It seems a long time since we first wrote about Ellie Goulding as a New Wave on the blog (back in February 2009) and saw her play in front of about 50 people in a more than half empty basement club in Brighton later that year.
For a short while she was the darling of many UK blogs; then the first album came out, a number of critics gave it the thumbs down and quite a few bloggers seemed to distance themselves from their previously excited tips. It seems many of them were expecting something more folky and less pop - her early cover versions of the likes of Bon Iver had thrown them off the scent. For us it was one of those moments when so-called music experts weren’t aligned with our thinking. What we heard was a good pop record full of catchy hooks, modern production and a distinctive feathery vocal – it was one of our ten favourite records of 2010. Thankfully it seemed the public took our view, with the album going on to sell 850,000 copies in the UK and the song Lights has since sold over 2.5 million downloads in the US.
However, further down the road we had to shrug our shoulders and let out a sad sigh when Ellie went for the jugular of the mainstream with her cover version of Your Song. It became her biggest hit and raised her profile further, which is undoubtedly a useful thing to do if you want to sustain a living as a performer in this day and age. It certainly stopped her having to think about a career shelf stacking at Tesco, but the song nearly made us fall out with her – it was too bland, too dull and too sickly.
Tomorrow Ellie releases her second album Halcyon. The single Anything Could Happen, with its slightly odd video is power-pop perfection. So far the record has found critics a little more positive and maybe some of the ‘experts’ who predicted that Goulding’s shelf life was going to be short lived will have to rethink their stance. After all, if there’s one thing that every music expert should know is that nothing in the future of pop music is certain.
We recommend that if you’re buying Halcyon you get the deluxe version. The reason? It features her collaboration with Calvin Harris called I Need Your Love. In that original 2009 New Waves post we quoted Ellie as saying “electronic music won't leave my brain alone and I have a gravitational pull towards electronic producers.” In 2012 that quote still rings very true.(Insert Skrillex and Ellie Goulding joke here if you must) I Need Your Love is a punchy, bouncy electronic number that works equally well on dance floors as in our headphones at home.
It would seem that maybe Goulding’s journey hasn’t been very complex after all; she’s largely stuck to her electronic pop map, maybe just critics, bloggers and so called experts just haven’t been able to read it very well.
Ellie Goulding with Calvin Harris - I Need Your Love