UK's woman-of-the-moment (besides the lovely Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton) Ellie Goulding has a lot to celebrate this year. Having recently completed a successful North American tour with Bruno Mars, she has also found time to cover a few songs from music's great (think Justin Timberlake, Alt-J etc). Banking on her popularity, she has now repackaged her critically-acclaimed sophomore record, Halcyon, and re-released it under the title Halcyon Days.
Far from Halcyon Days being a disappointing, predictable record that would put the original to shame, the 10-track CD expands her repertoire and ability to create magical sonic landscapes with her luscious vocals and smashing electro-pop beats.
A great reason to pick up this record is its rave-worthy single Burn, which has since hit No. 1 in the UK. The infectious simple chorus of "Cause we got the fire, fire, fire, yeah we got the fire, fire, fire / and we gonna let it burn, burn, burn, burn", coupled with Goulding's airy vocals, ironically lends the song a unique sense of strength, probably also because of the beats taking a muted backseat and focussing on the simplicity of her harmonies and her diction.
Goodness Gracious, a team effort with Nate Ruess of American indie-pop band fun., is a trippy number, and the fun. influence is palpable from its happy-go-lucky beats to the Auto-Tune touch to Goulding's vocals which was de rigeur of fun. songs like Some Nights. The amalgam of dissonant beats actually meld well together, making the song pop even more than usual, expected of a song written about fickle hearts.A lovely one to dance to and a job well done in holding my attention.
Another notable mention is Hearts Without Chains, co-written with Fraser T. Smith (Adele's Set Fire To The Rain), the eerieness of the piano-driven track is amplified with Goulding's emotion-filled delivery, as she calls for time to stand still, and "we'd have no fear / or scars to heal / in our hearts without chains". It actually feels like a song that would fit Demi Lovato's discography, and no doubt both ladies would give us vastly individualised versions of the song. Oh the joy thinking about it!
What I didn't quite like was the wedding-quality song How Long Will I Love You, which just seems incredibly out of place, and while it showcases her range, doesn't quite fit in with this album somehow, so I'm divided on this one.
It's quite visible how Halcyon Days manages to differentiate itself from its break-up-record predecessor. It's more funky, a little more playful and also positive. It's apt in celebrating the success Goulding has achieved so far; this girl is killing it and the world could definitely use more Ellie Goulding.
Track Cuts: Hearts Without Chains, Burn, Goodness Gracious, Tessellate (Alt-J cover)