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Ellie Goulding - 'Starry Eyed'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:23 UK time, Monday, 15 February 2010

Ellie Goulding

There are times when pop music seems to be balancing on a pin, like the needle on a compass. To one side, there's sex, and on the opposite side, innocence. At the top is experience, and at the bottom, fantasy. And the needle points at different places depending on who gets to hold the compass and where they are in life.

Most pop stars, it is fair to say, would see the needle swish around the border between sex and fantasy: like Girls Aloud, for example, or Lady GaGa. The Enemy would cause a more emphatic result - an unquavering thrust towards experience over all things.

But Ellie Goulding - dear, sweet, SUPERSTAR IN THE WAITING, OR YOUR MONEY BACK Ellie Goulding - is of a rare breed. At the moment, she's all about the innocence and the fantasy. More so the former than the latter, and that is probably why people are getting quite so excited about her.

(Here's the video. Stately Come Dancing.)

It's that frail little voice. It's the fact that despite her clear ability to deal with the spotlight as a person, she's not hanging her hat on her streetwise sass and sharp tongue. We've already got a Lily Allen, we don't need another, or there'll be ructions. It's also the way her songs sweeten the kind of super-plush, fairies in the potting shed confections of a Florence, and bring them back down to Earth.

'Starry-Eyed' does not call down the cast of Aesop's fables for a moonlit rave in the Night Garden. Oh sure, bits of it SOUND like that, but listen to those lyrics: she's singing about the euphoria of a very real first love... between two modern-day humans. Humans with access to handlebars. This is very important.

"Next thing, we're touching, you look at me, it's like you hit me with lightning"

So while there are extra-terrestrial things going on all around them, and her voice has been processed to sound as if she is speaking in tongues, the heart of the thing is something quiet and real. It doesn't matter if they're holding hands, snuggled up on a park bench or recovering from a more intimate experience: all we need to know is that something has happened to these two which has transformed everything around them. That's where the magic happens.

Remember that question posed by Paloma Faith just before Christmas? Well who says you can't have both?

Five starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: February 22nd
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    Yeah , I know I talk about "hooks " a lot , but as this song as got more hooks than backstage at London Fashion Week , I thought I would share my favourite ones in Starry Eyed .

    1) That stuttering intro is superb .
    2) The " hit me with lightning " refrain is so seductive .
    3) The "next thing we're touching " line is bewitching .
    4) The first chorus at 0:40 , when the percussion kicks in is a real uplifting moment .
    5)The second chorus at 1:26 , another higlight.
    6) The way Ellie sings " everybody knows " at 2:23 is awesome .
    7) I love the practical use of stars in the video .
    8) The "dreamy " instumental backing compliments Ellie's yearning vocal perfectly.
    9) The vocal treatment is par excellence and really brings out the subtle intensity in Ellie's voice and enhances her longing tone.

    All in all , a brilliant single .

    The album LIGHTS is out March 1st .

  • Comment number 2.

    Completely agree with Fraser, 5 Stars. Ellie is quickly becoming the most promising act on the Sound of 2010 list along with The Drums, can't wait for the album.

  • Comment number 3.

    I know how much we all think if this girl. The album is a stunning mix of electric and acoustic songs with great melodies and hooks, and is a lyrical indulgance. A star of the like we havnt seen for far too long...

  • Comment number 4.

    Stop sitting on the fence, Jonesy. Do you like her or not?

  • Comment number 5.

    Well...she's okay I guess...but she's no Justin Bieber

  • Comment number 6.

    like most people ive been on this song a while now, and it gets better and better.. especially when you try out the the dubstep remixes.. can't wait for this album.. dead on with the review

  • Comment number 7.

    I can't add more to Spirit's intensive dissection of the song or Jonesy's enthusiasm, my favourite track by her so far.

  • Comment number 8.

    I think there should be a 6 star scale just for songs like this. It is just absolutely sublime. I was really disapointed with 'Under the Sheets'. This on the other hand is just amazing. I'm glad we have all forgotten about Ellie's first single (although limited release etc) and can focus on this genius.

    Love love love it. I think we have all be loving it for ages.

