Sia – This Is Acting

tumblr_o1irk4YRxZ1v4xxvco1_1280So here we are, first album review of 2016, and it comes from none other than the Australian gem that is Sia.

‘This Is Acting’ is her seventh studio album, and it follows after her internationally well received album ‘1000 Forms Of Fear.’

Although previous albums were solely written by Sia for those particular projects, this album comes with a different perspective. The songs on this album were written originally for other artists, hence why Sia decided to call the album, ‘This Is Acting’.

“I’m super productive. I have a full album ready to go and it’s much more pop. I’m calling it ‘This Is Acting’ because they are songs I was writing for other people, so I didn’t go in thinking ‘this is something I would say’. It’s more like play-acting. It’s fun.”

It comes with lead single ‘Alive,’ and other promotional tracks like ‘Bird Set Free,’ and ‘Cheap Thrills.’ Although it is unclear which track was originally written for what artist, it is rumored that the majority of the tracks were originally written for Rihanna as Sia wrote a few tracks for Rihanna’s upcoming eighth album ‘ANTi’ but were rejected by Rihanna or her record label or kept by Sia.


 

Review

1. Bird Set Free:
Although still a beautiful song in terms of lyrics and arrangement, I do feel that this song has a typical Sia sound to it. There’s nothing that really shows that this song was written originally for another artist, but instead it sounds like it was originally written for ‘1000 Forms of Fear.’ It kind of reminds me of ‘Dressed In Black,’ which of course is also on ‘1000 Forms of Fear.’
Rate /10: 6

2. Alive:
The lead single from the album, and of course, it’s a ‘belter.’ Originally written for Adele, ‘Alive’ shows the pure vocal range and rawness of Sia’s voice. It’s an amazing song, with a real positive message, however, again, I feel it’s another one of those songs that you would typically associate with Sia. Still, all the same, ‘Alive’ still is a great song.
Rate /10: 7

3. One Million Bullets:
I think this is one of those songs that you have to listen to at least 7 times before you start to get the jist of whether you like it or not, however, saying that, again, of course, it has beautifully written lyrics with a very nice message, but I wouldn’t say it’s going to be a popular favourite among the other tracks on the album.
Rate /10: 6

4. Move Your Body:
So of course, we have heard Sia on a few dance songs because obviously, David Guetta managed to grab some of her vocals, but this is a Sia dance song like no other. It’s a very hyped up, dance-pop song. Originally written for Shakira, you can really feel that beat pulsing rhythm within the song, kind of like Shakira’s ‘Dare’. Definitely one for the party!
Rate /10: 8

5. Unstoppable:
If you felt that ‘Alive’ wasn’t long enough, or maybe you just wanted another version, kind of like an ‘Alive Part 2′, then this is that song. It basically has the same message, with kind of the same beat, just without the “I’M ALLLIIIIVVVEEE” note. It’s a self-confident, believe in yourself type song, with the don’t fuck with me type beat. Good song, again, nothing that particularly stands out which, I feel, gives an anti-climax feel just because ‘Move Your Body’ is such a great song.
Rate /10: 6

6. Cheap Thrills
So, this is one of those songs whether you find it ‘merh, ok’ or you absolutely lose your shit. I think the more it’s played, the more you will get used to it, but it’s got quite a nice rhythm to bop to if you’re ever in a club, but it’s not something to ‘rave’ to, more like a grind, which is great because the song is literally about not spending any money to have a good night out, because whoever she’s singing about (let’s say Sia herself) has the person she loves/fancies with her to make sure she has a good night, so there’s nothing romantic about raving is there? So why not grind? Great song.
Rate /10: 8

7. Reaper
Co-produced and co-written by ‘Ye himself (Kanye West for those who don’t know), it has quite a happy-go-lucky type feel to it. Something you’d probably want to listen to on a sunny day (or not in some cases). From what I can gather the song is about not letting anyone bring you down (which seems to be the actual concluded message of the whole album so far) but all in all, it’s actually a reasonably good song. I’m sure Kanye is proud.
Rate /10: 8

8. House On Fire
So, I feel like this song may have been written for Katy Perry (it probably wasn’t but still) as it has that Katy Perry-esque kind of sound to it, but of course, because it’s Sia, it’s very hard to pin point what song was written for who as Sia owns and kills all songs (in the good way). Again, another song that I don’t think stands out as a fan favourite but it’s still a good song all the same.
Rate /10: 7

9. Footprints:
What feels like the shortest song in the world (but is actually 3:14) Sia seems to have only (so it seems) 2 verses and of course, the chorus. It’s a chilled song with very strong vocals and harmonies, with a good back beat, but it feels like she sings “two footprints in the sand” a few times and then it’s over. Maybe I enjoyed the song more than I thought I did, who knows.
Rate /10: 7

10. Sweet Design:
And I thought ‘Footprints’ felt like the shortest song in the world. I take back my words. THIS feels like the shortest song in the world (with a duration of 2:26). It sounds like it samples a tincy bit of Sisqo’s 2000 hit song ‘Thong Song’ which kind of makes sense because it also sounds like one of Sia’s lyrics in the chorus “that’s when you’ve got an ass like my sweet design.” Anywho, it’s actually a really great song, it left me smiling by the end of it. Definitely not your everyday Sia song, which is great considering the main reason this album was made was because she wanted songs she had written for other people on there. Well done Ms. Furler!
Rate /10: 8

11. Broken Glass
I’m not sure what to judge of this one. I didn’t really start feeling it until the second part of the song to be honest. It’s one of those Sia ballads that you may skip the odd couple of times when listening to the album unless you’re an emotional wreck (which I am probably 89% of the time) then you can really enjoy the song in all it’s glory! Her voice, of course, slays the shit out of the vocal range in this song so I guess that helps do it justice.
Rate /10: 7

12. Space Between:
Without a doubt the darkest song on the album. It has a trippy guitar playing in the background which kind of makes you feel like it gives you this feeling of no gravity, like you can picture yourself just floating around in space, which I guess was the idea for the song, just guessing by the song title. I can see it being sung by Muse or Miley which I’m sure both versions would be great but Sia also does it very well. For being the only song on the album with such a darkness it really does well with blending in with the rest of the album. It’s also a song I can see Sia writing and singing, but not something I can see her typically doing which is also great.
Rate /10: 8

Target Edition

If you’re lucky to have the Target Edition then you’ll be pleased to know that you get two extra tracks to the standard edition. How cool is that? So if you’re lucky to ever grab that version, then this one’s for you 🙂

13. First Fighting a Sandstorm
So again, I feel like this is one of those songs that you may end up skipping if you ever come to it, unless of course you do take a specific liking to it. It doesn’t bring anything new or different to the album other than just the fact it has a longer title than the rest of the songs. I feel Sia relies on her amazing voice to make it sound a smash to be honest. It’s not a bad song, it’s just not a great song either. It’s not even good, it’s just, merh.
Rate /10: 5

14. Summer Rain
For the first 8 seconds of the song, I thought it was going to be one of those songs that would constantly be played over the summer because of that feel it has to it… And then the piano kicks in. All in all it’s actually a relatively good song; not as good as I was hoping for it to be in the first 8 seconds but, still. I do feel as a finishing song of the album, I was left wanting more, like I want another 2 or 3 songs just to make up for the things that this song was lacking. I’m not sure what it was lacking but I just didn’t feel that much ‘roar’ from it. It has great harmonies, and the melodies of the song were pretty amazing as well. Again, nothing amazing, but still pretty good.
Rate /10: 6


 

Conclusion:

So when it came to the album cover, I did kind of question myself as to what I was expecting from the album, and the truth was, I didn’t have a clue. Unlike other previous Sia albums you could kind of tell how it was going to sound and where it was going. For me, this doesn’t take reign from We Are Born or 1000 Forms of Fear whereas I thought it would have done; however I wouldn’t say it was a let down or left me disappointed in anyway because as a whole, it’s actually a good album. With this album it was very much “expect the unexpected.” There were a few songs that maybe I could have guessed were written by Sia if they ever did end up in the hands of other artists but there were songs on there also that actually had me second guessing whether it was Sia I was listening to (just because of the style of song, not because of voice. Obviously I did know it was Sia singing, it was just a mere compliment if you didn’t get it).

Album percentage – 69%

Is it worth buying? Yes

Favourite song? Cheap Thrills (believe it or not)

Album cover /10: 7. I must admit, me personally, I’m not really sure what the album cover represents, however, the long neck and the sellotaped top lip and nose does leave you thinking ‘what the fuck,’ which is very much Sia in a way. A good way of course. Let’s not forget that bob though, which you may have seen one half is black and the other half blonde which is the only representation of the album I can see.

#1 Album?: It will definitely go top 5 that’s for sure. Whether it will go to #1 is a different story.


 

Support Sia

Get ‘This Is Acting’ here:
iTunes
Google Play
Amazon

Stream ‘This Is Acting’ here:
Spotify
Apple Music
TIDAL

 

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