Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ellie Goulding: Sophomore Success

Ellie Goulding has grown right up.

I admired the 25 year-old electropop singer after dabbling in her debut album Lights in 2009, but never would have called myself a devoted fan - although I now feel that might change. With the recent critical acclaim surrounding her second album Halcyon, I was drawn to find out how the breathy soprano has aged - and was consequently blown away by the maturation of her full-bodied, richer sound. Less electronic and more anthemic than I could have expected, Halycon boasts a number of spine-tingling piano ballads and confident lyrical declarations that prove the once pixie-voiced Brit is no longer hiding behind fluorescent beats and keyboard effects. She's poetic and proud.

Halcyon"My Blood," in particular, is astounding. The initial pound of the drum and tribal chant could dictate where the song will curve, until Goulding's shaky vibrato seeps in, stealing all attention to her prose about redemption and healing. The chorus - possibly one of the most triumphant I've heard in a pop song recently - is the selling point of the confident ballad; her electric echoes piercing through the gospel serenade. This soulfulness, embodied in words like "All the blood I lost with you/ It drowns the love I thought I knew," mirror the conviction of fellow Brit female superstars Florence Welch and Adele, proving Ellie might be ready for the big leagues with this one.

Another handful of powerful orchestral numbers on the track listing later, it's evident Halcyon is Goulding's coming-of-age sophomore release - and clearly only the beginning of her climb.

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