Review: Ellie Goulding – Lights

3 Mar


Woo-hoo! I am totally looking forward to this. My signed copy of Ellie Goulding’s Lights just arrived from Play.com. I love what I’ve heard so far. Aythan showed me Starry Eyed a month or two ago and since then I have been in love with her. I have downloaded 10 different remixes of Under The Sheets and all her demos and original acoustic versions.

From what I’ve heard so far it’s interesting because her folk music is being reinyterpretted by a cuttingedge producer so the remix iof the track is actually being presented as the original track. That is pretty wild stuff. It sets a interesting precedent for the music industry – get signed but the songs you’ve written and the genre you are will also be bent into whatever we want.

Lucky for me, I love this electro pop that’s big right now so Ellie Goulding’s new sound is making me TURGID.

Okay, commence first listen through review:

Guns and Horses

Nice, starts like the original version but much bigger. Lovely bass coming in. Whoa! MASSIVE chorus. This will be a single, no doubt! Really interesting synth parts hidden under the chorus too. I love the deliberately looped “I would” section after the chorus but oh, shame, they’re removed the drum stutter at the end of that. Oh I felt that really made the song in the original version. Oh well, this track is still fucking wonderful. Ooh, new ending too.

Starry Eyed

This is such a soothing track. I can’t believe this track exists, as I said before it is clearly a remix of an original song but released as the main version. Such a great idea and by a major record label (Polydor) a pretty interesting turn of events.

I don’t know why but the couplet:

“Next thing, we’re touching”

is so moving to me. I feel quite stirred by it!

This Love (will be your downfall)

New song! Don’t know this one so have nothing to compare it against. Okay, the verse is clearly just a calm before the storm and you just know when we get to the prechorus it’s gonna br– yes, it does. In come the beats muthafucka! Chorus is okay, bit obvious in all honesty. Again, comes in that arpeggiated synth underneath it all. Bit weird that, seems a little bit Pet Shop Boys/Erasure, you know to make it feel more electro but doesn’t really add anything? Man, her voice is stunning at the end though.

Under The Sheets

Oh my, this track is the fucking best thing. It was released as a single. The remixes to it are fucking outrageously good too. (I advise you to check out the Jakwob or  Kids At The Bar Remix). I have no idea what this song is about but lines like “I’ve seen you in a fight you lost” and “we’re under the sheets and you’re killing me” just make it all so right. Chorus is lush and the use of digital editing on her vocals is superb. (again with that silly petshopboys synth underneath stuff though but I’ll let it pass ‘cos the song rules!!!).

The Writer

Okay, 5th track in and here’s the slow one. Sounds very rocky for a ballad – can’t quite put my finger on the sound. Again, big chorus but feels a little bit too massive. Like someone compressed the thing to fuck and then normalised the thing to 0db just to make sure the sound filled up every bit it could. Maybe sounds too maxxed out. Yeah, the song itself is beautiful but the production is killing it. Whose fucking idea was it to put all those awful backing vocals on the chorus and the delays ones on the last chorus? It’s pissed all over it. Goddamn it. Still I guess I’ve got the original version. The song ends like it sound have remained: simple.

Every Time You Go

This one feels immediately like an album filler. Don’t know why but it isn’t that great. And fucking again with a really naff arpeggiated synth bit that probably appears in the dictionary under the definition for “obvious”. Yeah, by the end the track is okay but it’s all just a long build but it feels like it takes too long to get there. It also doesn’t have anything to say. It should be called The Liberal Democrats.

Wish I Stayed

Oh they’ve ruined this. Some dickhead producer who doesn’t know how to use delay has got his hands on this. Opening is fucking awful and it just gets worse. Drum sound is terrible. Chrous is not a surprise anymore. Pounding all the way through = pish. It’s all synth and quite simply the worst arpeggiated synth I’ve heard yet. Look, if you digital cut into vocals and destroy them then you DON’T NEED TO PUT ANY FUCKING DELAY ON MORE VOCALS because it makes the whole thing a massive TURD. Ellie, this song is GASH. The original version with FrankMusik was SO much better . Hang on, just checked the production notes and this new version is also by FrankMusik! You can see why his career hasn’t fucking got anywhere. How to flush a perfectly good song down the toilet by FrankMusik. What’s worse is that the vocal takes are exactly the same from the original so Ellie Goulding hasn’t even recorded any of this again. This is like FrankMusik’s new mix and it’s horrific. Ending can’t come soon enough but unfortunately, it’s also the most ill-timed collapse of a ending… gah, I’d like to forget that all happened please.

Your Biggest Mistake

Oh my god. What is happening? The album is turning poop. I guess this is an okay track. For the Sugababes. Lovely couplet about “Stop pretending” and in all honesty, Ellie, I think you should listen to your own advice. This pop masquerade is not you. Fucking hell, the vocals have been over produced by an idiot. In fact the song just stops after it’s finished bludgeoning you to a recent-Girls-Aloud-record state of banality.

I’ll Hold My Breath

Sounds like a Christmas song at the beginning. Ah, this is more what I was expecting. Harking back to The Writer earlier. This has a great chorus that again sounds kinda familiar. But yet again, in the latter part of the song we end up with some silly arpegiatted synth that someone somewhere believes adds something to the song. Now I wouldn’t mind but it’s being used as a filler. It’s just NOT LOUD ENOUGH! It’s like whoever mixed this didn’t’ have the balls to go “well you’ve put in the electro stuff maybe it should be actually audible”, Then it would make me feel something. Instead all we’re left with is some barely coherent electrosynth. I’ve also noticed how that vocal digital editing that is used throughout Starry Eyed and the earlier tracks is gone now.

Salt Skin

There! Is that so fucking hard?! THIS is how the album should have been mixed. The synth is LOUD at fucking last. On the verse it drops a bit and her vocals are (as throughout) way too loud but this is a great track. Sweeping chorus makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Hell, I think it made my cock stand up too. And the choir vocal bit makes me think of another track… Decemberists or oh man, I can’t place it. I’ll remember it sooner or later. Definitely familiar though! And some great vocal editing before the final chorus comes in. That’s what we wanted! You fool Ellie! You’ve filled your album up with damp dance squibs when all we wanted was an EP which had Guns And Horses, Starry Eyed, Under The Sheets and Salt Skin.

So in summary, this has everything it needs to be a great album. But instead it’s a disappointment. Maybe for people who haven’t listened to the original versions they won’t be as disappointed as I am. I mean, lots of fans of Radiohead hate the album version of Videotape as they preferred the demo version. Admittedly, they are idiots. And I may come to grow to like some of these songs.

Another factor is how bad the drumming is. I didn’t go much into this during the review but dear me, it’s like all we end up with every chorus is a DUM DUM drum pattern that is Morse code for dull obvious bumflu. Considering how glitchy they’ve made the vocals it is shameful that they didn’t carry that through into the drum patterns. (especially going so far as to remove the great one in Guns and Horses).

To me though, the album is weak because it either takes music production way too far (Wish I Stayed) or not enough (Every Time You Go, Your Biggest Mistake). I mean, go and listen to Ke$ha. Now SHE has fucking nailed the electro pop sound, sure the songs aren’t anywhere as close to as good as Ellie’s but my word have they been produced right. Check out my embarrassed review when I realised how Ke$ha’s album is totally wicked even though I really wanted to hate it. Now if you’d told me a week ago that I would prefer fucking crappy Ke$ha’s album over Ellie’s I would have set you on fire. But so be it, because that’s the way it is.

Score: 6/10

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