Review Summary: The corky sensual singer-songwriter delivers another quality album with the themes of optimism and personal growth.
Not too many artists can blur the line between sorrow and eccentric playfulness, but Sia Furler manages to do it flawlessly. Furler's breakthrough success in America came after her single "Breath Me," from her 2006 album, "Colour the Small One" was featured in the series finale of HBO's "Six Feet Under." She also is known amongst indie music fans for her work with United Kingdom band Zero 7.
With the release of her third studio album, "Some People Have Real Problems," Furler is finally getting the exposure and attention that her art deserves. The album opens with "Little Black Sandals," an optimistic track about finding the freedom to escape from a "giant man" that Furler felt restrained by. She sings, "These little black sandals/Are walking me away/These little black sandals/Are heading the right way/These little black sandals/Are walking me away/These little black sandals/Saved my life today."
While Furler's previous album was more somber due to the death of someone close to her, tracks like "Little Black Sandals" set a tone that will carry throughout the album reaching for hope and prosperity. Although Furler has a very playful personality, her music is serious and often deals with mature subjects, such as "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine." The "easy listening" tone of the album is an interesting contrast to the album cover, which features her holding Crayola markers in her hands with child-like drawings on her face.
"Academia," is otherworldly and strangely sophisticated. Furler sings in a playful manner in the verses, but upgrades to sensuality as the chorus goes into a psychedelic crawl.
Tracks like "Day Too Soon" show off Furler's soulful voice, which adds an urban appeal to the rich melodic groove of most of the tracks on the album.
The standout track that is almost impossible to not sing along to by its end is "Death By Chocolate." Her poetic lyrics, "Tears on your pillow will dry and you will learn/Just how to love again/Oh my weeping willow/Let your leaves fall and return/Oh darling the seasons are your friend," again exemplify being uplifted and healed from previous heartbreak.
"I Go To Sleep," a cover of a song by The Kinks, is reminiscent of the softer side of Radiohead ("Bullet Proof... I Wish I Was"), and is one of those songs that automatically puts you at ease upon listening to it. It could have been just a little bit cooler if it was dragged out longer with a saxophone solo at its conclusion.
"Lullaby" is a beautiful closing track, but Furler ends the album on a lighter note with the corky bonus track, "Buttons."
The moral of "Some People Have Real Problems" is that really good alternative music doesn't have to be depressing and sad all the time.
Furler manages to take the despair in life and turn it into something brighter, something to grow and learn from.
Furler acknowledges the problems in life, face them, and still walk away from the bad times with bright colors and a sense of humor. It's too bad that all music can't be this insightful and entertaining at the same time.
(Originally published in Viewpoints March 21, 2008, article written by Griffith Fuller Jr.)