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Monday, November 19, 2012

Ellie Goulding -- Halcyon

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8/10

I've got a confession to make. For all my talk of weirdness in the last post, and how it relates to female vocalists, there's really one thing I want: another Björk. From the first time I heard that crazy Icelandic lady, I knew I was in love, and now that she has passed onto a stage in her career where she is no longer the same artist, I need someone to take her place. This is pretty much impossible. Obviously, there will never be another Björk. But if one female artist could just meet these three criteria, I would be so overjoyed:
1. Genuinely weird. 2. Genuinely weird, but excellent voice. 3. Genuinely weird, but excellent music.
After two albums, Ellie Goulding has not met that criteria. She has a genuinely weird, but excellent voice that sounds like the human embodiment of air. Her music is weird sometimes, but sometimes it is just your basic, four on the floor dance music. As for Goulding herself, she is weird in that she dresses incredibly normal, never promiscuously, yet sometimes styles herself like she does on this album cover. But she is not weird in that her lyrical topics seem to center on your basic, "A mean boy was mean to me." Halcyon is a break up album, but not anything close to a bitter one, which I guess goes against the flow. She seems to admit that her problem is an inability to quit when the other person has obviously moved on. I guess that kind of confession is pretty mature for this kind of record, but it's not weird. Then again, all her talk about body fluids, and being a being a waterborne corpse is kind of weird, but if you're not paying attention, you don't really notice. So even though Goulding isn't being who I want her to be (unless we have a Vertigo moment, musically(Vertigo is the greatest movie of all time)), Halcyon is a very solid, cohesive album. The producers wisely use Goulding's inimitable voice as Halcyon's chief instrument, and every time the album aims for power through it, it succeeds. Also, there are a couple of dubstep moments that show Goulding is aware of current trends, but not enough to where she is pandering to them. Most importantly, Goulding perfects the art of actually building up to some sort of catharsis, as penultimate track, "Atlantis," is such an exuberant burst of noise, any lack of joy is crushed under its mellifluous weight.
So in conclusion, Goulding's voice is more powerful, beautiful, and unique than ever, the arrangements are more unorthodox than her debut's, chiefly utilizing her voice as the driving force, but some tracks unfortunately aim low with simple, dance-driven beats that Björk always left to the re-mixers. In other words, this is a really good pop album by a female artist who could soon be making classics if she completely let go of the rails of popular tastes and dove deep into the seas of her eccentricities. Also, someone made a video of my regular acid trip.

Also, Vertigo really is the most hauntingly brilliant, terrifyingly beautiful, adverbingly adverb movie ever made, and if you have even a little bit of obsession in your bones and haven't yet seen it (they made it 54 years ago, you're a little behind), you are doing yourself a great disservice. And Portishead is a great band.
Also, kids, don't do drugs, I meant a figurative acid trip...

2012 Polydor
1. Don't Say a Word 4:07
2. My Blood 3:54
3. Anything Could Happen 4:47
4. Only You 3:51
5. Halcyon 3:25
6. Figure 8 4:08
7. JOY 3:14
8. Hanging On 3:22
9. Explosions 4:03
10. I Know You Care 3:26
11. Atlantis 3:53
12. Dead in the Water 4:44

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nic,

"adverbingly adverb"

Brilliant; [what noun is there left to verb in response to that.]

Heh!

davidloti=davidloti

Nicholas said...

Thanks! I feel like I can never use an adverb again...but I'm sure the feeling will fade soon.

Nicholas said...

I mean, the feeling will surely fade soon...