Sia – Some People Have Real Problems
It has taken me a while to get into Sia. As an Australian female singer/songwriter with a bit more media coverage than most of my favourites, you’d have thought I’d have taken a listen a lot sooner. But I didn’t. It was only when I was prompted on Twitter to download Some People Have Real Problems that I gave her a chance to shine.
With album artwork echoing everything that is beautifully awkward about the Paint application, I was expecting something a bit quirky. And yes, having seen some of her videos on YouTube, they are a little bit different to the usual drones of miming and choreography that populates our charts. (See this video for her new single Clap Your Hands to find this out for yourself!)
Little Black Sandals has a catchy hook in the chorus. It’s floaty, without being too floaty. It’s more Joss Stone than Imogen Heap in floatiness, which I regard as a positive. Her voice is soulful and full of emotion which adds to the strength of the songs.
I don’t like lentils, but that hasn’t stopped my appreciation of Lentil. In particular the rhythm that accompanies the lyrics which helps to keep the song flowing for the entirety of it’s duration.
Day Too Soon is possibly my favourite song on the album. Her voice reminds me of Gabrielle with it’s huskiness at times. The narrative tells the classic “I’ve been waiting all my life” story before meeting that special one “not a day too soon”. It might be clichéd but it’s well structured to emote these feelings beautifully.
Upon reading the lyrics to You Have Been Loved they carry a lot of meaning. Perhaps they’re too dragged out in the song itself, but the craftsmanship lyrically is impressive. Simple metaphors are used to construct the story of an ending relationship.
Naming a song The Girl You Lost to Cocaine immediately has an impact upon the listener. It’s a bit ‘jazz meets pop meets non-shouty-but-powerful-singing’. Combining these aspects works well and produces a song that I can imagine could’ve been radio friendly were it not for the ten seconds or so instrumental in the middle in which you’re left to reflect on the song’s title.
The beginning of Academia screams Regina Spektor to me. But then things suddenly change and the quickly spoken words become haunting slow lyrics for the chorus. The contrast achieves something intriguing and ultimately rather pleasant. Oh, and she sings “If I am a number I am infinity plus one” – despite the lack of rationality in this statement I admire the use of ‘infinity’ in any context that doesn’t relate to Buzz Lightyear.
The lullaby-esque I Go to Sleep is a bit too tiring for my liking and Playground takes a while to get into, but Death by Chocolate is far superior. The verses introduce different ideas of ‘Death by…’ situations that are all rather poignant in making a point.
“Death by anger this is true
Just let him go he can’t hurt you
Oh little girl this is such a cruel, cruel world
this is the first, of a million broken hearts”
There’s something about Soon We’ll Be Found that reminds me of Paloma Faith. Electric Bird has background sounds of, unsurprisingly, birds. And Beautiful Calm Driving is, well it’s beautiful and calm.
It’s in Lullaby where the slower pace really shows off the softer vocals that Sia has to offer. Occasionally there’s the odd word that I found inaudible, but that’s what the huskiness of the vocals does. And I quite like it.
Ending with the upbeat Buttons, the album is full of variety. Sia has a great vocal range that suits several different types of songs. I’m glad I was advised to look into Sia; I shall now continue to spread the Sia love by suggesting that you do the same. Check her out. And then send any other recommendations in my direction!