As you probably know by now, Ellie Goulding has a song on the radio called “Love Me Like You Do,” her contribution to the soundtrack for the kinky fuck-fest that is the Fifty Shades of Grey film.
The juxtaposition between Goulding’s sweet, innocent persona and the film’s more carnal depictions is jarring, but there was something else intriguing about the song that I couldn’t quite put my finger on… Then, in a moment of stoned clarity, I figured it out: the song — along with the rest of her body of work — is Ellie Goulding’s secret way of telling the world that she’s a circuit queen.
For those of you who don’t know what a circuit queen is, the reductive answer is that it’s a person (usually a gay man) who takes drugs and dances their ass off to house music at rave-like parties all weekend long. The “circuit” denotes the fact that there are major parties to hit up all across the world, all year long; the “queen” denotes the fact that this person goes to these events with shameless regularity.
Goulding is not an obvious candidate for such a lifestyle, since her cutesy, wholesome image suggests nothing naughtier than an occasional toke. Although this works as the perfect deception, the evidence of her secret party-girl lifestyle was hiding in plain sight all along.
For starters, Goulding has a beautiful, ethereal voice that lends itself to circuit music. She’s not a vocal powerhouse like Deborah Cox or other dance floor divas; the magic of Goulding’s voice is that it’s understated. She doesn’t need to belt out a note like Whitney Houston to captivate you; instead, her wispy, angelic tone hypnotizes all on its own. That voice — combined with the correct remix treatment of her songs — can lead to dance floor nirvana (something Calvin Harris has utilized on two of his albums).
While her beats aren’t the dark, tribal ones that circuit queens crave — meaning, her songs won’t be played at the main party — she’ll fit right in at the Sunday T-Dance, when DJs tend to spin the kind of uplifting, anthemic songs that she does so well.
Also, Goulding’s initials are E and G. Not coincidentally, E and G are two of the most popular drugs on the circuit scene. E is ecstasy, and it gives its user a feeling of intense euphoria; G, meanwhile (short for GHB), is a liquid stimulant that also gives its users a feeling of elation (and increased horniness). Circuit queens will often take both, popping an ecstasy pill and then doing a dose of G later on to bring their high back up. Goulding just needs to wear a tank top or some booty shorts with her initials on it, preferably in glow-in-the-dark glitter, for an instantly iconic look at any of the themed circuit parties.
But the real evidence is in her singles. Let’s take a look:
Lights: Goulding calls this her fear-of-the-dark song. That makes sense as circuit parties are dimly-lit affairs. However, most circuit parties also have a ton of laser lights that puncture through the darkness, and it’s these lights that Goulding is singing about. She has presumably just taken ecstasy, and the drugs are going to make everything look and feel so much more intense and beautiful. Goulding knows that this might be an overwhelming and hypnotizing visual experience, but she nevertheless waits for the lights to start “calling her home.”
Starry Eyed: The magic is starting to hit her, and Goulding is stumbling around the dance floor, observing that everybody looks starry eyed. Clearly she needs to put some sunglasses on! Then, “next thing, she’s touching” someone, and the dizzying beat takes her away. Pace yourself girl, or you’re not going to make it to the after hours party!
Anything Could Happen: This was Goulding’s most obvious reference to the circuit lifestyle at this point in her career, as the song opens with Goulding singing the letter “E” twenty-something times in a row. Knowing how many parties there are going to be, Goulding is hitting up her dealer now so that she and her friends can power through the long weekend. Also, Alex Metric was one of the official remixers of this song, and he turned it into a seven-minute, high-energy mix that’s her most circuit-y song yet.
Burn: By this point, Goulding is totally going through it. She’s raising her hands up, the moment burning in her mind, as she watches “everybody on the [dance] floor acting crazy.” She’s on top of the world, living in the here and now, and it’s never going to be better than this moment…
Love Me Like You Do: Finally, Goulding is ready to accept her status as a full-on circuit queen. The song is deceptively beautiful, and it sounds like sharing a beautiful moment on a dance floor with a special someone. It should be the perfect way to end the night…but Goulding’s “head is spinning around” and she “can’t see clear” anymore. Furthermore, her speech is starting to slur, as she intones her lover to “l-l-love” and “t-t-touch” her. It’s obvious that Goulding is about to G-out (when your body overdoses on GHB, and you pass out in an unresponsive stupor for up to an hour). Consequently, we’re going to have to take this hot mess home and let her sleep it off.
So there you have it: Ellie Goulding is a circuit queen. Obviously this is all just speculation, as no one has actually seen her at a circuit party. But between her circuit-ready singing voice, her ridiculously obvious drug-reference initials, and all the hints she’s dropped in her singles, I’d say it’s safe to say that this girl knows how to werk. So I’ll raise my Gatorade bottle to you, Ellie Goulding, and I’ll look for you to headline White Party next year.