Sia has become on of the most in demand songwriters in the music industry. She writes all her own songs, but she also has written a lot for other artists. She’s written for Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Eminem, Maroon 5, and so many more (for more, look here). I read she made her last album, 1000 Forms of Fear, to release her from her publishing contract so she could focus on writing for other artists. Then when “Chandelier” blew up and 1000 Forms of Fear landed on top of the Billboard 200 it was only time before Sia would deliver another album. She has done so when This Is Acting was released just last week.
The album has been described as a collection of songs that Sia wrote with the intention of selling them to other artists. I was thoroughly excited when reading this because I think Sia’s performance of her songs are often better than the artist’s performance. For instance, I found the demo of “Perfume,” a song she wrote for Britney Spears, and it’s stunning, whereas Spears’ version, well…it doesn’t compare.
Overall, Sia’s vocals on This Is Acting are absolutely phenomenal. Right from the start, we hear heartache and her voice reaching new heights with “Bird Set Free” and “Alive” (cowritten with Adele) then we get into more dance and sass focused with “Move Your Body,” “Unstoppable,” and “Cheap Thrills.” But at the same time, she can be smooth and soulful with “One Million Bullets” and “Reaper.”
Releasing an album like This Is Acting certainly is a risk because it quickly could’ve been a random hot mess. But because Sia is Sia, she has a natural way of having great depth and range and can string it all together to keep you hooked in.