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on August 25, 2011
I leafed through August 2011's "100 albums for $5" and found her album, gave Lights a listen and decided to go for it. This is my first purchase of Ellie's work, and I must say that it exceeded my expectations. In the era of autotune and rap, this is a refreshing and welcome voice. Ellie's voice is lighter and cuter than fellow English singer Adele's, who has too strong of a voice for me to appreciate. Her songs all have a catchy beat (except for Your Song) with mature lyrics, helping Ellie establish herself and forge her own path in the music industry.

At first, I clearly found the first half of the album vastly superior to the second half. However, upon several more listens, the difference is much greater.

Track breakdown:

Lights (Single Version) - This song has a bazillion remixes for a reason (dubstep is popular for some reason, but I particularly enjoy the Fear of Tigers remix). This song is spectacular, showing off Ellie's incredible vocal range and voice. Keep in mind that this is the Single Version of Lights, not a remix. Regardless, this song is a shoo-in for contender for favorite song on the album.

Guns and Horses - Faster-paced than Lights and just as catchy, Ellie continues to prove that she has talent and a good handle on balancing emotional strength with this song.

Starry Eyed - This song gushes more romantically than the previous two. A nice but short song.

This Love (Will Be Your Downfall) - Takes a bit to rev up, and it's a slower song than Lights. The lyrics are cautious and questioning. A decent song.

Under The Sheets - Definitely aimed at a female audience (I identify with the male gender), still a pretty nice song. I love how Ellie coos (I can't think of a better word for it, but her voice goes super-high) closer to the end of the song! It's the perfect thing to autotune.

The Writer - A slow, soft song with very powerful emotion. The superior lyrics make this one of the best (or at least most powerful) songs on this album!

Animal - As the title hints, this song is quite opposite the one before it. This is a faster, rougher song, especially because of the lyrics.

Every Time You Go - This is a decent song. Ellie is kinda all over the place in this one. Not bad, but not outstanding.

Your Biggest Mistake - I LOVE this song! Probably my favorite on this album next to Lights. Ellie is again all over the place on this song, but it's more structured so that she builds up to the chorus. Speaking of which, the chorus has two parts ; Ellie's "Oh-oh-oh-oh-ohhh~" in the second half completes the chorus to make an incredibly catchy song. This song demonstrates masterful (not abusive) use of autotune. Love it!

Salt Skin - A huge change from the previous song, this is the most 'chilling' of all the songs on this album, if it can be called that. Not bad, but not outstanding.

Your Song - I personally believe she sounds better when not performing acoustic solos (which this song is). This is a great song, but it's not among my favorite of hers.

Human (Amazon Exclusive) - A fantastic song to round out the album. It takes a bit to wind up, but Ellie's emotional desperation bursts from this song. While the chorus is a bit repetitive, it doesn't detract much from the song. She also coos wonderfully in this song towards the end.

Overall, Lights is a steal at $5, and still worth seriously considering if you like "adult pop" (as opposed to teenage pop) with a more feminine-sounding singer (while Ellie has a relatively lighter voice at times, she should not be compared to artists such as Selena Gomez). Ellie's voice and the catchy beats will almost assuredly keep you coming back for more.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon March 16, 2010
23 year old Ellie Goulding, originally a Folk/Pop singer who embraced a more electronic sound, came out tops of the BBC's sound of 2010 poll, and won the critics award at the Brits, all without releasing an album.

So is she any good? I'm usually wary of over-hyping but I'll say her album is a pleasant surprise! Ten tracks (a number that seems de rigeur these days) comprising shiny Pop songs with a faint whiff of Folk. Opening "Guns and horses" is a good example, with her pixie-like voice a cross betwen Lykke Li and Björk.

The twitchy "Starry eyed" features reverb and vocoder effects, nice guitars, and an incredibly infectious chorus (as well as the catchy refrain "Next thing, we're touching"). "This love (Will be your downfall)" is a haunting ballad of undeniable charm (awash in sweet harmonies), while "Under the sheets" features swirling synths to dizzying effect.

