Australian song-writer and performer Sia offers the follow-up to the breakthrough album ‘1000 Forms of Fear’. The new album ‘This Is Acting’ follows on from a lot of what Sia’s previous effort entailed, whilst offering some new ideas lyrically and conceptually. ‘This Is Acting’ comes from the result of Sia performing her own songs written for other performers, though turned down for whatever reason. As a result, we’re given an insight into Sia’s dream of being a song-writer first, showcasing material that perhaps shouldn’t be performed this way, but are undeniably pop hits that shouldn’t have been declined in the first place.
On ‘This Is Acting’, we see Sia once again using common and popular forms of music and music production to surprisingly great affect. Sia’s own song-writing gives most of the tracks a bit of an edge when compared to other artists in the same caliber as Sia. There’s something more intriguing about what Sia is performing about, rather than the everyday dull topics of current chart music. As well as all that is the surprisingly strong instrumentation in each of the tracks, which offer a nice range of different ideas here and there, resulting in a somewhat diverse and rather rich album experience.
‘This Is Acting’ is certainly a strong follow-up to ‘1000 Forms Of Fear’ in many ways, though with this being an album with a strong gimmick behind it, we’ve perhaps lost the more personal element that made Sia so wonderful and interesting to listen too in the first place. Even preceding her major hits of ‘Chandalier’ and ‘Elastic Heart’ were a whole treasure trove of personal tracks touching on many issues from Sia herself. With Sia writing for others, we’re instead offered tracks that don’t speak for Sia, and instead just feel a little distant at times, with no strong or clear message being portrayed.
This is perhaps the point of the album, touched upon even by the name of the album itself. Although there is a loss of that personal edge, we’re being shown more range from Sia as well, who shows she can rise up to nearly any challenge, and show that she can write from other places as well. When performers like Michael Stipe did this very thing so many times, then why not Sia? This does of course mean that ‘This Is Acting’ fails on some level to live up to the same level as her previous album, though it is a satisfactory follow up in many ways.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Bird Set Free
- One Million Bullets
- House On Fire
Sia’s seventh studio album ‘This Is Acting’ is out now.