    Ellie VS Marina? I don't think we need to play them off against each other! I'm happy accepting that these two fantastic artists can come to the front of music and lead the charge into 2010.

    To be honest, Ill be glad to stop having to listen to Pixie Lott. Lilys on a break. Amy's not doing anything any time soon is she? Adele and Duffy will probably not resurface for a while. Florence, Paloma and Little Boots will be back in the studio soon. Corinne Bailey Rae doesn't seem to be gaining much momentum.

    So in terms of actual releases theres lots of room for them. I'm expecting most of them to be doing the festival rounds of course.

    Ellie penned two songs for Diana Vicker's album (yes I poached this from Wikipedia) interestingly. Im expecting Diana to have a similar sound to Ellie. Will this hamper her chances in 2010? Time will tell. Im pretty sure 'Once' will be a top 10 (hi Spirit) when it's out though.

  • Comment number 9.

    Some brilliant points Liam.

    Once by Diana is a little encroaching into Goulding territory , but Once is saved from being too similar by the buzzsaw guitars on the chorus , and the powerful vocal chorus hook line .

    It is indeed a very good lead single , and I can see radio embracing this.

    Vocally Diana and Ellie seem similar in some ways , this in fact , may prove beneficial to both , as in the pop world they are polar opposites from the dominated female sounds of the last 3 years being Amy , Duffy and Florence . The public are ready for a change , methinks .

    If Radio 1 A list Once , you are looking at a very big single chart position. Radio 2 will no doubt , get on board.

    And quite frankly , why not ? Diana is young and English , the single has a real stand out chorus hook , and is poppy and slightly edgy at the same time , and was written by A list songwriters and she is signed to a major .
    Sure , she found fame on X - FACTOR , but if radio 1 can A list JLS and Alexandra Burke why not the gorgeous Northern lass ?

  • Comment number 10.

    Even though I don't actually like comparing artists I will say this. Marina though having some great pop songs, Obsessions and Hollywood, doesn't really have, in my opinion, the ability to write a great album. She sometimes ends up diguising poor songs with silly noises and voices (that said MIKA can sometimes be caught out doing this as well) therefore making her album hard to listen to all the way through.

    Ellie on the other hand seems a little calmer and more willing to take the time to craft great pop songs, instead of just throwing everything into a pot and seeing what comes out, this means that her album is likely to be stronger and that she will last longer in the public's consciousness while Marina is likely to quickly become annoying.

  • Comment number 11.

    Vickers followed by Goulding on the radio? I don't think I could handle the excitement.

  • Comment number 12.

    She´s amazing, and this song is all the proof anyone needs.

    For a while I thought all the hype was killing her. I figured 'Under the Sheets' was a 4 star song, and it didn´t get anywhere...

    'Starry Eyed' is worth every single star out of 5.

  • Comment number 13.

    Under The Sheets was a low key release with no real promotion so the fact that it got to no. 53 in the charts is pretty good going.

  • Comment number 14.

    Something strange occured to me. Every time I listen to Ellie I end up thinking about Kate Bush...! If anyone remembers her?

    There is something, I don´t know what, that reminds me of the Goddess and her music. Something about the voice? The way the melody is put together? The quality of the musical landscape...?

    Obviously there is a difference in the way they sound, but maybe this is how Kate would sound today, if she were 30 years younger?

    And having said that, I haven´t heard Ellie´s album yet. Maybe it´s just these two tracks...?

  • Comment number 15.

    You´re right Harry, but still... She was being talked about and the song was quite impressive for a first single.

    Maybe it proves that the public need to be force-fed with massive promotion to even know what to buy. And it was the pre-Christmas rush as well.

  • Comment number 16.

    Excuse me, but we haven't all forgotten about Under The Sheets, young Liam. Personally, I really liked it, and I dig this too (although I think inventing a sixth star for it is a bit over the top - it's not Walking In The Air).

    I'm a little excited about Ellie Goulding. My only concern is that she'll become ubiquitous, La Roux and Florence style, and that I'll then become sick of her (albeit I like her stuff much more than I like either of those two anyway, so it's not exactly comparing apples with apples anyway).

