If you do one thing and one thing only this fine Tuesday, make sure it involves you getting your mitts on Sia's 1000 Forms of Fear. It's the Aussie singer/songwriter's first solo album since 2010, and my goodness, it was worth the fucking wait. I love me some conventional pop, yes, but damn if I didn't lose my mind the first time I listened to this gorgeous, weird, and occasionally messy-in-a-good-way pop album. It is sumptuous yet raw, soaring yet nuanced. For every So You Think You Can Dance elimination montage-friendly "Fire Meet Gasoline", there's a freaky-deaky "Free the Animal". There's a balance. And it slays.
Thanks to the single “Chandelier” and leaked tracks “Big Girls Cry” and “Eye of the Needle,” my expectations for 1000 Forms of Fear were criminally high. And now that I’ve listened to the album all the way through a few times, I am comfortable saying it exceeded those expectations.
That is not to say every song is a stunning piece of perfection and I adore each track as much as the last. I definitely have my favorites. And on the flip side, I definitely have my not-favorites. I’m a human with opinions who likes what she likes.
Here’s my quick-and-dirty track-by-track analysis of 1000 Forms of Fear. Buckle up, because I'm about to hit you with some incredibly technical and sophisticated music vocabulary:
I will never get sick of this song. Try to overplay it, radio. Try with all your might. It's not possible.
2. “Big Girls Cry”
AUUUUUGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH SO GOOOOOOOOOD.
3. “Burn The Pages”
This is the first “lighthearted” song of the album (well, that's what it feels like. I have yet to dive into the lyrics. This song could boast the most tragic words on 1000 Forms of Fear and I'd be none the wiser). It’s a sweet 'n' breezy clap-pop jam that would be right at home in a rom-com.
4. “Eye of the Needle”
Every time I listen to this one, I mentally prepare for that devastating bridge two thirds of the way through. My preparation is never not rendered futile by that devastating bridge, however. Without fail, it always reduces me to a puddle of mushy applesauce.
While this upbeat, rock-pop ditty isn't 1000 Forms of Fear's strongest offering, it definitely serves its purpose: to shake you out of that "Eye of the Needle"-induced mushy applesauce state.
6. “Straight for the Knife”
As this beautiful and melancholy tune chugs along, Sia's like "oh, you want to hear me control my tricks for an entire song? You got it."
7. “Fair Game”
This string-driven song is strange in the best way. What is that cadence? I don’t know. And what is that instrument that kicks in at the 2:23? Is it a piano? A marimba? A mallet hitting conch shells? Again, I don't know. Anyway, the entire thing works.
8. “Elastic Heart”
OH MY GOD “ELASTIC HEART” ON REPEAT. This is a BANGER. And that's all I have to say about that.
9. “Free the Animal”
OH MY GOD “FREE THE ANIMAL” AND “ELASTIC HEART” ON REPEAT. PAIR OF BANGERS. Call Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn, because these two are the banger sisters of the album. (Oh wait, I don’t think the movie The Banger Sisters was about songs that make your body move uncontrollably. Forget I said anything.)
“Free the Animal” occasionally serves me some Karin Dreijer Andersson realness. Not mad about it.
10. “Fire Meet Gasoline”
To truly appreciate this song, please play on a car stereo at full volume. Weather-permitting, roll windows down. Let the song wash over you.
Not to be confused with “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago. This song features Sia's voice at its spookiest. If I were a ghost, this would be my ringtone.
12. “Dressed In Black”
Rather than use the last song to wind the album down, "Dressed In Black" will rev the listener up. When "Dressed In Black" ends, I'm not ready to stop the 1000 Forms of Fear party. Only one thing to do: restart the album. Not mad about it.