It’s been five years since Ellie Goulding released her third album Delerium, a record she’s more recently been quick to disavow in terms of representing her as a songwriter. It’s not hard to sympathise with being mis-cast; the soporific mega hit Love Me Like You Do was hardly in the mould of her strident, energetic synth pop, yet in an uncertain world, it’s a brave artist who doesn’t take what they can get.
Since then the setting and context for female performers has been reframed by both the #metoo movement and a side-by-side creative break out, led by the likes of Phoebe Bridgers and Fiona Apple.
Brightest Blue is split into two disproportionate sections, the shorter consisting in part of previously released collaborations such as the stripper-friendly Close To Me and Hate Me, the latter produced with the now deceased rapper Juice WRLD. It’s on the main body of work however that she takes to proving herself the dynamic creator and on the likes of Woman, Power and Flux the uplifting, if familiar, war cries of old sound out.
When Goulding nails these moments it feels like there’s a plan and the means to achieve it, but these epiphanies are too few in number – and whilst others are out there taking risks, the conclusion that this represents the opposite is hard to escape.
You can read the full review here.