Review: ‘This Is Acting’ by Sia

Sia released her 7th studio album, and it is good. Very good. Once I realized that the album was available on iTunes, I didn’t even think – it was already downloading.

Sia’s work always had a special place in my heart. I’ve been a fan since “Clap Your Hands,” so I was listening to her music before “Titanium” or “Chandelier” informed the rest of the U.S. about her singing/songwriting prowess.

Despite being such a big fan, however, I was surprised to hear about this new album’s release. I didn’t expect new work from her so quickly after 1000 Forms of Fear.

But, you can’t listen to This is Acting without two things in mind: (1) You must listen to the album in entirety more than once to fully appreciate it. If you are familiar with 1000 Forms of Fear, you will need to detach yourself from it and stop making comparisons. (2) These songs were indeed written by Sia, but they were not intended to be sung by her. All of these songs (except one) were written for A-list artists such as Adele, Rihanna, Shakira, and Beyonce, but were rejected. That alone makes you appreciate the album even more, and you will realize that the lyrics aren’t about Sia at all… hence the title This is Acting.

Despite this, Sia powerfully sings and performs each track as if it were her own. It’s incredibly impressive in sound and concept and really showcases her talent.

After a few weeks of listening, here’s my quick breakdown of each song:

Bird Set Free

I know I told you not to compare this album to 1000 Forms of Fear, but I’ll make an exception for this song. To me, this track really sounds like a sequel or continuation of “Dressed in Black,” and if there are any tracks on this album that actually written for Sia herself, it would be this one. But do I know this for sure? No, I don’t.

Alive

This is the Adele song. Originally planned for Adele’s latest album 25, “Alive” was co-written by Sia and Adele, but was ultimately rejected. It also serves as This is Acting‘s lead single, which makes sense as it boasts a powerful chorus similar to “Chandelier.” However, this single hasn’t really struck U.S. mainstream radio just yet, which is a shame. I personally enjoy this track very much, but I’ll admit it’s only my 4th favorite song.

One Million Bullets

This track really sounds like it should be from some motion picture soundtrack. It probably will be someday.

Move Your Body

This has to be a Shakira song. Sia said she really had fun “acting” on this album, and I feel like she probably had the most fun with this upbeat, dance anthem.

Unstoppable

I love the powerful message of this track, and it’s extremely catchy. It’s my 3rd favorite track.

Cheap Thrills

This really sounds like a Rihanna song. At first, I actually thought this would be the dud track that I wouldn’t care for since it was so different, but now it’s my 2nd favorite song on the entire album. What a plot twist. It’s totally fun and unique. This was released as the album’s second single, but I wasn’t too thrilled about Sean Paul being thrown in.

Reaper

This is the track Sia co-wrote with Kanye. Yes, Kanye West. Chill, laid-back, yet still powerfully sung.

House on Fire

This is officially my favorite song, yet everyone so far I talk to doesn’t list this as a favorite. I just really dig the chorus. And that thumping bass. I keep overusing this word, but this song feels powerful in it’s own catchy way.

Footprints

This song is really uplifting. Two footprints in the sand – who doesn’t like beaches?

Sweet Design

Another fun, funky track. This would have been an interesting Beyonce track, but Sia definitely nailed it herself.

Broken Glass

This could have easily been another Rihanna track, but it’s a song I easily forget about.

Space Between

This is a ballad, so the fact that most of the preceding songs are dance tracks does make this sound boring. But try not to skip it! If you separate it from the others, it becomes nostalgic in some strange sense. Like an ode to slow, rock songs from the 70s.

If you enjoy pop music, but appreciate singing singing and songwriting talent, then this album won’t disappoint. I’m excited to see which track will become her next hit single.

Image Credits: Mary Ellen Matthews, Tonya Brewer/RCA

About TheMikeyDunn

Hi I’m Mikey Dunn~! I live in New Jersey and work in New York City. Here, you’ll find posts about anime, college advice, tech, and opinions. I also vlog weekly on YouTube about my life.

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