Halcyon - Ellie Goulding

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. 83
    Halcyon could have gone for easy crossovers. But the album is slightly too weird for that--and that's what makes it good.
  2. Oct 22, 2012
    Halcyon casts a formidable spell. [Nov 2012, p.96]
  3. 80
    Her second album, however, belatedly delivers on all Goulding's latent promise.
  4. Oct 5, 2012
    Halcyon is a bold and confident step forward.
  5. 75
    On Halcyon she marries thoughtful ruminations on young love to whooshing synth riffs and hard-edged machine beats; the album claims electronic dance music as the natural province of sensitive singer-songwriters.
  6. Oct 9, 2012
    The outcome is a bit flawed and a very loud version of her biggest and smallest self.
  7. 70
    In today's era of pop, where computers find the soul for winning contestants, it's hard to scoff at Goulding, whose sole problem on her record is being too emotionally redundant.
  8. Oct 9, 2012
    If the songwriting doesn't quite measure up to U.K. art-pop divas like Kate Bush, the hooks always go to town, and her voice – Dolly Parton-dazzling in the upper register – mates gorgeously with electronics.
  9. Oct 8, 2012
    An ambitious work by an artist intent on developing her total sound, Halcyon finds Goulding poised at the edge of artistic and career possibilities.
  10. Oct 24, 2012
    Goulding can certainly inhabit a soundscape. Her next step is to inhabit just one.
  11. Oct 22, 2012
    There is improvement in the songwriting....But halfway through you might well weary at the album's unrelenting, full-bodied tone. [Nov 2012, p.91]
  12. Oct 12, 2012
    What scuppers Halcyon, though, is the sense that Ellie's still not nailed down her own identity. There's just too much bombast, and the magpie-like-production and big, booming arrangements swaddle rather than swathe her vocals.
  13. She makes a half-decent dance diva on "I Need Your Love", but I'd ask whether that doesn't defeat the object of being Ellie Goulding, though I still don't know what that object is.
  14. Oct 8, 2012
    With its mix of electric piano and harp, gospel choir, distorted bass and rap, Halcyon seems uncertain where it belongs--low-lit lounge or heaving club. [Nov 2012, p.75]
  15. 60
    It's a well-crafted, stylish piece of work. But it's hard to love songs that try to hide.
  16. Oct 5, 2012
    The main flaw of Halcyon is that it occasionally feels a bit too much.
  17. Mainly, Halcyon sees Goulding's quirky-as-usual vocals lazily spliced into factory-standard chart dance.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 138 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 29
  2. Negative: 1 out of 29
  1. Oct 10, 2012
    This album captured my soul right on the first listen. Never before have I experienced so many emotions, from despair and sadness to hope. This album deserves the same success, if not more, than what Adele's 21 has achieved. Full Review »
  2. Oct 9, 2012
    This is a crafted and adventurous piece of work from such a young musician. She has clearly invested a lot of time into this and has built upon what was good about her previous record. It's an album that screams for your attention and from the first to the last song, it maintains it. Full Review »
  3. Oct 13, 2012
    It was always going to be difficult for Ellie coming back to the UK, after such a long absence whilst she unexpectedly smashed America, but she hasn't disappointed. 'Halcyon' couldn't be much different from her debut album, but it that was always going to be the case given how much her life has changed since she penned 'Lights'. Indeed, 'Halcyon' has very much captured a specific moment in her life, based around the break-up with Radio 1 DJ Greg James, yet this is not your typical heartbreak album.
    Tender yet resilient, emotions displayed on the album certainly contrast each other, with the earlier tracks such as 'My Blood' and 'Halcyon' displaying optimism and drive only to give way to much softer and deeper tones of 'I Know You Care' and 'Explosions'. This album definitely has a versatility to it and it will no doubt act as plenty of material for dance artists such are the strong drum beats that provide the backbone to many of the tracks.
    But all-round this is a fantastic and busy album, which has given Ellie Goulding the chance to start afresh and show how she has grown in confidence as an artist to wear her heart on her sleeve. Up there with the best.
    Full Review »