Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful...

Ellie Enchanted
...Cover girl. Ah, the power of the cover song: simulated or twisted re-recordings of Billboard favourites and indie rarities that morph our love for old pieces of music into new and profound understandings of what we thought we knew. We can easily hate them and even more easily adore them. But the truth is, we rarely know a piece of music in only one way. Because true artists all over the world with their own vision and musical prophecy are always finding ways to tear the so-called carpet out from underneath us with how they believe music should be heard and how they believe meaning should be interpreted.

The key with all music is to have an open mind, and hear what they have to say.

Ellie Goulding, an indie-Brit Tinkerbell from Hereford, has quite a few interesting things to say. Just a baby out of the year 1986, Goulding has already made a splash on the indie electropop and "folktronica" scene in Europe. She's also poked her head into North America with her funky synth songs and sparkly-eyed trance-pop - but to be completely honest, I haven't really been sold on any of it. Until now.

The truth is, my newfound fascination with Goulding hardly lies in the synth-beats and auto-tune vocal alterations of her mainstream hits. It lies in her incredible ability to grab a classic indie or pop hit, plop it on her lap along with her acoustic guitar, and turn the whole thing upside down.

Why it is that this creamy Celtic-voiced 23-year-old is skipping readily down the electropop neon-brick-road, is beyond me. She has a riveting knack for melting down some of the most famous pop and rock songs with her acrobatic yodels, harmonic abilities and plucking guitar - but these only seem to make the cut during live radio sessions or intimate coffeehouse performances. I would much rather be a loyal listener of Ellie's if her originals were as creative and innovative as some her re-recordings. Her voice rolls like the hills of her homeland, and I would rather be fixated on that than any showy sound effects or glam shoulder pads.

Easily the most breathtaking of the bunch is her spin on The Temper Trap's "Sweet Disposition". What begins as a folk guitar progression into the song is beautiful, but holds no candle once Goulding's Gaelic-sounding vocal riffs enter and pierce the quiet air of the strings and keyboard. I haven't heard a cover quite this haunting in some time - and it can be attributed to Goulding's experimentation with stripping away all of the frill and letting the purity of her vocal deliverance stand alone. Another shining example is Ellie's cover of Elton John's "Your Song," which is commendable in it's textbook honouring of the original - but gets kicked up a sassier notch when remixed by DJ Blackmill Dubstep. This remix allows for the enjoyment of her magical yelps but with a harder-hitting beat and pretty electronica composition. Lastly, how can I not love the girl who covers one of my favourite guilty pleasures, Rihanna's pop anthem "Only Girl in The World". Ellie's sultry proclamation is insistent-sounding, similar to Rihanna's, and doesn't fall short in getting the girl-power message across. The added string arrangement, bobbing piano and aggressive harmonies certainly gang up on any male listeners, urging them to cut the crap and do what she says.

For more goodies out of the Ellie jar, feel free to grab ahold of the equally as great (but not as polished in terms of what you'll find online) covers of "The Cave" originally by Mumford and Sons and "Don't Panic" by Coldplay. Each will amaze and hopefully inspire you to root for this bright young star to soften her sound and showcase her pipes, only next time with a little less cover - and a little more Ellie.

No comments:

Post a Comment