Ellie Goulding lights up February with a kaleidoscopic show at Camden’s KOKO. We cannot wait for the new album!

  • MUSIC FOCUS: Ellie Goulding.
  • ACTIVITY FOCUS: Analyse our Ellie Goulding review and sharpen your ability to analyse unseen texts. Questions formatted in style of AQA GCSE Language Paper 1 but skills being honed are relevant to any GCSE/A-Level student.

Ellie Goulding, Koko

Listening to Ellie Goulding is like being sprinkled with fairy dust. And it’s perfectly fitting that the pop star should be debuting her new material at Camden’s refurbished KOKO. State-of-the-art and romantic in equal measure, the multi-tiered venue is painted the colour of blood and flecked with gold – it parallels neatly with so much of Goulding’s imagery. When the singer steps onto stage, mirrorball glittering high above our heads, we’re transported to an enchanted world. Bathed in a waterfall of electric light, we start to dance.

The first three songs are all new. Not many artists would risk opening their comeback set in such bold fashion, but ‘Better Man’, ‘Like A Saviour’ and ‘Love Goes On’ set the night on fire – after which the more familiar ‘Power’ propels the crowd close to a state of ecstasy. ‘Let It Die’ is yet more intense; then ‘Outside’ detonates and everyone throws their arms into the air. Even ‘Still Falling For You’ – relatively gentle on record – is wild tonight. And the material from 2020’s ‘Brightest Blue’ album is kaleidoscopic too: the raw, pulsating ‘How Deep Is Too Deep’ and the introspective, indomitable ‘Woman’ may be very different tracks, but they both hit hard.

With ‘Lights’, the mood escalates again. There’s no actual confetti, but still it’s like we’re being showered in it. Such is the twilight-ish power of Goulding’s back catalogue. This is fantasy music, and it transforms the shimmering quality of our dreams into something almost tangible. ‘Love Me Like You Do’ is spellbinding. Goulding sings, the crowd sing back and the sense of catharsis lifts the audience off KOKO’s floor and into mid-air. Which, of course, means it’s time for ‘Burn’. In our elevated state, we really, “Don’t have to worry about nothing.” We’re in Camden, but we could just as well be in the night sky, floating amongst the stars.

With her blissful, sometimes balletic and always bewitching music, Ellie Goulding makes it absolutely impossible not to believe in magic.


1. Read again the first paragraph.
List four things about the venue being described in this part of the source.

2. Look in detail at the second paragraph. How does the writer use language here to describe Ellie Goulding’s songs?
You could include the writer’s choice of:
• words and phrases
• language features and techniques
• sentence forms

3. You now need to think about the whole of the source.
How has the writer structured the review to interest you as a reader?
You could write about:
• what the writer focuses your attention on at the beginning of the source
• how and why the writer changes this focus as the source develops
• any other structural features that interest you

4. Focus this part of your answer on the the whole review.
A student said, ‘Ellie Goulding’s concert is described in a way that makes it feel magical.’
To what extent do you agree?
In your response, you could:
• consider the crowd’s response to Ellie Goulding’s music
• evaluate how the writer makes the event seem magical
• support your response with references to the text.

Please do send your work in. I want to publish the most exciting answers and offer advice.

Now, have a look our ‘Location, Location, Location’ series, including an investigation into Ellie Goulding and Calvin Harris’ ‘Outside’!