To prepare for this review, I entered into what I call “72-Hours of Sia” — that is, listening only to Sia’s music for three days. After much listening, singing along, and dancing on my own, I have to say that This is Acting, a big-budget follow up to 1000 Forms of Fear, is pop music in it’s purest form: inaudible lyrics, dramatic riffs, and head banging rhythms.
The lyrics are ridiculously pop-y and the concepts are nothing complicated. “Move Your Body” is the track for clubs with lyrics like “your body’s poetry, speak to me / let me be your rhythm tonight.”
In that same dancey tune are “Cheap Thrills” (Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight’) and “Unstoppable” (‘I’m a Porsche with no brakes / I’m invincible / Yeah, I win every single game / I’m so powerful’). Both have the potential to be anthems for the summer.
However, the album does go over the top a bit with “Sweet Design.” The track does not live up to its name; it’s horribly composed, with a harsh electronic melody, and bizarre noise which I assume is Sia singing.
“Reaper” provides the more vocal clarity. It’s a pretty mellow track; quite empowering and something you can sway with a beat to. And if you’re looking for a “Chandelier” of the album, it’d have to be “Alive” or “Bird Set Free,” for they both best show Sia’s trademark belting voice.
This can also be said for “Broken Glass” — a sweeter, more loving track that marks a shift in the album as the next three tracks follow in the same vein. “House On Fire” and “Footprints” are nothing but sweet poetry, with lyrics like Footprints’: “thought you’d abandoned me and / Let go of my hand / But you were carrying me.” And, however nice “Space Between” sounds, it’s a bit sad of a track to end on. The album starts out with such a boom and really switches by the end. Definitely get the deluxe album where it ends with “Fist Fighting A Sandstorm” and “Summer Rain” for the same belting notes and dancey tunes from the beginning.
Overall, the album shows great promise. It’s quite beautiful, authentic, and it’s just nice to know that you’re listening to tracks actually written by the artist whose name is on the cover.
Whether you take the “72-Hour Sia” challenge or not, you’ll definitely be hearing it this summer, roaring its way to top charts.