But they're both great examples of singer-songwriter pop, and Ellie's work is more than worth working through the uncertainty.
(N.B. Apparently this is the US edition, that has "Lights" as the lead track.)
This is a good example of an ambiguous song. I'm going to give two parallel interpretations, one that I've heard elsewhere (fame) and one that I've written about somewhere, but God knows where (love).
I'll take that second one first. Sometimes in love we give up some of our power to get what we need. In this interpretation, Ellie's portrait is one of a girl who just needs to be with her man. The first lines stand out; "I had a way then of losing it all on my own/I had a heart then, but the queen has been overthrown." Other people are a distraction at best, and she just wants to be alone with him: "And I think back to when my brother and my sister slept/In another place, the only time I felt safe." And the lights that "stop" her, he dulls--turns "to stone".
Alternatively or in addition to that, it could be about fame. (As Taylor Swift has said on different occasions, a famous life is not a normal life.) The lights could be the image of living in photo flashes and the lights of fame. This could add another layer of meaning to the interpretation above.
However, I still don't want to call the review "The Lights of Fame" because I think that even after giving an explanation, the song is still ambiguous.
I'll be a little briefer with the others:
2. Guns and Horses
This is an image of power, and it's about being swept up by somebody, as well as feeling their sorrow.
3. Starry Eyed
"Next thing, we touching: you look at me; it's like you hit me with lightning." Everybody knows that everybody gets like that.
4. This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)
People tend to take love for granted and to ignore the consequences.
5. Under the Sheets
In her fairy, ephemeral way, she is very.... Active. Young.
6. The Writer
This is a song about how her real fear is being ignored, but she's not afraid to be somebody's muse, not afraid of being overshadowed by talent; it rescues her from neglect.
She's active, and she's romantic. "I have loved a five four and then some, but you are the one...."
8. Every Time You Go
The message is that neglecting a girl every time you feel like taking off really isn't acceptable. This begins the slide into tragedy of tracks 8-10.
9. Your Biggest Mistake
IMO repetition is the epitome of emphasis. Stop running-- that's the mistake.
10. Salt Skin
I really think that this is about being British, and not in a good way. At its worst, the whole world just pales out and goes away--and all the false words, false understanding.
11. Your Song (Elton John cover)
But in the end, isn't love a fine thing.
I don't really have a conclusion, but, I wrote this out on paper first, and at the bottom I scribbled a note about the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and I think spamming something heartfelt kinda goes in with the spirit of the album. Listen to it, buy the CD or whatever, support art, and once your done listening to this girl, this kind, pretty person spill her feelings for the world to know, go improve yourself and go make the world a better place. Help people more, fight and judge less-- I know you can do it. We're counting on you.