Sia had been in the background for far too long in spite of her enviable skills and talents in the constructs of songwriting and singing. Before “Chandelier” and “Titanium” gave her the breakthrough of unquestioning fame, she had written and still writes many of the hits for pop artistes. Diamonds by Rihanna, Pretty Hurts by Beyoncé, Wild Ones by Flo Rida, You Lost Me by Christina Aguilera, Let Me Love You by Ne-Yo, Perfume by Britney Spears are the few to be mentioned. Meanwhile her 7th Studio album seemed not to follow the trend of the others.
|”This Is Acting” is totally different relative to “1000 forms of Fear (2014)” We Are Born (2010), Some People Have Real Problems (2008), Colour the Small One (2004), Healing Is Difficult (2001), OnlySee (1997) & etc.|
Stuff picked from the Album
1. Meant for Others but justified by her when she needed to
The title of the album in itself depicts how much she went contrary to her role. This is Acting meant acting the others out. It’s actually no news to know songs on the album were rejects of namely Adele‘s 25, Rihanna‘s ANTI, probably Demi Lovato‘s Confident et al. Another to take note of is that, Sia usually carries the persona of the artist that song was initially meant for. Move Your Body had her singing like Shakira just as Footprints had her singing the Formation songstress, Beyoncé. A very crucial reality that can be tapped from this deals with the inevitable instances where one is forced to play another’s role in the family, firm or any social club because of another’s absence.
2. Motivation & Inspiration
Songs like Unstoppable has that “yes I can, the only obstacle is me” philosophy. It entails Confidence, Strenght and Stamina. Now, just the slightest research on Sia, by the least, into why she hides her face will make you aware of her sad past; that which prompted suicide. As that will be discussed later on, it’ll be better to jump a hurdle on it for now in favor of going straight to the point. The point is, in spite of the dirty past, there is some hope at the end of the tunnel. And that’s why there can be an inspiration in there to others who feel chained in a tunnel of darkness. If Sia could rise after being drastically down, why can’t you do same? At times, the mind is the only prison. So you can sing these words when you feel restricted. By the least, it’ll feed an illusion that things are in your hands.
“I’m unstoppable. I’m a Porsche with no brakes. I’m invincible. Yes, I’ll win every single game. I’m so powerful. I don’t need batteries to play. I’m so confident. I’m unstoppable today“.
3. Aid in therapy against Suicidal Temptations and Drug Addictions
She “was a pill-popper.” Rehabs might be smiling by now after taking notice of some of the lyrics in there. REAPER overcomes the beautiful suicidal package in times of depression whilst Alive goes like the “past is over, it’s time to live“. It won’t hurt that much if the songwriter is used as Case Study within a Rehabilitation or Therapeutic center depending on the cases involved. This is where Sia’s past comes into play. She has had it, the drugs, emotional stress and depression. After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she became dependent on OxyContin and Xanax, “There was a small voice in me that wanted to live“, she told the OK! Magazine. She admitted smoking marijuana as a teen. The tragic death of her boyfriend, Dan Pontifex (knocked by a taxi) added fuel to her depressive fire. Now, before 2010 she had to take in a couple of shots to get through live performances and that’s where an attempt to commit suicide erupted. Sia told The Howard Stern Show, “I don’t think it’s f*cked up childhood (that caused my bipolar disorder), in my case, I refrain from blaming anything on my parents. What I do think is that I smoked too much pot when I was a kid. I think it f*cked my brain up“.
According to an online poll created by the entertainment site Hollywood Life (as at 17th April, 2016 time – 10:05 am GMT), 88.68% of the participants felt inspired by Sia’s story on overcoming suicide, depression, drug and alcohol abuse. Now, just take a look at the past and compare it with successful present (Sia is on the spotlight now like never before). Could that not help clear some thoughts on the feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness some depressed and suicidal people feel? I think it does to some extent.
