Release Date: Jul 8, 2014
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
Upon Sia Furler’s apparent lunge into Top 40 pop – with the devilish beckons of David Guetta, Eminem, and Flo Rida, as well as a windfall of upper-echelon writing credits (Beyoncé, Jessie J, Kylie Minogue, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Shakira, Katy Perry… the list is almost endless) – there were some who’d written her off as a sellout, or resigned themselves to her gradual slide into the deathly trifecta of vapidity, contrition and limburger-stank cheese. As an artist steeped in downtempo, trip-hop, acid jazz and myriad other off-kilter genres, Adelaide-born Furler gained an underground reputation, initially just in her native Australia, but eventually worldwide too. Arguably her biggest hit (before Titanium) was Breathe Me, which rose to prominence after featuring on Six Feet Under.
Meet pop’s invisible woman. Over the last three years, the shadowy artist known as Sia has written signature songs for today’s top rung of female stars, from Rihanna (“Diamonds”) to Britney Spears (“Perfume”) to Katy Perry (“Double Rainbow”) to Beyoncé (“Pretty Hurts”). She also has sung on tracks by Eminem, David Guetta and Flo Rida.
Fear. It pervades the daily existence of singer-songwriter Sia Furler, and provided clear inspiration for the title of her latest album. In recent interviews, the pop star has openly discussed her past struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, her intense reluctance to embrace fame, her battle with stage fright and depression, the life-altering intervention that prevented her from committing suicide, and her diagnosis with Graves’ disease.
In the four years since Australian powerhouse Sia's last LP, her sound has become ubiquitous, even if her face hasn't. She's written hits for Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Rihanna – the vocal dips and midtempo melancholy of "Diamonds" are Sia's signatures – and this album will likely be just as ubiquitous. Her knack for heart-swelling choruses shines through on a set of tracks you might play while winning a marathon: There's triumph in her tiniest tics, like the echoing woo-ooh on the outro to "Big Girls Cry" or the sweetened trap toms of "Elastic Heart." You can't see what Sia looks like in the cover art, but she sounds like a superstar.
Having written a string of hits for other artists, including Rihanna's “Diamonds,” which she allegedly whipped up in 14 minutes, Aussie singer-songwriter Sia has mastered the conventions of chart-friendly pop. But while there isn't much structural trailblazing on display throughout 1000 Forms of Fear, her first album in four years, Sia continues to distinguish herself from other belt-happy female singers in the way she mines the territory between fragility and strength. She's less attention-seeking than Ke$ha, but equally vulnerable to bad boys and binge drinking, and less conventionally inspirational than Kelly Clarkson, but just as competent at soaring through a chorus at the top of her range.
Talk about a sidelong entrance into a pop career: when the pressures of trying to make it as a star in her own right became too much after the release of 2010's We Are Born, Sia Furler became a songwriter for some of pop's biggest names -- but the hits she helped create, like David Guetta's "Titanium" and Flo Rida's "Wild Ones," ended up making her famous anyway. Even if it wasn't her plan, her time behind the scenes helped make the pop landscape into a place more hospitable to her charms. On 1000 Forms of Fear, it's clear that her time as a hitmaker for others not only brought her quirks into the mainstream, but also made the songs she kept for herself catchier.
The fun part of listening to Sia's new album is guessing if a particular song was created with a specific singer in mind. Such is the life of Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler, a name until now many didn't associate with hit tracks like Rihanna's "Diamonds," Beyonce's "Pretty Hurts" and countless more from artists like Jennifer Lopez and Katy Perry. Sia apparently prefers it that way, to stay mysterious — she allegedly has clauses in her contract that stipulate she doesn't need to do media interviews to promote the album.What's not a mystery as to why she's a big deal in the pop world is that she has an uncanny ability to leverage her jazz background to create incredibly catchy pop numbers.
Have you ever heard of Bonnie McKee? She's who Sia wanted to be. After Sia Furler's fifth album, 2010’s We Are Born, did just about OK the world over, its Australian creator decided to write for anyone else instead of herself. Global stardom and the necessary toil to achieve it no longer appealed, so anonymity seemed preferable. When collaborating with low-rent hitmakers like David Guetta and Flo Rida, you could say it’s almost essential.
Somehow, this is already Sia’s sixth album, and we’re only just getting comfortable. So goes the path for artists who begin in foreign markets, sometimes. For Sia, it was Australia and the debut album flop. And then it was eschewing traditional fame out of fear for her sanity. 1000 Forms of ….
Hey all you bonny and blithe folk—good luck finding a soundtrack to suit your cheerful sensibilities this year. Prick your ears however, conflicted lovers and anguished youth, and pause your Ed Sheeran, your Lana Del Rey and your Sam Smith. Sia has come to wail away her woes, and you might want to hear it. Not that she’s any sort of newcomer.
Whether you know her name or not, Sia Furler is a success in pop music. As a songwriter, she’s worked with everyone from Beyonce to Rihanna to J-Lo and has been involved in multiple Top 10 singles on the Billboard 200. But the metrics for what we consider “success” in pop are more than this. Sia would have to be a household name, would have to appear regularly on the TV shows we watch and the magazines we read.
