In Ellie Goulding’s early years as a pop star, she quickly aligned herself with the EDM-pop movement of the moment. She made club-friendly, neon-bright dance-pop songs that became intoxicating thanks to the artful layering of her upper-register voice.
On her latest single, though, Goulding sings with a newfound rawness. “Flux,” a stripped-down piano ballad, has her reminiscing about the one that got away. “And I’m still with the idea of loving you,” she sings on the chorus, before later exploring the fantasies of their potential life as a couple — maybe they’d be living in London’s Camden neighborhood, or she’d be seeing this ex’s band. It’s a song about the inability to let go that is surprisingly devoid of regret; Goulding is blunt about the cons as much as she is the pros of what the relationship was and seemed to be.
Goulding’s fourth album, her first since 2015’s Delirium, will be out later this year.