When: Tue., Jan. 29, 7 p.m. 2013
British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding first released the song “Lights” near the end of 2009, but it wasn’t till last year that it found its proper audience—and in the process exploded unexpectedly into a global hit that reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100. “Lights” is a big, generous anthem with a tasteful but ecstatic techno bump and a massively epic chorus that almost demands to be screamed along to on a dance floor by drunk girls. But Goulding isn’t afraid to challenge her listeners. Last year’s Halcyon—which she released while its predecessor, Lights, was still charting—has some genuinely aggressive sounds and a nice spooky vibe that recalls Kate Bush and Tori Amos in equal measure, but it doesn’t sacrifice the mega hooks that rope in casual fans. She’s toured with Katy Perry and with Grimes, proving that she works just as well with a pop idol as she does with a more experimental musician. And the way her own musical ambition has paid off has probably helped close the gap between the two. —Miles Raymer St. Lucia opens.