Released just one week and one day into 2008, Sia’s Some People Have Real Problems is the first great pop album of the new year. The Aussie singer-songwriter, best known for her Six Feet Under interment hymn “Breathe Me,” lets loose on her third effort, offering an earthier, less restrained take on her lush, introspective folk-pop. Sia’s vocals are as sultry and soulful as Amy Winehouse’s, her voice flooding with emotion, rising and cracking at the just the right moments. Some People is stuffed to the rafters with love songs but they’re never precious or cloying, even when the arrangements soar to rousing string/brass/choir-laden climaxes, or when the lyrics are comprised of little more than a string of clichés (“You shot me up/You filled my cup/You sailed my boat/You were my last hope,” goes the first verse of “You Have Been Loved”). The album is sad and despondent at times, but it’s also quite funny and irreverent, even when Sia’s flaunting her grim side: “See, I’ll never get laid while I’m running your life,” she quips on the fantastic former-enabler anthem “The Girl You Lost to Cocaine,” while soberly offering “Death by chocolate is a myth, yeah/This I know because I lived” on “Death By Chocolate.” Sia is joined by a legion of notable names on that track, including Giovanni Ribisi, Jason Lee, Pantera, and Beck, who also provides deep, complementary colors to “Academia” a la Trent Reznor on Tori Amos’s “Past the Mission.” Sia gets some songwriting assistance on two of the album’s best tunes, a heartbreaking cover of the Pretenders’ “I Go to Sleep” and “Soon We’ll Be Found,” which benefits from the pop-melody magic of veteran composer/producer Rick Nowels. But the album’s standout track is a complete original: “Electric Bird” is a lament that bounces along to an incredible brass arrangement, and if the song is not already licensed to be the closing theme for something, it should be.
- Release Date
- January 13, 2008
- Monkey Puzzle
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