Ellie Goulding finds artistic niche in latest studio album

“Delirium” presents best work of star’s career

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Ellie Goulding's latest, "Delirium," represents the best work of the artist's career.

Courtesy Polydor

Ellie Goulding’s latest studio album, “Delirium,” is the artist’s strongest offering to date. For years, fans have watched as the British pop sensation carried them along with her sweet, angelic voice.

Her presence and brand have grown to make her a true A-list celebrity over the past year, and with a slew of hit songs now under her belt like, “I Need Your Love,” “Outside,” and “Love Me Like You Do,” Goulding has solidified herself as a pop star. Her latest album gives fans a glimpse into how she’s dealt with the fame and her relationships over the past few years with a more contemporary pop sound.

The album opens with one of the most cinematic intros in recent pop music history. “Intro (Delirium)” sounds like a track from an epic movie saga and is a homage to Goulding’s increasing popularity as a movie soundtrack contributor. Over the past few years, Goulding has contributed numerous songs to popular movie franchises like “The Hunger Games” “Twilight,” and “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and this song stacks up in true fashion, leading into the album’s chipper song, “Aftertaste.”

Some of the strongest tracks on the album feature R&B influences like the lead single, “On My Mind.” Songs like “Codes,” “Something in the Way You Move” and “Don’t Panic” are fun and full of energy, which is a shift for Goulding who started as an acoustic singer-songwriter. Gone is the girl who once sang about bright lights and the wistfulness of being in love in songs like “Anything Could Happen” and “Lights.” Goulding’s craft has evolved to talk about love and loss with more conviction in songs like “Don’t Need Nobody” and “I Love What I Do.”

Some tracks still feature the bubblegum pop sound: “Around U” exemplifies this, with a light, catchy chorus and some of the best lyrics on the album. The song’s closing lines, “So tired of these roads going nowhere / But I know your love takes me somewhere,” demonstrate Goulding’s songwriting prowess.

“Lost and Found” also hints at Goulding’s older sound while maintaining contemporary catchy pop vibes. Her songs aren’t simply feel-good anthems anymore, and it seems she has truly found a space for her sound and lyrics in a pop music context.

There is one setback, however. The album features this year’s popular single, “Love Me Like You Do,” with the deluxe version of the album including last year’s Calvin Harris single, “Outside,” disrupting the new, catchy vibe. Thankfully with a quick click, listeners can skip these additions.

“Delirium” doesn’t feature any guitar led or acoustic ballads, and it’s clear Goulding aimed for a much more pop-sounding record with this album.

The new sound works for her, and the songstress has truly found her niche. Despite small complaints, the album is definitely a treat for existing Ellie Goulding fans, and is sure to bring in new kinds of fans, as she includes more pop and R&B influences into her sound. “Delirium” is a fantastic work as a whole, and will surely be Goulding’s biggest album in her career thus far.

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