In 2010, Ellie Goulding emerged onto the electropop scene with her hit song and album of the same name, "Lights." With trance-like electric loops and wispy, almost child-like vocals, Goulding's "Lights" ascended Billboard's Hot 100 chart, making it as high as No. 2 in 2011. Riding the tails of this upward momentum, Goulding's second album, "Halcyon," landed in U.S. stores Oct. 9. With vibes of familiarity and waves of freshness, "Halcyon" seems poised to skyrocket Goulding even higher into the pop stratosphere.
The album opens with "Don't Say a Word," a song emphasizing Goulding's voice and vocal range over a penetrating, percussion-heavy backdrop. The song initiates a more purposeful tone than her previous album.
The album continues with "My Blood" and "Anything Could Happen," which explore the differing themes of regret and optimism. The tone of each song serves to accentuate and enhance the themes at the heart of each track.
Tracks four and six, "Only You" and "Figure 8," ramble around with a combination of rhythmic pop beat and vocal repetition reminiscent of "Lights." These tracks bound back and forth with a familiar feel and bring the album closer to fans of Goulding's older songs.
The album then throws a slight curveball with tracks seven, nine and ten, "JOY," "Explosions" and "I Know You Care." To a backdrop of classical piano, "JOY" places Goulding's vocal abilities as the rhythmic, driving force for discovering the nature of dependent happiness. "JOY" resonates with a classical and near operatic feel that is again felt in "Explosions."
"I Know You Care" is by far the most stripped down track of the album, consisting of soulful and sympathetic vocals and a lone piano.
The album winds down through tracks 11, 12 and 13, "Atlantis," "Dead in the Water" and "I Need Your Love," which are all stylistically unique, but all deal with loss.
"Halcyon," comes to an appropriate close with the music sensation that is "Lights," from her previous album. With heavy nods to her roots and some entirely fresh tracks, this album seems poised as the next step in the evolution of Ellie Goulding.