When I listen to music, I’m sometimes looking for a beat that makes me dance. Yet, most of the time, music for me is about the lyrics (unless of course, I’m listening to classical music, then the instruments tell the story). Every song has a story and I’m a huge fan of how Ellie Goulding crafts a story.
Ellie Goulding is an English singer-songwriter who was raised by her father, an undertaker, and her mother who worked at a grocery store until her parents separated at age five. Her stepfather was a truck driver and Goulding has said he was “horrible.” Although she was one of four children, her music career started early. She started playing clarinet at age nine and at age fourteen, she taught herself how to play guitar. At 15, she began songwriting and won a songwriting competition while attending Hereford Sixth Form College.
While attending University of Kent, she was exposed to electronic music and won a university talent competition and won. After winning, Jamie Lillywhite became her manager and she began working with her chief producer Starsmith, who primarily produced her album Lights.
Although Lights wasn’t released until March 2010, Ellie had early releases before that and was a rising star and started to accrue a fanbase long before her first album was released. She released “Under The Sheets” and “Guns and Horses” through an independent label despite being signed to Polydor Records. She also wrote various songs for multiple artists before her own success began to take off including Tinie Tempah. Ellie Goulding is a keen runner and a vegan. She’s also close friends with Lorde, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry.
Her debut album Lights experimented with subgenres synthypop, indiepop, indietronica, and folktronica. It debuted at number one in the UK but at number 21 in the U.S before being certified double platinum. Her follow-up album Halycon Days stepped away from her signature electronic sound with more tribal and anthemic in sound with more piano and vocals. It debuted at number 1 in the UK and number 9 in the U.S. before being certified triple platinum.
Song by Song Review
“Introduction”: This track starts out the album with just a chorus of voices almost like a siren song that you want to listen to.
“Aftertaste:” The song begins with the backtrack heard in the introduction. It touches about two lovers who come in and out of each other’s lives and who leave each other with the memory of their time together only found in the aftertaste.
“Something in the Way you Move”: With the musicality and pop music impact of a Michael Jackson song, it was the third single off the album. It’s a dance track for sure.
“Keep On Dancin'”: This is my favorite off the album and I refer to it as the EDM version of Just Keep Swimming from the hit Disney movie Finding Nemo. It’s about not letting anything take you down and just keep moving no matter who approves or not.
“On My Mind”: The album’s lead single, it’s one of the reasons I love the way Goulding crafts a story. It’s about moving on from someone who you thought you knew, may have loved, but after the relationship has ended, you find that person is still on your mind. It returns to Goulding’s roots of synthopop.
“Around U”: Creating a new pop path in her music career, it features co-writing from Frank Gibson, and is positive in its musicality and lyrical content.
“Codes”: Co-written with pop song slayer Max Martin, it sounds like a Goulding song but has pop musicality. Lyrically it follows the frustration of when a lover talks in code and you can’t figure out what they mean and whether they are being true to you.
“Holding On For Life”: This track has folk musicality and has an infectious pop musicality as well.
“Love Me Like You Do”: Famed song off the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, it features co-writing from Max Martin and blew up the pop charts.
“Don’t Need Nobody”: Goulding returns to her synthopop signature sound in this track about an independent chick that finds a guy she can’t live without.
“Don’t Panic”: This track has the musicality of a Paula Abdul song with it’s eighties pop musicality and lyrical content.
“We Can’t Move To This”: Again reminds me of a mix of Bjork and Lauryn Hill, both of which Goulding has cited as musical influences. It’s another favorite off the album strictly because of it’s dancy musicality.
“Army”: A song Goulding penned for her best friend Hannah, it’s a song about friendship that strengthens you in dark times and good times. It was the second single off the album.
“Lost and Found”: This song has the tribal musicality to remind me of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. It was released as a promotional single off the album.
“Devotion”: This track reminds me of a mix of sounds from Lights and Halycon Days
“Scream It Out”: I love this track because it starts out with just Goulding and the piano but becomes more synthopop as the track goes along. It ends the album on a high note musically.
Since it’s November 6, 2015 release, Delirium debuted at #3 in the U.S. and has sold over 117,000 copies in the U.S. alone. One thing is certain, Goulding’s talent isn’t a case of delirium but more a natural phenomenon, similar to that of a shooting star in it’s rarity.