In just under 40 minutes, Ellie Goulding answers the question “What would Imogen Heap sound like if she did pop?”
You’d think the producers had decided that nothing on each track may sound harsher than Ellie’s voice. I mean that in a good way - it’s comparable to (but softer than) Cerys Matthews, interesting enough to act as an instrument in its own right, and often the driving force in each song. Although considering her acoustic folk roots, it’s no surprise.
In some ways it’s a shame she has transitioned only halfway between folk and Frankmusik. For example, I don’t know whether to be impressed or disappointed that the synthesisers didn’t break out of their soft, inoffensive bubble during Pink-soundalike ‘Every Time You Go’. Having access to a vast range of electronics affords you an intensity a lone singer-songwriter could only dream of achieving, but that capability isn’t used here. Goulding has stuck to what she knows best, in a move that has undoubtedly disappointed many critics expecting her to go one further than ‘Under The Sheets’.
That said, effects are put to very good use, keeping it fresh and interesting, even while you’re saying to yourself “this is a bit like Linkin Park here” or “ooh, they nicked that from ‘Last Christmas’”.
All in all, ‘Lights’ is a decent bit of pop with good melodies, an interesting backing track, a bit of emotional response and a nice voice to listen to. Really, everything pop music is meant to be, rather than Simon Cowell-produced noise pollution. If I wanted the full wrath of synthesisers and samplers I’d put on some Animal Collective, thankyouverymuch.