Don’t get me wrong. I like art for art’s sake. I like weirdness for weirdness’s sake. It’s why I like Aphex Twin even if he’s so goddamned creepy-lookin’.
So when someone comes along and tries so hard to be artsy and weird and it just falls flat, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. When they then redeem themselves and I find out more about them and they’re actually not that bad, it’s sort of like a bittersweet taste. You ever tried mixing different types of tea together and it’s not that great but you kinda like it? It’s like that.
Enter Australian electro-pop weirdo Sia, who seems to have appeared out of nowhere all of a sudden in a myriad of forms, adopted a 12 year old and told her to get cozy with Shia LeBeouf for a music video and made a shitload of money on being this multicoloured-hair weirdo who doesn’t show her face all that often and wears bows bigger than Liam Neeson’s cock.
After a quick google, I was pleasantly surprised to find out ol’ Sia’s seemed to have been around the block for a while! Originally she was in an acid-jazz band called Crisp, which broke up, then Sia buggered off to the UK to drink milky tea, eat scones and hang out with artists such as Jamiroquai and Zero 7. She kept doing her thing for a while then the blitzkrieg of Elastic Heart/Chandelier/Alive came out and now she’s all over the place. I know this is the point where I’d make a herpes joke, but it’s more akin to glitter, really. Yeah it’s annoying, but you kinda just get used to it being everywhere and occasionally you really do appreciate it.
Poppy electro, electro-pop, whatever you want to call it that’s what it is. Sia takes a fairly minimalist approach and lets her vocals shine, which would generally be alright if it wasn’t so dull, for lack of a better word.
It’s not even that it’s dull. It’s fine and it works, but jesus cocksucking christ can we change it up a bit? Sia does that voice-breaky squeak thing way too often which you’re either going to like or hate and generally it all comes together in a cacophony of “art for art’s sake”. Sia’s no Nicki Minaj and that’s a fucking good thing
(spoiler: I fucking hate Nicki Minaj)
TRACK BY TRACK
You’ve heard it, you know it, and now we all know Chandelier has 48,000 extra syllables. School lied to us. It was weaksauce on release and weaksauce now. But humble beginnings are purely that.
Better known as “that song with that video where the dude from Transformers chases jailbait”, but more on that later. Upon a proper listen it’s actually not that bad. If “1000 Forms of Fear” was a movie, this is where it starts getting good.
If “Chandelier” was about getting shitfaced, this is clearly the hangover when you’re trying to eat a bacon sandwich whilst still half asleep from passing out in the backyard while wearing pool floaties. Where did the pool floaties come from? Your mate doesn’t even own a fucking pool. Whatever. Just open another beer, you’ll pull through.
I know I’ve been a bit harsh on Sia in this entry, but be it from genuinely liking the song, or suffering from Stockholm Syndrome because I heard it every other hour every other day at work this past month, she totally redeems herself here. This is actually good! I dig it. If shit like this is what Sia has in store for the future then I could be easily lulled into being a convert.
Honorable Mention: Fire and Gasoline
Another good’un. Your Sia journey should start here, as mine should have instead of hearing about Sia swinging from that fucking chandeliiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeerrrrr for days on end.
THE MUSIC VIDEOS
This (and her live shows, from what I gather from friends and SXSW videos) is where Sia’s quirky “art for art’s sake” shines. They’re beautifully shot and look amazing. Not sure what’s with all the dancing but whatever. They rock. My former filmmaker self approves.
Though what’s with the weird droning thing in “Alive” and “The Greatest”? Is this a theme? Should I be putting on my “decoding vague concept album” hat on and playing Sherlock? Did we find out who shot Mr. Burns yet?
I want to take a minute to talk about “Elastic Heart” though. Apparently there were cries of pedophilia surrounding it because Maddie Ziegler is in her teens and Shia LeBeouf is… well, Shia LeBeouf.
And get this, guys. They were in spandex! and dancing together! The scandal!
Can we just… calm down a bit? Just for a sec? It’s a music video, it’s art. Unless Sia is the figurehead of a huge child trafficking ring we have nothing to worry about. Similar claims have been laid against photographers, filmmakers, artists, countless times with little to no rhyme or reason and it’s all very tiring. Not every artist is Roman Polanski, or Woody Allen, or Rolf Harris. Enough already. Yeesh.
Like many forms of art that isn’t Kevin Smith related, I don’t get it. I appreciate Sia for what she does and the music for what it is, but I sincerely don’t get it and I’m fine with that. I’m not her audience. I listen to prog metal bands who have their heads shoved up their own asses and take fifteen years to release an album.
The more I read up about Sia in preperation for a blog-related roast-fest, the more I found her intriguing and admirable. Bonus points come from her Australian background (hometown pride y’see) and exploding onto the music scene as a solo artist in her 40’s. She also seems (in interviews at least) just really down to earth and -unlike other people I’ve covered in this series, not a complete douchebag.
Also unlike other artists I’ve covered, while not being “my thing” per se aside from maybe one or two songs, I’d genuinely like to check out her live show. A sentence -among others-I never thought I’d say when initially drafting this writeup.
I might not “get it”, but you do you, Sia. Just don’t pull a Fred Durst or anything, I’m genuinely trying to like you here. (again, words I never thought I’d say)
BEST DESCRIBED AS
“She sings like a diva but has the mentality of a quirky 16 year old girl”
If Bjork was shipped off to Adelaide straight after she was born.