Review: Ellie Goulding’s sophomore album “Halcyon” an instant success

Ryan Morris

Editor’s note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

In the not-very-distant past, any thoughts I had of Ellie Goulding were usually regarding her EDM hit “Lights.”

Though not a bad song, it wasn’t necessarily a good one.  The only really discernible lyrics are, “lights, lights, lights, lights,” and it brought to mind images of neon clothing, black lights and drunk dancing.

All that has changed thanks to Goulding’s sophomore album, “Halcyon.”

Aptly named – the title means “untroubled, peaceful, tranquil” – “Halcyon” was recorded in a small studio in Goulding’s hometown near the Welsh border.

If “Lights” was a dance album, then “Halcyon” is a breakup album.  The tempo is slower and the synthesizers are lowered to showcase Goulding’s vocal skills.

The first track, “Don’t Say A Word” sets the stage for the rest of the album with a soft and ethereal intro.  Each song after reveals lyrical maturity and a similarly settled, tranquil style.

The second track, “My Blood” reaches a level of emotion usually only attempted by Adele with the repeated line “God knows it’s the only way to feel now, with all the blood I lost with you” and highlights Goulding’s amazing vocal range.

The first single released, “Anything Could Happen” is just as catchy as “Lights,” but the lyrics are much more mature and it showcases her beautiful natural voice.

“Atlantis” is by far the best track on the album and a breakup song set to rival “Someone Like You.”  Goulding showcases her searing vocal range with hauntingly beautiful high notes swirling around the repeated line, “Where’d you go?”

Beautiful execution and vocal range sets this track apart from the rest, and sets Goulding apart from her contemporaries.  Goulding’s second album “Halcyon” was released on iTunes and in stores Oct. 9, 2012.

Rating: Four out of four stars.

Story: EMMA SPECKMAN, Senior A&E Reporter