Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Sia Furler otherwise known as Sia, released her seventh studio album titled “This is Acting” on Jan. 29, 2016. This album, like most of Sia’s albums, is electro-pop with a heavy influence of soul. This whole album is comprised of songs that are rejects from other artists. “This is Acting” is successful because it is very versatile and well written.
“This is Acting” has 12 songs, the second of which is the album’s single Alive. Alive premiered in Sept. 2015 and was number six on the Billboard Hot 100. This song was originally co-written for Adele by Adele and Sia for Adele’s latest album, but was rejected last minute. Rihanna also turned down the song.
The music video for Alive stars Mahiro Takano, a nine-year-old Japanese girl who performs swift and focused karate moves throughout the entire video. In most of her recent videos, Sia dresses Takano in a blond bob wig resembling Sia’s own hairstyle. In this video, Takano wears a half-blonde, half-black wig, similar to the one seen in the cover art of the album.
Bird Set Free is the first song on the album. The song starts out with a piano solo and then transitions into Sia singing. The song speaks about her newfound self-awareness as a singer/songwriter, expressing that she doesn’t care if she even sings off key, she sings for herself and for love. This song is a heartfelt ballad of self-expression with a set of heavy drumbeats.
One Million Bullets is the third song of the album. This is one of the slower songs, and seems to advocate self-sacrifice for the sake of love, but this self-sacrifice must be reciprocal. One Million Bullets has strong vocals from Sia and a soulful background singer accompanied by soft piano chords and slow drumbeats.
Move Your Body is easily the most upbeat song of the album. This is a huge step for Sia, as she doesn’t think of herself as a pop artist and does not write pop songs for herself. However, all the songs on this album were written for other artists. By the beat and the tempo listenrs can make a safe guess that this song was written for Shakira because it follows Shakira’s typical style of music. This is a song that listeners can expect to hear in a club. The fast tempo, catchy chorus and repetitive lines make this a very melodious song.
Unstoppable, like many of Sia’s other songs such as Chandelier, is a song that exudes confidence and strength. This song proclaims the artist’s newfound strength and confidence both in her life and in her music. House on Fire describes Sia’s strong will and intention to keep doing the things she’s doing. She describes herself as a house on fire and that she wants to keep burning.
Cheap Thrills is an upbeat pop song on this album with heavy drums and subtle background vocals. Though a much slower tempo than Move Your Body, Cheap Thrills is another dance song with a light melody and a good rhythm. Sweet Design is another fast tempo electro-pop song. The song starts of with some interesting beats before Sia begins rapping over the beats. This is a catchy song with lots of instruments like the guitar, drums, violin and piano and is the shortest song on the album. Reaper is about Sia not wanting to die. She sings to the Reaper about her will to live and all the things she has yet do before she dies.
In Footprints, Sia takes listeners back to her battle with mental illness. She gives thanks in this song to the person that helped her through the process. Broken Glass and Space Between, the last two songs on the album, fall back into Sia’s typical slow tempo and soulful style of music. Her distinguishable soprano vocals can be heard accompanied by strong drumbeats, which make these song an easy listen.
The title “This is Acting” was chosen because these are all songs that were written for other people, so they are not very personal songs to Sia. According to her interview with Billboard Hot 100, Sia states that she describes writing for other artists as “play-acting.”
“This is Acting,” unlike her other albums, is not consistent with the genre of songs; there is a mixture of genres from soul to electro-pop. This is one of Sia’s best albums because she showcases her vast songwriting skills . Sia showcases her versatility in this album by writing a fast pace dance song intended for Adele and a catchy pop song written for Pitch Perfect 2. This album earns a rating of 4 out 5.