“Broke down, thought that I would drown. Hope that I’ve been found, before I hit the ground. Some days out the corner of my eye. Saw you weeping, saw you creeping, saw you sneaking in the shadow’s long, the fear so strong. Saw you out the corner of my eye……Don’t come for me today. I’m feeling good, I’mma savor it…..You (the Grim Reaper) came to take me away. So close I was to heaven’s gates. But no baby, no baby, not today. Oh, you tried to track me down, you followed me like the darkest cloud. But no baby, no baby, not today…” – Sia (excerpt from Reaper)
4. Entertainment & Fun
Pop music without the effort to push someone into jumping shoes at the club ain’t worth it and Sia added just that feature to her album. “Move Your Body” is quite tempting. Who knows? Maybe a timid introverted being will be forced to dance after listening to it. In my view, Move Your Body is a westernized form of Ghana’s Azonto. “Cheap Thrills” also tells us, money is not needed to be happy. “Sweet Design“, has the right beat for a couple of dance moves and partying at the club. Within these, you’ll be assured that you “don’t need $$dollar$$ bills to have fun tonight” and you need “no money, as long as” you “can feel the heat“.
5. Lessons for musicians, vocalists singers and even DANCERS
At first cracks were seen as distractions but Sia changed that notion. She deliberately goes off key at times to add emotions to her voice. She’s actually a Bird Set Free who doesn’t care if she sings off key because she’s found herself in her melodies. “I sing for live, I sing for me. I’ll shout it out like a bird set free“. And with doing just that, singing from the heart, she sounds perfect. Now, this is what one can grab. It doesn’t mean you’ll automatically sound great by singing at heart. Here’s the point I think Sia is trying to make. It goes like, when you sing from your heart, you sing with liberation. You don’t care because you have not placed another singer at the peak to imitate; that which when done, might kill the gem in you in an effort to copy others. You simply don’t care because you are not overly conscious; that which can make you go off key (might be good for Sia though, but not you). There are simply no limits with that one and that’s why you sound like Adele, Adam Lambert, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston or Freddie Mercury in the bathroom and sound like the worst yourself can never imagine when in the public domain. So be true to yourself and sing right, hit the moves well and master the talent at it’s peak. That’s the secret about most of the greatest performers of all time.
“I’m actually relaxed onstage. Totally relaxed. It’s nice. I feel relaxed in the studio too. I know whether something feels right. If it doesn’t. I know how to fix it.” – Michael Jackson
6. The Need for Emancipation
“Bird Set Free” & “Alive” hits it on the nail. Emancipation opens doors, it makes you alive. Come out of your closet and shine bright like a diamond.
7. ♥LOVE♥ and its chains
“One Million Bullets“, “House on Fire” gives some education on the inevitables of a biased or one sided relationship. Love is complicated and it gets worse when there’s none like reciprocity. Sia speaks about this crucial one with the immediate songs above. The Genius annotation for One Million Bullets, “One Million Bullets sees Sia and an unnamed person in a tumultuous and tortured position. It is clear that Sia is willing to take one million bullets to protect the unnamed person but questions the other person if they would do the same for her.” House on Fire talks about a burning abusive relationship that still leaves one to stay because of the love attached. Sia finds the very same Oxygen that fuels the hurtful burnings yet stays because she’s much addicted to the air for respiration.
8. Album Cover Art says Imperfection can be Beautiful
Talking about an album without speaking on its cover art would mean ignoring the art of the eye that sells the album before it’s content is enjoyed by the ear. A teasing glass eyed wax-like figure of a girl portraying something close to a mocking gaze, long neck almost like that of a giraffe’s embryo and a beautiful pale skin. Her nose looks broken and has a plastic tape to do the fixing.
Sia adopted the persona and style of those artistes such songs were meant for. And this came with the benefit of having more than one style. It came with a variety of tastes and genres all unified in one voice of an artiste.
10. Gender and it’s Roles
Sia calls it Part 2 of the Thong Song (1999 song by American R&B artist, Sisqo talking about butts and women’s underwamear). Feminists and activists for Gender Equality will have a soft spot for this one. It’s found in Sweet Design. In the song meant for JLo, Sia speaks about how one’s gender influences certain decisions. It doesn’t speak for feminism or misogyny but definitely gives an account on how influential gender can be with being biased; that which can help in the awareness needed to kill the unnecessary restrictions created by gender.
“News travels fast, when you’ve got an ass like my sweet design. Baby got back. I’ma clap that. It’s a man trap. I’ma move it to the high hat. Watch my sweet design.” – Sia (excerpt from Sweet Design)
This might be necessary for students of the field above. Some poetic verses and personifications cannot be ignored. First of all, personifying Death in Reaper. Passing comments in lyrics like that of Move Your Body and etc.
“Poetry in your body. You’ve got it in every way…. Your body’s poetry, speak to me. Won’t you”.