Ellie Goulding - Lights

Antonio Rowe 26/03/2010

Rating: 4/5

Is it just me but doesn't it seem like Welsh chanteuse/Hereford based Ellie Goulding has become somewhat of a ridiculously over-blown hype bandwagon? With every person in the music industry trying to haul themselves aboard claiming that they've been there since the beginning of her musical journey.

Don't You Think?

She's been placed at the summit of every big in (insert year here) music poll; she's been on the tip of the tongue of every tastemaker out there. The single that introduced her to the music buying public 'Starry-Eyed' has become a top 5 hit and doesn't look like it's going to budge out of the top ten anytime soon and to top it all off her debut album crashed right in at the number 1 spot on the album charts with reported first week sale figures of 40,000.

Not bad for a small-town girl with humbling beginnings. But is it justified, and does the musician finally live up to the hype?

Well the simple answer would be yes. 'Lights' is a surprisingly stonking folktronica/pop treat that's as tasty and appealing to me, as an iced doughnut with chocolate sprinkles on it is to the ever so slightly rotund Chief Wiggum off The Simpsons.

Lights consists of 10 tracks: a selection of the songs destined to become mainstream hits that have carefully created by Ellie and producer (and one of her close friends) 'Starsmith' with the music-buying public in mind. From the pop gold melody of 'This Love' that's catchy(replete with handclaps) to the point that it becomes an annoyance rather than a pleasure to 'The Writer' which lures the listener into believing it's a understated ballad until the chorus arrives that is so well-written and poppy that it has 'hit' scrawled over it.

Of course with every debut from a fresh artist they are aspects of the album that could be improved, these been experimentation of sound and lyrical content. Lyrical content consists of boys, homesickness (see Wish I Stayed) and well more boys, hopefully these rough edges will improve with time as Ellie grows as an artist.

Ms Goulding certainly knows and holds the key to the much desired formula of 'How to write a perfectly satisfying pop song' but unfortunately she doesn't get rid of this security blanket except for the inventive and experimental album closer 'Salt Skin'. This results in the overall sonic of the album lacking differentation and rarely steps out of her folktronica genre.

Of course some music critics have pounced on this and have said the lack of experimentation is the albums Achilles heel and favour her competitors debut 'Family Jewels' by Marina and The Diamonds for its kooky operatic tracks.
But I'd take Ellie's safe but definitely satisfying electro-pop over Marina's ethereal but at times ever so slightly shambolic electro-opera any day.