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Track Review

Ellie Goulding doesn't seem too worried at first about the consequences of a drunken one-night stand on her electropop hit "On My Mind."

But much to her surprise, her heart gets involved after her body does, and she discovers she can't quit thinking about the guy she so casually hooked up with.

No Such Thing as a Casual Connection

Goulding confesses straightaway that "cute" was all it took for them to hook up. Well, cute plus booze. "Next thing you know I'm in a hotel with you."

He's into her, big time, "talking deep like it was mad love," while she "just liked [his] tattoos."

The song leaves the explicit details about what happens next undescribed. But it seems pretty clear that this pair didn't suddenly decide to stop and get coffee at the corner café. And then it happens: Goulding just can't quit thinking about the guy. "And I know I shouldn't say it," she confesses sheepishly, "But my heart don't understand/Why I got you on my mind."

Remember, she's the one who just wanted the one-night stand. No string attached. No heart engagement, just body movements.


"I always hear, always hear them talking/Talking 'bout a girl, 'bout a girl with my name/Saying that I hurt you, but I still don't get it/You didn't love me, no, not really."

Finally, her big emotional revelation: "Wait, I could have really liked you/I'll bet, I'll bet that's why I keep thinking 'bout you/It's a shame, you said I was good."

OK. Time for some more drinking: "Poured it down, so I poured it down."

Riding Herd on Your Heart

This Ellie Goulding hit could serve as an accidental cautionary tale about the perils of postmodern "love," circa 2015. Much has been written about the hook-up culture in which men and women are more likely to exchange bodily fluids than they are phone numbers or even names, much less vows. And what Ellie has narrated here fits that tawdry template to a T.

She also perhaps unconsciously illustrates the reality that uniting your body with a stranger's is something that engages the heart as well—even for someone who isn't at all interested in an emotional connection. Or at least doesn't think she's interested.

That possibility seems utterly foreign to Goulding here. "Wait, I could have really liked you/I'll bet, I'll bet that's why I keep thinking 'bout you," she says, as if she's suddenly sleuthed out a relational principle no one's ever considered before. You know, the one stating that sleeping with someone might actually lead to a desire for deeper emotional connection, too.

Goulding's hardly trying to preach a Christian sermon about the spiritual bond that forms in carnal connections. But she does show how confused our culture has become about love and sex … and unwittingly illustrates that those two things might not be as easy to separate and compartmentalize as the entertainment industry believes they are.

A postscript about the video: It shows quite a lot of Ellie's skin as she bares her legs, back, side and parts of her breasts. And it tells a bizarre Thelma & Louise-like story of a young woman who falls in love with a thuggish hotel owner in Las Vegas. It doesn't go well. So she and a friend ride through a casino—on horses—before storming into the man's office, wrapping him with duct tape and stealing his money … which they gleefully toss off the hotel roof.

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Reached No. 13

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September 17, 2015

On Video

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Adam R. Holz

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