Over the last few years, Ellie Goulding has become one of the most remixed female vocalists in all of EDM. The burgeoning young singer out of London possesses a set of undeniably gripping vocal chords and daunting lyrical abilities, which seem hand crafted with the intention of gracefully sitting atop electrifying dance anthems—dainty, coy, yet powerful as can be.
Goulding is best known in the electronic world for inescapable revamps of her tracks from ubiquitous producers like Jakwob, Bassnectar, Blackmill, Butch Clancy, R/D, Minnesota, Alex Metric, and Klaypex, but lately her own conquests in the genre are garnering the most attention. This includes lending her vocals to “Summit” by current boyfriend Skrillex, “Fall Into The Sky” by Zedd & Lucky Date, and most notably releasing her long awaited sophomore album Halcyon, which has electro-pop written all over it.
The first mesmerizing chapter of Goulding’s vivacious story is “Don’t Say A Word,” which gently guides listeners in with a series of hypnotizing, echoing acapella vocals. These are soon layered with haunting atmospherics and ominous drum hits—an entrancing combo that quickly proves how much darker this album is in comparison to Lights.
“My Blood” propels listeners deeper into Goulding’s memories, with a jarring tale describing the perils and trials of love over tantalizing guitar notes and immersive piano melodies. The title track, “Halcyon,” is a breathtaking tale; open and vulnerable. Goulding continues the story painted throughout the album, yet seems to be describing it from a tranquil, post-struggle state of mind while belting vocals like “It's gonna be, it's gonna be better.”
“Figure 8” quickly strikes with unmistakably EDM influenced instrumentations, including a drum ‘n’ bass breakdown and dubtep style drop—not surprising, considering much of the production for the track was handled by recent OWSLA signee MONSTA.
“I Need Your Love” stands out on the album as Goulding’s first non-remixed electronic banger, and combines touching lyrics and heartfelt vocals with full throttle synth lines from Calvin Harris. Consider the bar raised.
Goulding continues to prove to everyone that blending EDM and pop doesn’t have to result in treacherously unoriginal radio hits. Halcyon strays from her previous indie folk feel, yet provides listeners with introspective tunes that perfectly balance bliss, heartache, and, most importantly, acceptance.