Ellie Goulding – Burn

Mitch Cole
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It’s no secret that I worship the ground that a certain Miss Goulding walks on. Ever since ‘Wish I Stayed‘ was iTunes Single of the Week a few years ago, I’ve been hooked on the music that this little blonde temptress churns out.

Consciously deciding to stray away from fandoms and followings, I wouldn’t label myself a ‘Goulddigger’ because (regardless of the excellent pun) I’m not an unstable 16 year old girl, so I’ll just throw the word ‘fan’ around instead. There’s been some venom in the Goulding fanbase after she leaked her own song, with “diehard” fans claiming that she’s selling out and warping into another mainstream artist. Whilst ‘Burn‘ is light years away from her original demos and recordings, it’s a natural progression for the electro-inspired artist and a very current addition to the music industry. Fans shouldn’t anchor themselves to one style of an artist’s music: surely there is a desire to support the artist in their changing direction?

Enjoying almost every song that Elena has penned (even those for other artists such as Gabriella Cilmi and Diana Vickers), it’s been exciting to see how her music is evolving and what’s affecting her inspirations and aspirations. Early recordings were very folky, with a real influence taken from the countryside and acoustic music, rich with warm melodies and whispered vocals. Debut album Lights encompassed these elements, but also reached further afield for an electronic influence after Goulding was exposed to the genre during university.

Winning various awards and accolades, it was no surprise to see the album reach #1, with ‘Starry Eyed‘ (and its endless remixes) becoming the soundtrack to the summer. Gradually, as more music was released, Ellie played headline shows around the country, formed a healthy fanbase and found fame. Months passed and she jetted off to America, playing smaller shows and festivals but stealing enough airtime to make single ‘Lights‘ go four times platinum and become the slowest but highest rising song from a British female, ending up as the #5 song of the year.

After exposure to the USA, Goulding eventually released her sophomore album Halcyon which peaked at #2 back here. A much darker album, one which documented and narrated the heartbreak after a relationship meltdown (Greg James would break my heart too), it tore the “Goulddiggers” in half once more. Singles such as ‘Anything Could Happen‘ and ‘Figure 8‘ indicated genuine maturation and progression from her ‘Lights’ era; ‘I Know You Care‘ furthered her emotionally damaged stigma whilst Calvin Harris’ production showed her fun loving, carefree side. Tours aplenty and the world warmed to her Halcyon persona, finding comfort in the raw and powerful lyrics paired with the tribal and anthemic melodies. Having taken years in between releasing music to hone her skills (perhaps even “find” herself… *shudder*), it is clear to see that Goulding is passionate about what she does. Writing her own songs and even producing her second album are feats which, rather unjustly, go unnoticed and having fallen off the radar slightly, it’s just about time for something exciting to happen.

BOOM. (She has a song called ‘Explosions‘, okay?) Let’s cut to now. As some of you may know, Skins started up again recently and Ellie penned a track called ‘You, My Everything‘ which debuted during the first episode. Another move away from both Lights and Halcyon, it’s obvious that a plethora of things have influenced Goulding’s new sound, not least the accessbility of America and its endless supply of producers and genres. As though one wasn’t enough, she leaked another new song – ‘Burn’ – which is slated for release on August 18th.

A feel-good, summer song (previously recorded by our very own Leona Lewis) albeit one which has caused quite a stir amongst fans and critics alike. Devoid of her usual emotional lyrics and instead full of angry synths and a ‘groundbreaking’ dance theme, the song sees Ellie throw caution to the wind and just have fun.  She breathes something along the lines of: “We don’t wanna leave, no, we just wanna be right now. And what we see is everybody’s on the floor, acting crazy, getting loco ’til the lights out. Music’s on, I’m waking up. We start the fire then we’re burning up. It’s over now, we’ve got the love: there’s no sleeping now” – a far cry from ‘Dead in the Water’ a la Halcyon.

Who’s to say this change is bad? Did we go crazy when Britney made her comeback as the “Blackout” bitch that we all know and love now? No, exactly. Change is good, it keeps things fresh and exciting, something which artists nowadays must embrace if they’re going to survive the onslaught of the armies of David Guetta’s. If you can’t beat them, join them.

With the first play of ‘You, My Everything’ and the release of ‘Burn’ comes the news of a Halcyon re-release later in the year; in the same vein as Bright Lights a mere 9 months after the debut’s release, Halcyon Days will feature 10 new tracks and no doubt broaden the starlet’s horizon. But new music from Goulding can’t be a bad thing. She’s continuing to explore new genres whilst making excellent music, widening her fan base and appearing more accessible. Burn really is a great song, one I’ve no doubt you’ll have on repeat over summer after the remixes have garnered even more attention. If you like Ellie Goulding, you’ll love this. If you don’t like Ellie Goulding, you’ll love this. Trust me.

Burn is released on 18th August with the album re-release, Halcyon Days, expected August 26th.


About Mitch Cole

The love child of all seven dwarves, Bristol will always be home to me. With an unusual degree in Early Years Education, I'm keen to get my teeth into something new. Excited to write about anything and everything, I might even stimulate you with my emphatic opinions and disappointing vocabulary.