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Album Review: Sia - This Is Acting

By Jonathan Fuchs, Copy Editor

[RCA; 2016]

Rating: 2.5/5

Key Tracks: “Alive,” “House on Fire”

This Is Acting, the seventh studio album from singer-songwriter Sia, is a surprising record coming from such an indie-pop darling. It’s an extremely pop-focused release (even more so than her previous album 1000 Forms of Fear), and many of the songs were rejected tracks originally written for various pop stars. This probably explains why the album feels so bland and uninspired. While there are some impressive elements of This Is Acting, it’s too generic of an album to keep people coming back for more listens.

The positive things that are present in This Is Acting (and pretty much every other Sia record) are the production and Sia’s singing, which are clear, beautiful and refreshing. The instrumentals of each song are really well done, and Sia’s vocals do a good job of animating each song so the listener will be interested for a good majority of the album. The best tracks on the album (“Alive,” “Move Your Body,” “House on Fire”) all show how strong the album can be when it tries something other than the average pop song.

However, the lyrics on a good majority of the record are too generic and tiring. They discuss staying strong and not giving up--and that’s about it. They are fun and exciting at the beginning of the record, but the more these themes show up, the more tiring they become. There is also an exhausting amount of similes used in basically every song, which get even more noticeable as the album progresses. While many of them are clever, the use of them becomes annoying and excessive. These two elements are what bring the album down heavily, as they are fine in moderation but become way too much way too quickly.

Though it can be strong at times, This Is Acting is a pretty bland record, especially for someone as talented and interesting as Sia. The look and feel of it is cool, but the content in the album is uninteresting. While this could’ve been a standout record in the pop genre (like 1000 Forms of Fear was) it is just too plain and tiring.

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