Carrie & Lowell
The songwriter to the stars goes out on her own again.
Sia Furler is, oddly, more famous out of the spotlight. The Australian singer-songwriter has a list of credits longer than your arm, penning hits for the glittering likes of Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Kylie, you name them, and only occasionally does it for herself. Centre stage, she's probably best known for another collaboration, taking vocals on David Guetta's Titanium — yes, another Sia composition.
At 38, she's a less likely popstar than her clients, but 1000 Forms Of Fear has enough quality about it — and Sia has a distinctive enough voice — to tip that balance. The album's stock-in-trade is the big power ballad with just a whisper of pop litheness to keep it contemporary. Big Girls Cry, Eye Of The Needle and Straight For The Knife are sad, strange songs with huge choruses, and sound like hits in anyone's hands, but they'd make for a pretty wearying album on their own.
Fortunately, and inevitably, there's more up Sia's capacious sleeve than that. The ultra-catchy Hostage is a choppy new-wave delight, while Free The Animal is skittery R&B pop with another gargantuan chorus. Burn The Pages is Chvrches vs Regina Spektor, and as gorgeous and kooky as that sounds. An almost complete facsimile of Beyoncé's Halo on Fire Meet Gasoline is a bit too much, but Sia's probably bitter she didn't write that in the first place — never mind, the hit factory rolls on.