It’s hard to better a song as beautifully crafted as Sia’s Chandelier, but on This Is Acting, the Australian singer’s seventh record, she’s not far off the same powerful polish.
On the first two tracks anyway at least... The definition of “belters”, there’s no ease into the album, no delicacy, just sheer, knockout brilliance.
Bird Set Free smacks into you with all the force of a magpie crashing into a window, feathers flying, claws scrambling against the glass, while Alive builds epically, crushing your lungs as you attempt to sing-a-long (it’s impossible), Sia’s voice breaking and squawking magnificently on the bridge.
They’re both certifiable pop smashes, but then things begin to slide into the realm of generic club bangers - Move Your Body being the most disappointing culprit.
Reaper (co-written and produced with Kanye West, among others) and House On Fire pull things back into focus, switching up the tempo and cranking up the sense of longing, but in the end it doesn’t all quite come together (Sweet Design in particular feels massively out of place).
There’s no doubt Sia can write a cracking chorus though - and that voice, it just towers over you.