Sia has been doing her thing for a while now, but she has found bigger success as a songwriter rather than an artist in her own right. She has a voice that can be polarizing – sometimes, she sounds haunting and unforgettable, at other times she can be nasal and shrill to the ears. Still, it’s nice to see her finally finding some mainstream success after the momentum that started with her collaboration with David Guetta on Titanium. Comparisons of her career trajectory to Nelly Furtado’s are perhaps understandable, as both find mainstream recognition and chart success by inserting themselves into the pop music tapestry. Sia even sounds like Ms Furtado sometimes. Let’s hope, though, that she’d be more successful at sustaining the momentum.
Lead single Chandelier and tracks such as Burn the Pages and Hostages keep the party going, especially after a remix at some DJ’s paws, but I’ve always found Sia’s better works to be slower tunes where she can channel some vulnerability to give me goosebumps. Here, there are some lovely gems such as Eye of the Needle and Elastic Heart to serve that purpose. Oh, and there’s Fire Meet Gasoline – Heart’s Anne Wilson would be proud of chorus. Still, perhaps Sia’s relative prolific presence in the pop music scene as a songwriter can work against her. For example, the chorus of Elastic Heart – a gorgeous song in itself – can be too much alike to that of Britney Spears’s Perfume, a song that she wrote too. There are things about the songs here that remind me of songs she has written for other artists, which make this album a bit less special than it should have been.
Still, Sia has done a pretty good job in balancing the more pop-happy sounds that made her more popular with the kind of music she has been doing all this while. It’s more pop than anything she done before, but her fans who would take offense at this would have bailed on her the moment Titanium was inflicted on their sensibilities two years ago. There is still enough Sia here, though, and she’s always been here for dreamy little girls who find Tori Amos too opaque and Kate Bush too scary. 1000 Forms of Fear only reinforces that.