Sorry yeah, it’s been a long week and it’s 9.30. I don’t think I can do that Xtina album review justice tonight, let’s save that for the weekend. So one more single review before I start to get back to normal.
With all the excitement of Katy Perry & Lady Gaga‘s midweek releases of their new songs, it’s easy to overlook how little old Ellie Goulding is comfortably leaving both megastars in her dust with her new single.
After an intriguing comeback single last year in the shape of “Anything could happen“, Ellie quickly lost my interest again, and it seems the UK wasn’t far behind either, with second album “Halcyon” not quite doing the business that might have been expected. But there’s still time to recover – with the UK album market as depressed as it’s been for a long while, and sales increasingly skewed towards the end of the year, there’s been more of a trend for deluxe re-issues.
These are fairly unpopular with the fans, who generally get the album the first time around, only to be confronted with a slightly enlarged tracklist further down the line. But some of these deals are sweetened by quite major additions – Lana Del Rey’s Paradise edition of “Born to die” seemed to go down well, with an extra disc of new material, and now Ellie’s back with “Halcyon Days” – her previous album plus eight new tracks.
It also gives her a nice chance to get a big single organised if the original album was a bit light on hits. So here we are with “Burn”. I expected it to come from the same stable as Rita Ora, but in fact it’s old Ryan Tedder (among others) behind this.
It’s already pretty much guaranteed the UK #1 spot, her first No.1 here. I just wish it was with something a bit less faceless and obvious. It basically is just a less-obnoxious Rita Ora song, some euphoric dance music but a bit too beat-heavy. I wonder what she wants to sound like. She did the waif-like songbird for the first album, with hints at a dancier sound on singles like “Starry eyed” and sleeper hit “Lights”. Then in “Anything could happen”, she displayed a dreamy electronica sound that I loved.
Appropriate that it sounds like a leftover from someone else, but in fact it’s Leona Lewis who passed on this (as well as We Found Love, someone find this girl better management, please!). It does the job but it’s just so nothingy… I can’t imagine it fitting Leona Lewis if it’s any consolation to her. Her sweety-pie vocals have that nice tone to them that stays just the right side of irritating, even if it’s so rushed she never quite catches her breath.
Still, she looks like she’s having fun and not dying inside so I guess that’s a plus. But I still feel like she hasn’t found her own sound yet, torn between chasing after sales and chasing critical acclaim. She could pull off both, but she needs to be a lot more careful than this.