Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler, known as Sia, first burst on to the scene through providing vocals for David Guetta’s smash hit ‘Titanium’. Although she had recorded previously, it’s arguably Titanium that launched her into the hearts and minds of the current student generation.
Her latest offering, entitled ‘This Is Acting’, features strong, powerful beats, and showcases her powerful vocals. The first song on the album, ‘Bird Set Free’, is a perfect example of these two. A very addictive beat is coupled with meaningful, if slightly vague, lyrics, and married with strong vocals worthy of Christina Aguilera – check out ‘I Am’ by Christina Aguilera; this song was actually written by Sia.
The second track, ‘Alive’ is a slower, deeper song, and the lead single from the album. The vocals are equally as strong, if sometimes bordering screechy, with an equally as memorable beat, but this song has an added something that is difficult to put a finger on. It’s also a somewhat unique single as it was first premiered on Snapchat, of all places.
The next two tracks, ‘One Million Bullets’ and ‘Move Your Body’ are both unremarkable, somewhat generic pop songs, although they do both keep to the album’s big beats trend.
‘Unstoppable’ is track number five on the album. It’s an empowering anthem that will surely get stuck in your head. It’s easy to understand why she decided to use it as a promotional single. Another promotional single, ‘Cheap Thrills’ comes next, and has a very similar sound to it, although there is less repetition in Cheap Thrills, and is marginally easier to listen to.
‘Reaper’ comes next, and is truthfully somewhat forgettable. It’s not a bad song at all; it just pales in comparison to the rest of the tracks on the album. Unless told, it’d be difficult to guess Kanye West was involved in the writing of it. However, this is remedied by ‘House on Fire’, the track which follows.
A slower, more meaningful track, this one has a distinct Alicia Keys-style feel about it, and this plays very well into the name (think Keys’ ‘Girl on Fire’). The next track, Footprints, has a similar sense about it, with softer, calmer, but still powerful vocals, and a strangely addictive use of cymbals.
The feel of the album changes dramatically with ‘Sweet Design’, which comes next, and brings a very techno-EDM theme. It’s a very good song, but the change is very unexpected and sudden. Clocking in at just two and a half minutes though, it’s not long enough to make you feel like the album is mismatched.
The penultimate track, ‘Broken Glass’, is very hopeful and uplifting, and is definitely one of the top tracks of the album. At the risk of sounding cheesy, if it were performed on a television show, it’s very easy to feel the point at which the gospel choir would enter the stage and provide backup vocals.
The final track, ‘Space Between’, feels slow and rhapsodic, and is definitely the kind of track that an album should close with. It’s not a dreary song – you can still feel the power that dominates this album in it. It’s just used in a very soulful, emotional way.
This Is Acting is a good album, but at times it feels slightly lazy. It has a very quirky feel to it, but at the same time inspires power and energy in the listener. If you’ve not heard it and have time to kill, do give it a listen.