    Of course, I imagine that Ellie will quite happily risk annoying me for ubiquity, fame and fortune, etc.

  • Comment number 17.

    No Liam, don´t say that! She´s a true artist! I hope.

  • Comment number 18.

    Curtains, I mean.

  • Comment number 19.

    liam i disagree with you about under the sheets.. thought that was a huge track.. thought it was better than this at first.. but this on has stayed longer

  • Comment number 20.

    starry eyed will chart higher than under the sheets . Trust me . And they are BOTH good songs .

  • Comment number 21.

    Agreed spirit. I do prefer starry eyed though, I'm not keen on the 'like all the boys' bit in UTS, but otherwise it's good

  • Comment number 22.

    wow ellie looks hot tonight . A bit starry eyed and nervous though !

  • Comment number 23.

    some dude just caught liam gallaghers brit award with the reflexes of a cat !

  • Comment number 24.

    i think i said on rybak about 6 months ago that lady gaga would win best international female at the 2010 brit awards . There you go !

  • Comment number 25.

    Anyone think Lady GaGa's performance was surprisingly boring?

  • Comment number 26.

    But loved Florence and Dizzee's performance. Florence really does have some LUNGS on her, pardon the pun!

  • Comment number 27.

    I love Empire State of Mind and I love Jay-Z and Alicia but do you guys really think that its completely appropriate to the BRITS. I would have preferred to see Jay and Mr. Hudson perform YOUNG FOREVER.

    Maybe I'm just bored of the amount of times I've seen Jay and Alicia perform together.

  • Comment number 28.

    Oh and I loved Kasabian's performance. So tired of JLS and their cockiness! I'm pretty sure they lip synched too.

  • Comment number 29.

    Oh, oh and Lily Allen just seems to be in a really really good place tonight!

  • Comment number 30.

    Cheryl's performance was okay. There were some impressive moments but I wasn't a fan of the lip-synching. I won't torch her for it though, bigger popstars such as Britney and Janet do the same.

    Anyways, I think she should dump that douchebag Ashley Cole and marry me instead. Cheryl Enigma, it even sounds starry!

  • Comment number 31.

    it was a tribute to alexander mcqueen . The word is she was not in the right head space to do an up tempo number . 3 brit awards is a great achievement though.

  • Comment number 32.

    Yeah a tribute to Alexander McQueen and then she performed some of DANCE IN THE DARK. I dunno when I heard her sing the piano version of TELEPHONE, I thought she'd suddenly start singing the uptempo version and BEYONCÉ would join her. But oh well.

    I guess we have to remember GaGa recently collapsed with exhaustion.

  • Comment number 33.

    randy tweedy sounds good too !

  • Comment number 34.

    Here's my review of the Brits 2010, I'll do it in chunks in case for some reason it gets removed.
    First up Lady Gaga's performance was disappointing even more so compared to her X-Factor performance, which I also thought was weak. Every time she comes on stage I expect her to do something amazing but she always underperforms, why couldn't she have done something on the scale of her Grammy's performance?

    Kasabian were strong as usual, JLS were so-so as usual and Cheryl Cole lip-synced as usual. Lily Allen was good though and deserved to pick up an award, however the performance of the night has to go to Dizzee and Florence definately one of the best performances in recent years also I hear that the song is being released as a single tommorow. Possible no.1?

  • Comment number 35.

    Part 2: The Awards
    As usual it was a mixed bag, JLS picking up 2 awards seriously, thankfully there were some deserving winners Dizzee, Jay-Z, Florence and Kasabian all deserved their awards whilst Gaga picked up every award she could, but you couldn't really see who else would win them.

    As for the Brits 30 awards they were just stupid, Spice Girls for best performance (it should have been the Scissor Sisters) and I think I've made my feelings clear about Oasis.

  • Comment number 36.

    and finally the host. I thought Peter Kay did a splendid job, he was fun, lively, slightly unprofessional, but most importantly he felt like a truly british host which is what the Brits need. He also made the best joke of the night after Gaga won the Best International Album award 'she won everything in the international category apart from best male... and even that was close' just shows what you can get away with on TV, if one of us had said that here we would have got Moderated.

