Even on the best of collaborations between powerhouse musicians, there’s occasionally the feeling that something just doesn’t gel — that there’s either something missing or, worse, misused between the talents of two highly-skilled artists. Yet every once in awhile, a match-up will come along that, on paper, sounds like it could never work yet miraculously does. Such is the case with Ellie Goulding’s latest hit, “Easy Lover,” which sees the pop star teaming up with no less than one of the biggest names in hip-hop, Big Sean.

Ellie Goulding and Big Sean have had surprisingly similar trajectories in their music careers, despite living in two very different genres. Growing up from separate yet far-too-similar modest beginnings, both artists started their careers in the late 2000’s, before rising to very quick fame in the early 2010’s with immediate hits like “Lights” and “Dance (A**).” They’ve each received nothing but success since their debuts, with multiple platinum albums between them and a slew of charitable foundations to which each contributes heavily. Yet while Goulding is still a pop star and Big Sean is assuredly a rapper, on “Easy Lover” the two somehow create a song that defies not only their respective genres, but any categorization. There’s a bit of everything on the track, from synths and electronica beats to guitar riffs and impressive vocal work from both Goulding and Big Sean — the former of which sounds more like a rock star than ever, and the latter of which has some of the best flow of his career.

Lyrically, the song is fairly straightforward as a lament of someone who’s head over heels for someone who isn’t good for them, epitomized well in the chorus: “Easy lover / Keep it cool on me / Don’t be cruel to me / ‘Cause I know you’ve done it before / Easy lover / Keep it cool on me / Give it all to me / ‘Cause I know you’ve done it before.” What really elevates the song, though, is the inclusion of Big Sean’s verse, which shows the side of the supposed “easy lover:” “And I know they say that “Everything that’s easy ain’t worth it / And everything that’s worth it ain’t gon’ be easy” / I made mistakes you can’t say that I repeated / I wouldn’t still be here if I didn’t need ya.” It’s a powerful, seamless match between Goulding and Big Sean — both of whom sound larger-than-life and play off each other incredibly well. Even the music video, with all its gender-bending surrealism, makes the song all the more poignant as the two leads are trapped in boxes, searching for ways to break free from everything holding them back. As Goulding says of the song’s creation:

I wrote ‘Easy Lover’ … after conversations about the age-old tale of being infatuated by someone cool and beautiful knowing that they will never quite feel the same. It’s about going back to the same dangerous person to feel alive when you know they have hurt people again and again before you.”

“Easy Lover” may not be the most obviously unique song in recent memory, but it’s a track that certainly sticks in one’s mind and proves that even the most tried-and-true music stars can surprise us once in awhile. Thankfully, with Goulding and Big Sean’s successful collaboration, listeners have a genuine banger of a track to which they can dance the night away, cry their hearts out or express their deepest emotions.

Ellie Goulding’s latest release was her fourth album Brightest Blue, while Big Sean’s most recent studio work was his fifth LP Detroit 2 — both released in 2020. The two musicians plan to release more new music on their own sometime this year — stay tuned as information becomes available. In the meantime, you can listen to Ellie Goulding and Big Sean’s collaboration on “Easy Lover,” and watch the music video, below!

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