By Taylyn Washington-Harmon
I think we all know Ellie Goulding. That one British girl that captured our hearts and iPods with her triple-platinum single, “Lights.” Well, she’s back with her sophomore release Halcyon, released Oct. 5, where she experiments with multiple genres and styles, creating one well-crafted indie pop album.
This album is quite good, but I wouldn’t call it a total masterpiece. The longer I listened, I couldn’t help but think: IS FLORENCE WELCH GHOST-WRITING THIS ALBUM?? With all of the harps and baroque-style drums, I would have sworn that Ellie Goulding was Florence’s squeaky voiced baby sister or something.
But these influences aren’t ALL bad. The Florence + The Machine vocal and instrumental cues on “Don’t Say a Word” and “My Blood” really shook up Goulding’s style in a good way. Harps complement Goulding’s voice surprisingly well, especially on “Atlantis.” I love that she’s relying more on her actual vocal talent rather than the pop electronic instrumentals that drenched Lights. I’m able to actually hear what makes her sound unique.
“Anything Could Happen,” though the album’s lead single, is definitely the most annoying track. I can’t appreciate Goulding’s artificial pitchiness in the chorus after too long. Her “hee-HEEs” sound like a young Michael Jackson on a helium trip. And don’t even get me started on the chipmunk voices in “Only You.” You can only take a pitch corrector so far.
Going back to genre experimenting, Halcyon features some heavy dubstep influences on “Figure 8” and “Hanging On” which both sound like they could have been easy collaborations with Goulding’s DJ boyfriend, Skrillex. I must admit, I don’t really like dubstep. In all honesty, it all sounds like some freaky Transformers having a threesome. But in Ellie Goulding’s case, I’d happily make an exception and give the genre another try.
I give Halcyon 3.5/5 stars. I was rather impressed with Ms. Goulding this time around. Halcyon is definitely a memorable release and I’m happy to hear more of Goulding’s raw vocal talent. The production was excellent for the most part, and Ellie Goulding has the potential to become a real singer-songwriter powerhouse.