Ellie Goulding - 'The Writer'
I love it when a song deliberately tries to throw you off the rhythmic scent when it starts. If you've ever heard 'Cecilia' by Simon and Garfunkel, or 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey' by the Beatles (both highly recommended, if you have not) you might be familiar with the rising sense of tension that comes from KNOWING you're hearing it wrong - that you can't quite anticipate when the singing will start, and what rhythm you're supposed to be clapping along to. Then there's the desperate hope that you can sort it out in your head quickly, because as soon as the singers do arrive, you'll be all wrong-footed, hot-faced and foolish.
It's like a very short crossword puzzle which resets itself every time the song starts.
This has that very same kind of introduction. The way the piano strikes up over the sparkling seabed of synths, the way everything reverberates and pulses, well it's an effort of will to remember to count in threes instead of fours, so that when Ellie starts singing it all makes sense.
Granted, it might just be me that has this problem.
(Here's the video. Lighthouse owners, don't you wish YOU had your very own pop star?)
It's important to realise that the girl narrating this song is not being treated well. This is not about someone who has the ambition to be a writer or an artist (or for that matter, a painting or the subject of a poem) and she's begging her boyfriend to help her reinvent herself.
No, this is the sorry tale of someone who is so desperate to gain the love and affection of the man in her life she effectively wants him to erase her personality, all her wants and likes and character, to make her into the person he would want to pay attention to. It might even feel like the right thing to do, such is the destructive power of bad love.
Put into that context, Ellie's frail wailing in the chorus and calm, disappointed verses gather up the resentment, hope, frustration and self-doubt and channel them into a thing of total beauty, all the while recognising that the person who has created it - the girl in the song - has done so knowing the one person she's doing it for doesn't really care. She's painted her masterpiece on the wall and he's going to wallpaper over it, as soon as he's had a nap. Heartbreaking, eh?
One final thing about songs from the olden days. Anyone who has ever been swept up in the glorious sparkling lovely smashing adjective adjective work of the Sundays (ask your dad) will recognise some of this song's three-legged lurch, particularly 'My Finest Hour'. Anyone who has not is recommended to give them a go as soon as is humanly possibly.
Oh and then go and find the person you love most and give them a hug, just for being them.
When The Gramophone Rings says: "The chorus of The Writer would sound fantastic when placed in the weepy moments of an American teen drama."
Coffee City Music Lounge says: "Ellie has a interesting way of phrasing and singing, which comes across heavily in [this] acoustic version."
Mu$ic i$ the Door to the $oul says: "I just want to marry her now and buy a second, third, fourth album!"