Ellie Goulding Shifts Gears, Teams With Fun.'s Nate Ruess, on New 'Halycon Days' Tracks - Rolling Stone
Home Music Music News

Ellie Goulding Shifts Gears on New ‘Halcyon Days’ Tracks

British singer teams with fun.’s Nate Ruess, Madeon on August 27th release

Ellie GouldingEllie Goulding

Ellie Goulding

Louie Banks

Ellie Goulding uses the word “mental” a lot. It comes up when she’s describing her life (“Nothing surprises me anymore – it’s mental”); pondering an upcoming trip to Ibiza (“It’s one of those places you just have to accept is mental”); noting that she owes Prince William and Kate Middleton, who picked her to perform at their 2011 wedding, a baby gift (“Just totally mental”).

Look Back at Rolling Stone‘s Review of Halcyon

On August 27th, the mental quotient will likely be cranked up a notch: That’s when Goulding – who wrapped a nearly 30-date North American tour with Bruno Mars earlier this month – will drop Halcyon Days, a 28-track album that includes a reissued version of her 2012 smash LP, Halcyon, plus 10 new tunes, like the rave-y smash single “Burn” and collaborations with fun. frontman Nate Ruess, French house producer Madeon and British drum & bass star DJ Fresh.

The 26-year-old Brit, who cut the new tracks everywhere from London to Las Vegas, is in a different space than while recording Halcyon, which she’s copped to being a breakup album (the culprit: her ex, British DJ Greg James). “Halcyon tells the story of my life a couple years ago,” she says. “Instead of trying to tell a story of a particular time, I did the new songs more for fun.”

This time around, Goulding is putting distance between herself and her song subjects: “I used to say ‘fuck it’ and tell everyone who my songs were about, but I’m a bit more secretive now,” she says. Still, she doesn’t skimp on emotion. Take the piano-backed ballad “Hearts Without Chains,” which touches on scars that need healing and misery “weightless as a stone.” (It was co-written by Fraser T. Smith, who’s behind Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain.”)

“It’s my favorite song of the batch,” says Goulding. “It has a folky English quality to it. Plus, it’s quite nice to listen to and not be in the state I was when I wrote it.”

Another standout: “Goodness Gracious,” a blippy ode to fickleness co-written with Ruess. “I’ve been in situations where I knew someone wasn’t right for me, yet I kept bringing them back,” says Goulding. “The song is about dissing yourself for not thinking straight and not being fair.”

On the flip side, the sweet, contemplative “How Long Will I Love You” would make a killer first-wedding-dance song. “Unfortunately, I’m a hopeless romantic,” says Goulding, who grew up watching Richard Curtis films like Love Actually and Notting Hill. “They make me feel happy and warm inside.” (In a full-circle victory, the tune will appear on the soundtrack for the director’s upcoming rom-com, About Time.)

Still, Halcyon Days doesn’t go too heavy on the, well, heavy stuff. To wit: “Stay Awake,” a collaboration with Madeon, celebrates “not sleeping and partying all night” over triumphant synth stabs. “It’s less serious content than I’d usually write about,” says Goulding. “But I’ve always been a fan of club songs that feel good.”

That’s fitting, because Goulding has proved herself a master of the feel-good-club-song genre. Her Calvin Harris collaboration “I Need Your Love” was nominated for two VMAs this year, one in a new category, Song of the Summer. “I absolutely didn’t think the song would be so huge,” says Goulding. “I mean, every track Calvin has made has been a chart success, but before we recorded it, I thought, ‘Is this going to be the one time he doesn’t make a hit?'” She realized her anxiety was for naught at a Barry’s Boot Camp class, of all places. “I was working out, and all of a sudden ‘I Need Your Love’ came on,” she recalls. “It was a bit awkward.”

In This Article: Ellie Goulding, Original


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.