Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ellie Goulding 'Halcyon Days'


My time away from blogging meant I missed some of 2012's musical gems--which included Ellie Goulding's sophomore album Halcyon. A standout from the album which stuck with me throughout the year was the haunting "Figure 8" a firery, bass-heavy number, undercut with warbling synths and lush piano keys brooding beneath the electronic production--in other words: It's awesome. Halcyon Days--the reissue is released this week. It has so far spawned Goulding's first chart-topper "Burn." Along with that, seven new tracks (including two remakes) is added to the original tracklist (this is going by the Spotify edition).

Following the uproarious synth-drenched pop of "Burn," "Goodness Gracious" drops the tempo a little--but the synths are still there embellished throughout the track, shimmering over clattering rhythmic beats. The razor sharp synths get pretty '80s toward the end. "You My Everything" showcases some brooding piano work beneath Goulding's choppy vocal work, which gradually descends into rapid electronic beats and synths--almost like a toned down version of DJ Fresh' "Hot Right Now."

The atmospheric "Hearts Without Chains" strips things back to piano, vocal and bursts of soft percussion. It's beautifully composed--it segues nicely into "Stay Awake" featuring French producer Madeon, which begins briefly with guitar strings before it disintegrates into a glorious beat-heavy electronic production. If there was an underwhelming track on here it would be the rather dull and plodding electro-pop of "Under Control."

Similar to her rendition of Elton Johns' "Your Song," Goulding takes The Waterboys folksy love song "How Long Will I Love You" transforming it into a piano ballad backed with soaring strings and her emotional vocal. She also pulls things back for her remake of Alt-J's "Tessellate," seductively slowing down the tempo--soft clicks and a hush-hush bassline that sets the stage nicely for the beautiful horn solo.

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