Music review by
Jessica Dawson, Common Sense Media
Halcyon Music Poster Image
Angelic vocals, enchanting music with some mature themes.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Most songs are about breaking up and lost relationships; however, "Explosion" does talk about learning "it's OK to be afraid."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ellie Goulding stands apart from other contemporary artists not only for her musical talent, but also for her honest songs that are layered and original.


"Hanging On" has an unedited version that features Tinie Tempah and some profanity ("f--k"), but only a few times.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

"Figure 8" lyrics start with "Breathe your smoke into my lungs, in the back of the car with you I stare into the sun." And "Joy" says "I never seemed to learn that high makes things harder, that high I get from you." Nothing explicit, but references that could have different interpretations.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Halcyon is Brit newcomer Ellie Goulding's sophomore effort. It has a lot of mature content concerning breaking up and lost love, but the exceptional music and vocals are what really capture your attention. The unedited version of "Hanging On" features "f--k" a few times, but otherwise the album is clean. Because of the mature themes and focus on relationships, the album is best for teens and up.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written byrebma97 April 10, 2014

Amazing singer

Ellie Goulding is an outstanding singer. Her voice is so angelic and unique and strong at the same time. I'm not in love with all the songs, but many of th... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 4, 2014

Ellie Goulding - Halcyon

Some stronger themes, references to feeling "high" and mature themes, but all in all a terrific album

What's the story?

Brit Ellie Goulding answers the success of her album Lights with HALCYON, her second studio album that is a masterful presentation of 14 tracks that are mostly electro-pop with captivating vocals and poetry. The album features the hit single "Lights."

Is it any good?

Like the mythical halcyon bird, Goulding glides above the anthemic music and rich electro-pop, charming the wind and sea into calmness. The music on Halcyon is emotional, with dramatic lyrics and sweeping synth-tricks and tribal booms that drive much of the album. Paired with Goulding's striking upper register that mimics the spunk and style of Dolly Parton but also the depth and vulnerability of Enya, the songs here are unlike any other music by a female artist. "Don't Say a Word" is both gritty and twinkling, and "Anything Could Happen" and "Only You" show that Goulding has the vocal capability to be intense and raw like her fellow countrywoman, Adele.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why so much music is about breaking up and the end of relationships. Why is this topic so interesting to artists?

  • Is Ellie Goulding a typical pop star? Why or why not?

  • What makes Goulding's music unique? Can you think of other pop artists that stand out from the pack?

Music details

  • Artist: Ellie Goulding
  • Release date: October 9, 2012
  • Type: Album
  • Label: Polydor
  • Genre: Pop
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: Yes
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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