  • Comment number 37.

    Ill comment more on the Brits at length tomorrow, Im a little drunk now... Gaga was SHOCKING. Yay for Lily, well deserved. Florence clearly had one of the best albums of 2010, her only competetion on that list being Paolo, she deserved it.

    Just looked at the Brit's albums of 30 years and laughed. Duffy and Keane?!?! I REALLY like that Dido record but I'd also question that. Glad they picked Colplay's best for it.

    What are people's thoughts on that list?

  • Comment number 38.

    The list for best single of this year made me laugh even more I think. In all seriousness, the only song I really LIKE on that list is Lily Allen's, 'The Fear'. Number 2 is probably N Dubz. God.

  • Comment number 39.

    I have to say the best album of 30 years was well deserved, ;)

    But Liam should have swallowed his pride and thanked Noel when he thanked Bonehed, Alan and Guigsy (the rest of the band who played on that album) . He did write it after all...

  • Comment number 40.

    Haha the Best British Single list was dire! I mean Joe McElderry's The Climb was nominated! What the Hell?

  • Comment number 41.

    Here's an alternative to the Brits 30 Albums (I've kept the ones that deserved to be there) -
    Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not - Arctic Monkeys
    Back To Black - Amy Winehouse
    OK Computer - Radiohead
    Parklife - Blur
    A Rush Of Blood To The Head - Coldplay
    The Joshua Tree - U2
    The Queen Is Dead - The Smiths
    The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
    Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand

    It's not like any of those albums are unknown and they're are all critically and commercially popular. I just feel annoyed that the Brits panel seemed to have just looked at what albums sold the most and picked their favourites out of them.

  • Comment number 42.

    Ummm, U2 are not a British band and so don't belong in that category.

    I love Parklife by Blur and Back To Black by Amy Winehouse.

    I'm gonna go with Back To Black.

  • Comment number 43.

    Oh yeah U2 come Ireland don't they, sorry I thought they came from Northern Ireland when I was writing that don't know why. I'll guess that I'll have to replace The Joshua Tree-U2 with Different Class-Pulp. Problem solved.

  • Comment number 44.

    No problem Harry! :D

    But here's a really good Northern Irish album - EOGHAN QUIGG by EOGHAN QUIGG.

    Even the title's inventive!

  • Comment number 45.

    SSSHH ! Randy ! you will spoil the surprise for HARRY'S next birthday .

  • Comment number 46.

    I just can't contain the excitement of hearing young Eoghan in all his glory but until then here's an alternative to the Best British Single Catergory, all of these songs were top 10 hits (I kept The Fear because it the only good one).
    Uprising - Muse
    The Fear - Lily Allen
    Don't Upset The Rythmn - Noisettes
    Bonkers - Dizzee Rascal
    Fire - Kasabian
    I'm Not Alone - Calvin Harris
    Remedy - Little Boots
    Left My Heart In Tokyo - Mini Viva
    Stay Too Long - Plan B
    Supernova - Mr Hudson ft Kanye West

    Out of those I would choose either Bonkers or Fire, Bonkers would probably edge it as it was one of the songs of the summer. How did it not get nominated!

  • Comment number 47.

    My top tunes of 09 (leaving out the ones on your list Harry):

    Guetta/Rowland - When Love...
    Agnes - Release Me
    Calvin Harris - Ready For The Weekend
    Girls Aloud - Untouchable
    Coldplay - Life In Technicolor
    Killers - Spaceman
    Dizzee - Holiday
    Empire of the Sun - We Are the People
    St Etienne - Method of Modern Love
    La Roux - Bulletproof
    BEP - I Gotta Feeling

    Nothing to object to in your list, Harry, except Little Boots and Kasabian. Methinks Little Boots makes the same kind of noises that Ellie Goulding does, except Little Boots feels empty of emotion. Can´t understand her at all. The rest on your list are ace!

  • Comment number 48.

    Just so you know that list was for Best British Single so I couldn't have included The Killers, BEP or Empire of the Sun because they're not british, also I couldn't include Life In Technicolour because it wasn't a top 10 hit. With that put to one side it's a good list you've got there, the only one I dislike is La Roux purely because her voice makes it unlistenable for me but I can see why people might like her.

