‘Halcyon’ is Ellie Goulding’s follow up album to her popular album ‘Lights’, released back in 2010. Frankly all Ellie Goulding can truly be remembered for is her Marmite-like cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’. I say Marmite, as it was a single you either loved or hated. Regardless of what you thought of it, it couldn’t be denied that it was a very popular song, making it’s way into a John Lewis Christmas advert, which only further pushed it’s popularity.
‘Halcyon’ sees Ellie Goulding slipping straight into the style of music that is so popular these days. The whole album is dense with many layers of synths and electronic drum loops. It’s almost thick, with Goulding’s vocals slipping straight in amongst the layers, like the butter in a sandwich, (or perhaps a more fitting filling would be ‘Marmite’). It’s a typical album of these days, with many songs being typically comprised of basic drum beats that aren’t at all inspired or even interesting. The instrumentation on the album is highly typical as well, featuring squeaky synths that are quite dull. In some songs it goes into full dub-step mode, featuring huge driving dips in sound. I find it remarkable, as it’s nothing new. At very sparse moments does an actual instrument make its way into the song, but it doesn’t help to save the album, as soon it falls back into itself, using the synths to drive the song onwards. It’s disappointing, as I just wish that Goulding would just let her voice carry the music, and not the clichés of the current music industry.
It’s a hard album to like. I can barely find anything that I like on the album. It is full of clichés in a musical sense of the word, with nothing on the album being anything inspired or new. Hell, nothing on the album could even be described as different. At times it is frustratingly annoying to listen too, especially in the song ‘Only You’, which features an incredibly high-pitched backing vocal that sounds like the Chipmunks wormed their way into the recording studio. On top of that are synth effects hitting notes that ring in the ear uncomfortably. This has been done before, by Aphex Twin on his track ‘Ventolin’, which was designed to be an abrasive and next-to-impossible song to listen to. On this though, surely Ellie Goulding wants everyone to listen to her songs? It isn’t nice to listen too in the slightest, it just grates on the ear. I find it remarkable, as it makes me begin to start to prefer her recording of ‘Your Song’, as at least it isn’t as densely layered as the many tracks on this album. It might be just me, but I don’t see what there is to enjoy in this album.
- ★☆☆☆☆ 1/5
- I Know You Care
- Dead In The Water