Album Review: Ellie Goulding

Posted on Nov 10 2015 - 8:53am by Austine Hille

Ellie Goulding, the artist who has plagued the radio with songs like “Lights” and “Burn,” is back with her third studio album. Much like the jacket she is wearing in the album artwork, it is not pretty.

The project, entitled “Delirium,” was released last Friday and houses back-to-back generic and bland songs that once again box Goulding into the radio-pop genre.
The first two tracks, “Intro (Delirium)” and “Aftertaste,” essentially meld into one big song, the first portion being one large and eerie buildup for the eventual transition into the definable beat and melody of “Aftertaste.”
The chorus and bridge portions of this track are vibrant and full of energy, possessing the melding of EDM and R&B qualities you could expect from an Ellie Goulding hit, but the remainder of the song sounds like generic radio pop. Overall, the album starts on a bad foot.

This same general sound continues in the next track, “Something in the Way You Move,” which bores the listener almost immediately. It is hard to tell one track from the other until the album comes around to “Keep on Dancin’,” which draws the listener in with a unique hook, almost keeps them there, but just barely misses. It’s evident Goulding attempted to deviate a bit from her general sound with this track in order to diversify her soundscape, and it does have that effect for a short span of time, only to be shoved right back into the Top 40 sound that she seems to be clinging to the whole time.  “Keep on Dancin’” is the kind of song you would hear on the radio and immediately turn the station off in fear of the reality that the beat will be stuck in your head the entire day. You want to like it, but you know it’s not best for you.

“On My Mind” has a similar effect, pulling influence from a pseudo-hip hop vibe but eventually jumping into a sound that you can’t help but hate. However, give credit where credit is due for “Around U” because this time, the song doesn’t waste anytime before bugging the crap out of you.

The only way to describe the track would be to call it a tame version of the “Barbie Girl” song. It’s just as annoying, but just a tad bit quieter.

The next two tracks, “Codes” and “Holding on for Life,” sound heavily catered to radio time. Consequently, they lack any sort of substance or artistic integrity.  It is understandable that artists like this make their living based off the Top 40 market, but frankly, the Top 40 market rarely makes good music. Catchy beats and generic lyrics do not make good songs, as is evident in both “Codes” and “Holding on for Life.”
Next on the project is “Love Me Like You Do,” a track originally made for the blockbuster film “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The song takes on a much slower, eerie atmosphere that sets it apart from the rest of the project. This track has already received a large amount of recognition – and it deserves it. It’s nice to finally see something unique on the album.

It is important to emphasize that this track is not alone. The album, as hard as it is to believe, has some upsides. Songs such as “We Can’t Move to This” and “Devotion” switch it up a bit and don’t completely make you want to stuff your ears with cotton balls. Pulling from house and Latin dance music, these tracks provide a unique spin to Goulding’s familiar voice.

However, this change in pace doesn’t last long. The album goes right back into its self-dug grave with the tracks “Don’t Need Nobody” and “Don’t Panic.” In one foul swoop, the project officially jumped right back into the category of white noise, forever doomed to be the soundtrack at hokey eat-in restaurants and department stores for years to come.

There are plenty of other songs on the album that will probably have this same fate, such as “Army,” “Lost and Found” and “Scream It Out.” Each of these tracks are much better while eating sub-par orange chicken whilst sitting in a cheap, wooden both upholstered with green, squeaky, synthetic leather. Much like the food at chain restaurants, there is not much that needs to be said about these particular songs.