Ellie Goulding's Delirium Is A Dance-Pop Production
In a statement to NME prior to the release of her third studio album, Delirium, Ellie Goulding revealed that she "views this album as an experiment – to make a big pop album…I made a conscious decision that I wanted it to be on another level." She has succeeded: Delirium can only be described as a mainstream pop album with massive scope. Far from cohesive, it is essentially a playlist of future singles destined for overplay on Top-40 radio. “Love Me Like You Do”, Goulding’s contribution to the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack and arguably the most prominent hit of summer 2015, efficiently summarizes the album’s concept and scope as an epic pop record. Each successive track marks further commitment to an aesthetic of anthemic dance-pop tracks that possess extraordinary remix potential, but little other merit.
The album is repetitive within itself, and within the pop radio spectrum – it pulls characteristics from every successful single released in the last year, and combines them into an entity that is only reminiscent of Goulding’s prior material. Goulding’s development and recent features on polished, albeit not memorable dance singles (those of Calvin Harris and Major Lazer come to mind) suggest that this, ultimately, has been her trajectory ever since the release of her first major single, “Lights”.
That said, there’s a lot to love on this album – lead single “On My Mind” brings the sass in light, synth-y packaging with an addictive hook that will certainly be on your mind (sorry, had to go there) after a few listens.
On “Don’t Panic” (which, unfortunately, isn’t a cover of the Coldplay song of the same name), a masterful, delicate hook that nods to the style of her first album obscures Goulding’s objective lyricism. This track highlights Goulding’s fluttery soprano and reminds listeners that regardless of the production, her vocal style is continuous across her albums and unquestionably her own.
Towards the end of the album, Goulding returns to her indie-pop roots in production; penultimate track “Lost and Found” is initially reminiscent of Lights B-side release “Wish I Stayed”, but meticulously transforms into a muted big-pop production, much like the rest of the album.
There’s so much to miss about Ellie Goulding’s previous releases: Halcyon, a sophomore release characterized by dark synth-pop tracks, followed the glittery “folktronica” that initially popularized Goulding on 2010’s Lights. Goulding has always been the master of mixing genres, but on her third studio album, she rejects this absence of formula in favor of a generic, immaculate pop production.
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