It has been two years since Sia released music but she is back with her new release.
For Sia’s first album since her smash-hit “Chandelier,” the singer/songwriter is up against Adele and Rihanna for that coveted number one spot on the charts. They are probably familiar with some of the tracks featured on the new album because there are some songs that were written for them on it.
“This is Acting” is the seventh album from the hit Australian singer/songwriter known for her unique voice and the black-and-white wig covering her face. The record features songs that she wrote, offered to music artists and after these deals fell through, recovered.
For Sia, the record is a complex paradox. She is deciphering her own songs, ones that are generally personal, but they were expected to come from the hearts of others.
“Alive” which was the album’s first single was meant for Adele as part of her highly successful album “25.”
“Alive” complements the mood of “25,”- as Sia plays the role of Adele- looks back at her childhood and her survival of adulthood to a track that opens up with lavishly dark piano chords before a fast climax. “I’m still breathing/ I’m alive,” Sia sings in one of her most powerful performances, her voice soaring from soulful to roaring with a touch of rasp.
Sia equivalently seems to channel Beyoncé on the more touching “Footprints,” a string-backed up-tempo pop song that uses subtle spiritual metaphors to depict redemption by a partner or God.
A more customary pop song featured on the record is “Reaper” and it was co-produced by Kanye West.
Sia wrote both “Reaper” and the uptempo track “Cheap Thrills” for Rihanna but the R&B superstar, whose new album spotlights inpouring-looking ballads, unfortunately rejected the tracks.
“Move Your Body,” a club-style dance track was written for Latin superstar Shakira.
The 40 year old singer, whose name is Sia Fuler, had to make her start in the jazz-club scene of Adelaide, Australia and she remains more at least in the indie world than the major celebrity world. But she has become a notable writer for pop stars, particularly writing Rihanna’s 2012 worldwide hit single “Diamonds.”
Sia, who chooses to hide her face due to not wanting to be recognizable in public has struggled with addiction, a fight that is described on her 2014 release “1000 Forms of Fear.” The album’s hit single “Chandelier,” an electropop ballad of a party girl’s alcohol-fueled self-destruction, was nominated for ‘Song of the Year’ and ‘Record of the Year’ at the 2015 Grammy Awards.
Sia continues down that path of the last album and travels to dark territory by exploring abusive relationships on “This is Acting.”
In “House on Fire,” hooked with one of the record’s most dynamic musical hooks despite a traditional synthesizer composition, Sia uses the title as an analogy for her personal troubles.
The similarly dark “Bird Set Free” was also written for Adele who did not find it fitting for her “25” album.
In “This is Acting,” Sia Furler made a impressive journey from songwriter to singer. Being that she has written these songs for other artists about her own personal struggles who turned them down makes it a great feat that she decided to record and release these songs anyway for the everyone to hear. It’s a great listen.
“This is Acting” is available to purchase digitally and in stores now.