Australian singer Sia has taken quite an interesting approach to how she’s chosen to present herself for her sixth album 1000 Forms Of Fear.
In an industry so focused on looks, style and image – and the subsequent criticism that follows – the shy singer has purposely made herself absent in nearly every aspect of the album’s rollout. Instead, in her place is a blonde wig of the same style as her signature haircut that makes up the album cover. In the music video for Chandelier, young dancer Maddie Ziegler wore the wig, while in the album’s liner notes, different people are photographed wearing the wig.
1000 Forms Of Fear is Sia’s first album since she became a songwriting powerhouse for many of pop music’s biggest and best tracks of the last five years. But it’s also her first since she almost made an attempt on her life following a series of illnesses and a period of alcohol and drug abuse. Those highs and lows in such a short timespan have made their way into the lyrics of this record.
With lyrics that focus on internal issues, present a lot of violent imagery, and make comparisons of love to burning and torture, the record also happens to be Sia’s most accessible album. Prior to collaborating with Flo Rida and David Guetta, Sia had a brand of jazz-fused pop all to herself that made up her albums and frequent collaborations with downbeat electronica duo Zero 7.
Such a contrast seems to be what Sia has become. She doesn’t let her refusal of conventional fame ideals interfere with the prospect of her work getting famous, just as her song’s often dark, torturous lyrics don’t stop them from being paired with upbeat melodies and pop-oriented production for mainstream consumption.
Chandelier starts out like it was made for Rihanna, a second-coming of the Sia-penned Diamonds that Rihanna made into a hit, but once the chorus hits, only Sia could pull it off as she sings about drinking and partying but in a tone that sounds more downbeat, as if she’s in a place she doesn’t want to be in.
The tone continues throughout the album as Sia’s vulnerabilities come through on other tracks. Despite the often upbeat sound of the songs, Sia’s lyrics feel genuine when coupled with her recently disclosed personal issues. You know she’s lived what she’s singing about.
1000 Forms Of Fear is a deeply emotional pop album from a singer not afraid to let her songs do the talking even if she herself is afraid to. Despite its obvious commercial direction, it’s still an adventurous album to dig into as it offers a wide enough spectrum to show Sia’s versatility as an artist.
2. Big Girls Cry
3. Burn The Pages
4. Eye Of The Needle
6. Straight For The Knife
7. Fair Game
8. Elastic Heart
9. Free The Animal
10. Fire Meet Gasoline
12. Dressed In Black