but still featuring the dance beats, synths and strings.  The songs are good, the voice is interesting but by this point the production is starting to wear me down somewhat. “Every Time You Go” goes back to the same well, though is a tad more stripped back (only a tad though I tell you).  The opening of the song is very appealing but when the old dance keys and beats kick in for the chorus the track returns to the fold.

The pattern continues through the rest of the album.  “Wish I Stayed” is again slightly slower with a kind of off beat drum track that gives it a different feel, but, as now is usual, the chorus returns to the same old same old. “Your Biggest Mistake” is more of the same, I have to admit, it’s starting to get boring at this point.  “Hold My Breath” and “Salt Skin” don’t vary much from the pattern.

It might not be clear from the track by track review but I like this album, I really like Ellie, her songs and her voice but there is something about the production on this album, the dance beats, keys and mixes that takes away from the artist underneath.  Check out the video below and the various ones available on youtube of her singing acoustic or stripped back and you can see some real talent that is often buried under the production on this release.

Ellie Goulding Under The Sheets

Ellie Goulding Starry Eyed

Ellie Goulding Starry Eyed Acoustic

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