On My Mind marks a new chapter for the UK's Pop Princess, after a plethora of soundtrack singles - including the worldwide mega-hit Love Me Like You Do - Ellie Goulding has returned with unrestricted, free flowing Pop music.
"Mind" starts off with a syncopated guitar riff that echoes that of Nico and Vinz's Am I Wrong from earlier in the year. Once the production kicks in, this comparison loses footing, as an electronic-rock sound that Goulding has previously touched upon with live renditions of Burn snakes its way through intricate coos of "Why I got you on my mind." Embracing some of 2015s new found minimalism, the song is somewhat bare: there's no pounding of synths like Figure 8, and even the downbeat is hidden at points.
Ellie also flashes some previously unseen claws: as a response to Ed Sheeran's Don't, "Mind" functions appropriately, even if Goulding is afraid to tell you so without a Max Martin backdrop. From the get go, Goulding launches into the tale "Don't" has engraved in the mind of millions. That said lyrics like:
You don't mess with love
You mess with the truth
I always hear, always hear them talking
Talking 'bout a girl, 'bout a girl with money
Saying that I hurt you but I still don't get it
You didn't love me, no, not really
rip the rug out from under Sheeran's one way narrative. Goulding launches an incredibly articulate and well planned attack; she plays victim and utilizes her good girl persona at some points, while slyly jabbing into Sheeran's (apparently) faulty account at the same time. Unapologetic and bold, Ellie is honest and sharp, even if the lyrics are too colloquial.
In a post 1989 landscape, many will lazily claim that "On My Mind" plays to the strengths of what "1989" and Taylor Swift have accomplished. However, Goulding is far too versatile with her persona to play one-dimensional Swift. With each listen, On My Mind unfolds in new ways, a quality that is too often lost in Pop music today.