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Let's Talk About How Amazing the New Ellie Goulding Album is

Posted on the 02 December 2012 by Virginiamae @SugarRushedBlog

Let's talk about how amazing the new Ellie Goulding album is

Possibly the most impressive part about Ellie Goulding's new album Halcyon, aside from how brilliant it is, is that it is in no way a safe album.  The safe move would have been an album full of songs that all sounded like "Lights," and frankly, that would have been quite listenable indeed.

But instead of some new contemplative pop-dance fusion, Halcyon unleashes a tidal wave of dark, often brooding, and sometimes quite pared down tracks.  There are some welcome inflections of Ellie's pre-established style, such as the experimental sound effects in the gorgeously longing "Only You," or the dancier feel of the Calvin Harris collaboration "I Need Your Love."  

Yet overall, Halcyon seems a step - if not forward, since Lights was such a fabulous debut from start to finish, and the more recent Bright Lights tracks are pretty excellent, too - to a new realm, a more bleak and searching place where a ballad like "Joy" is cringe-inducingly  painful in its anatomy of break-up grief.  It exists seamlessly in the same world as the almost Deconstruction-oriented (literary analysis geeks, I know you're out there) opening track, "Don't Say a Word," and the somber, pleading "Dead in the Water."

Elsewhere, flinching, demanding relationship autopsies like "Figure 8" and "Hanging On" impress (actually, quite surprisingly, the Tinie Tempah-featured remix of "Hanging On" is better than the plain version of the song, with the rapper's no-holds-barred, emotionally battered and bitter performance supplementing the track admirably.  This reminds me a bit of the Childish Gambino verse in Leona Lewis' "Trouble," which accomplishes a similar, difficult feat).

Flickers of hopeful illumination shine through in a few tracks, albeit in an often twisted manner, such as "I Know You Care"'s complicated relationship, the retrospective analysis of "Anything Could Happen," or the pensive optimism of "Halcyon."

The best song on Halcyon is definitely "Explosions," a tour de force of bittersweetness thematically reminiscent of Aimee Mann's song "Fourth of July," at once a just accusation, an admission of begrudged pity and forgiveness, and a general philosophical statement about how life feels and is.

Rightfully so, "Exposions" seems destined to be a massive hit if it's ever a single, and it's definitely going to be heard in a whole lot of CW dramas this season.

That rare sophomore album that is equally as great as its predecessor, Halcyon earns ten pink flowers out of ten.

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