In the four years since Sia Furler's last studio album, the Aussie singer/songwriter has found success contributing to the popularity of David Guetta and penning ballads for Rihanna (Diamonds), Beyoncé (Pretty Hurts) and Britney (Perfume). Furler's sixth album reunites her with producer Greg Kurstin but springs from more painful subject matter than the cheery guitar pop of 2010's We Are Born. Inspired by alcoholism, depression and romantic insecurity, the songs are full of disconcerting metaphorical violence (Free The Animal, Straight For The Knife, Hostage, Fire Meet Gasoline) and lighters-to-the-sky melodies designed for maximal power-ballading.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. It would be difficult to knock Sia's songwriting style, but it's certainty limited, as 1000 Forms of Fear shows. Almost every song on the album has a belt-it-out chorus, however the majority of the songs are plagued by Sia's inability to enunciate her words with any kind of clarity.
In the age of celebrity, creativity is often just a means to an end. You write, compose or direct. The goal is recognition, recompense and then, it's hoped, mansions, Pennines of cocaine and adulation, especially the kind with benefits. Ultimately you want the same things as the benighted cannon-fodder of The X Factor.
Sia Furler has had an unconventional trajectory; the 38-year-old star, who has put behind her drug addiction and a suicide attempt, and hates fame so much she poses with a paper bag over her head, has become the go-to songwriter for gargantuan gloss pop, penning hits for Rihanna, Britney and David Guetta. Her own material spirals into destructive depths, and her sixth album is a release of pure Lena Dunham-generation angst ("We've still not kissed yet and I've already cried", "Party girls don't get hurt … when will I learn?"). Sung in that distinctive voice – a mixture of tormented whine and croak that channels the wild abandon of Cyndi Lauper – she mimics generic pop but warps it cleverly.
When an artist who has come to prominence writing hit songs for popstars releases their own music, it raises the inevitable question of where the difference lies between a song they would want to pass on and a song they would nourish themselves. Australian singer-songwriter Sia had already had a long career before she began penning songs like ‘Diamonds’ for Rihanna, ‘Pretty Hurts’ for Beyonce and ‘Titanium’ for David Guetta, releasing five albums that roamed from jazz to art-pop to piano ballads between 1997 and 2010. But the real intrigue with her latest, 1000 Forms of Fear, is the fact that it sounds closer than ever before to the arena-filling world of major artists she now works with – and yet, there’s a bittersweet taste to the songs she chooses to hold on to that rings through her vocal and her lyricism in a way no one else quite matches.
After four years of writing towering hits for some of the biggest stars in modern music, Sia is cautiously poised to claim some of the pop spotlight back for herself, but only on her own idiosyncratic terms. From the shadowy vacancy of the album cover for her dynamic new record, 1000 Forms of Fear, to the eccentric performance art promotion for the album—featuring unconventional interpretative dancers (and even Lena Dunham), but not Sia herself—she is an artist embroiled in a constant struggle between tentatively revealing her true self through her songs and removing asmuch of herself as possible from the creative process. Following the international success of her 2010 album, We Are Born, along with some high-profile collaborations with Zero 7, David Guetta and Flo Rida, Sia retreated from the public eye to deal with some personal demons and instead focused her creative efforts on writing songs for other artists and producers.
Even if you don’t immediately recognize the moniker, Sia Furler, who uses her first name professionally, is a success by any pop music metric. The Aussie singer-songwriter has scored a clutch of hits as a writer and co-writer with other artists, including Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” and is a featured vocalist on some of those songs, including “Titanium” with David Guetta. Luckily, Sia also puts those pipes to good use on her own material, including her dynamite new album, “1000 Forms of Fear.” The famously shy singer digs into the concept of “fear” early and often, singing frequently of being frightened, afraid, and terrified as her narrators ache for and are repelled by love.
Sia goes over the top almost immediately on her new album, “1000 Forms of Fear.” When the chorus of “Chandelier” arrives, a simulated orchestra crashes in, and her voice appears in a strenuous high register, belting, “I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, ” with an I-dare-myself upward leap on the last syllable of “chandelier.” Still aloft, she repeats “from the chandelier” and leaps even higher. It’s showy, impulsive, shrewd, gripping and maybe a little unhinged, and so is the rest of the album. “1000 Forms of Fear” is the sixth studio album by Sia, whose last name is Furler.
“Party girls don’t get hurt,” Sia claims in her Top 20 summer hit “Chandelier,” which also opens her new album. It’s an idea she spends the rest of “1000 Forms of Fear” disproving. An Australian singer and songwriter now based in Los Angeles, Sia has helped create some of the biggest, brightest pop tunes of the last few years, including Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” and “Titanium” by the French DJ David Guetta, who used Sia’s demo vocals on the final track after abandoning a performance he’d solicited from Mary J.
opinion byPETER TABAKIS < @ptabakis > Sia Furler, the enigmatic Australian singer, doesn’t go in for the whole fame thing. But two weeks ago, listeners to Howard Stern’s radio show would have heard a remarkable conversation with the pop star who doesn’t want you to know who she is. A single, poignant sentence gave insight into her incongruous career: “I didn’t know who I was until three-and-a-half years ago” she said.
For many years, Sia Furler circled around music’s mainstream, staying on the fringes except for the occasional prominent pop-culture appearance. The Australian singer-songwriter added woozy R&B and jazz vocals to Zero 7’s downtempo electronica, while her piano-and-strings tearjerker “Breathe Me” augmented the already heart-wrenching Six Feet Under finale. Later, she wrote songs for Christina Aguilera’s ill-fated Bionic LP and dabbled in quirky dance-rock with songs such as “Clap Your Hands.” But in recent times, Sia’s become the go-to co-writer for pop music’s biggest names, and has had a hand in hits by Rihanna (“Diamonds”), Beyoncé (“Pretty Hurts”), and David Guetta (“Titanium,” on which she also appears).