‘Alive': Sia Plays the Part of Adele on Explosive, Empowering First Single From ‘This Is Acting’
There is, arguably, no other songwriter in the industry who has more thoroughly saturated the pop market than Sia.
That Rihanna smash, "Diamonds"? Sia. The David Guetta club anthem, "Titanium"? Sia. Britney's heartbreaking ballad, "Perfume"? Sia. Beyoncé's self-conscious lead offering from her surprise album, "Pretty Hurts"? Sia. Jennifer Lopez? Kylie Minogue? Christina Aguilera? Celine Dion? Sia. Sia. Sia. Sia.
She's on about a billion other albums too, but you get the idea: It's all Sia, everything.
That's not even taking into consideration her own career as a singer, including last year's "Chandelier," which sent her swinging all the way up to dizzying new heights of fame on her own — well, with the help of little dancing diva Maddie Ziegler and a platinum blonde wig.
After the release of her #1 record 1000 Forms Of Fear last year, the powerhouse singer is back with a new record with a very straightforward concept: This Is Acting, a collection of songs written with other artists in mind. The result is, unlike her introspective 2014 release, a set sung from the perspective of her pop peers.
Thus, this is acting — and this is also why her now infamous wig is now half black, half blonde in this new era, perfectly representing the concept of Sia singing as someone else.
Naturally, the first offering from the collection is a doozy. Who better to start with than the woman behind one of the industry's most anticipated comebacks?
"Alive," produced by Jessie Shatkin and co-penned with Tobias Jesso, Jr. and the soulful British crooner herself Adele, was rejected last minute from the 21 singer's forthcoming release — but that hasn't stopped Sia from saving it for herself. And based on all the massive belting and riffing all over the place, it's not hard to figure out who this explosive self-empowerment anthem was intended for.
Unlike the many dark offerings on 21 (and 1000 Forms Of Fear), Sia and Adele have found the light together. Building at first across atmospheric sound, the pre-chorus supplies an understated "Rolling In The Deep"-esque kind of stomping beat, as Sia steadily finds her footing: "I had a one way ticket to a place where all the demons go / Where the wind don't change and nothing in the ground can ever grow / No hope, just lies, and you're taught to cry in your pillow / But I survived."
And, like "Chandelier," Sia lets loose with all her might on the huge and defiant chorus: "I'm ALIVE!" she declares over and over and over again.
Things get especially interesting toward the end of the song, as the singer launches full-force into a crescendo of fury: "I knew what I wanted; I went in and got it / Did all the things that you said that I wouldn't / I told you that I would never be forgotten / And all in spite of you," she bitterly belts before howling through an almost entirely acapella run of that colossal chorus, her voice quivering and breaking from the sheer might.
There's no question Adele could have done equal justice to the track — she's one of the few vocalists who could have supplied the kinds of pipes necessary — but it's just as well that Sia ultimately got to keep the track. Because if anyone knows how to breathe life into a song and then blow it all away, it's our talented singer-turned-actress Sia.
Let the show begin.
Watch Jacquie Lee Perform Sia's "Chandelier" in the PopCrush Studio: