Sia is back with her brand new album This Is Acting. The Australian’s seventh studio album has seen high anticipation for its release on 29th January 2016, and she has once again revealed her undeniable talent and the emotional intensity of her lyrics. Her performance of each song portrays an in-depth story or feeling that many listeners can relate to.
Almost all of this album was written by herself for other artists, including Rihanna, Beyonce and Adele. The singer-songwriter is most likely grateful that these artists turned them down, as her own vocal style perfectly fits the pitches and tones of the songs like a glove. Sia felt that since she wrote the songs for others, she couldn’t relate to all the songs personally:
“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.” [NME]
Considering she didn’t write these songs for herself, she has still mastered the art of displaying powerful emotions through her singing. Her “play-acting” style has come across as real and true, and listeners would be none the wiser.
Her successful and explosive lead single “Alive” has certainly led the album with a fine start. Originally intended for a slot in Adele’s new album 25, the electrifying song is instead sat comfortably in Sia’s outstanding discography. She sings about Adele’s life journey; making it in life and living it her way on her own. The strain of her voice in the chorus reflects the words that she has written, which helps to create a powerful story with the lyrics. In this album, the majority of the songs sound a lot more pop than in her previous albums with plenty of catchy beats. However, the powerful ballad “Bird Set Free” shows off her impressive vocal range, stretching it to new heights and reminding us that she is the modern queen of gut-wrenching ballads. Some listeners may find that her voice is too scratchy, and that it cracks too often in the choruses. In my opinion, this occurrence in her voice actually conveys rather powerful emotions, and should be viewed as an incredible talent rather than an impediment in her vocals.
I can recommend this album to anyone who enjoys listening to mainstream pop, but in this case it is met with a raw and extensive vocal sound created by a talented musician. She is definitely a rare vocalist worth listening to!
Review by Zoé Stanton