Ellie Goulding’s career has been a slow process of echelon by echelon. In fact, her first record “Lights,” which was first released in the U.K. back in 2010, took roughly two years to reach the top five on the U.S. charts. Although, you may argue that the wait was worth it, since “Lights” became Goulding’s breakthrough single, it is notable that it took longer than expected.
This U.K. native’s third album whooshes from the world of electronic dance music (EDM), which was the genre where she first found success—in part thanks to her collaboration with Calvin Harris in her last album “Halcyon.” However, that does not signify that her unexpected musical shift has made “Delirium” an outright catastrophe. The first track, called “Intro,” sounds like a farewell and ambiguous way to say goodbye—Goulding’s way of leaving EDM behind.
She has decided to stuff “Delirium” with one dance-floor song after the other. She welcomed producer Greg Kurstin, who recently produced and co-wrote Adele’s hit single “Hello.” Also on board, of course, is Max Martin, the Swedish hitmaker, who is behind several of Taylor Swift’s number-one hits, as well as an extensive list of other artists’ hits. Goulding may have reached out to these producers because of two important factors: First, she wants her songs to be able to translate well live. Second, she is hoping Martin works his magic to earn her at least one No. 1 hit.
Releasing an album of such length as “Delirium” may, literally, leave its listeners just as the title of this album suggests. Not that Goulding is vexing. Nevertheless, nowadays, it is asking too much of a listener’s patience to go for 16 songs on one album.
There is a mere quibble about Goulding having chosen these producers for her third album. Her songs lack an original brand, something that identifies and highlights Goulding herself from another of the producers’ clients, such as Hilary Duff, Selena Gomez or Adam Lambert, particularly when Goulding sings about stumbling in and out of hotel rooms, mixing drinks and clubbing. It turns out that material like this has become redundant, dull and cliche. How many singers have sung before about getting wasted?
In addition, songs as, “Keep on Dancin’,” become the opposite of being out of the box. In the end, this sort of album can easily be mistaken as Taylor Swift’s or The Weeknd’s, which makes Goulding not a great musician, but rather a restricted and moderate one.
Not to say, though, that Goulding is not talented at all, because she is talented. As a matter of fact, there is evidence of quirkiness in a couple of her songs. Specifically worthy of highlighting is “Don’t Need Nobody,” which balances folk club and techno club quite effortlessly. And her first “Delirium” single, “On My Mind,” brings her big voice and sets it free, and it is undoubtedly breathtaking. The songs tend to become catchy and have the potential to be appealing to a major audience. Perhaps Goulding may not need to wait two more years to earn another spot in the Billboard’s Top 10.