Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You've Changed

Best of 2010

Song: You've Changed
Artist: Sia
Album: We Are Born

Sia Furler may still be best known here in this country for her song "Breathe Me," which was prominently featured in the last episode of HBO's "Six Feet Under."  That haunting track fit in line with her collaborations with trip hop group Zero 7 and over three albums of a similar style, it remained her shining achievement.  That is until she released "We Are Born" this June.

"We Are Born" was a stylistic shift for the Australian singer-songwriter, a more upbeat and "pop" effort that used her soulful voice and penchant for melody in new, exhilarating ways.  Her relationship with Le Tigre's JD Sampson is often sighted for this shift to the more upbeat.  It could have been disastrous for sure, but "We Are Born" is a triumph.

It was Fred Falke's remix of "Clap Your Hands" that first got my attention, a real party-starter that given her past work, I thought must have somehow been taken from a slower song.  But no, the original was an effervescent, soulful jam with a great baseline and a "You've only got one life" message that was built for some serious euphoria on the dancefloor.  As fun as the songs on "Born" are, they all carry a little insight into the human condition, life, love, and the mystery of it all.  Thankfully her songs did't get a dumbing down when they got catchier.

I love first track "The Fight," an upbeat song about the struggle of the human experience against negativity and the "reality" of life on earth.  "Stop Trying" has an 80's Go-Go's vibe and "You've Changed" struts to some seriously sexy guitar licks and proves that you can mold a potential suitor for the better.

Sia does bring things down from time to time on the album, my favorite being the slow-swing of "Be Good to Me," a pleading ballad for love.  Last single "I'm in Here" is also like the Sia of old, an emotional lament that still has a bit more punch than her previous work.  It's quite beautiful.

Thankfully, Furler kept her best songs for herself as she made news being one of the main songwriters on Christina Aguilera's summer flop "Bionic."  Despite the album underperforming, the collaboration seems to have been positive, with Aguilera stating that the three tracks Sia wrote were "the heart of the record."  She also co-wrote the song "Bound to You" for her in "Burlesque."

While her early work certainly shouldn't be written off, I hear "We Are Born" as Furler truly finding her voice as an artist.  And that result is always a thrilling listen.


You've Changed

Be Good to Me

The Fight

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