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Album Review: Sia – Reasonable Woman

3 min read
Album Review: Sia – Reasonable Woman

Australian singer-songwriter Sia releases her tenth studio album, Reasonable Woman, through Monkey Puzzle and Atlantic Records.  Now (surely) a household name, Sia has had great success, both as a band member (see Zero 7 and LSD), as a ‘featuring’ artist (see She Wolf and Titanium (with David Guetta), or Wild Ones (with Flo Rida), as a solo artist (see a slew of hits such as Chandelier, Unstoppable or Big Girls Cry) and a songwriter (see hits such as Rihanna’s Diamonds or Beyoncé’s Pretty Hurts, amongst many others), so big things are always hoped for every time Sia’s name is attached to something… let’s find out if Reasonable Woman continues this trend!!

Starting off with purpose, Little Wing has some fantastic beats (including a wicked 8-beat speed bass), and has a touch of Chandelier chorus in its own, but not enough to be samey/noticed by the average Joe, and this is followed by Immortal Queen, where legend Chaka Khan lends her vocal talents to this bass driven track, where parallels to Unstoppable could certainly be made at times.  Kylie Minogue appears on February’s released single, Dance Alone, and this is very much a Kylie-style song – fun, bouncy electropop which is also incredibly catchy, and this is starkly contrasted with the slower, moodier track I Had a Heart.

The first single released was put fifth on the album, and Gimme Love is an uplifting, positive track where the vocal harmonies really shine, whilst subsequent tracks Nowhere to Be and Towards the Sun are both slower, break beat tracks, and, for me, badly placed, as they sound similar and so it can get tedious… which is a pity, as in isolation they are solid tracks.  Most recent release Incredible sees Labrinth lend his vocals to this slow driving beat and high synths, which shows moments of real ingenuity in the arrangement.  Champion (featuring Tierra Whack, Kaliii and Jimmy Jolliff) is the hat-tip to/attempt at hip hop, and it doesn’t work for me, the rapping is a bit basic, and the beat a bit tinny and cheap.  Far better is I Forgive You – a real soulful, acoustic track, where a wounded Sia really wails, with little to distract you from her majestic vocals.

Sia then goes through her scales in Wanna Be Known, which is somewhat of a filler track, whilst follow up One Night has bhangra beats weaving through it … though I don’t consider it much of a Bollywood smash.  Paris Hilton makes an appearance on Fame Won’t Love You, in a song that is all about the uplifting chorus over the rather mundane verses (exemplified by Paris’ ‘solo’ being a spoken second verse),   this is followed by Go On, which has Benny Blanco’s fingerprints all over it, in a song that gives you the same feeling as late summer evening sunrays hitting your face.  Rounding off the album is Rock and Balloon – switching between melancholic verse and choruses filled with gratefulness.

Reasonable Woman has moments of greatness, but I find myself liking the album rather than loving it.  I wish more tracks were acoustic or with a band rather than created on a laptop and some cutting edge software, where I found myself hearing previous smash hits in the synths and beats of less remarkable tracks.  Vocally, I get the impression that Sia rarely pushes herself to the limit here, and that’s ok – she’s still leagues ahead of most artists… but it’s no surprise to me that my standout tracks on “Reasonable Woman” are when she really lets it rip.