REVIEW: Lose Yourself In Sia’s ‘This Is Acting’

Sia has dropped a few tracks from This Is Acting over the past few months. Each one made her voice the star as she sang out words of poetry above the beautiful music. With every track, fans grew more and more excited to hear the rest of the album. Now, finally, it’s here.

Did the woman behind the wig live up to our expectations?

The album begins with Bird Set Free, which has been a favourite song of mine since it was performed on SNL last year. The tight ballad was a strong opening; its uplifting sound and encouraging lyrics tell the story of someone who has been beaten down and left hurting as they rediscover who they are and rebuild their confidence and inner strength.

Likewise, Alive tells a similar story of someone who has gone through hell and come out as a stronger person, pieced together with a bright and inspiring sound. The formula seems to work as the single has received a considerable amount of radio play.

It’s not a album full of ballads though. We realise this as Move Your Body enters our headphones. The poppy dance track quickly changes the mood, to create a carefree party atmosphere. A small piano solo pushes its way, bearing the words, “your body’s poetry, move your body for me.”

You heard the lady, there’s dancing to be done.

The ballads continue to be broken up with other hits like Reaper, which brings another dynamic to the album. It’s interesting to know that Kanye West wrote this song with Sia, as it bears some reminisce to FourFiveSeconds. It’s stripped down, but still holds on to a rich beat. The difference in the sound makes it stand out among the rest of the album.

This is the same for Sweet Design. If you hadn’t been paying close attention to the album so far, this one will throw you off track. With a slight R&B edge and a soulful sound, the track is completely different to all the other tracks we’ve heard so far. There’s got a lot going on in this highly produced track, but it’s so immersive, you just have to sit and listen to completely consume it.

The final track Space Between is one of my new favourites. The guitar intro has a sinister feel, which carries on when her voice chimes in. We quick realise that it’s a song about giving up on someone that you once loved but have grown apart from. With lyrics like, “we lay hallow in the emptiness//I’m too tried to push you from the bed,” and “the space between is deafening,” we feel the aching pain that runs through the fate of the relationship. It’s amazing how something as simple as words can mean so much. Feel your heart break with every note.

There are two things that symbolise Sia’s artistry; her powerhouse voice and her emotional songwriting. Especially when she sings live, her voice has a raw quality to it that makes people listen. The thunderous power of her voice reigns supreme as she shouts her words that drip with emotion at the top of her lungs, giving the listener all she has. Hiding her face is her way of emphasising what we should be concentrating on.

This is not acting. This is Sia.

Image: Vulture