A Time For Poptimism: See the World In ‘Bright Lights’

Scott TrindleEllie Goulding's "Bright Lights" was released on Nov. 26, 2010.

The world has changed a lot since 2010. Back then, the world wasn’t in a global pandemic, we enjoyed an Obama presidency and eagerly awaited new episodes of “Victorious” — and if you didn’t, you should have. 

While we can’t physically go back to 2010, this week in “Poptimism,” we travel back with Ellie Goulding’s repackaged debut album “Bright Lights.” The folksy, alternative-pop album has a quintessential fall atmosphere that can provide a great change of pace to the existential terror of today.

Even just a glance at the album cover screams fall. The marketing team clearly worked hard on conveying an autumnal atmosphere for “Bright Lights” and it’s only fair they’re paid their due diligence now. 

The album spawned a classic in titular track “Lights,” perhaps one of the definitive pop hits of the decade. If you turned the track up every time it played in your mom’s Kia Sorento, then you’ll love similarly veined “Starry Eyed.” To be starry eyed is to be “naively enthusiastic or idealistic,” according to the Oxford dictionary. With the way the world’s going right now, we could all use this healthy dose of idealism.

Transcend your worries with the dreampop of “This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)” and “Every Time You Go.” The prime location to lose yourself to these tracks is in a corn maze around 5 p.m. but your apartment will suffice. As Goulding says in “Every Time You Go,” “Maybe we forgot, are we awake or not?” Hopefully, you can fall into a peaceful trance and forget that yourself. 

Lay in a pile of freshly-dead leaves and look up at the sky as you listen to “I’ll Hold My Breath.” The soothing song should help ease stress with its airy, euphoric production and allow for a pleasant few minutes. 

The energy “Salt Skin” exudes would fit like a glove as the closing track to an episode of “Gossip Girl.” It’s a head scratcher that the producers didn’t realize that, but the show was well past its prime by 2010 anyway, so perhaps they’d given up on all fronts. 

On the cutesy side of things, there’s “The Writer” and a cover of Elton John’s “Your Song.” The former is very earnest and warm, like a hug from a longtime friend. If you’re making a romantic fall playlist — first of all, that’s super cute and I bet your life is fun — consider tossing these tracks on it. 

If you’re not making a romantic playlist because you’ve been scorned by love, you may enjoy “Your Biggest Mistake” and “Under the Sheets.” Goulding was scorned by love, too — and now she’s married. So, that has to mean something by association. Either way, both songs are certified bops (although they’re not legally certified as such).

Sprinkle in “Bright Lights” to spruce up a mundane fall day and see the world in brighter color. Like Goulding, you too can be a “starry eyed” dreamer. We can’t wallow in dread 24/7 — at least shoot for 23/7 or less, if you can. 

“Bright Lights” is available to stream on all major streaming services.

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