Although repackaged albums generally receive collective groans from fans who bought the original 12 months previously, sometimes the extension is a welcome breath of life into an already quite good record. That’s precisely the case with Ellie Goulding’s Halcyon, which narrowly missed the top spot last year. We loved the original collection, which is a series of haunting and stuttering melodies that offered an alternative glance at what pop music can be.
However, as the chart-topping success of Goulding’s latest track ‘Burn’ has proved, the album lacked enough upbeat ditties that the wider public seemingly crave. The lead cut from the newly-titled Halcyon Days has won over the masses with its addictive synths and euphoric chorus – and it’s a tack that continues to run through the bulk of the new material.
‘Goodness Gracious’ is alive with tropical bounce – capturing the sunnier side of the star’s pop sensibilities – though that’s not to say Goulding’s knack for heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics has been compromised. “You were my backbone when/ My body ached with weariness,” she confesses on ‘You My Everything’, before she races into a revved up chorus of popping breakbeats. Again, on ‘Under Control’ she reclaims empowerment and confidence (“I feel like I’m breathing again”), while wrapped in a mix of fuzzy bass and echoed clanks.
Following the success of her Calvin Harris hook-up, Goulding has teamed with rising French wunderkid Madeon on ‘Stay Awake’; a twinkling electronic anthem destined to be a crowd-shaker come her refreshed live shows. What’s more, DJ Fresh collaboration ‘Flashlight’ hears her declare, “Get out of my way, I’m coming through” over rattling beats. It’s a statement that neatly sums up Halcyon Days; the moment Ellie firmly makes her mark in pop.
By Lewis Corner