  • Comment number 49.

    It´s just a list of my favourites, no matter where they came from. I agree with you about La Roux. Her voice is worse than a dentist´s drill at times, but on this particular track I think it´s okay.

  • Comment number 50.

    And I know Harry and Randy were recently discussing creative videos of 2009 ....

    In that topic , I would place . .


    3 superb vids and cinematic landscapes from Empire of the Sun .
    Brilliant !!!

  • Comment number 51.

    I know the conversation has gone elsewhere, but i saw this and had to post it. Turns out she's a seriously good guitarist as well.


  • Comment number 52.

    Ok , back to Ellie .

    She spent a lot of time in the studio with Vince ( sorry FRANKMUSIK ) , a couple of months ago , and his influence has been immense .
    Lights is a very good album .

  • Comment number 53.

    Hang on sorry Harry, I'm going to have to correct you again but Stay Too Long by Plan B was released in 2010. But maybe End Credits by Chase & Status featuring Plan B would be a good candidate.

    I love Stay Too Long though, maybe it will make the 2011 Brits for Best Single. The list was dire this year. I mean The Climb by Joe McElderry. The X-Factor single that has generated the least hype this year.

  • Comment number 54.

    And it was a cover , with no originality or creative spark.Are the Brits rewarding blandness now ?

  • Comment number 55.

    I know Stay Too Long was released in 2010 but seeing that it was released before the nominations were annouced I thought I'd try to slip it in.

  • Comment number 56.

    Randy , please answer comment 6 on Rihanna , I am interested in your observation , as you know Rihanna's work very well .

  • Comment number 57.

    Very good list Harry! I'd probably take out Mini Viva and put 'Crying Lightning' by The 'Monkies in. Also, remove Supernova and put 'Rabbit Heart ...' by Florence. Apart from that its great

    If Plan B is 2010 .. then 'Pencil full of Lead' by Paolo. What an absolute tune.

  • Comment number 58.

    Bulletproof is a brilliant track. Honestly, probably the only La Roux song I really like. Some of the dubstep 'In for the kills' were genius though.

    Little Boots? She is absolutely brilliant. 'Remedy', 'Stuck on repeat', 'Click', 'Meddle' are just some of the highlights of the album.

    Its sad when marketing and single choice lead to such a let down. She seems very happy with her success, but she was capable of so much more in terms of it. 'New in town' was specifically written with RedOne as a stomping brilliant opening single. They manufactured it in two days, or whatever, and it was done. After all the other tracks on the album I think. Whats the worst track on the album? Very probably that.
    Following with 'Remedy' did wonders for her .. but she still never really topped the heights she should have. Also releasing 'Earthquake' was a mistake. The tracks I mentioned above were all better potental singles.

    Either way she seems happy with her success and I hope the next album is as good, as I REALLY enjoyed the first.

  • Comment number 59.

    Oh yeah good call on Chase and Status Random. Missed out on seeing them live recently, sad times.

  • Comment number 60.

    @ comment 20, obviously Spirit .. due to the first singles release nature..

  • Comment number 61.

    @57 As I mentioned to mangsy I was only picking top 10 hits, so I couldn't have Crying Lightning or Rabbit Heart because they both peaked at no.12. If I didn't have that rule I would have those tracks in for sure.

  • Comment number 62.

    Oh really neither top tenned? I guess Flornce had already released the album and 2 (?, cant be bothered wiki-ing) singles previously. I would have though the Artic's track at least got top 10. Or did it release the same week as the album, so every1 bought that?

    My bad either way.

  • Comment number 63.

    Nah, Crying Lightning only got to no.12 because they released it on download about a month before the cd single so they never got the combined sales.

  • Comment number 64.

    Well I just bought Florence and Dizzee. I cant remember which / find which review it was being dicussed on.

    Can the might that is the Haiti single be knocked off #1 so early!?!? I honestly thought it would be #1 for weeks and weeks.

    Shows what the might that is Florence and Dizzee can do I guess! Maybe #1 for Haiti again next week?

