Sia 1000 Forms of Fear

Sia1000 Forms of Fear
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. "Chandelier" is an example, a perfectly crafted dance-pop ditty that's destined to stay in the pop culture consciousness for more than a minute. "Big Girls Cry" is in the same boat, a power ballad destined to be the anthem for aggrieved souls everywhere. "Elastic Heart" is an R&B-pop joint that features a surprising guest appearance by the Weeknd. A few tracks get trapped in their own pop bombast — "Cellophane," "Free the Animal" — but for the most part, each of the 12 tracks on the album stand lyrically and melodically strong as potential singles and/or earworms in their own right.

One would be tempted to say this comes off as a glorified demo project, but that doesn't do Sia's songwriting and singer abilities proper justice. Just consider it a solid project from an artist who, after creating albums since the late-90s, is finally getting her recognition in front, instead of behind the curtain. (Universal)