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Ellie Goulding - 'Guns and Horses'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:56 UK time, Friday, 14 May 2010

Ellie Goulding

As any mountain climber will tell you, after a vertiginous ascent, you need to find a plateau to rest on, before you can resume the climb. It's just a brief period of consolidation, to make sure your equipment is all still working correctly and you've got enough crampons to make it to the summit.

This is very much Ellie Goulding's consolidation single. It's got enough of what people liked about her breakthrough hit to maintain interest and drive clicky fingers towards the all-important 'download album' button, and there's a bit in it which hints at future treasures.

Allow me to explain...

(Here's the video. Some toy soldiers are burning garden refuse in a spinney.)

When Ellie was first announced as the winner of the Sound of 2010 poll, certain critics were quick to describe her folktronica (a word it is impossible to say in public without sounding pretentious) has being little more than a helium Dido.

It's a comparison that wasn't that easy to spot on 'Under The Sheets', and even 'Starry-Eyed' owed more to the sparkle-eyed tinkerbell wail of a Bjork or a Cerys Mathews than any pillow-voiced songstress with Eminem connections.

'Guns And Horses' - quieter and less wide-eyed with wonder - fleshes out that comparison rather better. Ellie still sings it like a frightened woodland nymph, but this is a more ordinary sort of a song than her previous two, and the production - tasteful acoustic, tasteful beats, tasteful synths, tasteful harmonies - struggles to make it shine.

Or at least it does until the final 20 seconds, where Ellie, backed by nothing other than some handclaps, a bass line and some harmonies, begins to roar "I'd do it all for you!" over and over again.

It's like she's broken out of her own plastic shrink-wrapping and has started to trash the toy shop. It's also the bit where it becomes clear that, while there is still a lot of mountain left to climb, Ellie has everything she needs to make it to the next plateau after all.

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: May 17th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Indiehere says: "Ellie Goulding has become what Little Boots use to be a few years back."

Hyperactive says: "'Guns And Horses' showcases her folkier side and songwriting skills."

Drowned In Sound says: "Goulding's voice rasps and commands proceedings as she longs to feel the same for a boy who has feelings for her."


  • Comment number 1.

    The "I'd do it all for you" part at the end is so good. It makes the song, and I could listen to that part stuck on repeat.
    (WATR: Wanting a Train review! I'm not going to shut up about it!)

  • Comment number 2.

    Top 20 Fo Sho! Not top ten material as it hasn't entered the charts on downloads like most post-album tracks do even though it deserves it!

  • Comment number 3.

    Love it, obv.

  • Comment number 4.

    Didn't find that the end justified listening to the first 3 and a half minutes. Hope she has something in reserve to get her off this plateau.

  • Comment number 5.

    A pretty good song I feel, but I think she could have chosen a better single, given the strength of the album. 'The Writer' would be the obvious choice for me, but 'Your Biggest Mistake' or even 'Salt Skin' would have worked pretty well too...

    I actually find that end section a little weird, mainly because it wasn't on the original pre-album version of the song that I listened to a lot, so now it somehow seems a bit out-of-place.

    Hope it does well tho, she's definitely got the talent.

  • Comment number 6.

    I really hope this does well in the charts, it really deserves to.
    This is one my favourite songs off her album, which is increbidle by the way.

    I agree with 5. though, 'Salt Skin' would have probably been a better single, or maybe a re-release of 'Under the Sheets'?

  • Comment number 7.

    nnnnnoooo... biggest mistake had to be the next single!! or maybe writer... this is pretty good stuff too but there are better tracks

  • Comment number 8.


    It's not big and not clever. Don't suggest it. If you like an artist enough, you will have the album and will have heard the song that they initally released (limited release or whatever) and if you don't, you won't have. If they are a credible artist, they should have plenty of other tracks well worth releasing off the album.

    Ellie does, as people have said. Although her album isn't amazing, its good. There's some good stuff on there. She does NOT need to re-release 'Under the sheets'.

    Florence did this with 'Dog Days..' and made me very grumpy. I've loved Florence since that was released, AGES AGO, and I completely over played it when it was initally released. Then I also over played it when the album was (finally) released. So for her to re-release it was pretty annoying for me! It had charted again "recently" when used in a C4 advertisement campaign. As a result, it didn't re-re-chart well. 'Cosmic Love' or 'Howl' would have been MUCH better choices. I believe she has chosen 'Cosmic Love' for the 10th million single.

    Rant over.

  • Comment number 9.

    This song is brilliant by the way, one of my favourties off the album I think. It was on hearing this on the Radio that I released that Ellie's album was really worth a listen. I'm a bit of a sucker for folky type musing (Lisa Hannigan etc), so I was always going to love this.

    I like the ending, but it is a little annoying.

    Secures her as a decent, but not amazing artist. I think there's much better in her "category". But she is not without merit.

  • Comment number 10.

    Also loving the return of the quotes at the bottom. Keep those up please F Man :)

  • Comment number 11.

    @ 8

    I think in general there's nothing wrong with a re-release. An artist's first single will often be their best track but as they are new on the scene may not get much coverage, so when they do break through to the mainstream they choose to re-release it as it's their best track. The Ting Tings originally released That's Not My Name in 2007 and a year later re-released it to give them their first no.1.

    However, the re-release of Dog Days was stupid.

  • Comment number 12.

    As was Paolo Nutini's Candy and 3OH!3's Don't Trust Me.

  • Comment number 13.

    The Cosmic Love video is a rather amazing video, the video for her SEVENTH SINGLE (Hurricane Drunk wasn't actually a single but they filmed a video for it and I saw it being played on NME so I consider it a single).

  • Comment number 14.

    To be honest most things that 3oh!3 do could be classed in the 'stupid' category...

  • Comment number 15.

    I wouldn't mind a re-release of 'Under The Sheets', as it's the only Ellie Goulding song I can listen to without ripping my hair out.

    I HATE her.

    Whatever doofus said she was 'the next Little Boots' clearly hasn't listened to 'Hands', and album where practically every track could be a hit single.

    'Guns & Horses' is an apalling song, a really dreary attempt at doing something remotely ballad-ish.

    And my God, this girl can't dance.

    Anyhoo, I can't wait for the release of 'Cosmic Love', just to give some insight on how HUGE this song, it charted and #3 in Ireland last year, ON DOWNLOADS.

  • Comment number 16.

    She is also not the next Little Boots. I guess partially because Ellie managed to release the album she wanted. She got Starsmith in to produce etc, but I feel a bit more like her record is personal.

    Although 'Hands' is a much better album, it lost its way. She got done over by her record company. Least Ellie seemed to release a record she was happier with?

    Just to repeat, much prefere 'Hands'.

  • Comment number 17.

    Same, I found there was only one repeatable track on 'Lights', which surprisingly was 'Under The Sheets'.

    But turning to an earlier comment: when it comes to re-releases, I wouldn't mind a re-release of 'Under The Sheets', because it never really charted well, whereas Florence's 'Dog Days Are Over' charted reasonably well, due to a Slumdog Millionare advert which used the song, then - surely a stroke of pure genius - a MONTH later it was re-released and only peaked at #19.

    Hmmm... clever...

  • Comment number 18.

    Yeah, I agree. They were about to release Hurricane Drunk as the next single, filmed a video and everything and then it got cancelled because of the Dog Days re-release. That re-release annoys me so much.

  • Comment number 19.

    'Howl' > 'Hurricane Drunk'.


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