It’s absolutely no secret that we possess the highest degree of pop contempt for Ellie Goulding. Not because we dislike her… well, not in the traditional sense. But that sheep-like vibrato has worn us down over the years, content in ticking boxes like Burn and Love Me Like You Do as opposed to getting further down the My Blood and Figure 8 path. At this rate we genuinely would listen to a harangued flock on the way to slaughter than the bleating she commits to record.
But it’s amazing what a handful of good producers can do. Step forward Messrs Kurstin, Martin, Tedder, et al, who have now become so prevalent that most pop albums might as well have their names slapped on them instead of the puppet in front. Because while the songs on Delirium are genuinely great, it’s very rare that Goulding brings something more to the table other than the tone we know her for.
This sounds like we’re being unnecessarily harsh. It’s a strong opening with Aftertaste and Something In The Way You Move, and she does manage to prop up Keep On Dancin’ at its most annoying (seriously, that whistle shit ‘peaked’ – if you can call it that – with Adam Lambert, so let’s all agree to stop it now). Cymbals crash with suitable drama, synths pop underneath elastic rhythms, and even when she’s rhyming ‘delirious’ with ‘serious’ on Around U the earnestness of it all is hard to dislike.
If Delirium had turned up any other year, it might be considered pretty special. But in a year when even One Direction are taking notes from The Police, a track like On My Mind doesn’t really feel like the breakthrough it ought to be. Partly thanks to her producers, Goulding just about catches the zeitgeist as opposed to setting it. Still, the fact that there’s a 16 (!) track Ellie Goulding that hasn’t bored us and contains bangers like Codes is a marvel in itself. Either that, or Delirium is something we’re a lot closer to than we care to admit.
Delirium by Ellie Goulding can be ordered here.