Album Name: 1000 Forms of Fear
Release Date: July 4, 2014
Genre: Pop / Dance
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I still remember the first time I heard ‘Chandelier’ on the radio. I thought, here’s another mass-produced generic radio hit, sung by some kid who was doing a bit of a Rihanna rip-off. But then when that epic chorus slaps you in the face within only 30 seconds of the song starting, and then it plays out into an alternate chorus and then a bridge … a structure that you’d normally only hear during the climax of a song. I was blown away. The song had already hit level 100 and it wasn’t even half over. I remember actually laughing out loud at how ridiculous it was, and I was shook by the inventive songwriting.
I was instantly curious about this Sia person. Surprisingly she was older than she sounded and had already had a prolific career, having actually written music for Rihanna hence the influence. She’s also written music for Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Carly Rae Jepsen, and the list goes on and on. So yes, it could be true that her music is mass-produced. But she is the one doing the mass-producing because she’s a goddamn hit machine.
1000 Forms of Fear is in my opinion the best album from one of contemporary pop’s best songwriters. Truly every song is a huge epic banger. Now the reason I’m recommending it is that the New Year is coming. And just as importantly, the old year is ENDING. What we need now is a big healing dose of motivation.
Sia looks self-doubt and naked vulnerability square in the face in 1000 Forms of Fear. In “Straight for the Knife” she explores the theme of being at the total emotional mercy of a lover. Basically exposing her arteries for the knife-bearer. But in the very next track “Fair Game,” she demands her partner never to back down from challenging her, because she’s always had the upper hand in past relationships. This is not a shrinking violet, but a strong woman who has acknowledged her fears and goes on to say bring it on. “Fair Game” is a cool track too, because it has a minimalist music-box moment that is actually more reminiscent of Feist than your Rihannas and Christinas.
“Burn the Pages” is the song I want to blast into the New Year with. It’s all about letting go of the past and charging forward without any doubt. And as Sia sings, “Don’t worry, I’m here by your side,” it’s a meta moment of knowing that music can always carry us through tough times and see us through to the other side. Have a Happy New Year, and remember to swing from the chandelier!