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Album Reviews, Music

Ellie Goulding Returns as a Sorrowful Songstress With “Halcyon”

By: Nadya Domingo –

Ellie Goulding’s voice is a trembling whisper on her new album, Halcyon. The English pop darling has strayed far from her upbeat identity to create an album of heartbreaking sounds. Although it’s not entirely a departure from her debut album Lights, Halcyon captures Ellie in a poetic and vulnerable state that renders the artist almost unrecognizable.

Halcyon explores an underworld of loneliness. Ellie guides us through a journey of hurt — even the danceable songs on the album, such as the single, “Anything Could Happen,” have an undertone of sadness. Her undeniably beautiful and angelic voice is the absolute force that drives this album. With every breathy and scratchy word, Ellie captures that empty feeling inside all of us.

The album starts with the distant sounds of “mmm’s” from Ellie in “Don’t Say a Word.” It’s a mystical sound that perfectly sets the tone for the rest of Halcyon. Ellie sounds dark and contemplative in this song — almost as though she’s having a conversation with herself. Accompanied by crashing symbols and persistent drums, Ellie lures us into this morbidly appealing adventure of hers.

Despite the recurring theme of heartbreak, the artist’s voice lifts spirits with songs like “JOY.” This bittersweet melody is a pivotal moment in the album, coming halfway between songs of loss and departure. It’s essential to the story that Ellie tells in this album because with each heartbreak, there is happiness to be felt.

Ellie has created a new experience with Halcyon. Her voice alone will allow listeners to find something completely new with each listen. This album is simply beautiful. Halcyon is a story to be heard.

Essential Tracks: “Dead in the Water,” “Only You,” “Atlantis.”

 

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