Ellie Goulding releases expanded version of album
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 01:09
Following the success of her second studio album “Halcyon” (2012), Ellie Goulding on Aug. 26 released “Halcyon Days,” an extended version of the former, which features 10 new tracks in her signature ethereal indie pop style.
Like its predecessor, “Halcyon Days” is already doing well on the charts. “Burn,” the first single off of the album, has already graced the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and became Goulding’s first number-one single on the U.K. Singles Chart. On the track, Goulding sings, “We can light it up, up, up / so they can’t put it out, out, out” over a synth beat that sounds like much of the rest of the album. However, in this particular instance, the song’s similarity to others is not a drawback — Goulding’s production is both compelling and novel. “Burn” is an unrestrained, stadium-filling track that makes Katy Perry’s “Roar” sound like a kitten’s purr.
Goulding is known for her covers, often of the songs of male vocalists, and they never disappoint. In “Halcyon,” she covers “Hanging On” by Active Child and “High for This” by The Weeknd. A standout on “Halcyon Days” is her version of Alt-J’s “Tessellate,” a sure rival of the original. The singer-songwriter adds some dripping electronic beats in the background, which accompany her voice in a much more substantial way. A saxophone solo adds a sultry sound, and a sharp snare pulls it all together.
After a successful collaboration on “I Need Your Love” with Calvin Harris, Goulding once again works with a popular young producer on this album. “Stay Awake,” from “Halcyon Days,” is another partnering with the French producer Madeon, who is known for his remix of French band Yelle’s “Que Veux Tu.” His style is evident on the chorus, where a heavy, yet exciting beat pounds behind Goulding’s breathy vocals as she sings, “You can follow us to paradise.”
In “Goodness Gracious,” Goulding sings about pulling someone back from the brink of emotional destruction. Despite the somber content, the song still manages to sound bubbly and upbeat.
Other songs, like “Hearts Without Chains” and “Under Control,” are catchy, but they begin to blend together after just a few listens. Herein lies the main problem on this extended addition: at a total of 28 songs, many of this edition’s tracks fail to become anything special on their own. They become almost fillers, songs that sound nice as a whole but would be unrecognizable outside of it.
Goulding’s music has also been incredible fodder for remix artists in the past few years. Aside from including the aforementioned “Stay Awake,” she could have done well by adding more of these standout remixes onto “Halcyon Days.”
The most notable of these remixes are Blood Diamond’s take on “Anything Could Happen” and a remix of “ Burn” by the more obscure Citizen, an artist that Goulding was shown dancing to in a video on her Instagram account.
“Halcyon Days” is a solid re-release of her second musical venture that features a few standout tracks. Although the album is not groundbreaking, it’s hard to complain about hearing Goulding’s haunting voice over both her signature synth beats and acoustic tracks. With “Halcyon Days,” Goulding’s success is sure to continue.