Australian singer/songwriter Sia has made her mark over the last few years as songwriter to superstars such as Beyoncé and Britney.
‘1000 Forms Of Fear’ is her sixth album and many assumed it would be filled with songs like the ones she had written for those artists. But instead, she has crafted a concept record using imagery as metaphors for pain.
First single ‘Chandelier’ is accessible, exciting and vulnerable all in the one song. The verses may sound like Rihanna but that haunting chorus is all Sia.
‘Big Girls Cry’ and ‘Eye Of The Needle’ are fellow hits-in-waiting, with soulful verses and big choruses. It was a bit frustrating trying to decipher her mumbled singing at times but we guess that’s kind of the point; you can feel everything she’s singing even if you can’t fully understand it!
Our job was made a little easier on simple ballad ‘Straight For The Knife’. It’s an obvious highlight with its Adele influence in the lush orchestration and its striking chorus.
‘Hostages’ breaks up the darkness a bit, injecting a happily-welcomed No Doubt 1990s ska influence. Then it’s back into the dark for ‘Fair Game’ and ‘Cellophane’, which both sound quite sorrowful for songs with such relatively light subject matter.
We preferred the Diplo-produced ‘Elastic Heart’ with its heavily-sampled chorus, though it is by far the least Sia-esque track on the album.
Indeed, ‘1000 Forms of Fear’ is a mostly complex affair, much like Sia herself. It is nice that rather than make an album full of would-be hits, she has put together 12 songs that truly feel like a collection.
Whereas you could think she might have lost her sound by working with so many mainstream artists, Sia has instead swirled the indie and commercial into an album only she could pull off.
Download: Chandelier, Big Girls Cry, Hostages, Straight For The Knife.