Lights is the debut album by Ellie Goulding. Goulding won the Critic’s Choice Award in 2010 at The BRITS, becoming the artist to look out for in that year. Florence Welch won the same award in the previous year, so there was definitely speculation whether Goulding could step up to expectations and prove that she would be the talk of 2010. So did Goulding steal the spotlight with Lights or did critics go barmy yet again?
Lights begins with Guns and Horses. The song starts with a folk finger-picking style. This is a fantastic opening because it is one of the few tracks that defines Goulding’s roots perfectly. The pre-chorus is where an open string is plucked on guitar before it thunders into the chorus which has a memorable effect on the listener because it has flavours of electronica buried underneath which emerge and fuse with the folk-style of the track brilliantly. When listening to Starry-Eyed, one would probably think it’s another contrived and cringe-worthy pop song that has been spouted out by the charts. In some cases it is and isn’t. On one hand the cringe-worthy part is lyrics “Next thing we’re touching/It’s like you hit me with lightning.” But the lovely arpeggios that come thundering in before the chorus saves this from being another pop song where artists such as Wiz Khalifa sing about the trivial topics of Black & Yellow. The techniques and sounds created in Starry Eyed are a breath of fresh air.
This Love (Will Be Your Downfall) highlights the production of Starsmith and Frankmusik. The production is wonderful as well as being too simplistic. The wonderful part is the lovely drum beat that accompanies Goulding’s vocals which are cross between Björk and Beyoncé. But it’s this drum beat that makes it annoying as well as being the momentum which drives the song nicely. The drum beat seems to follow the same pattern without expanding on any new ideas which can make it boring in the majority of songs on Lights such as Under The Sheets and Every Time You Go. With the heavy layering of electronica, it’s as if both Frankmusik and Starsmith have ripped out the identity of Goulding and what she really represents.
Wish I Stayed is a stand out track that has more variation in terms of drum patterns. But what makes it stand out is the introduction which highlights Goulding’s acoustic-guitar playing days as well as her cute vocals. The chorus is beautiful because even if the lyrics are quite simple “With that skipping rope, trampoline/The crafty smoke that made us choke” the hook is outrageously addictive to sing-along to. The Writer is one of the best numbers because the song doesn’t try too hard to stand out on the album. The song has a lovely piano chord progression which is accompanied by Goulding’s gorgeous vocals. The Writer definitely has a ballad feel to it, which makes it one of the best on Lights.
Overall Lights is an impressive debut album by Ellie Goulding because she lives up to the words of critics. Taking the simplistic production to side, every song on Lights has an involuntarily effect of sucking you into the music. Lights shows how different Goulding is from other artists because she has her own style of fusing electronica with her folk origins. Okay she may not be another Lady Gaga, but Goulding has only started her path in her music career. She is definitely one to look out for in years to come!