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Lights [U.S. Edition] ()

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It shouldn't surprise any Ellie Goulding fan to know that as a songwriter, the 23-year-old British songstress has written for the likes of Gabriella Cilmi and Diana Vickers. That's because Goulding's talent doesn't stretch far from other teen Brit-pop artists of 2010, who are more likely to pull back and dig deep on a record than indulge in the froth of Girls Aloud or Sugababes. However, Goulding's first full-length album, Lights, seems to fall somewhere in between the two. It lacks the dramatic crash and bang of Florence + the Machine's Lungs, but is certainly a more restrained, compelling listen than the debut records by Pixie Lott and Little Boots. Goulding's quite the songwriter (she co-wrote every track), and songs like "This Love" and "Under the Sheets" suggest that Goulding's album doesn't fall back on singles like Paloma Faith's album Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful? This album is tender, sharp, and most importantly, musically relevant. Goulding is able to take the best parts of all of her contemporaries' styles and create pleasantly surprising records. A casual listener may not adore Goulding's album in its entirety, but many will be able to find something to adore from this magical young talent. [The U.S. release of the album switches up the track list (adding the title track and cutting "Wish I'd Stayed"), changes the cover, and adds a bonus track (her version of Elton John's "Your Song").] ~ Matthew Chisling, Rovi Hide synopsis

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