Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
Mar 28, 2019 (updated Apr 7, 2019)
95
"Halcyon" remains Ellie Goulding's masterpiece seven years later. Before pivoting into Top 40 stadium sized pop, Goulding blended electronic, pop & alternative styles together to create a lonely tundra that illustrated the dark pain of broken love. Her folk influence remained intact in places (see the title track), but Goulding completely re-invented herself. The anthemic "Anything Could Happen" remains one of the best pop songs of the decade, dappled in icy synth riffs, huge drums and a hook crafted from spliced samples of her voice. However, many of the highlights aren't the singles, like the desperate rager "Without Your Love", the ominous opener "Don't Say A Word" and the Adele reminiscent power pop explosion "My Blood". The high point of the record is the closer, "Dead In The Water". The track is sparse and slow, the musical equivalent of sitting in the middle of a frozen lake at sunset. It is a heartrending tour de force, one that "Lights" could not have prepared the world for. "Halcyon" is a crushing breakup album and is one of alt pop's defining moments of the 2010's. It will and has stood the test of time.
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