In an age where celebrities gain attention thanks to their wacky hairstyles, revealing bosoms and scandalous sex-tapes, Sia Furler stands apart. This Australian genius who suffers from Grave’s disease has declared herself anti-fame, she wants her music to speak for itself without any PR stunts. 1000 Forms of Fear is a forward-thinking album that shows off Sia’s many talents.
The opening track Chandelier is one I’m sure you have already heard on the radio. It depicts someone who’s tossing aside all inhibition and is losing themselves amidst the glitz and the glam. It is a reinvention of the scenes depicted most famously in The Great Gatsby, but shows a colder reality. The music video shows a young girl dancing alone within a desolate landscape, and I think this is the idea of the song. The party lights and liquor become blinding, so much so, that we become unaware that we are actually alone.
Big Girls Cry is one of my favourites; it reiterates the strong imagery found within Chandelier’s music video. Here we confront our character, who now slightly sober in confronted with the cold infinite space of loneliness. It’s a gutsy song that is so fitting for a break-up, that moment when the disconnect hits is a deeply emotional one.
Sia shows off her poetic prowess with her song Burn the Pages. The imagery of a looming storm combined with her fast-tongued lyrics are simply hypnotic. Sia assumes the role of hypnotist as she helps to rid our memories of these bitter reminders. Eye of the Needle is about the memory of a loved one we refuse to let go, we hold on as tight as we can even though it kills us slowly. This baggage weighs us down and we know it but we all do it.
Hostage has an upbeat tempo but a deep story of being led on. The idea that we become a hostage might seem extreme but in retrospect that is exactly what we become. The other party knows that as long as they give us some attention every once in a while they will have someone to come back to should they get bored of their current fling. And stupidly we allow ourselves to be enslaved.
Fair Game tells of the harsh emotion associated with allowing ourselves to become vulnerable. The idea of something serious can sometimes frighten us. Despite our innate knowledge that we need to progress onto something of greater substance, it doesn’t take away the fear of the unknown. This song captures the nervous heart palpitations with its violin beat and Sia’s vocals are amazing.
Elastic Heart is Sia’s break-up song and shows that the heart does rebuild itself and that despite feeling unable to ever love again, like an elastic it returns to its former self. Its empowering and urges the listener to carry on, in spite of the pain which will strike a chord with anyone going through heartbreak. Free the Animal features the unique sound of a marimba which sounds very exotic and almost primal. This song asks us to regress and embrace our natural lust for love. Sia turns the well-known phrase to “love to death” into a violent, passionate, enrapturing image of the soul. This song is pure genius!
And now as we’ve kindled the embers of young love, glowing with passion our hearts are set ablaze. Fire meets Gasoline tells of two willing parties becoming engorged in flames. Cellophane tells of a broken soul, pleading for help. The vocals on this track are so strong and one can feel the destitution of finding oneself so broken, so desperate. We’re so weak; we’ve lost the strength to hide the pain.
We end the album with Dressed in Black. This powerful track presents a broken person who has retreated to the shadows of their desolate heart. Enshrined amidst a self-built tomb we are approached by a lover who is breaking down the walls. “And you covered my heart in kisses.”
I think it is fair to say that Sia knows a thing or two about love, she understands the dark ugly side to it we often care to omit. In 1000 Forms of Fear, she shows us how our greatest happiness’s and sadness’s both resonate from the same place – the heart. Whilst we need to become vulnerable to experience true love, it also means we’re open to being hurt. And should we choose to numb the pain by blocking out the world we miss out on the possibility of experiencing happiness in its true unrefined beautiful forms.