Her Folk roots shine through on "The writer" which is a lovely guitar ballad. Also guitar festooned is "Every time you go" which starts off with finger snaps. "Wish I stayed" is an echo laden midtempo Pop song not as densely layered as much else.

There is absolutely no filler on this album. "Your biggest mistake" is lovely guitar Pop, "I'll hold my breath" a lovely guitar ballad, and closing is the midtempo "Salt skin" with lovely harmonies and skittery beats.

Definitely one to watch in 2010.
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on March 12, 2011
Her voice is different, echoes voices of the past, yet has a distinct sound that you can't stop listening to. The album, overall, is well put together with exceptional songs like "the lights", "starry eyed", and my newest favorite, "your biggest mistake". I am still getting to know the rest of the album, and so far, the rest of the songs have me interested. What I like about Ellie is her willingness to experiment, and try different sounds.. Her album, Lights, is a great listen, and will even force you to sing out loud as you most definitely get wrapped up in her enchanting vocals! Pick it up!
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on March 21, 2011
"Lights" by Ellie Goulding is an example of original pop music at its best. Why?

Most of today's female pop singers (like Katy Perry and Ke$ha) exist thanks to stellar production values and spectacle. While I do enjoy this kind of music, it's never truly original or personable in my eyes. Ke$ha's 'We R Who We R' sounds quite similar to her first hit 'Tik Tok.' And how much more whipped cream do we need to see shooting out of Katy Perry's bra?

Ellie Goulding is interesting to me because she seems to be a hybrid of a songwriter like Feist and a pop princess like Britney. Her voice is striking and original (no autotune here) and it sounds like the kind of voice you'd hear on an acoustic folk album. It has lots of character. The unique thing about "Lights" is that it takes Goulding's voice and backs it up with some truly great pop/electronic beats.

The songs manage to be catchy and fun - while still offering up some original and well-crafted lyrics. I haven't (honestly) bought a pop album in years that I can listen to from the first track to the last. I don't feel like this album has any "filler" and I love that Goudling is down-to-earth artist (she wrote each of the tracks on the album).

By the way, I wasn't as impressed with the album by solely listening to the 30 second preview clips. The songs have great build-up that can only be experienced by listening to them from beginning to end.

I think this album will be enjoyed by both fans of indy pop/rock and mainstream popular music; it serves as a great example of a fusion between the genres and I can only hope that more singers like Ellie Goulding come onto the music scene in the years to come!
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on March 17, 2010
I first became aware of Ellie Goulding's vocal talents not through the usual channels, but through dubstep remixes by the likes of Jakwob that appeared on the scene even before the first inkling of the commercial availability of "Lights". I immediately adored the versatility of Goulding's voice, by turns lilting and powerful, with a clarity and delicacy that truly tickles the ears. The complete album delivers on the promise of these early tracks ("Under the Sheets" and "Starry Eyed" in particular). What we see in the LP that was not as apparent in the early "singles" is that Goulding is just as good with Autotune switched off. You will be humming along to the memory of the gorgeous harmonies of tracks like "The Writer" days later ("I'd rather pretend // You'll still be there in the end"). And that's just the beginning. This is a must-have for 2010.
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on May 9, 2011
Ellie Goulding represents an incredible mix of styles. She's like Bjork mixed with Radio Head and Jewel (the good parts of Jewel). She's a self-professed lover of folk songs who doesn't mind mixing electronica in. The best song on the album is probably "Lights." It's got a clear dance beat that feels perfectly placed. The rest of the songs take a little more getting used to, but reveal their complexity in amazing ways.
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on May 15, 2010
The first 2 songs - Guns & Horses and Starry Eyed are pure ear candy, can't get enough and the other songs are growing on me as well. It's tough to put into words but she has that true artist uniqueness capable of truly great things. Hopefully she will find the best possible producer (not knocking the present one) and keep getting better.
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on March 18, 2010
It wasn't too long ago that I was happily entrenched in my little world of indie rock music, willfully fearful of more mainstream genres that would force me out of my comfort zone. Whether the result of maturity or a complete musical regression on my part, I've found myself more and more in love with pop music as time has passed. So what began as happy little obsessions with Of Montreal and Stars soon evolved into an unrepentant love for Ke$ha or Miley Cyrus (some songs, let's not get ahead of ourselves). My latest musical love affair is with British dance-popper, Ellie Goulding, whose debut is drawing deservedly mixed reviews. But however rough around the edges Lights may be, it is difficult to deny the greatness of some of these songs.

