Continuing our celebration of album openers, we take a look at the seven (SEVEN!) Side One Track One* songs from Sia…
*A vinyl, or possibly even cassette reference, for any non-hipsters.
1. Don’t Get Me Started (OnlySee, 1997)
The only of Sia‘s albums to feature her surname (Furler). This first track screams the 90s, but manages to escape the decade’s curse of being tacky 20 years later. Her voice sounds a bit Paloma Faith, but that’s certainly not a bad thing as it dips and flows amongst the lingering baseline. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of the bassline, don’t listen to it loudly through your car speakers; they will be fucked. That being said, Sia’s iconic voice remains the star of the show even with it’s self produced-feel layered harmonies. If this track were released now, it would sell at least 20x the 1,200 copies it sold in Australia on it’s release.
Choice lyric: ‘I don’t want you to be another reason for me to leave this situation’
2. Fear (Healing Is Difficult, 2001)
The first 40 seconds of this track sound like they’re setting up an early Eminem song. The next 40 seconds sound like the set up of a Gabrielle song. It’s only a minute and a half in that it becomes very Sia… but still remains very hip hop. But just once you think you get the track, the last minute or so features a rather chirpy flute riff (as you do). If you were sat in a trendy Shoreditch haunt, you’d likely hear this track on the speakers; of course the twirly moustached patrons would be horrified if they found out it was performed by a global pop superstar.
Choice lyric: ‘Ella is worried about her weight, she won’t eat in public anymore. She is fucking her ex again, when they’ve finished she sleeps on the floor’
3. Rewrite (Colour The Small One, 2004)
This track shows off Sia as a powerful lyricist, as well as an “in control” vocalist; if there’s anything I’ve learned about Sia, it’s that she never sings a note by accident. This is difficult to see in her later work, but on this piece it’s beautifully transparent (and quite low-key for the Aussie belter). Admittedly the song does have an unusually slow pace to it, but if you want an anthem to sit and mope to, may I recommend this goes to the top of your playlist.
Choice lyric: ‘I’ll slip through your hands I am one single grain of sand’
4. Little Black Sandals (Some People Have Real Problems, 2008)
From what I personally believe to be Sia’s best album, this track has driving song written all over it. (Despite the song Beautiful Calm Driving also being on this album). Much like Rewrite, this song has quiet understated power that you can listen to and sway your head to without beating yourself up about the fact that you’ll never be able to sing like that in your entire life. It’s very much a “sing under your breath” track. The lyrics are cute, and the drum heavy instrumental lifts it from being a strange ballad to being a quirky pop song.
Choice lyric: ‘Thank you feet, for guiding me, I’m glad somehow I got brains down there, at least’
5. The Fight (We Are Born, 2010)
The first track of this article to be more upbeat (not to say every album before this one was miserable… just the first tracks apparently). Sia’s powerful voice is jump started in this song; if we stay along the lines of listening to Sia during everyday tasks, you’d want to listen to this while you’re washing the dishes and shaking what the good Lord gave ya. The quick paced bridge of the song really nicely rounds off what is a fun and surprisingly vocally impressive piece of music. If I had to compare it to anything I’d say it sounds like the result of a jamming session between Alphabeat and Band of Horses.
Choice lyric: ‘A fantasy for you and me, a beauty light and reality. No need to feel the proof that something, for all of it is love, and harmony’
6. Chandelier (1000 Forms of Fear, 2014)
If you’ve not heard this song you must live in a cave. This is arguably the track that made us notice Sia as a standout talent. The song is an incredible feat in vocals (listen to the acoustic version if you really want to be wowed). Artistically as well, the video that accompanied this single seemed to re-kindle the industry’s interest in the good ol’ arty music video. To balance the track, it has a comparably delicate tail end after the all guns-a-blazing choruses and verses that sits there like a flirtatious maiden polishing glasses at the end of bar brawl.
Choice lyric: ‘I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist’
7. Bird Set Free (This is Acting, 2016)
The piano opening of this song sounds more like an Adele record than a Sia one (despite Alive being the song from this album that Sia did write for Ms Adkins). This song was actually written for the Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack but was rejected to make way for Jessie J’s Flashlight. Aca-scuse me?! I think Bird Set Free would’ve been perfect. It has power, soul, and it’s a belter. Plus the title doesn’t sound like a masturbation aid (Google it).
Choice lyric: ‘I don’t care if I sing off key, I find myself in the melodies’
No Don’t Get Me Started on Spotify unfortunately, so listen to that on YouTube first.