Ellie Goulding poses for a picture.
A decade ago, Ellie Goulding became a chart-topping pop star with her debut album Lights. Grammy nominations, two Brit Awards, 19 billion streams and three studio LPs certified platinum have followed.
It’s five years since her third release Delirium, and she makes up for the gap with 18 tracks on Brightest Blue. It was worth the wait.
Brightest Blue comprises two parts: the first 13-song collection explores her vulnerability and insecurities through Eighties power balladry and Nineties R&B, while the shorter, second section EG.0 features pop-banger collaborations with Lauv, Swae Lee and the late Juice WRLD.
This fourth album displays both Goulding’s boundary-pushing and deep emotions more powerfully than ever before.
A handful of tracks stand out: the Eighties-pop-inspired “Power”, the inspiriting “Love I’m Given”, with its big chorus showcasing the maturity of her vocals and self-acceptance (“I’ve been changing the love I’m given/I’m turning the page on my indecision”), and the piano-led ballad “Flux”, on which her voice soars effortlessly over plaintive strings.
Experimental interludes point at Goulding’s development. The layered autotune vocals of “Wine Drunk” recall Imogen Heap, while “Cyan” is a spoken-word ode to strength and personal change.
A confident return from an artist now comfortable in who she is.
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