The next two albums that I wanted to write about need to wait – which is a shame because they’re a bit different from the type of music that I usually write about. The reason for this is the album that I’m about to review has just got to number 1 in the US charts and so I’d expect it to do well over here too.
Obviously, this is a good thing! But as I try to write about albums that potentially are less famous, I kinda wanted to get in there first (plus it might drive some traffic to my blog 😉 ).
As you would have guessed from the title of the post, today we’re going to be examining Sia. “Who?” You ask. Well, Aside from being a very accomplished musician in her own right, she is also a songwriter and she’s penned some famous tunes that you will know well. “Sexercize” and “Kiss Me Once” from Kylie Minogue’s latest album – Sia wrote them. “Radioactive” by Rita Ora – Sia wrote that. “Breathe” by Jessie J, “Perfume” by Britney Spears, “Double Rainbow” by Katie Perry, “Titanium” by David Guetta (she sang the lead vocals too) – all Sia. In fact, she’s written for or sung with everyone from Beyoncé to Zero 7, and from Eminem to Shakira.
I reviewed her last album “We Are Born” back in 2011, and that was very good so, when I heard that she had a new one, I was pretty excited.
1000 Forms of Fear is Sia’s 6th studio album and the best way that I can think about describing this one is as a story. Some of the themes are a little morbid and I get the feeling that Sia is dealing with a number of difficult times in her life (If you read her Wikipedia entry, she’s certainly had a lot to deal with!). But don’t let that put you off. It’s not a depressing album, it just has a lot of personal depth.
Unsurprisingly, that leads to lots of complex lyrics and emotion in each of the tracks but, fittingly, it’s accompanied by track after track of equally expressive and detailed backing tracks and powerful vocals. “Fair Game”, for example, has what sounds like a xylophone in the background and closes with a bit of a solo too. If you have a decent set of speakers or headphones, it’s an amazing experience. It’s not alone either! Tracks like “Free the Animal” and “Elastic Heart”, again, are a variety of careful constructed audio collages that boast confidence and professionalism. “Free the Animal” is a particular favourite of mine.
Occasionally you hear something that sounds a bit Rihanna-ish (She’s written for her too) but nothing too pop-ish. Sia’s years of experience, both professionally and personally, have helped to shape this album. Her talent isn’t really up for question considering her broad acknowledgements and associations with such successful artists and tracks. And despite the wide variety of styles that she supports, 1000 Forms of Fear manages to have its own, particular, and unique character of its own.
OK, it’s not a summer anthem but it’s hard to question it’s quality and, for me, it’s an instant winner.
This is a masterpiece by a master. If you only listen to one album this year, this is it.
5 out of 5
The next two reviews are from two completely different artists but, in many ways, similar. Stay tuned for my next review 🙂