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ATP! Album Review: Sia - 1000 Forms Of Fear

Sia is a woman who has seen both the pretty and ugly sides of fame. While she has risen to prominent success with her work writing for many hit pop stars, she has also experienced the pressure associated with being in the limelight, which cumulated in a drug abuse problem and a failed suicide attempt. After her recovery, Sia’s remained relatively hidden from the media, hiding her face onstage and in front of the cameras. Her newest album, 1000 Forms of Fear, is fitting in both its name and material. Her 6th studio album features songs much darker than the hit songs she has become famous for, like Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones,” and David Guetta’s “Titanium.”

The album opens up with the lead single “Chandelier,” a song about alcoholism, an issue the singer has personally dealt with. Sia reveals the confusion and loss of control that comes with such a problem as she croons, “Sun is up, I'm a mess / Gotta get out now, gotta run from this / Here comes the shame, here comes the shame.” She continues exposing the negative side of fame in “Big Girls Cry,” as she reveals her vulnerability through lyrics like “Tough girl / I’m in pain / It's lonely at the top.”

The album becomes more upbeat with “Burn the Pages.” The strong electro-pop rhythm lightens the mood as Sia sings, “Yesterday is gone and you will be okay / Place your past into a book, burn the pages,” perhaps hinting at her own future. “Eye of the Needle” is hauntingly beautiful, as Sia belts out the lyrics over a surging melody. “Elastic Heart,” part of the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is another upbeat track. On the song, Sia enforces her strength and perseverance as she declares, “You did not break me / I’m still fighting for peace / I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.” “Free the Animal” is a strong track that emerges as a potential second single. However, the meaning of the song is far darker than what is suggested by the fast-paced melody, as the lyrics discuss the dark, violent side of love between a couple.

The last song on the album, “Dressed in Black,” is another self-inspecting song. The track starts off with a dark tone, but lightens up as the lyrics go from “I had given up / …I had hit a low / Was all I let myself know” to “You opened the door for me / Yeah I was hiding and you let the light in.” Once again, Sia’s music reflects her personal life, as she hints at her struggles with drugs, alcohol, and depression, and her subsequent battle upward to recovery.

The album will surely be another highlight in Sia’s career. Sia is strong both vocally and lyrically. Her voice goes from thin whispers to throaty howls in mere seconds, and she is one of the few artists who can pull off such a vocal range. While the album is still solidly in the pop genre, the album differentiates greatly from the hit songs Sia has penned for other artists, which she once described as “cheesy.” The songs on 1000 Forms of Fear are soulful and introspective, as they discuss the most vulnerable issues that plague everyone.

The message Sia has pushed constantly throughout her (very limited) promotion for the album is that she does not want to be famous. Unfortunately, her success will make that goal nearly impossible.


Lily Li

1000 Forms of Fear is available now via RCA Records.

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