Halcyon Days is the reissue of English singer Ellie Goulding's second studio album, Halcyon (2012). It was released on 23 August 2013 by Polydor Records. Following the release of Halcyon, Goulding announced that she had plans to repackage the original album, with new songs that focused on electronic music. For the reissue, Goulding recorded 10 new songs and worked with a variety of producers, including Ryan Tedder, Calvin Harris and Greg Kurstin, to create her desired sound.
Upon release, Halcyon Days was met with widespread acclaim from most music critics, who praised the album's musical expansion, its production and happier lyrical content. Commercially the reissue was a success and helped propel the original album on numerous charts. The lead single from the reissued album, "Burn", was released on 5 July 2013, becoming Goulding's first number-one single on the UK Singles Chart. The song also reached the top five in Germany and Ireland, and the top 10 in Australia, France and New Zealand. "How Long Will I Love You" and "Goodness Gracious" were subsequently released as the second and third singles from Halcyon Days, respectively.
In late July 2012, it was announced that Goulding's second album is titled Halcyon and it would be released on 8 October 2012. The album was preceded by the lead single "Anything Could Happen" on 21 August. The album was well received by critics and debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart and at number one on the UK Download Albums Chart, selling 33,425 copies in its first week.
The album was further promoted with the release of two more singles – Figure 8 and Explosions – as well as a tour.
In an interview with Elle in July 2013, Goulding announced plans to release a repackaged version of Halcyon with new songs, commenting, "I have such an affinity with electronic music that I can't step away from it."
Halcyon Days features 10 new tracks, with the first being "Burn", "a celebration of life in its purest form", as described by Idolator's Kathy Iandoli. The track is a pop song with rave influences, while her vocals are crowded with echoes and distortion. According to Goulding, the song is "probably the most poppy song I've released. But it's all me. I wanted to release 'Burn', I loved it, even if it is a vague sentiment. I think it's a truly great song." "Goodness Gracious" follows, being described by Nicole Frehsee of Rolling Stone as "a blippy ode to fickleness." It was co-written with Fun's Nate Ruess, with Goulding noting that the song "is about dissing yourself for not thinking straight and not being fair. I've been in situations where I knew someone wasn't right for me, yet I kept bringing them back", she claimed. "You My Everything" and "Flashlight" (with DJ Fresh) "take Goulding's natural inclination for electronic beats and mix them with the soulful undertone of her vocals", as stated by Iandoli. "Stay Awake" celebrates "not sleeping and partying all night" over triumphant synth stabs, as highlighted by Frehsee. "It's less serious content than I'd usually write about", Goulding claimed. "But I've always been a fan of club songs that feel good."
Fourth track "Hearts Without Chains" was described as "an affecting piano-based ballad about healing and moving forward". It was co-written by Fraser T. Smith, who produced Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain". "It's my favorite song of the batch", says Goulding. "It has a folky English quality to it. Plus, it's quite nice to listen to and not be in the state I was when I wrote it." "Under Control" "reclaims empowerment and confidence ('I feel like I'm breathing again'), while wrapped in a mix of fuzzy bass and echoed clanks", as declared by Digital Spy's Lewis Corner. The other three tracks on the album are covers. The first, "How Long Will I Love You?", was originally released by The Waterboys and Goulding transforms it into a sweet, contemplative ballad. It was part of the soundtrack for Richard Curtis' romantic comedy film About Time. The second, Alt-J's "Tessellate" loses some of its cryptic airs as Goulding reveals different layers, featuring a "seductive makeover with Chiddy Bang's Xaphoon Jones on the beat." Finally, Midnight Star's "Midas Touch" is turned inside out into a fittingly atmospheric declaration of self, having a darker tone.
Halcyon Days received acclaim from most music critics. Ken Capobianco of Boston Globe noted that "The expanded edition of Ellie Goulding's fine 'Halcyon' is no mere recycling job, as it helps expand the range of her musical vision with 10 new tracks", claiming that "beneath the electronics lies real soul." Caren Ganz of Rolling Stone praised the album for "confirm[ing] [that] Goulding is doing her best work on clubby tracks with luminescent titles." Lewis Corner of Digital Spy opined that the album is "the moment Ellie firmly makes her mark in pop", since its original version "lacked enough upbeat ditties that the wider public seemingly crave." Kathy Iandoli of Idolator agreed, claiming that the album is "a progression into happier territory", and that it's "merely an extension of Ellie's awesomeness and a sonic timeline through happiness, heartbreak and more happiness."
Following the Halcyon Days re-release in August 2013, the album jumped from number 26 to number three on sales of 15,883 units, achieving its then-highest chart placing since its debut. On 5 January 2014, in its 65th week on the chart, Halcyon climbed from number six to number one on the UK Albums Chart with 37,507 copies sold, becoming Goulding's second number-one album in the UK. It spent a second consecutive week at number one, selling 26,456 copies. The following week, the album sold 24,831 copies and fell to number two, before returning to the top spot for a third non-consecutive with sales of 20,928 copies.
In Ireland the Halcyon Days reissue propelled the album to number seven on the Irish chart for the week ending 29 August 2013, before rising yet again to number four on 19 December. The album eventually topped the Irish Albums Chart for the week ending 2 January 2014, more than a year after its original release and over four months after the re-release.
"Burn" was released on 5 July 2013 as the first single from Halcyon Days. A fan-submitted Vine video for the song premiered on 4 July 2013, followed by the official music video on 7 July. The track became Goulding's first-ever number one on the UK Singles Chart, topping the chart for three consecutive weeks. "Burn" also attained commercial success internationally, reaching number one in Italy, the top five in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ireland and Sweden, and the top 10 in Australia, France, New Zealand and Spain. The song was nominated for British Single of the Year and Best Video at the 2014 BRIT Awards.
The second single from Halcyon Days, "How Long Will I Love You", was released on 10 November 2013 as the official song for BBCChildren in Need 2013 appeal. The single peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart. "Goodness Gracious" was released on 21 February 2014 as the third single from Halcyon Days. The song reached number 16 on the UK Singles Chart. In an interview with Capital FM on 9 February 2014, DJ Fresh revealed that he and Goulding had recorded a new version of the song "Flashlight" for single release later in 2014. The reworked version of the song was released on 28 September 2014 as the fourth single from Fresh's forthcoming fourth studio album.
In the 2014 repack, "Beating Heart" was added. In the physical release of the standard repack the tracks "Halcyon" and "Atlantis" were removed from the track listing. However, the 2014 Asian repack retains the latter in both the standard and deluxe.