Album Reviews Music

Ellie Goulding’s Halcyon Days Is Proof That An Album’s First Track is Very Important

I’ve always liked Ellie Goulding. She has a very unique voice and a very ethereal look and sound (you know, before she decided to sex things up a bit, but that’s totally fine) that I really dug.

However, I fell off of her when she released her second album Halcyon (serious question: how is this even pronounced). I loved the lead single “Anything Could Happen”, so I figured I would love the album as well. When I downloaded it, I started, naturally, with the song’s first tracks, “Don’t Say a Word”, “My Blood”, and “Only You”.

I deleted the album, minus “Anything Could Happen” and the second UK single “Figure 8”, shortly afterwards.

I ended up revisiting Halcyon this past week after being exposed to more of the songs from it and its re-release Halcyon Days. Specifically, it was “Explosions”, which is currently being used in a movie commercial (I don’t remember the film). I was surprised that such a gorgeous and traditional pop ballad could’ve been on such an underwhelming album like Halcyon. I decided that maybe it deserved a second glance, especially now that it had a re-release.

A couple of days ago, I listened to the full album on Spotify while I was at work. I found that it was, indeed, a great album. The second half of the album, in particular, was spectacular, a pop dream. “Explosions”, “I Know You Care”, “Atlantis”, “Dead in the Water”, all of these songs were pop dreams. The re-release tracks were great too; even the EDM songs had a different, less generic energy to them (Madeon is quickly becoming one of my favorite producers). I ended up downloading Halcyon Days and aiding more than half of the album to iTunes. As you could guess, “Don’t Say a Word”, “My Blood”, and “Only You” were not included.

I definitely could be blamed for not giving the album a true chance, but my experience with Ellie Goulding really does highlight just how important the tracklist order of an album is. In this era of downloading music and it being haphazardly thrown onto smartphones and tablets, its easy to think that it doesn’t matter how songs are arranged as long as they are. Oh, how wrong that assumption is. If the tracklist of Halcyon was different, as in those opening tracks were dispersed throughout the middle or something, I probably would’ve kept the album in my library.  It’s crazy, but one bad song at the start of the album could really throw off the whole music listening experience.

One more related point about Halcyon Days. The album is way, way too long. I don’t know if there is an EP available of just the new songs (including the smash hit “Burn”), but one should be made, or some songs should be pruned from the original album, because 20 tracks seems a bit excessive to me. Granted, a lot of them are top notch, but still. Minor nitpick, but still.

If you are unfamiliar with Ellie Goulding or Halcyon Dyas, I would definitely give the album a spin. I’ve included the Spotify below. Happy listening!

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