Review - Ellie Goulding - Halycon (Deluxe Edition)
‘Halcyon’ is the perfect name for Ellie Goulding’s second album. The word (which I had to look up to be perfectly honest) means “calm, peaceful, tranquil”, and those are three words that I would definitely use in a description of the album. Where much of her debut ‘Lights’ made you dance, ‘Halcyon’ cuts you deep and makes you feel. The album feels like a reaction to her success, and possibly a commentary on people’s misunderstanding of who she is.
Her international hit “Lights” lit up radio everywhere earlier this year, and while it did wonders for the British singer’s career (which was already in a pretty great place in the UK), it’s true depth was lost on many. The song had such a fantastic beat and composition, no on paid any attention to the beauty of the lyrics and the incredible intricacy with which Goulding tells stories. I am sure that Ellie appreciate’s everyone’s love, but I feel that she wants to be more than just a pop star. Much more.
‘Halcyon’ is completely devoid of any dance hit, so if you’re looking for “Lights” part two, you’re going to be very disappointed. If you are simply looking for unbelievable music, than please, proceed.
Where we had electronic production on ‘Lights’ on singles like “Starry Eyed” and “Your Biggest Mistake” we now only have strings and vocal choirs. While I loved Ellie’s original sound, I couldn’t be disappointed with her new, more mature (?) tone; I was too busy being blown away by the power of ‘Halcyon’. The album is mesmerizing, subdued, and almost painful. Sadness peaks out from every corner, though not in obvious forms. The album is also grandiose, but not showy. The choir on second single “Explosions” is reminiscent of a Disney movie, and “Don’t Say A Word” is all but a capella, save for some echoing vocal effects and an ambiguous background noise that sets a muted tone.
I can’t say enough just how explosive ‘Halcyon’ is…if you really listen. Think of Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet” and you’ll have an idea of what I mean.
By the way – ‘Halcyon’ works as a title in so many ways. It also means “rich, wealthy, prosperous”, referring to the girl’s newfound wealth and worldwide fame. Finally, the word can mean “happy, joyful, carefree”, which is a general under current of the entire work.
Quiet happiness, tinged with longing and a summertime sadness.
Listen to: “Anything Could Happen”, “Explosions”, “Halcyon”, “JOY”, “I Know You Care”, “Ritual”, if not everything.