Cruising somewhere between Dallas and New York City with promised on-board WiFi unsurprisingly exorbitant and a flawed update to my MP3 player marring my audio experience, this might well be the first blog I’ve written in a long time without having heard the featured song in the last few days. Ellie Goulding, however, has that kind of presence, that kind of power as a performer and an artist. You don’t necessarily have to have heard a track recently for it to lodge, solidly, in your consciousness. Her falsetto range, unbelievably cute British accent and the panache with which she approaches all of her work marks the resulting tracks out as memorable; memorable enough not to need ‘Anything Could Happen’ in my eardrums for the time being.
The first thing that gets you about Goulding is her capacity to add a melody to almost anything. This track is founded on a pseudo call-and-response segment where Goulding answers her own lyrics with songbird-like crooning, ambiguous notes which mean nothing really but are presented with such conviction that they’re hard to argue with. Where the production on her debut ‘Lights‘ was lacklustre in parts (and thus probably best communicated via remixes where Goulding’s vocals, the real star of the show, were allowed to shine) it was the 26 year old Brit’s dedication to pushing her voice that excited. If I remember correctly, I almost wrote an entire post on a cute little ‘pop’ midway through her take on The Weeknd’s ‘High For This‘, so intrigued by the nuances in Ms Goulding’s voice was I. The foregrounding of the melody here, front and centre such that the synth (?!) production from new name Jim Eliot (taking over duties from Starsmith who delivered on ‘Lights’) almost falls away under the weight of Goulding’s pipes, is what really resonates.
This is a pop song in the truest, most traditional sense, devoid of the sort of gimmickery that so often underpins the genre. In a way that the Black Eyed Peas did with ‘I Gotta Feeling‘ (this is where the parallels stop), ‘Anything Could Happen’ taps a similar vein of globally accessible sentiment to come away with something that, undeniably bolstered by Goulding’s talent, sounds emphatically anthemic. Maybe Ellie was always cut out for this. We’ve heard snippets of this kind of brilliance with her cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song‘ and on ‘Lights’ but this is the first time I can recall Goulding coming into her own, on her own. Part of the problem with having such a powerful, distinctive voice is being able to write lyrics and find producers who can extract that excellence out of you. Goulding hits her falsetto so effortlessly that it takes a tune as big as this one to really challenge her. So challenged, ‘Anything Could Happen’ is the personal made public in sensational style, the thump of the Euro-beat behind her just barely needed to propel Goulding’s offering. Big and impressive but never brash or offensive, The first track off Goulding’s sophomore effort walks the pop anthem tightrope easily. Might need a blindfold next time for Ellie.
Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen