Sia – Best Of...

INERTIA: The crossover appeal of Australian singer/songwriter Sia Furler, who has had both cult and popular success, is successfully demonstrated on this new compilation album.
Sia – Best Of...
Late last month, independent music label Inertia released Sia’s Best Of..., a collection of hits spanning the 15 year career to date of Australian singer/songwriter Sia Furler.

Undoubtedly, there was plenty of choice when it came to the selection of tracks for this latest release; Sia is the recipient of several ARIA Awards and has had top ten hits in the UK and Australia in the years since her first solo album was released in 1997.

The collection kicks off with the hit ‘Clap Your Hands’ from Sia’s latest album, We Are Born, but as fun as it is, there are definitely other songs on the album that could have had a bigger impact as an opener. ‘Bring Night’ comes to mind, from the 2010 album of the same name, the pace of which is clipped, quick and unashamedly fun.

Track two, ‘The Girl You Lost To Cocaine’, is taken from Sia’s fourth studio album, Some People Have Real Problems, released in 2008. A series of live performances around the time of the album’s release propelled Sia and this song well and truly into the spotlight.

Next comes ‘Destiny’, a collaboration with British duo Zero 7 featuring airy vocals similar to that of ‘I Go To Sleep’. Unfortunately, Sia’s crooning is often inarticulate and muddles the tenderness of the lyrics. The same problem occurs in ‘Day Too Soon’, undermining the pretty love song, and essentially reducing the music to little more than background noise.

The video sensation that was ‘Buttons’, which arrived with an explosion of originality, resonates on the colourful cover of Best Of. Sia’s vocal strength is truly revealed in songs with a faster tempo, like ‘Buttons,’ or her collaboration on ‘Titanium’ with DJ David Guetta. She keeps both tracks expressive and heartfelt and Guetta’s track affords some commanding self-confidence.

Next up is ‘Breathe Me,’ the song that was released to global success in 2005 when it was featured in the final moments of television series, Six Feet Under, as well as Coca-Cola advertisements and even video games. Its gentle instrumental arrangements definitely appeal and the vocals are never over-exaggerated; instead they keep the same clarity as Swedish artist Robyn’s ‘Be Mine.’

On the other hand, it feels like ‘Sweet Potato’ never quite wrenches the same heart strings, and is a little underwhelming in comparison to ‘My Love’ or ‘Breathe Me.’

Other tracks on the album include ‘Taken for Granted,’ a nod to her earlier material, ‘You’ve Changed,’ ‘The Fight,’ ‘Numb,’ ‘Where I Belong’ and ‘Soon We’ll Be Found.’ Sia’s ability to combine cult and popular appeal is successfully demonstrated by the strength of this compilation album. Its weaknesses are momentary; overall, it is a fun salute to the past 15 years and a respectable look to the future.

Sia – Best Of...
Now available through IE Music/Inertia

Freya Davies

Tuesday 10 April, 2012

About the author

Freya Davies is a Melbourne-based ArtsHub contributor.