Sia Furler has never been one to take the conventional route to the top. She had her first Top Ten hit over 15 years ago with ‘Taken For Granted’ – a track that uses Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights (or, as you and I know it, The Apprentice theme tune) as its base. There followed years of relative non-success until she was catapulted into the public consciousness thanks to guest spots with David Guetta, Flo Rida and Eminem, and then, of course, ‘Chandelier’.
If the behemoth that is ‘Chandelier’ is the only song of hers you’re familiar with, you’d probably think that all Sia tracks are relentless lung-busters, seemingly written with the express purpose of being impossible to sing well in karaoke bars. While Sia’s career to date shows she’s far more than that, ‘This Is Acting’ looks to conform to that lazy stereotype.
‘This Is Acting’ is a noisy, noisy record. Each of its twelve tracks builds to a raucous chorus where Sia gets the chance to fully exercise her pipes, and it’s as much as the musical accompaniment can do to keep up. It’s a phenomenal voice she’s got, but as a study in dynamics, ‘This Is Acting’ is sadly one-dimensional, and it never quite captures the power and poignancy of ‘Chandelier’.
Taken in isolation, the songs are above average and will certainly stand out on mainstream radio. It’s just that listening to them all at once is akin to being bashed on the head repeatedly. It’s obviously understandable to attempt to capitalise upon the success of your best-known hit but on ‘This Is Acting’, Sia loses sight of what made her such an interesting artist in the first place.
Words: Joe Rivers
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