Story by Abigale Racine, Culture Editor
Photo Courtesy of Billboard
The newest Sia album This Is Acting is nothing short of incredible. Released on Friday, January 29, these 12 tracks are exemplar of Sia Furler’s chilling songwriting and vocal talents, proving that she is more than just an elastic-hearted pop entertainer who can produce catchy radio hits.
According to the New York Times, This Is Acting is a collection of songs that were intended for other popular artists, such as Adele and Rihanna, and were ultimately rejected. Sia reclaimed them as her own, and as a listener, I am so glad that the original artist was the one to release her own material.
After the losing her boyfriend in a car accident in 1997, Furler, 40, has since struggled with anxiety and depression. To cope with her grief, she abused alcohol and other substances. In a 2007 interview with The Sunday Times, she recalled, “We were all devastated, so we got ****-faced on drugs and Special Brew. Unfortunately, that bender lasted six years for me.”
While Sia tangoed with her former self-destructive self, and her intoxicated past in her 2014 release 1,000 Forms of Fear, which produced the chart-topping single “Chandelier,” the singer is grappling with recovery in This Is Acting. More importantly, the artist is reminding herself, and her audience, about the importance of breathing.
Maybe I’m a sucker for some good, electronic piano-based power ballads, but in my humble opinion, but this is the best work that the Australian singer-songwriter has produced yet.
“Bird Set Free” starts the album off incredibly strong, a track in which the singer regains her long-lost voice. Comparing herself to a bird with clipped wings, Sia shrills, “I don’t want to die/I don’t want to die/And I don’t care if I sing off key/I find myself in my melodies/I sing for love, I sing for me/I shout it out like a bird set free.”
To follow up “Bird Set Free” is the anthem “Alive.” This is a sparkling gem off of the album, as Sia’s voice cracks and alters each time she belts, “I’m still breathing/I’m still breathing/I’m alive.”
Another empowering song is “Unstoppable.” Conquering her depression, if only just for one day, the singer shares, “I don’t need batteries to play/I’m so confident, yeah, I’m unstoppable today.”
“Broken Glass” needs to be mentioned as well, as it depicts a fragile, romantic relationship in which the narrator no longer desires to fight for any longer.
She confesses, “This too shall pass/We’re right where we’re meant to be/There’s things I don’t ask/What I don’t know can’t hurt me.”
While this album is considerably a very serious one, Sia doesn’t completely abandon her fun-loving self. “Move Your Body” is another noteworthy track. While it may not necessarily be the deepest, soul-bearing song featured on This Is Acting, this Kylie Minogue-like synth beat is worth a listen. Surely every college student can relate to is “Cheap Thrills”, which makes it an ideal candidate for a T.G.I.F., pre-gaming song. Sia sings, “I don’t need need no money/As long as I can feel the beat/I don’t need no money/As long as I keep on dancing,” while in the background, a voice echoes, “I love cheap thrills.”
Each and every track stands out on its own on This Is Acting, this is definitely an album worth investing in.
Abigale Racine is a senior studying English, with a focus in journalism. She is the Culture Editor of The Saint and does some freelance work on the side, when she isn’t soaking up the scene that is Grand Rapids.