Sunday, 25 October 2009

Ellie Goulding - Under The Sheets

Here’s an admission. This year we have had the name Ellie Goulding set as one of our Google alerts. The last few weeks have seen that alert get very busy indeed. So based on a very unscientific study of clicking on the links sent by the alerts, here is our guide on how to write a blog post about Ellie Goulding. Follow these simple instructions and your post will look like virtually every other trendy young things new music blog on the internet.

1. Show how ‘hip’ and ‘on the case’ you are by stating that you first wrote about Ellie ages ago. The earlier the better really, because this shows how ‘in touch’ you are with new music.

2. Write a couple of abstract meaningless sentences that say very little except she has a good voice, some beats, an acoustic guitar, is working with Starsmith and is likely to be a star herself.

3. Post an MP3 that you’ve stolen from another blog, most likely the Neon Gold site. Gain extra credibility by mentioning Neon Gold in your blog.

4. Post up and voila, you can now consider yourself now part of the hip elite.

If these instructions seem a little cynical, then you’re reading it in the right way. The irony is we could easily be accused of doing 1,2 and 4 ourselves. However, we have no desire to be hip or on the case, as such coolness is transient, often lacks integrity and doesn’t last. If we happen to write about a new artist that is flavour of the month with hipsters, it is because we genuinely like the song and want others to know about it. Simple. We turned off our cool radar a long time ago. It’s all about the music for us.

Which is why we are writing about Ellie Goulding’s debut single Under The Sheets. We like it a lot. But we want to delve a little deeper.

Before we get caught up in a wave of bandwagon jumping herd behaviour with the hip blogs, we think it is time to inject a little bit of caution in respect of Ms Goulding. In some respects this caution is our way to counter the levels of expectation that seem to be flooding towards her. Read our blog here on the expectations surrounding Little Boots this year to get an idea of where we are coming from. Ellie Goulding is very good and has plenty of talent, both as a performer and a songwriter. We’ve seen her live twice now and so feel authorised to be quite categoric about this. See our review posts here and here. However when at some point next year she releases an album, will it be one to treasure? There are a couple of possible indicators that despite the talent we shouldn’t get too over excited yet.

First, her live sound shows little variation in the songs she is producing. The acoustic electro formula is a great formula, but without variation it can become wearing over an albums worth of songs. This is why we loved another folktronic singer James Yuill’s debut so much, as he mixed in gentle acoustic ballads on some songs with his heavier beats on others.

Second, whilst Goulding has a distinctive voice, rather like La Roux it may have a marmite effect, becoming painfully annoying for some listeners over the course of an album. The singles may stand out, but for an album to have tenaciousness, a sweet almost childlike quivering vocal such as Goulding’s, as good as it is, may not stick for the course of ten to twelve songs unless there is the variation we mentioned earlier.

These are the cautious notes we throw out there. Catch them if you want and make your own musical judgements. Let’s not get hysterical. Internet hype can work against artists as well as for them.

For the record we think Under The Sheets by Ellie Goulding is a storming, passionate piece of pop music that is instantly memorable and infectious. It takes a step on from her other songs available on the internet such as Starry Eyed and Guns and Horses by adding crashing live drum sounds to her electronic pop. Decide yourselves. Ellie Goulding - Sound of 2010 ? Here’s the video.

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