Ellie Goulding
Lights


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
March 16th, 2010 | 578 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Could the “Sound of 2010” be a combination of nu-folk and electro-pop?

Attempting to predict the future of a newcomer can be fun. Which sporting rookie will score the most points? Whose first acting performance will be the best? And, of course, who will be the artist whose debut album will have the greatest impact on the music industry. The latter is the toughest to predict, since the ever-evolving tastes of music pundits seem to be changing at a rapid pace. Many a publication still attempt such predictions on an annual basis, and arguably the most renowned of these is the U.K based BBC ‘Sound of the Year’ poll, which takes into account the opinion of more than 100 critics and industry insiders.

With past winners such as 50 Cent, Keane, Mika and Little Boots, it is arguable that winning such a poll could place too many expectations on a young musician, with (uninvolved) critics more likely to nit-pick and rate down the resultant winner’s debut. Yet, it seems easier to ignore such anticipation when it comes to Ellie Goulding, the winner of the “Sound of 2010” poll. At 23 years of age and nowhere near as extroverted as many of her pop music peers, there is a charm and innocence to Goulding which is difficult to dislike. Even going on to win the “Critic’s Choice” award at the BRITS can be put to the side for the time being.

In fact, if there is anything that builds up expectations concerning Goulding’s debut LP ‘Lights’, it is the fantastic opener ‘Guns and Horses’. Beginning with acoustic guitar, xylophone and a simple beat, Goulding’s voice is at its very best here; sounding both sweet and sincere. Synths and hand-claps join the fray later to finish off this clear highlight fantastically. It really is the perfect example of what the singer-songwriter is aiming for; as seamless a combination of nu-folk and electro-pop as practically possible.

As ‘Lights’ progresses, the synths and four-to-the-floor beats provided by producer Starsmith play a larger role in proceedings. Varying degrees of success are achieved, but it is a testament to Goulding that the strike rate is ultimately above-average. Lead single ‘Under the Sheets’ is a pounding clubber that somehow works, ‘Your Biggest Mistake’ is pure catchy pop, while both piano-driven ballad ‘The Writer’ and the ethereal melodies of closer ‘Salt Skin’ add an interesting and slightly quirky element which benefits the album as a whole. All the while, Goulding’s lyrics are efficient and genuine, without ever being ground-breaking.

Goulding has claimed that all of these songs were first written on guitar and, on the aforementioned highlights, you can tell. However, a couple of tracks cross the line, becoming too glossy and allowing the electro element to take over. This tends to over-power her individuality, almost resulting in Goulding becoming just another pop star, without the X-factor which is required to stand out in the now bevy of established electro-pop acts. Elsewhere, the production could also have benefited from more Florence-like dramatic build-ups, just to give some songs that finishing touch.

Co-writing every song on ‘Lights’, Ellie Goulding is clearly a talented singer-songwriter with an abundance of potential. Furthermore, she has ambition… An ambition which results in some inconsistencies that should only be expected from such a young talent releasing her debut LP. Aspiring to find a middle ground between her folk background and the burgeoning success of electro-pop is an enterprising objective, but it is one which Goulding predominantly succeeds in through her genuine sincerity. Is ‘Lights’ the sound of 2010? Probably not, but it could well be the forerunner for another artist to capitalize on such an industrious blueprint. Otherwise, we can all look forward to album #2.

Recommended Tracks: Guns and Horses, Salt Skin, The Writer & Your Biggest Mistake.



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user ratings (200)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
elliotramsey (4.5)
Ellie Goulding’s debut album ‘Lights’ is an open, honest and sincere start to what looks to be...


Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It’s unlike me to not have the 2 lead singles of an album in the Reco Tracks, but that is the case here… Although they both just missed out.

It will be interesting to see how this is rated in the Sputnik community. I can see 4's & 2's coming.

Willie
Moderator
March 16th 2010


15969 Comments


Another great review. As long as this isn't too poppy, it sounds like something I'd like.

Digging: Necropoli - I

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Trey.

