Finding Sia was like finding that little sliver of sunshine in a sky full of gray.
I initially bought the album out of pure curiosity–the fact that the album art looks like the kind of art you’d find on a Chicks on Speed CD definitely drove my decision. When I opened the CD and put in in my CD player, I was shocked.
First of all, she’s nothing like what you’d expect from Chicks on Speed. Where they break all kinds of musical rules causing people to cry out “that’snot music!” when confronted with a song by CoS, Sia embraces the sound of music.
Sia Furler, an Australian born singer-songwriter, has gorgeous, jazzy vocals, lyrical vision and just the right amount of quirk. Just take her 2008 release Some People Have Real Problems.
This is the kind of CD that makes you remember why we have full albums in the first place. If you decide to download a few of Sia’s tracks and be happy with that–you’re missing something. A lot of somethings. SPHRB is like a series of sonic portraits–each track on the album paints a picture of a character facing different problems–abuse, unrequited love, and heartbreak (among others).
Sia uses her voice perfectly to paint these portraits-in some places her voice flies up and reaches skyward, in some places falling, and in some places straight toward you, the listener. It’s easy to get lost in her voice.
In “The Girl You Lost to Cocaine”, the character is a woman sick of her coke-addicted partner and finally finds the voice to say “I’m leaving”.
“Yeah I’ve been your crutch, your smell, sight and touch/
Yeah I took you home when you’ve drunk too much/
But I can’t survive with you by my side/
See, I’ll never get laid, while I’m running your life.”
In “Academia”, Sia proves her songwriting abilities by making a a song that anyone could make (a song about love not returned) and owning it by the cunning use of academic references.
“You’re a difficult equation with a knack for heart evasion/
Will you listen to my proof or will you add another page on/
It appears to me the graph has come and stolen all the laughs/
It appears to me the pen has over analysed again/
And if I am a number I’m infinity plus one/
And if you are five words you are afraid to be the one/
And if you are a number you’re infinity plus one
And if I am four words then I am needing all your love”
In songs like “I Go to Sleep” and “Death by Chocolate” Sia’s voice is exactly what you’d expect of a jazz singer: Sensuous, soulful and powerful.
SPHRP is definitely an album for those rainy days we all experience-where things in our lives become overwhelming and we just need a reminder that things are going to be ok. Sia’s got a voice that will soothe our shattered nerves any day.