Prior to a few years ago, if you knew of Sia then you were more than likely a zealot. You fanned out over her Zero 7 contributions and knew that 2010′s We Are Born wasn’t her first solo album, but her fifth, and loved her catalog beyond “You’ve Changed” and anything she would eventually cook up with Flo Rida. Now though? Sia is a household name, a full-fledged Pop star, and has a sixth solo studio album 1000 Forms Of Fear (out today, ) that ties it all together. Ms. Furler has officially come full circle.
Sia is nothing if not consistent. She’s been known to pen a pop hit (hello, Lea Michele’s “Cannonball”), but also set a pop standard (Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts” should ring a bell). This is perhaps the first time, though, that Furler is actually writing an album for herself, full of songs that she would have maybe sold to other people. Meaning, this project is simply chock full of straight up tunes. The opener-slash-lead-single “Chandelier” is proof of that, as the mid-tempo cut has you thinking, “Damn! Sia does Rihanna better than Rihanna!”
While Sia carries most of the songwriting on the project (her pen is on every track), she does have some help along the way. Greg Kurstin lends a hand on the anthemic “Burn The Pages,” a broken girl’s anthem about letting go. There’s more Kurstin on a variety of other tracks, including the subdued “Fair Game” and “Cellophane,” along with the cinematic “Fire Meet Gasoline” and the closer “Dressed In Black.”
Chris Braide checks in a few times, helping on “Eye Of The Needle,” where Sia’s vocal range really shows to the point where she straddles the line between rock and opera (if such a line exists since Freddie Mercury). The Weeknd’s ink spills over the Diplo-produced “Elastic Heart,” and that trifecta should consider a collaborative album — with Abel’s warped lyricism, Sia’s warped cadence, and Diplo’s warped soundscape coming together in complete harmony.
Many singer/songwriters become either one or the other: a pop star or a writer for pop stars. They broke the mold with Sia, and 1000 Forms Of Fear is all the proof needed to know that our favorite Aussie (outside of Kylie Minogue) can craft a hit for someone else, but can bring that energy back to her own project and create an instant classic. Sia’s done it again. This time for herself.
Best Song That Wasn’t the Single: The emotionally gorgeous “Big Girls Cry,” a vulnerable journey into heartache as Sia coos “Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking.” It’s like everything Drake wishes he was wrapped into a masterpiece.
Best Listened To: While writing an angry letter to Fergie, telling her that big girls DO cry, and she’s been wrong all along.
Idolator Score: 4.5/5
— Kathy Iandoli