Ellie Goulding Lights

There's nothing quite like winning a couple of high profile awards to raise expectations for your debut album, and that's exactly what happened to English singer Ellie Goulding. She topped the BBC's "Sound Of 2010" poll and then grabbed the Critic's Choice award at the BRIT Awards before her album was even released. And now that Lights is finally here it's clear to see that the critics knew what they were doing ― kind of. See, Goulding at heart is a folk singer whose acoustic songs are lovely, yet Lights is a pop album where dance beats and electronic sounds swoosh around her Björk-like voice. And there are definitely times when things get a little bit uncomfortable, as the two styles clash awkwardly. Yet for the most part, it works pretty well, although there is a tendency to play it a little safe; it isn't hard to imagine hearing most of these songs on any radio station, as they aren't pushing boundaries. Lights suggests that Goulding has the potential to be the next Lykke Li or Beth Orton, if she wanted to be. But at the moment, she isn't quite sure where she wants to go next; her debut is a solid starting point that merely flies when it should soar. (Polydor/Universal)