Funny you mention it, because as I was posting this, I was wondering if you would like it. I'm still not sure, so would be interested to know. My guess is that you'll really like the vocals, but the electro element may drive you away.

That's why I can see some lower ratings for this. Some people will feel that the mix of genres is just totally wrong from conception.

Willie
Moderator
March 16th 2010


15969 Comments


I love the electro stuff with female vocals, as long as it isn't too damn happy and poppy ;)

Niceinvader
March 16th 2010


773 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

This girl should be the on the next deadmau5 or tiesto album

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's going to be up to you to decide if it crosses the happy & poppy line Trey. I don't think it does re: happy, but it's fairly poppy.

I can see where you're coming from NiceInvader. I'm actually a little surprised she didn't start her career with a bunch of "......... featuring Ellie Goulding" tracks. That said, I'd also like to see her sing with a more organic act... Say Mumford & Sons.

Niceinvader
March 16th 2010


773 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I think she should do some guest vocals with the big name rave/trance producers but for her next ep/lp I agree with you. If you haven't already you should check out her cover of sweet desposition it's entirely acoustic.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The concern is that if she does both, is she spreading herself too thin.

I was reading about the 'Sweet Disposition' cover just before. I must check it out, especially if it's acoustic. Then again, if it's really really good, I may think worse of this album, wondering why the hell she didn't perform an entirely acoustic track.

Willie
Moderator
March 16th 2010


15969 Comments


I'm getting a Lunik/Kirsty Hawkshaw impression from your review. Yes/No?

Niceinvader
March 16th 2010


773 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah I thought it was strange that she didn't because she is very capable on the guitar and I was reading somewhere that most of her songs started off as acoustics.

As for the concern I agree fully, I just love her voice mixed with the electro stuff because that's where I first discovered her. (I think it was the JAKWOB remix for under the sheets which is actually poppy dubstep.)

Kiran
Emeritus
March 16th 2010


6001 Comments


mmmmm electro pop

Fugue
March 16th 2010


7353 Comments


Cool review man, album is alright, should probably give it another listen.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"I'm getting a Lunik/Kirsty Hawkshaw impression from your review. Yes/No?" Who... & who.

"she is very capable on the guitar and I was reading somewhere that most of her songs started off as acoustics." yep, I mentioned that in my review. It's apparently true & you can sort of tell.

"mmmmm electro pop" You've heard this, haven't you Kiran? Or only the singles?

"Cool review man, album is alright, should probably give it another listen" Thanks Rosco... Although you don't sound convinced about her/the album

Willie
Moderator
March 16th 2010


15969 Comments


Ha ha, damn I forgot who I was talking to. Not nearly enough radio play for you to know those two... ;)

Kiran
Emeritus
March 16th 2010


6001 Comments


i've heard it! looked into it after being impressed by her opening for passion pit last week. only ran through it once but i think salt skin might've been my favourite.

Fugue
March 16th 2010


7353 Comments


Naww man, some of the tracks I heard were good, just a couple were mediocre as well. Like I said, I'll have to listen again to form a definite opinion.

Kiran
Emeritus
March 16th 2010


6001 Comments


btw listen to a song called 'fighter plane', i think its a b-side. very nice. the numerous remixes of her songs are everywhere in the clubs here anyway, so i may as well embrace it!

Skimaskcheck
March 16th 2010


2360 Comments


Should get this

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Not nearly enough radio play for you to know those two... ;)" Good on ya Trey... The last time I (fleetingly) listened to a radio (for music) was last century. 2007 or 2008 from memory.

"looked into it after being impressed by her opening for passion pit last week" First, the news that Passion Pit have remixed Two Door Cinema Club & now playing with Ellie Goulding. Those guys are following my reviews me thinks!

Also, thanks for the reco Kiran. It sounds like she has random tracks floating around everywhere. Interesting to hear she is popular in the clubs.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2010


31161 Comments


This girl should be the on the next deadmau5 or tiesto album


Why Zimmerman would ever contemplate swapping out Haley Gibby for someone else is beyond me, that girl's got the voice of an angel. And anyone who wants to work with Tiesto should seriously consider having their head examined


Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands



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