- Audio CD (1 Mar. 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Polydor
- ASIN: B0034AAGIY
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,175 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Lights (feat. Adriana Roze)
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2010 debut album from the new sweetheart of British Pop. With her unique blend of Folk influences and Electronica she is already a firm favorite amongst tastemakers and bloggers alike. Lights features 10 tracks, including the singles 'Under the Sheets' and 'Starry Eyed'. Her chief collaborator is Fin Dow-Smith, AKA the Electro-don Star smith, who produced the majority of the songs on the album and co-wrote four of them. Ellie's songs are built around big proper tunes that lift you up and spin you round, yet there's something off-center about them, something sparkly, filmic, haunting, odd. She mixes heartfelt emotion with other-worldly atmospherics, spins cool Electronica into dreamy warmth. Her insistence on putting her guitar in every song, whether an acoustic cover or a gorgeous song about new love gives her soaring Electro-Folk an earthed rootedness.
That Ellie Goulding topped the BBC’s Sound of 2010 poll and won the Critics’ award at the Brits counts for precisely nothing as of now. Her debut album signals the next chapter in the career of an artist who, with only a pair of singles reaching the world beyond the music industry, seems to have been handed success on a plate. But the past is just that, the page has turned; here is where Goulding truly lays down the foundations for either a 15-minute stand or, she’d hope, a lengthy tenure in our hearts.
Good news: Lights is an expectations-passing collection that should see fans of the singer’s material to date elevating her to superstar status – perhaps not Gaga league, but certainly the equal of the current solo female du jour, Florence Welch. Both possess vocals that can rub a listener the wrong way, but Goulding’s lyricism surpasses Welch’s exacerbating I’m-so-wacky-me artifice, connecting on a commendably affecting level with no little frequency.
She’s not a bad vocalist, but there are moments when an endearing cuteness crosses into uncomfortable irritation, a purr peaking to a piercing squeal. With words cut-and-pasted across compositions that dance with contemporary class – the presence of Starsmith (Marina and the Diamonds, Paloma Faith) and Fraser T Smith (Tinchy Stryder, N-Dubz) ensures an up-to-the-moment production modernity shines through – there are parallels with Frankmusik’s enjoyably breathless patter throughout. The polish, laid thick but even, keeps the consistency controlled – ballads like The Writer and I’ll Hold My Breath retain the glossy attraction of singles Under the Sheets and Starry Eyed. Wish I Stayed is the album’s skilfully sound-scaped highlight, percussively brutish but comely of light keys.
What really sells Goulding as a hyped artist with substance enough to qualify the acclaim, though, is her way with words. She’s not showy, but cuts to the core of each matter with the accomplished efficiency of an artist twice her age. Considering she only signed her deal in the autumn of 2009, Lights represents a superb achievement in this respect – hackneyed heart-on-sleeve emoting is conspicuous by its absence, deliberately curt posers dominating proceedings. “Who am I to say I’m always yours?” she asks, and in one line addresses more romantic uncertainty than entire albums from her would-be peers.
Who, if you’d not already guessed, she spectacularly surpasses. 2010’s poll-winners’ party has only just begun, but expect Goulding to be the last one standing. --Mike Diver
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Top customer reviews
It's one of those albums where you don't have to wind any songs on because they're all amazing. I recommend Ellie's album to everyone I know.
Stunning debut album, can't wait for the next one!!!
I really love Lights, it is so different to any other album that was released that year and the songs are so calming and relaxing. I really recommend this album to everyone, there isn't one song I hate, there are no fillers and once you have listened to it you will love Ellie Goulding and you will be buying all her other albums.
***Top 5 Tracks***
This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)
Under The Sheets
Wish I Stayed
Its hard not to start a review of "Lights" without the temptation to compile a complete list of the things that are wrong with it starting with the tacky gold album cover to the poor songs based in some cases on a template of the worse of Euro pop. "I'll hold my breath" is the primary culprit in this regard and if this is indeed her vision in terms of melding folk and pop then someone needs to go back to the design stage and perhaps buy a copy of Beth Ortons "Pass in time" on the way, or at least download the "Sweetest Decline". It begs the question in turn of who the real culprit is behind this album, since you sense interference or svengali style "guidance" of Simon Cowell proportions. One wonders whether Ms Goulding was in the driving seat or whether Polydor hearing the loud tinkling of cash registers, got caught up in the BBC hype and headed this star vehicle straight for the middle of the road. This unfortunately is where "Lights" core values are to be found and with the notable exception of the "Writer" its all a little too pleasant and underwhelming.
We clearly do not need two Laura Marling's (contrast "Lights" with the stunning "I speak because I can") but neither do we need two Diana Vickers. Ellie Goulding is 23 and clearly selling shed loads of albums, so job done then? Not quite since you suspect that endearing cuteness and lightweight songs may not be the basis for a sustained career. She is clearly a talent who has huge potential and this may be a misstep. Yet the market Goulding is pitching at is ruthlessly competitive and crowded with many talented female singers seemingly disappearing overnight. Speaking about the commercial reaction to his massive selling solo album "Harvest", Neil Young once stated that "This put me in the middle of the road. Travelling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch, a rougher ride but I saw more interesting people there". While we should not wish a Young style extended period of "ditch" darkness and the consequent casualties that went with it on Ellie Goulding she may need to show on her second album more depth and grit then evidenced here for "Light" is what this album is.
Lights is not a bad album by any means. The ballad tracks towards the end - particularly Wish I Stayed and I'll Hold my Breath - are the best. Ellie Goulding has talent, and she has the potential to carve out a niche that is all her own. The album's producers clearly know how to make music that sells well. I hope that the next album will feature a bit more of what makes Ellie Goulding special.