Adelaide songstress Sia Furler has had a career that the millions of mass-produced pop marionette dolls could only dream of. She has released a succession of critically acclaimed albums, written and guested on songs for some of the world’s biggest stars, been the key voice of UK chill out troupe Zero 7 and now her dominance of commercial radio looks set to be ongoing as she earmarks the release of her sixth album.
Though it took the better part of a decade, Sia finally found semi-fame when her heart-wrenching ballad “Breathe Me” featured in the final moments of the critically acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under. A slow and steady three years later, she released Some People Have Real Problems, arguably her finest album to date. Tracks like “Buttons” and “Lullaby” achieved international recognition and airplay, leading to an unforgettable performance on David Letterman – America’s doors were open.
In the gap between her third and fourth album, We Are Born, Sia concentrated on her song writing skills, writing for Christina Aguilera’s epic flop, Bionic. While her contributions were the album’s memorable moments, Sia saved the best for We Are Born. An electro-pop album with heart, it received critical acclaim and hosted track after track of exceptional work.
In 2011/12, we have been introduced to a different kind of Sia – the guest star. With David Guetta’s anthemic “Titanium”, Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” and Skip-hop Hilltop Hoods’ “I Love It”, Sia came dangerously close to being on radio more than commercials. The first two even hit no.1 in the UK.
While hearing Sia’s inimitable voice on radio is welcome, her fans yearn for her sixth album, where her immaculate song writing, compelling lyrics and momentous voice can shine.
To commemorate the release of her Best Of today, here are my Top 5 Sia Moments: (Zero 7 tracks not included but if they are foreign to you, check out “You’re My Flame”, “This Broken Social Scene” and “Destiny.”)
5. Drink To Get Drunk (Healing Is Difficult)
As much as it pains me to feature a song without an official video clip, “Drink To Get Drunk” is just too good to refuse. From the almost awkward piano melody to the glossy hip-hop beat, to the eclectic mix of instruments that shouldn’t work, all the way to lyrics that are so stupidly simple yet so completely amazing – this is the Sunday morning hair-of-the-dog theme tune for those who aren’t quite sure if they’re coming down or going up.
4. Clap Your Hands (We Are Born)
“Clap Your Hands” was the quintessential track off We Are Born, perfectly encapsulating the electro pop sound of the rest of the album. With a typically Sia clip that was equal part bonkers and cute, “Clap Your Hands” found a home on both commercial and alternative sides of the fence, becoming her first Australian Top 20 single and polling 13th in Triple J’s Hottest 100 in 2011.
3. Soon You’ll Be Found (Some People Have Real Problems)
More about the performance than the actual song (which is still stunningly haunting), this was one of the biggest stepping stones in Sia’s career. Enhancing the lyrics with sign language (Sia has many deaf fans due to her lyricism and energetic shows), Sia charmed David Letterman and guests with this sensational rendition.
2. Day Too Soon (Some People Have Real Problems)
When typical pop stars write love songs, they are usually some rubbish about being the only one in the club, or thanks to Jason Derulo’s modern day poetry, “Much more than a Grammy award, that’s how much you mean to me.” Ugh. When Sia writes a love song, it involves epic vocal and emotional crescendos, lyrics that fly flippantly between triumphant strength and trembling vulnerability and well, the most ridiculous use of a swan since Bjork attended the Oscars in 2001. Bravo.
1. Breathe Me (Colour The Small One)
Since I’ve made quite a few references, it is fair to say that the majority of Sia’s appeal lies in her lyrics. Over the top yet completely relatable, we share her story. Fitting then that the final scene of one of the most loved television shows in history featured Sia’s masterpiece. I have posted Six Feet Under’s last six minutes but I sincerely recommend finding Mylo’s remix. I’m going to do the unthinkable and nominate it as the superior “Breathe Me”. *Cowers to avoid thrown rocks*. For more truly manipulative heart wrenching, check out Sia’s “Lullaby” in the final episode of the Bic C’s debut season.
You can hear Sia Furler on Tegan & Sara’s upcoming album, while her own album should surface by late 2012.
The Best of Sia is available today.