Sia – We Are Born | Album Review

Hailing from Australia is soulful, alternative singer songwriter Sia. Known for her work with Zero 7, over the last few years Sia has become one of the most critically acclaimed artists both on this side of the pond and in the U.S. Her fan base is almost as eclectic as her music, with the likes of Perez Hilton and Christina Aguilera – with whom she has just penned four songs for her new album Bionic – among her celebrity endorsers.

Sia made her first UK appearance back in 1997 when she was runner up in the MOBO Unsigned competition shortly after moving to London. Now with four studio albums under her belt, Sia has firmly established herself as a successful solo artist. After her 2000 solo debut Healing Is Difficult, Sia has organically grown as an artist, exploring new soundscapes and styles, moving away from the R&B and garage sounds of her debut.

Sia’s new album We Are Born traverses genres and tip toes between styles, never pigeon holing it’s sound yet always sounding like a fluid and complete body of work. Musically the album combines elements of soul, ska, pop and alternative styles. Opening with the funk infused “The Fight,” it is clear that this album is somewhat of a departure from the downbeat Colour the Small One and Some People Have Real Problems that are amongst Sia’s previous catalogue.

“Clap Your Hands” continues in this vein and is instantly catchy. An upbeat soulful pop gem of a song, even the most sullen of commuters on the Monday morning Victoria line would be hard pushed to not tap their foot to this one.

“Bring Night” is another upbeat foot-stomping number. A playful mix of pop, soul and Ska, the track is somewhat reminiscent of early No Doubt. Some fantastic guitar and drum work combined with Sia’s unique soulful voice and an infectious melody line make this a real standout track of the album; a great musical backdrop to getting ready for a night out.

However, die hard Sia fans looking for her trademark ballads and down tempo tracks will not be disappointed. “I’m In Here” is a beautiful and emotive ballad and a cry to be heard; “Can you hear my call, I’ve been waiting for you to come rescue me, I‘m in here”. Somehow Sia has this incredible ability to be profound and childlike in the same instant, charmingly endearing and moving.

Another tearjerker featuring on We Are Born is a cover of Madonna’s “Oh Father”. One of the saddest songs in Madonna’s catalogue, it’s largely gone unnoticed by non-Madonna fans, however Sia gives this beautiful song the sensitive delivery it deserves and fully expresses the pain and vulnerability held within the lyrics.

Eclectic, playful, beautiful and utterly compelling. We Are Born is another gem of an album from this incredibly talented artist.

–Chris O’Gorman

We Are Born is out now via Monkey Puzzle.

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