Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Mar 14, 2011
    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.
  2. Good news: Lights is an expectations-passing collection that should see fans of the singer's material to date elevating her to superstar status.
  3. Uncut
    Lights feels like the product of a distinctive personality, following a peculiar vision rather than ticking genre boxes. [Apr 2010, p.90]
  4. Q Magazine
    Goulding is packed with intriguing contradictions and you can sense most of them on Lights.[Apr 2010, p.107]
  5. Dec 19, 2011
    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.
  6. Mar 7, 2011
    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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Entertainment Weekly
    Mar 8, 2011
    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]
  10. Mar 8, 2011
    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.
  11. 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.
  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. 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.
  14. Starry-eyed debut hits more often than misses.
  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. Mar 10, 2011
    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.
  17. 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.
  18. There's no getting around the fact that Goulding's appeal is aimed squarely at the middle of the road.
  19. Mojo
    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

Universal acclaim- based on 185 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 185
  1. Apr 27, 2012
    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. Nov 25, 2021
    Ellie Goulding's debut album is so great, her voice is amazing and her personality is so charming, I love her
  3. Nov 25, 2021
    This debut by Ellie Goulding is amazing, so many great songs and her voice is beautiful