Over the past two years since I purchased her fist album Lights, Ellie Goulding has been a constant in both my CD player and iTunes. To the extent that, despite numerous play counts being deleted, ‘Starry Eyed’ still ranks within my Top 25 Most Played with an impressive 159 plays (178 on my iPod). With the new‘ish’ release of her second album Halcyon, we see a more complicated album than her first. Halcyon features more somber lyrics and has a prominent water motif, which coupled with more involved arrangements culminates in an emotional album.
What I loved about Lights was the upbeat tempos, the drums and the overall energy. With Goulding’s new album, we do see the return of her distinctive tempos and certainly her lyrical voice remains but something is off. The upbeat bounciness and joy is gone. While there are songs reminiscent of Lights, in particular ‘Don’t Say a Word’ and ‘Only You.’ Halcyon steps away from its predecessor and moves into more serious grounds, which is ultimately this albums downfall. While certainly the fundamental drums and beats of her music remain, the joy and hook is no longer there.
Having listened to the album a few times by now, I can’t help but think that something may have spurred this tone change. Lyrics that are littered throughout the album hint at the loss of a love or a breakup. Lines such as “I’m better off without your love” from ‘Without Your Love’ and “With all the blood I lost with you / It drowns the love I thought I knew” from ‘My Blood,’ really hammer this assumption home. While certainly I am not prepared to troll through Goulding’s twitter feed to find out if this is the case, emotional upheaval is nevertheless evident in Halcyon.
Despite all this Halcyon is still a decent listen with many great songs, however if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself returning to Lights far more often. All in all though, I still class myself as a massive Ellie Goulding fan and look forward to a third album!