Single Review: Ellie Goulding – ‘Your Song’

Do you think John Lewis are going to make a habit out of this? Getting a popstar to cover an old song and play it during their Christmas Advertising campaign each year? I’m all for it, because two out of two so far have been very good, the first being Fyfe Dangerfield’s ‘She’s Always A Woman’, and the second being this, a beautifully sentimental cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’.

Ellie Goulding, for me, has what you could call a “marmite” voice, her shrill falsetto is usually beyond grating, like on her singles ‘Guns & Horses’ and ‘Starry Eyed’, and her electronic, Starsmith-assisted début album ‘Lights’ was all too often forgettable and clumsily produced. However, I can’t deny that the first single from her début album re-release, under the name of ‘Bright Lights’, shows her delicate vulnerability to near unprecedented qualities.

From the first lyrics “It’s a little bit funny; this feeling inside”, it’s almost like Ellie’s transformed her voice, ditching her falsetto register in place of a sweetly angelic voice, which melts over the lyrics with stunning clarity that reminds me of pre-‘Ambitions’ Joe McElderry. You remember don’t you? When we could hear his real voice over the auto-tune? She pronounces every syllable clearly and with conviction, without once ever over-pronouncing the lyrics to a point where she sounds like a bad Sophie Ellis-Bextor imitator.

‘Your Song’ is the epitome of a phrase I very rarely use: Simple but effective. Simple provided by Elton’s excellent song-ship and lyricism, and effective in the way Ellie manages to wrap your ears in bundles of cotton wool as her reserved vocals ring sweetly, thankfully steering clear of any vocal trickery, ornamental flourishes or auto-tune. It’s just her voice married with the piano, which constitutes a subtle warmth to her more icy tones. All throughout, you actually get the feeling Ellie has connected with her listener, rather than rattle off some clichéd lyrics, á la Pixie Lott and ‘Broken Arrow’.

The video is another example of “simple but effective”, but if it works so well during the song, why have a busy, overcrowded video? The rawness of the entire project is one of it’s greatest assets, and I love the worn out effect on the video film.

Is it just me, or does anyone living in the South of England ever get a surprisingly warm feeling inside when they see the Southern Rail train ticket at 0:03? It brings back so many memories for me, of days when – even if we only went as far as Weymouth, with no spending money or reason for even going – I had some of the best times ever.

I suppose you could say the best thing about this song is it’s sincerity. It doesn’t try to appeal to a large market, nor is it an obvious attempt at sounding current; it presents itself with honesty. Amongst all the Christmas cash-in re-releases; the gimmick Christmas singles; the X Factor Winner’s Single; and the countless number of Facebook campaigns, Ellie Goulding’s cover of ‘Your Song’, whilst being part of a re-release itself, creates a sense of sincerity, like you know Ellie’s releasing it because she wants to, rather than because she wants some big sales over the Christmas period.

And that, is the way music should be.

Rating: 5.0 STARS

Download: November 12, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Bright Lights’

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