Ellie Goulding is major hit maker in the making. Halcyon Days is methodical and follows a very specific formula that Goulding has seemed to have mastered since her debut album Lights. What we get is a major step up that has been heavily refined and well deserved from such a talented singer. It blends the indie pop style from her last album with synthpop beats. But don’t think Halcyon Days is just another Britney or Miley Cyrus album. Goulding sets herself apart with deep lyrics and a sweet but powerful voice.
Halcyon Days is comprised of the original Halcyon album, several bonus tracks, and the Halcyon Days edition that includes extra songs, including her only major hit in the U.S., “Burn.” Despite “Burn” being the only hit, it’s certainly not the best song on the album. My favorites include “Goodness Gracious,” “You My Everything,” and the lead single “Anything Could Happen.” Throughout the album her tone changes from song to song. It keeps things interesting and adds to the variety.
One of the coolest parts of Halcyon Days is the brilliant lyrics, all written Ellie herself. They contrast the music, but it’s not in a ridiculous way. “Goodness Gracious” has a bouncy and fun tune and beat, but underneath the lyrics detail a girl who’s addicted to some guy and constantly wants to call him. Other songs are consistent and keep the solemn mood across the lyrics. For the most part they take a melancholy tone. Some may complain about the way the choruses of many of her songs tend to repeat one line. That’s only a problem if it becomes boring. But how could anyone get bored of listening to Goulding’s voice? Even when she does repeat herself, she does it with such ferocity in her voice that you really become engaged into the music. She is an amazing vocalist that even just the humming she does in some songs is enough to make you fall in love with it.
Beats and Music
Ellie seems to have taken cues from her then boyfriend Skrillex. The beats take on the synthpop style, but it’s not exactly dubstep. At first they may sound like generic pop beats, but when you hear Goulding’s breathtaking vocals and lyrics with it, it becomes something a lot more special. They are strong and power the music through similarly to the way “Lights” did in 2010. They can be fun and exciting, or they can be slow and heavy. Goulding is very versatile and can sing either style very well.
Halcyon Days is a very solid album. Its songs are varied and each has its own feel. It’s easy to get caught up in Ellie Goulding’s voice. She breaks away from relying on the chorus for you to like her music. The verses and bridges are strongly sang and very well written. I rarely find pop music whose verses are half as exciting as the choruses are. The songs from Halcyon Days suck you in with their fury or their quiet elegance. For those who love pop music but want a break from the norm, Halcyon Days is my first recommendation.