Thursday, February 25, 2010


To be honest, I saw Lights coming a mile away. It's too much for the record label suits to let a female artist with girl next door looks to be anything other than pop. There's no money in it otherwise, and nobody wants that. I also understand how very typical it is for the people who got her to where she is (her original fans) suddenly reject her as soon as she makes it. But that's what's going to happen, people are fickle and the weight of hype is suffocating for all but a select few.

While Ellie Goulding had this charming Electro/Indie/Pop vibe when we first heard her, it's a different girl we're listening to on Lights. Perhaps i'm being a tad melodramatic, but the whole thing feels over-produced and typical. From the album artwork, which will turn everyone but the most stalwart Beyonce fans away in disgust, to the cutesy sentimentality and sappy lyrical work in most of the tracks, it all reeks of a budding young artist steered towards the black hole of despair that is the Top 40 charts by the powers that be. It was obvious with Frankmusik's debut, Complete Me, and it's obvious here.

However like everything, Lights is not without its merits. The opener, Guns And Horses, is exactly what I was hoping for from Goulding with this album. It's catchy as hell but still retains that X-Factor that discerns credible songwriting from manufactured pop. Tracks previously heard and loved by many such as Starry Eyed and Under The Sheets are still there, but little vocal flourishes and production highlights make them sound far more pop than ever before, especially in the former. Your Biggest Mistake is another song that gives us but a glimpse of what could have been, it's a truly compelling track, and the vocal effects utilised remind me once again of Frankmusik, but here it's a great thing, rather than a disappointing similarity.

Which makes me wonder about the tracks that didn't make it on the album. You get a sneaking suspicion throughout the album that this is not her best work, just the stuff deemed least risky by her label.

All of this said, you could do far worse than buy Lights. In a world where people like Lady Gaga can become famous and respected, Ellie Goulding is a breath of fresh air. I sincerely hope this album and her inevitable success doesn't pigeon-hole her for the rest of her career.



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