sun 07/03/2021

CD: Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear

CD: Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear

The trip-hopper turned hyper-popper boggles with scale

Sia - sounds about as human as her album cover looks.

Sia Furler is a fascinating phenomenon – after all, you don't really expect Australian sidepersons for midranking trip-hop acts to go on to be multi-trillionaire pop overlords, on the whole. But yes, the former Zero 7 singer has, via a quietly successful solo career, become one of the biggest songwriters on the planet.

Sia Furler is a fascinating phenomenon – after all, you don't really expect Australian sidepersons for midranking trip-hop acts to go on to be multi-trillionaire pop overlords, on the whole. But yes, the former Zero 7 singer has, via a quietly successful solo career, become one of the biggest songwriters on the planet. We're talking (deep breath) Christina Aguilera, Eminem, Flo Rida, Afrojack, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Lea Michele, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue, Leona Lewis, Hilltop Hoods, Katy Perry, Kesha, Rita Ora, Britney Spears, Jessie J, Oh Land, Celine Dion, Maroon 5 and David Guetta (for whom she also sang the fearsome “Titanium”).

As that rather intimidating list should suggest, Furler's stock in trade these days is not Zero 7's wistful chillout, but the kind of ironclad mega-pop that is designed to cut through the chatter of the planet's teeming shopping zones and lodge into the brains of billions. And so it is on this new album, with every edge diamond-sharp, every chorus lifting its modulations a couple of extra times in case it wasn't penetrating enough at the beginning, and dancehall, country, R&B, soft rock and every other form above a certain level of popularity marshalled in pursuit of maximum infectiousness.

It's hugely impressive, and not a little strange. For her own record, Furler has let her more angular songwriting tendencies come out, so songs do lurch and shift disconcertingly. If the average Beyonce or Katy Perry smasheroo is akin to a 21st century skyscraper, this collection is like the Dubai skyline refracted through a broken mirror. And Furler's voice, while powerful, is chameleonic – Rihanna one moment, Anastacia the next – which mixed with the hyper-emotion of the lyrics, intensified to furious obsession and desperation, makes something that seems post-human and alarmingly far beyond good and evil. Which is, well, quite peculiar.

It's designed to cut through the chatter of the planet's teeming shopping zones and lodge into the brains of billions

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Comments

Three stars? Really? This is a very significant release. Music, lyrics, production are all superb. What does it take?

Even five stars aren't enough.

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters