I love the Australians, chillout music, and women. This gives my reviewed artist a three for three score right off the bat. I’m talking about the infectiously charming music of Sia. You may remember this album cover from our 2008 best albums staff pick compilation; with Sia’s mug among a lovely MS Paint drawn title (apparently she’s a big MS Paint fan).
Hailing from Adelaide, South Australia; Sia Kate Isobelle Furler is a 33 year old musical treasure. But it wasn’t always this way. She wasn’t noticed until after she left her acid jazz band called Crisp (who have two albums: Word and the Deal, and Delirium) for clearer skies. She worked her way into the hearts of the British, with her chart topping single Taken for Granted on her first big studio release album; Healing is Difficult back in 2000.
Sia is among the reoccurring guest singers in the British down tempo band Zero 7, (whom you may remember from their song In the Waiting Line in the movie Garden State) on all three of their albums to date, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her on their upcoming album as well. She also worked with Beck on her second album on the Track, Bully, so the girl is no pushover.
Sia was always compared to other big hits in the down tempo world (Dido, Sarah McLachlan), but really didn’t earn her own wings until the latter half of 2005. It was then that her single Breathe Me from her second album Colour the Small One was featured on the finale episode of the hit HBO show Six Feet Under. The song, played in the last few minutes of the show, was a perfect fit, and in my opinion won over most of her current fans. I never saw the series, but my friend Katie had played the song one day, and from then I was hooked.
In early 2008 Sia released her third major studio album; Some People Have Real Problems under Hear Music Records. The title alone raised flags in my mind of the many conversations with the do-nothings in my life that I deal with; which is what I like about Sia. She can paint a picture so well, that it’s almost scary.
On this album, the theme seems to be built around relationships. Sia talks about breakups and the conversations leading to them, lying in bed and fighting with your loved one, and getting over that love you lost, et cetera.
Thinking about it, I’d hate to be the poor bloke whom she’s writing about, because the whole world is pissed at you. But hey, heartbreak and its inevitable conversations have never sounded so good to me. All of us who have ever been in love can relate to this album in some manner, and that doesn’t mean in a negative way.
Sia, despite all of her dark shades of love, still retains a level of childish playfulness, which I think a lot of us forgot about in relationships. This album is so difficult to describe simply, so I’ll try and outline why my favorite tracks are just that.
Track 1, Little Black Sandals is a winner, because she lays it out like a short story, telling us the quotes from the argument, while telling us how she said it, and how she felt. Now take that idea, and put it to amazing instrumentals and Sia’s unforgettable singing style.
I’m not sure if track 5, The Girl You Lost to Cocaine is literal in its meaning, but the song talks about her fail whale of a lover, who she is about to leave. Being fed up with someone in a relationship is something I’ve seen happen time and time again, but to leave that person is easier said than done, so this song felt good to me, on principle alone.
The wordplay award goes to Track 6, Academia, which talks about a stubborn lover, to the theme of academic concepts. For example:
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 analyzed 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 of your love
Track 9, Death by Chocolate, is a rare track, because it is in my opinion the perfect way to tell a girl who’s a friend of yours who just went through a bad breakup how to put her life back together again. I can relate, because Sia keeps it real, and doesn’t sugar coat her gorgeous lesson. The latter half of the song is the true virtue, starting at around 2:30. So all you ladies who need to get over that once special somebody, this song will make you smile.
Musically, I think that Track 12, Beautiful Calm Driving is one of the best on the album. Lyrically, it’s about a lover that was so calm and collected before, but has transformed into someone else completely. I’m sure some of you can relate to this as well.
Buttons, is a secret track on the album, that deals with Sia and a lover who is driving her crazy to the point of hallucination (which I’m sure is all metaphorical and over my head) and frustration. I love this song because the instrumentals match the strange lyrics, which I’m a sucker.
After all is said and done though, my favorite track by far is Track 10, Soon We’ll Be Found. It gave me that ah-ha moment we receive when someone says exactly what you are trying to get across. The chorus lingers in my head, and put this album on my list for one of the best albums of 2008:
Let's not fight, I'm tired can't we just sleep tonight? Don't Turn away it's just there's nothing left here to say Turn around I know we're lost but soon we'll be found
We have all gone through love and loss, and this album should be in your arsenal to fight that horrid battle. Not only is this one of the best albums of 2008, but it remains one of the most played albums in my entire collection (and mind you, I have well over 1400 albums). Sia has that rare talent to bring us that feel good music when we are feeling down. Do yourself a favor and head over to Amoeba Music and pick up not only her three studio albums, but her collections of EP’s and rare mixes.
If life is getting you down, put this album in the deck, and remember: Some People Have Real Problems. Till next time.