Sia Colour The Small One

Listening to Sia’s second album can evoke feelings of pain —not the sympathetic kind, but the kind provoked by well-orchestrated, Top 40 radio-vying pap. Sure "Rewrite” starts with Tricky-esque beats, but it quickly degenerates once Sia Kate Isobelle Furler’s breathy, slurry fragile little girl vocals start and continue along the same vein for most of the album. "The vocals are small and needy, because that’s how I felt,” Furler has said, which is fair enough, considering her "first true love” was run down and killed by a taxi in London the week before she was set to meet him there. It’s easier to acknowledge her pain, however, than it is to listen to it wrapped in a lush major radio station courting package. "Breath Me,” the first single, contains the most pathetic lyrics on the album: "Be my friend/ Hold me/ Wrap me up/ Unfold me/ I am small/ And needy,” but is obviously engineered to climb charts. "The Bully,” co-written by Beck, is meant to exorcise her guilt about her own cruelty in the past, but it sounds like more radio-friendly sap. There are lovely string sections, acoustic guitar bits and trip hop backdrops and moments where Furler strays from the little girl voice to a jazzier drawl. Recognizable from her work on Zero 7’s Simple Things, this album is best left on the shelf, as you’ll probably end up hearing tracks, whether you want to or not, on the airwaves. (Universal)