The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


A review of the album 'Lights' by Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding 'Lights'

Review Snapshot: Bland production, innocuous songs, unimaginative reheating of last year's mainstream breakthrough album - if this is the Sound of 2010, roll on 2011.

The Cluas Verdict? 3 out of 10

Full Review: Critics Choice at the Brit Awards, BBC's Sound of 2010 winner - Ellie Goulding has a lot to justify with her debut album. What do you do if you're the next big thing? Sound as much as possible like the last big thing, it seems.

From first note to last, 'Lights' is a blatant and relentless pitch at mainstreaming the anthemic electronic-folk-pop of Florence And The Machine. The production is coffee-table electronica from a catalogue - beats scurry brainlessly out of a box like lobotomised lab mice and all instrumentation is as unobstrusive as the sessioners playing it.

The songwriting follows suit, adhering to what we can call the Florence formula. Rumbling, rambling verses burst into loud, affirmative chorus parts that don't have hooks. As befits the album title, nearly every song features images of fire or stars or lightning or shadows - unoriginal shorthand for passion and insight.

Ultimately you feel sorry for Goulding. If the production were less bland and more inventive you feel she might have a hope of imposing some character - her broad west England vowels remind you that this is a real person singing. Second-last song 'I'll Hold My Breath', a slice of mid-'80s chart-pop, is at least stylistically different to the rest of the album.

But this project is sunk by its desperation to appeal inoffensively to Everyfan: even the bling-bling album cover seems pitched at getting some daytime-radio R n' B demographic.

You have absolutely no reason to listen to 'Lights' by Ellie Goulding.

Aidan Curran

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2000 - 'Rock Criticism: Getting it Right', written by Mark Godfrey. A thought provoking reflection on the art of rock criticism.