ALBUM REVIEW: Sia – This Is Acting
The concept of “This Is Acting” was a brave career move for Sia. Releasing songs that she wrote for other artists that they turned down and wanted to prove them wrong because she believes they are hits takes massive guts. The album features tracks that were written for Adele, Rihanna, Beyonce and Shakira and when listening to it in its entirety I was unsure as to why some of these tracks were turned down. “This Is Acting” is compiled of powerhouse pop ballads and uptempo monsters that were born to grace your airwaves. Full of pure emotion and honesty “Bird Set Free” opens the album beautifully and is best described as unsurprisingly Sia. That is meant to be a compliment. This song was turned down by Pitch Perfect 2 for “Flashlight “and while the latter may have been a more obvious choice “Bird Set Free” offered a more emotional and real approach. Over the past year Sia has worked on a lot of material for Rihanna and two of the selections were “Cheap Thrillers” and “Reaper”. Both of these offer a quirkier sound and a more experimental vocal production while playing on the reggae influences Rihanna wants to bring back to her music. Now, I may have been one of the only people who didn’t actually like “Alive” after the first listen and completely understood why Adele turned it down. But five months on I’m eating my own words as I finally understand the hype surrounding it. However it is still one of the only tracks that I see becoming a successful single off the record. When I heard Sia included a song she wrote for Shakira I was very excited to hear it and may I say it didn’t disappoint. “Move Your Body” is a brashy dance track that has massive percussion and hip moving beats. However, it sounds more like a Selena Gomez track and would’ve fitted more on her record than a Shakira one even though it has the same elements. One of the only songs Sia never offered to anyone is the unusual “One Million Bullets” which begins with a strange vocal echo in the verses but bursts into a big typical Sia hook which will have you captivated from the first listen. This song was meant for her and I couldn’t imagine anyone else pulling off this messy but great track. The rest of the album felt a bit lost, and was as if she was scraping off the cutting room floor. “Footprints” and “House On Fire” are great examples of this as they are b-grade album filler that would fit perfectly on a Demi Lovato album. The second half of the album does lose the momentum the first half gained and you can’t help but feel a bit deflated after listening to it. It was a bold move releasing this album and she is to be commended for it but it’s very apparent why some of these songs initially got declined.