Sia
This Is Acting


3.0
good

Review

by PostMesmeric USER (84 Reviews)
January 30th, 2016 | 213 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This Is Acting is like a firework: explosive and exciting at first, but as time moves forward, you start to see how little time these elements last.

Despite being in the music business for more than 20 years, Sia’s role on the stage outside of her homeland of Australia still feels extremely new. Perhaps this is because she didn’t start blowing minds overseas till 2014’s 1000 Forms of Fear, where the singer refused to show her face in any promotion of the album. It was a challenge, no doubt, but with hits like “Chandelier” to push the record, Sia finally tapped the well for making pop music that could stand outside of Australia. The follow-up to 1000 Forms of Fear, This Is Acting, has been a curiosity, atrociously weird album art aside. Sia has created some truly magnificent examples of pop music on This Is Acting, but why can’t these examples carry throughout the entire album’s length"

This Is Acting wastes no time in busting down the doors and showing Sia’s best possible moments as a pop singer. The first three tracks, “Bird Set Free”, “Alive” and “One Million Bullets” are daring, fiery, pure pop bliss. Sia’s ascendant choruses show the artist at an enormous strength, boldly trampling any adversity her lyrics describe. It’s exciting to hear amidst thick, echoing beats, despite some pretty pedestrian examples of lyrical poetry. “Unstoppable” works equally well, a triumphant kicker that evokes both power and class all at once, with a catchy chorus to boot. The shimmering energy of “Move Your Body” kicks the tempo up in an oddly retro way, calling on the kinds of pop aesthetics of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, while the playful notes of “Cheap Thrills” twist expectations in new ways, but with the same brash, explosive choruses. When Sia makes statements like these, you see a unique figure expressing power, one that catches fire in a way the likes of Lady Gaga and Adele have yet to.

But sadly, Sia’s energy can’t last the entire album, as This Is Acting trips about halfway through and its promising sheen moves into uninteresting territory. “Reaper” sounds like a throwaway track, oddly indie-sounding in tone, but without any real fuel behind its fire. “House on Fire” and “Footprints” have only off-kilter lyrics to show for themselves, without any of the blunderbuss blasts of choruses to cap the slippery verses. That’s really the main problem with any of the tracks in the second half of This Is Acting: all of the energy, the volatile choruses of the first half, are absent. This makes the whole second half feel weak and uninteresting, lost in a miasma of Sia’s hit-or-miss lyrics. While the record closes with a nice little breather in “Space Between”, it’s such a shame that its best moments can’t carry into its latter runtime. It’s almost like two entirely different albums.

But the album’s lesser moments are (partially) redeemed by Sia’s powerful singing. I’m still trying to fully decipher what kind of pop singer Sia is, what kind of sub-section of the Billboard charts she occupies. Between the clean high notes, the slightly snarling R&B abrasiveness, and the bluesy mumbling in the verses, she displays a bold and powerful watermark atop her own performances. Her slides and croons burst with an inability to stay still; there’s a real drive to stay animated in her vocals. With such a repertoire of vocal tools in play, Sia is able to disguise the lackluster songwriting with pop pizzazz, for a while anyway.

This Is Acting is like a firework: explosive and exciting at first, but as time moves forward, you start to see how little time these elements last. The bombastic choruses in tracks like “Unstoppable” and “Bird Set Free” are superb, masteries of pop energy and a spit in the face of Sia’s most restrained peers in the genre. But these heights only make the album’s lesser moments seem all the more defused and tepid. “House on Fire” and “Reaper” don’t achieve anywhere near the peaks of tracks like “Alive.” It’s fascinating to hear Sia sing, and I’d be lying if I said that the last few tracks are devoid of intrigue, but it’s a real shame to see a record with such an immensely satisfying first impression nosedive so quickly. This Is Acting has examples of Sia performing like no other pop artist in the business, but making that sense of satisfaction last its entire length seems to be the biggest obstacle in her way this time around.



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user ratings (124)
Chart.
2.5
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
PostMesmeric
January 29th 2016


746 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

And for the record, yes, this album's cover art is stupid and dumb and bad.

Tunaboy45
January 29th 2016


16737 Comments


Not sure what's going on with the album art but great review as always, pos. I really enjoy Sia as an artist.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 29th 2016


43132 Comments


worst album art of all time, so terrible to the point that i actually wont even listen to this.

wtferrothorn
January 29th 2016


5800 Comments


yeah i don't often avoid an album based on the art alone, but good god is this an exception. The single covers aren't that much better.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 29th 2016


43132 Comments


im actually boycotting this

tempest--
January 29th 2016


20632 Comments


im expecting 80% of the discussion for this album revolving around the artwork smdh

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2016


18411 Comments


That artwork is indeed awful. The single from this released last year was one of the worst things I'd ever heard of said year, so avoiding this like the plague.

Digging: The National - I Am Easy to Find

wtferrothorn
January 29th 2016


5800 Comments


which one? there were like 4 singles released in 2015

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 29th 2016


43132 Comments


its so bad that its practically safe to 1/5 this off the art alone

there is no level of quality that could redeem that shit.

PostMesmeric
January 29th 2016


746 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@tempest



Check the sound-offs if you want to be proven right.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 29th 2016


43132 Comments


the album art is so bad i could almost neg this review just for making me have to see it more

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2016


18411 Comments


Alive was the one I heard, saw it from ADoseofBuckley's top 10 worst songs of 2015.

wtferrothorn
January 29th 2016


5800 Comments


I checked the song, and didn't find anything wrong with it at first. But her vocals on the hook, like holy fuck calm down.

tempest--
January 29th 2016


20632 Comments


nah thats the best bit

tempest--
January 29th 2016


20632 Comments


love the squeaks

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 29th 2016


43132 Comments


and the terrible music video. and sias stupid face in general.

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2016


18411 Comments


The squeaks are the main reason it's terrible.

tempest--
January 29th 2016


20632 Comments


ok goodbye

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2016


18411 Comments


Wouldn't expect you of all people to take this album to heart lol

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 29th 2016


43132 Comments


lol



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