March 17, 2011

Test Spins: Ellie Goulding

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Ask just about anyone in the U.K. who Ellie Goulding is, and they’ll tell you about the singer’s quick ascension to fame. After releasing her debut single, “Under the Sheets” in November 2009, Goulding went on to win the 2010 BRIT Award for Critics Choice and the BBC Sound of 2010 prize. A chart-topping debut album and a slew of Top 40 hits followed. Even still, Goulding’s name isn’t likely one that you’re familiar with.

Swallowed up by a sea of fellow British females trying to make it on this side of the pond, Goulding’s album didn’t make its way into U.S. stores until last week. And, even then, Interscope relegated Lights to a digital-only release. This is especially shameful, given how wonderfully unique Lights is

The U.S. version of Lights opens with the album’s title track, which was ironically omitted from original U.K. release but included on the album’s subsequent re-release Bright Lights. This is one of several alterations that have been made to the track listing, so as to ensure that the album doesn’t slow down until its closing number, a cover of Elton John’s “Your Song.” This type of musical cherry-picking isn’t uncommon, but one must wonder whether Interscope would’ve been better served releasing Bright Lights in its entirety as Goulding’s American debut.

Regardless, this version of Lights is still a pleasant collection of songs from the folktronica princess. “Starry Eyed, “This Love” and the aforementioned “Under the Sheets” make for a powerful 1-2-3 punch in the middle of the album. All three were composed by Goulding’s partner-in-crime Finlay Dow-Smith (aka Starsmith). Dow-Smith, who helped Goulding pen the vast majority of the album and produced all but three of its tracks, has a knack for making Goulding’s emotional lyrics work as dance numbers when for all intents and purposes they shouldn’t.


Original Author: Wesley Ambrecht