  • Comment number 65.

    So the wonderful Starry Eyed enters at number 4 !

    Higher than Under The Sheets , congrats Ellie !!!

  • Comment number 66.

    As I said before, that was hardly going to be in question was it? :p

  • Comment number 67.

    The album arrived today, I can't explain how much I'm enjoying it...

  • Comment number 68.

    Lights is a very good album my only critism would be that the production makes it sound a bit machine-like in place, the first four tracks are all brilliant though. Unfortunately I can't really concentrate on it at the moment as I'm currently having my mind blown by the brilliance that is the new Gorillaz album 'Plastic Beach' (Stylo, though being great, isn't even in my top five tracks!).

  • Comment number 69.

    I agree harry, my only criticism would be the quietness of the acoustic guitar in all the tracks, they should have made at least one track a proper acoustic guitar tune

  • Comment number 70.

    I need to get my sticky mits on both of these.

  • Comment number 71.

    Especially as 'Under the sheets' has grown on me.

  • Comment number 72.

    Be Mine - Ellie Goulding & Erik Hassle (Robyn Acoustic)

    This I like. Tube it.

    Where's Robyn gone? She had sone tunes.

  • Comment number 73.

    Liam, I read somewhere that Robyn is releasing 3 (yes, THREE!) albums this year. Don´t know if that´s a good or a bad sign... or just a made-up story.

    Under The Sheets is not as immediate as Starry Eyed, but it is a fantastic track!

    Loving Ellie!

  • Comment number 74.

    In the album chart this Sunday , I expect a top 5 entry for LIGHTS , and if ELLIE can out sell LADY GAGA , who is currently on a nationwide tour , then she MAY have a number 1 album.
    It will be close .

  • Comment number 75.

    Limited edition signed copies for 8 quid on play.com!

  • Comment number 76.

    I hope Ellie does manage to outsell Gaga, The Fame's been at the top spot long enough and the album charts deserve some new music for once. Also why can't The Fame Monster be no.1 instead of The Fame it's a superior album in pretty much everyway!

  • Comment number 77.

    Yeah but isn't The Fame/The Fame Monster the same thing in Ireland and the UK. The Fame Monster doesn't come as a standalone album around here.

  • Comment number 78.

    *sigh* wish it did! Personally I can only stand about 4 tracks on The Fame but I love pretty much all of The Fame Monster, some one needs to sort this out as I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who feels this way.

  • Comment number 79.

    Nevermind,the new GAGA video for TELEPHONE will be released on:

  • Comment number 80.

    I agree. I liked The Fame when it first came out at the start of last year but it really doesn't stand the test of time. Just Dance, LoveGame, Paparazzi and Poker Face are the only songs I like of The Fame now.

  • Comment number 81.

    I think Ellie Goulding and Marina and the Diamonds are absoulutly awful, Radio 1 dj spoon fed rubbish actually. The dj's, who get free backstage passes to everything and then go on about how 'amazing' everything is, say there good, the moron listeners think there good, just like jedward.

  • Comment number 82.

    Clearly Ellie Goulding, Marina and the Diamonds and Jedward are in the same boat..

  • Comment number 83.

    Hi Jo , pleased to meet you .

    Can you list some valid , justifiable reasons why you think Marina and Ellie are awful ?

    We are all ears . . . .

  • Comment number 84.


    Ellie Goulding's next single released on May 17th will be Guns and Horses .

  • Comment number 85.

    ^^^That's not an exclusive Spirit. I posted this information over on Rybak (Comment 1299) weeks ago.:P

    Have many people heard Guns and Horses and what do people think of it?

  • Comment number 86.

    Oops, my mistake, I revealed her next single but only gave a vague release date.

  • Comment number 87.

    Hello Mr Vague !


  • Comment number 88.

    I think Guns and Horses is a great track and deserves the release it's getting. In my opinion the next single should be Every Time You Go.

  • Comment number 89.

    I like how it sounds more 'organic' than some of the other tracks of Lights.

    Hello, Mr. Exclusive! :)

  • Comment number 90.

    Cheers to you Randy , our raving , roving , ace reviewer !


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