Lead-off "Guns and Horses" is a perfect example of this. A potent blend of guitar pop and dance music, it serves as a perfect introduction to her music, and may be the finest track that the album has to offer. Her voice, which could pass as Leigh Nash's from time to time, is highly impressive here as it presents a melody that constantly evolves and rarely lets up. Her "I would/I would" melismas are vocal gymnastics at its best! "This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)" is equally impressive despite ditching the guitar and going for a straight up dance sound. Starsmith, who produces the majority of Lights does some of his best work here, but Ellie's lyrics are equally entrancing. She sings of self-doubt in a relationship; questioning every good thing and wondering if they are deserved. In the chorus she proclaims, "This love is be and end all/ This love will be your downfall," which paints a dark, but familiar picture for the large majority of us.

The album's first single, "Under the Sheets" is just as dark as its predecessor, only this time the subject matter turns to a purely physical relationship. Starsmith's production is through the roof on this one, filling every second of the track with something interesting to listen to (such as Goulding's "like all the boys, boys, boys" parts). I find it strange as a first single, simply because there are better songs on here, but it's solid nonetheless. Where Lights goes downhill isn't in these high production, dance songs, but rather when Ellie turns to ballads or the expected filler track. For example, "The Writer" is a wholly boring and uninteresting song, but not something entirely unexpected on a pop album such as this. Likewise, "Every Time You Go" and "Wish I Stayed" are standard pop songs, and may find love from other people, but there's nothing particularly great about them.

But the album does close out strong with three solid tracks that remind the listener why they made it this far into Lights in the first place. "Salt Skin" in particular, is a phenomenal song; unrepentant in its style and with production values that are absolutely mesmerizing! There's this brief moment that leads into the final chorus where the music drops out and Ellie is left to harmonize with herself, and it is one of the album's more magical moments because of the sheer energy and beauty that it presents! It energizes you and and makes you want to start the whole experience all over again, which is something any great pop album should do. While Lights may not be "great" so to speak, it is surprisingly solid for a debut in this genre. The moments where Ellie shines are where her lyrics and music combine to form something that is entirely unique to herself. What brings the album down are the more formulaic moments that everybody knew were coming, but nobody really wanted. If anything though, Lights serves as an awesome introduction to a talented musician; one who deserves to be heard if only for the fact that she's infinitely more talented than the majority of her peers. If you're like me and find yourself developing an affinity for girly pop music, Ellie Gouldling may be an artist to check out. I recommend it!

Key Tracks:
1. "Guns and Horses"
2. "This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)"
3. "Under the Sheets"
4. "Your Biggest Mistake"
5. "Salt Skin"

6 out of 10 Stars
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on May 23, 2011
She seems like a lovely personality and her music is great to boot! Sort of a Pop-electronica with splash of folk in the lyrics and delivery. This American release of `Lights' is a great introduction to her sound. However, I find myself missing `Wish I Stayed' and `I'll Hold My Breath' form the original LP.

Seek out and import `Bright Lights' for better bang for your buck!
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on March 19, 2011
I can't fully describe the feelings I have when I listen to this but I will give it a shot. There's this newer type of music with synthesizers and vocal cuts and chopping and yet it somehow re-captures the same beauty that songs used to have, you know when people aren't singing about sex or material wealth. Her voice also has this very smooth sexy quality to it. She does a cover of Elton John's "Your Song" on this album that is spectacular.

If you want to buy only the good songs then buy songs one through twelve :)
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