Sia is an artist most people actually have heard maybe without knowing. She has appeared on that song you once thought was your jam (‘Titanium’ by David Guetta’) and that song you once admitted to dancing to in the club (‘Wild Ones’ by Flo Rida’). Yet before these breakthrough songs, she was a solo artist, even though I didn’t hear her solo stuff first. Her latest offering ‘100 Forms of Fear’ is her sixth offering and is arguably one of the more unique albums from this year.
With each song written by Sia, it shows that her song writing talents are pretty spectacular, following her penned hits for Rihanna, Britney Spears and Beyonce. The album is full of emotion and the beats are very much of an electronic variety, making it more accessible than her earlier offerings. It has become her most successful album peaking at number 11, with lead single ‘Chandelier’ peaking at number 6 in the charts. As a single, ‘Chandelier’ is quite dark, talking about the highs and lows are a party girl’s life. “I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist, like it doesn’t
exist”. The verses of the song have a reggae backdrop which contrasts with the heavy lyrics. It then switches to an electric bass on the chorus, which coincides with Sia’s vocals, creating the song that is one of the most heartfelt compositions of her career.
One of Sia’s trademarks is a haunting vocal, which helps to deliver honesty in her lyrics. It’s one of the most individual voices
of recent years, and similarly to Lana Del Rey, you can believe what she is singing. ‘Big Girls Cry’ is symbolic of this, “Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking”, breaking the hea
rts of girls everywhere. Although the lyrics are second to none, the electric backdrop is a tad repetitive and mo
with tracks like ‘Burn The Pages’ not making the cut in terms of pop music genius. A stand out track is ‘Eye of the Needle’, which as a ballad
is actually rather moving, delivering painful lyrics ‘And I won’t let the terror in, I’m stealing time through the eye of the needle’. You can hear her hea
rtbreak through every note, a rarity for a ballad in this day and age.
Two fellow musicians appear on this album. Strokes guitarist Nick Valensi appears on the bouncy yet mediocre ‘Hostage’ which unfort
unately is a huge weak point on the album. It doesn’t feel right for Sia’s vocals to be on such an upbeat song, despite the bizarrely named song. This highly contrasts with Diplo produced track ‘Elastic Heart’. Those ‘Catching Fire’ fans will recognise this song from the soundtrack. Although this particular version doesn’t feature The Weeknd like the film version does, it is still one of the better songs on the album with a pulsating drum in the background. The lyrics represent ‘The Hunger Games’ mantra and is easy to understand why it was chosen for the film. “Then another one bites the dust, It’s hard to lose the chosen one” giving connotations of Katniss Everdeen.
Although there is the odd stand-up moment on ‘100 Forms of Fear’, I personally find this offering a tad repetitive and on the point of monotone. Needless to say, Sia is a talented songwriter, this particular record just doesn’t make the cut.