Sia: This Is Acting

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Posted March 29, 2016 by in Pop
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Rating

Overall
 
 
 
 
 

3.5/ 5

Details

Genre: ,
 
Producer: , , , , , , , , , , ,
 
Label:
 
 
 
 
Genre: Pop, soul, power pop
 
Producer: carter, Jesse Shatkin, Kanye West, Jack Antonoff, Noah Goldstein, 88-Keys, T-Minus, Josh Valle, Nikhil Seetharam, Cameron Deyell, Dom $olo, Jake Sinclair, Chris Braide
 
Label: Inertia, Monkey Puzzle, RCA
 
Format: Digital download, compact disc,
 
Time: 46:29
 
Release Date: 29 January 2016
 
Spin This: "Alive," "Bird Set Free"
 

Pros:

This Is Acting picks up on the pluses of Sia's last album. Power pop ballads are well knitted, backtracks steps in the Rihanna soundalike contest
 

Cons:

Easy-to-trace "Chandelier" relatives in place; not enough impressive diversity offered in the musical package
 

More power pop ballads, very little else show up on Sia’s highly anticipated follow-up LP to the “Chandelier” record

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

More power pop ballads, very little else show up on Sia’s highly anticipated follow-up LP to the “Chandelier” record

sia-01The intricate wig-sporting singer-songwriter, who has made a fortune for names like Beyonce and Rihanna and, has just rolled out her seventh album, This Is Acting. Yes, Sia Furler has been in the solo artist game longer than we originally thought. But because of a lack of fame and exposure during that time, the Australian-born artist focused on writing hit songs for others. Now, thanks to 2011’s “Titanium” and last year’s “Chandelier,” her time has fully come.

She picks up where she left off, building on the blocks of familiarity. “Bird Set Free” glows in the aftermath of “Chandelier.” It conjures some of its drama, but gives off a type of confidence that best explains her fears with pop life and her commitment to making music.  “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,” she sings.

But suddenly, the arrival of irritating predictability bites at Sia’s apple. Not only do the songs start sounding alike, but it starts to sound like Sia is bored. “One Million Bullets” continues the ripe repetition of the same ole power pop bombast choruses; “Unstoppable” sounds like it’s been ripped from the pages of “Bird Set Free.” Album producer Greg Kurstin, an innovator usually in other worlds, seems to be limited down on Sia’s disc.

There’s a few uptempo tracks aboard, something she needs to delve into more (as evidenced on Giorgio Moroder’s “Déjà vu” and David Guetta’s “Titanium”), but the drum beatings on the chorus of “Move Your Body” is cluttered with percussion drivel, noise that sounds like an invasion of tin cans falling. Sadly, the fast tracks here are a missed opportunity at showing Sia could be a disco-lite diva, and feel far removed from the aforementioned dance-pop standouts she’s known for.

This Is Acting is still a modest improvement over her last LP adventure, 1000 Forms of Fear. Her forced vibrato is definitely better managed, and that faux-Rihanna tone is dialed back some (it does resurrect heavily on “Cheap Thrills”). Her belting has become a bit wiser. The tunes are seasoned with a little more pop gravy, with the Kanye West co-written “Reaper” showing off a casual stroll with breezy vibes while flirting with the darker sides of pop lyricism (“You followed me like the darkest cloud/But no baby, no baby, not today”). But This Is Acting still sounds boring in places and never succeeds in reaching a true orgasm. Her best moment, the mountain top experience of “Alive,” is hardly matched, giving off a bit of a letdown in an Adele-run universe.

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About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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