Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Mar 8, 2011
    60
    The results are moody ("Lights"), pretty (the Top Five U.K. hit "Starry Eyed") and uniformly catchy. On first listen, Goulding can sound innocuous: Dido with dancier beats. But there's darkness here. And lots of sex.
  2. Dec 19, 2011
    70
    Goulding is able to take the best parts of all of her contemporaries' styles and make them her own, coating everything in the breathy flutter of her voice.
  3. Mar 14, 2011
    80
    Goulding's crackling voice is capable of affecting a prostrate pose in the midst of the swirl that suggests the latter's folk-tinged vulnerability.
  4. 50
    The result is that most of what makes Goulding's work appealing, such as her voice and instrumentation, is lost underneath generic synthesizers that turn these songs into standard pop fare.
  5. Mar 7, 2011
    70
    On this debut full-length, already a U.K. No. 1, she glides through blippy anthems ("Starry Eyed"), pumping disco ("Animal"), and delicate grooves ("Lights") with a pixie-ish voice that's one notch sweeter than Metric's Emily Haines.
  6. Good news: Lights is an expectations-passing collection that should see fans of the singer's material to date elevating her to superstar status.
  7. It's an impressive attempt to drag folk music out of the hayloft and onto the dancefloor and it marks the emergence of a smart, sincere and talented new pop star.
  8. Devoid of a true soul or sense of honesty Lights can be a pretty hollow listen. You could argue that away from the aforementioned hype-led anticipation that this album would surprise and charm; yet without the vested interest of big wigs and shareholders Lights might simply not be here.
  9. You certainly don't reject it outright though, not immediately, as almost every song at least knows the function of a chorus and everything has a glittery and palatable radiance, but such anodyne, airbrushed electro-pop leaves you searching for the magic ingredients.
  10. Outside of its immediate context, Lights is a sometimes great, always promising debut. It's an album about leaving home, and it works best when the contrast between the folk singer and the pop production chimes with the tensions between the pull of home and the allure of the city.
  11. Aspiring to find a middle ground between her folk background and the burgeoning success of electro-pop is an enterprising objective, but it is one which Goulding predominantly succeeds in through her genuine sincerity.
  12. Unfairly or otherwise, Lights will be consumed by many with the weight of expectation hanging heavy around it. For the most part, the strength of the songwriting should keep the doubters at bay.
  13. Starry-eyed debut hits more often than misses.
  14. There's no getting around the fact that Goulding's appeal is aimed squarely at the middle of the road.
  15. It seems that six of the ten tracks are great collaborations, and the other four are not. As a result, Lights sounds incomplete and inconsistent, and doesn't work as a whole.
  16. 67
    Warbling like a sanitized Bjork over coffeehouse-ready club beats, she pulls her weight on the first half before lights grows dim. [11 Mar 2011, p.76]
  17. 80
    Lights feels like the product of a distinctive personality, following a peculiar vision rather than ticking genre boxes. [Apr 2010, p.90]
  18. Goulding is packed with intriguing contradictions and you can sense most of them on Lights.[Apr 2010, p.107]
  19. 40
    Lights does have its moments: the strident "Uner The Sheets" and the odd sounds of the Frankmusik-produced "Wish I stayed" stand Out. But when they're placed next to the overwrought, cliched ballad "The Writer" or the dodgy Europop of "I'll Hold My Breath" it adds up to a rather bland listen. [Apr 2010, p.92]
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 89 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Apr 27, 2012
    10
    Ellie Goulding's debut album is strong in it's own way. The lyrics are as charming as her tender voice and the production is also consistent.Ellie Goulding's debut album is strong in it's own way. The lyrics are as charming as her tender voice and the production is also consistent. Strong recommendations for Starry Eyed, The Writer, This Love and Everytime You Go. Full Review »
  2. Apr 28, 2015
    8
    Lights is an exceptionally strong debut. The production is lush and wonderful, and the songwriting is generally quite good. But Ellie's uniqueLights is an exceptionally strong debut. The production is lush and wonderful, and the songwriting is generally quite good. But Ellie's unique voice is what really sets Lights apart from other synth pop that would be otherwise indistinguishable. Ellie sort of reminds me of a more upbeat version of Dido, another favorite artist of mine, so this album really appeals to me, especially since the quality is more or less consistent all the way through. Standout tracks include Lights and Guns and Horses. Full Review »
  3. Feb 4, 2015
    10
    I've been listening to this album for close to 3 years and it hasn't gotten old. Listen to the second song on the album; if you like that thenI've been listening to this album for close to 3 years and it hasn't gotten old. Listen to the second song on the album; if you like that then listen to the rest. The songs get slightly weaker as you go down the album, but still great for a repeat listen. Full Review »