Ellie Goulding arrived in 2010 as a folk-hop charmer, a kind of snazzier Beth Orton. 2012's Halcyon nudged her closer to the dance world, and her smash Calvin Harris team-up, "I Need Your Love," sealed the deal. This deluxe Halcyon, with 10 new tracks, confirms Goulding is doing her best work on clubby tracks with luminescent titles. "Burn" and "Flashlight" bob alluringly on her springy soprano, and "Goodness Gracious" (cowritten by fun.'s Nate Ruess) ventures boldly into Graceland. But when Goulding banishes the beats on "Hearts Without Chains" and "How Long Will I Love You," the hooks are too flimsy to hold the weight of her heavy emotion.
From The Archives Issue 1192: September 26, 2013