Sia / This Is Acting: Review

Sia absolutely killed it last year with 1000 Forms of Fear finding herself a cult fandom, as well as great wider success. Her ability as a lyricist is unmatched and her raw vocal prowess unrivalled. That with her knack for a little extra creativity has us hooked.

While her previous album was a deconstructed, personal look into the stars mind, This Is Acting is the exact opposite, as the title suggests. The album is made up of songs originally written for other artists that for one reason or another was not used. From the tracks already released, and the hype from her previous work still strong it’s time to see what she has to offer. We have reviewed the album track by track below:

Bird Set Free
This song was originally written for Pitch Perfect 2, until they decided to go for Flashlight, also penned by Sia. We’re so glad how it ended up as we can’t imagine Sia’s raw vocals on the track. The track is about finding your own voice, a pretty apt starter for a track list of songs written for other artists. No the best song, but by no means bad.

Alive
We arrive to full-belting Sia in the second track. The primary single for the album, originally written for Adele the song is unmistakably Sia. Lot’s of correlation between huge belting moments and gentle, sensitive pieces. The track is almost the third installment in the Chandelier and Elastic Heart trilogy.

One Million Bullets
The singer slows things down for this subdued mid-tempo track, professing her devotion to her beau, while questioning her own. Don’t be mistaken in thinking this is a ballad as her emotion pleas often sees her pushing her voice to the limit, almost in screams as her vocals tear through.

Move Your Body
Sia’s ability to meld her voice to different artists is what makes her phenomenal as a song writer. This track sees her blend seamlessly from Kesha to Shakira to Rihanna, as the club ready banger sounds a million miles away from the Sia we have seen as of late. Definitely the most fun of the bunch, we can see ourselves getting down to this one. The chorus is beyond lit.

Unstoppable
This is what we need from Sia, a motivational track that makes us want to pick ourselves up and soldier on. An anthem for self-love and self-worth, the song may not break the mould she has created but it’s provided us our new uplifting mottos. “I’m unstoppable, I’m a Porsche with no brakes, I’m invincible, Yeah, I win every single game, I’m so powerful, I don’t need batteries to play”

Cheap Thrills
Intended for Rihanna, the track bops over dancehall beats. A perfect getting ready song, the song is very much in the vain of Lorde’s “I don’t need money to have a good time” vibe. The collective chanting of “I love cheap thrills” towards the end is a highlight.

Reaper
Another “no” from Rihanna is another song made better by Sia’s vocals. An unusually tame track, the beats are slow and boppy while she comfortably sings along. A sweet and sunny sounding song mixed with darker lyrics proves a charming contrast.

House On Fire
Co-written with fun.’s Jack Antonoff (what happened to those guys?) the song is another easy-listening and sweet bop. The production is quite poppy and simple, and with simple lyrics there’s not much substance to the track but it’s fine for the car radio.

Footprints
Written for Queen B herself, the song marks perhaps the worst of the lot. While it may have been a hit for Beyonce, the lyrics are just too cheesy for the usually edgy singer. The production is cool, and it’s another mindless bop but if you actually listen and visualise the lyrics it’s almost painfully embarrassing.

Sweet Design
Another track ready for the club, the song is bold, brash and just begs you to turn up the volume. While you can’t actually distinguish what the Aussie is saying, the production is killer. It almost sounds as though she’s singing over a remix of early 00’s floor fillers. The playfulness is cute and infectious.

Broken Glass
For the most part this one is a by the book ballad for the brokenheared and insecure people of the world. With a ultra-repetitive chorus and little weight in between the track is a little meh until towards the end. Not one, but TWO key changes, and they come in epic blockbuster movie style. The final 30 seconds for sure bumps it from the bottom to towards the top of the pack.

Space Between
As the final track of the regular album, it sort of ends on a bum note with five minutes of tortured wailing. For this break up song, Sia strips back all of the creative gimmicks and all of the rules she has created for her songwriting and lets loose from the soul. You can feel in an album full of disjointed, impersonal tracks this is the true Sia Furler.

Fist Fighting A Sandstorm
For the deluxe edition, she provides another mid-tempo bop with plenty of light and shade. This is one of those songs that the radio plays on a loop and everyone raves about but I just can’t get into myself. The title that makes up a lot of the chorus is visually a little too on the nose. Though the production is great, and the pre-chorus sounds like she is hiccupping which I actual live for.

Summer Rain
The second extra track she provides is a so-so addition, possibly why it wasn’t on the official track listing.

Our Verdict: Unfortunately, it seems the stars decision to release an album of impersonal songs may not have been the best of decisions. The record, while good, does not live up to the work of her last. There are incredible songs for sure, and she is sure to be blowing up the charts if she releases another single as there are plenty to choose from. There are however, a few duds that are completely disjointed to the stars aesthetic. Overall, there’s enough to work with and we’re still fully team Sia ’til the end.

Tracks to listen to: ‘Move Your Body’ ‘Bird Set Free’ ‘Unstoppable’ ‘Sweet Design’ ‘Cheap Thrills’

Tracks to avoid: ‘Space Between’ ‘Footprints’ ‘House On Fire’

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