Ellie Goulding unveiled a holiday surprise for Amazon Music listeners on Thursday (November 14).
The "Lights" singer appeared in a "making of" video that found her laying down the pieces for her cover of a Christmas classic: "River," from folk singer Joni Mitchell. You may recognize the track from a particularly memorable performance on The Politician, where it was sung in tribute to a character named River.
It's actually a Christmas folk song off of Mitchell's 1971 album Blue, and one of the biggest songs associated with Joni over the years. Ever since its debut, it's been covered by a variety of artists, including Corinne Bailey Rae, Aimee Mann, Travis, and a number of others.
It's a bit of a heartrending tale that finds the singer wishing she had a "river" that she could "skate away on" in an effort to forget the pain of the relationship she was in that's just ended. It's a melancholy tune that also incorporates "Jingle Bells" near the end in an unexpected way that drives home how painful a lost love can really be during the holidays.
Ellie has named Mitchell as one of her influences, and one of the singer-songwriters she ended up falling in love with as a young woman.
"Only when I got into my teens did I discover song-writing," Goulding told Billboard in a recent interview. "That was when I learned the guitar, and I listened to Imogen Heap and Björk, Ani DiFranco and especially Joni Mitchell."
You can listen to the song via Amazon Music, as the track appears to be an exclusive for now. Just add it to the lengthy list of emotional covers, with Ellie's breathy vocals bringing it to life. Be advised, however, you may want to have a box of tissues on hand if you're going to be in for repeated listens.