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Sia - This Is Acting (Deluxe Version)

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This Is Acting (Deluxe Version)

Sia

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Reflecting her years as a music industry veteran, Sia Furler took a self-aware, practical approach to her return to the spotlight. She recorded her comeback album, 1000 Forms of Fear, to get out of her publishing contract; its acclaim led to This Is Acting, a collection of songs originally written for -- and rejected by -- clients such as Adele, Rihanna, and Beyoncé. As the album title hints, there's more going on here than just recycling. In a way, Furler is acting when she writes songs to fit the images these artists portray, and her own interpretations of them add another layer of theatrical distance. This isn't necessarily a bad thing -- she initially shopped "Chandelier" to Rihanna and Beyoncé before keeping it for herself and imbuing it with the unique frailty that made it a smash hit. Sia's skill at crafting songs full of drama and vulnerability that feel real, no matter how loud they get, is in full force on This Is Acting, particularly its first two tracks. Originally intended for Adele -- another master of huge-yet-genuine-sounding songs -- "Bird Set Free" and "Alive" are filled with wounded empowerment and vocal acrobatics that sound just as powerful (if less bombastic) coming from Sia. Elsewhere, Furler's songwriting is more generic, for better and worse: "Unstoppable" boasts the confidence of a hit single that could belong to any number of divas, but even a presence as compelling as Sia can't elevate "Broken Glass" or the Beyoncé reject "Footprints" above cookie-cutter balladry. Though she returns to the intimate songwriting of her pre-pop career on "One Million Bullets" -- the lone song Furler wrote for herself -- many of This Is Acting's most interesting and successful moments happen when Sia takes on more unexpected roles. A pair of songs intended for Rihanna let her show off a more lighthearted side: The spare, reggae-tinged pulse of "Cheap Thrills" echoes Major Lazer's "Lean On" (yet another song Rihanna rejected), but a backing chorus of what sounds like alien children reinforces that this is a Sia song, while "Reaper" lets her explore a more easygoing version of her seize-the-day anthems. Given that Furler didn't originally plan to make these songs her own, it's impressive that This Is Acting works as well as it does -- only the wannabe banger "Move Your Body" and "Sweet Design"'s flashy, hard-hitting R&B are truly unconvincing. For the most part, however, This Is Acting's meta-pop is another example of how cleverly Sia brings her her experiments into the mainstream. ~ Heather Phares

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This Is Acting (Deluxe Version)

Sia

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1
Bird Set Free 00:04:12

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Greg Kurstin, Composer, Engineer, Lyricist, Producer - alex pasco, Engineer - Julian Burg, Engineer - Manny Marroquin, Mixing Engineer - Chris Galland, Assistant Engineer - Ike Schultz, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

2
Alive 00:04:23

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Jesse Shatkin, Bass, Engineer, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Producer, Programmer, Strings, Synthesizer - Adele Adkins, Composer, Lyricist - Tobias Jesso Jr, Composer, Lyricist, Piano - Garrett Ray, Drums - Erick Serna, Guitar - Jamie Wosk - Manny Marroquin, Mixing Engineer - Chris Galland, Assistant Engineer - Ike Schultz, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

3
One Million Bullets 00:04:12

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Jesse Shatkin, Bass, Composer, Drums, Guitar, Keyboards, Lyricist, Producer, Programmer, Recording Engineer

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

4
Move Your Body 00:04:07

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Greg Kurstin, Composer, Engineer, Lyricist, Producer - alex pasco, Engineer - Julian Burg, Engineer - Manny Marroquin, Mixing Engineer - Chris Galland, Assistant Engineer - Ike Schultz, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

5
Unstoppable 00:03:37

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Jesse Shatkin, Bass, Drums, Guitar, Keyboards, Producer, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Christopher Braide, Composer, Lyricist - Jamie Wosk

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

6
Cheap Thrills 00:03:31

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Greg Kurstin, Composer, Engineer, Lyricist, Producer - alex pasco, Engineer - Julian Burg, Engineer - Manny Marroquin, Mixing Engineer - Chris Galland, Assistant Engineer - Ike Schultz, Assistant Engineer - Jesse Shatkin, Recording Engineer

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

7
Reaper 00:03:39

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Jesse Shatkin, Drums, Piano, Producer, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Kayne West, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Noah Goldstein, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Charles Misodi Njapa, Composer, Lyricist - Chris Wrays, Guitar, Keyboards - Dom $olo, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Manny Marroquin, Mixing Engineer - Chris Galland, Assistant Engineer - Ike Schultz, Assistant Engineer - 88-Keys, Producer - Jake Sinclair, Producer - Jaime Wosk, Engineer - Julian Burg, Engineer - Suzy Shinn, Engineer

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

8
House On Fire 00:04:01

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Jesse Shatkin, Bass, Drums, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Producer, Programmer, Recording Engineer, Synthesizer - Jack Antonoff, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Jake Sinclair, Percussion, Piano, Producer, Tambourine - Manny Marroquin, Mixing Engineer - Chris Galland, Assistant Engineer - Ike Schultz, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

9
Footprints 00:03:13

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Jesse Shatkin, Drums, Engineer, Keyboards, Producer, Programmer - Tyler Williams, Composer, Lyricist - Josh Valle, Composer, Guitar, Lyricist, Producer - T-Minus, Bass, Drums, Engineer, Piano, Producer, Programmer - Nikhil Seetharam, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Erick Serna, Associated Performer - Manny Marroquin, Mixing Engineer - Chris Galland, Assistant Engineer - Ike Schultz, Assistant Engineer - Julian Burg, Engineer - Stuart White, Recording Engineer - Rob Suchecki, Recording Engineer - Jamie Wosk

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

10
Sweet Design 00:02:25

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Greg Kurstin, Bass, Composer, Drums, Engineer, Guitar, Keyboards, Lyricist, Producer - Mark Andrews, Composer, Lyricist - alex pasco, Engineer - Robi Rosa, Composer, Lyricist - Joseph Longo, Composer, Lyricist - Julian Burg, Engineer - Manny Marroquin, Mixing Engineer - Tim Kelley, Composer, Lyricist - Bob Robinson, Composer, Lyricist - Chris Galland, Assistant Engineer - Desmond Child, Composer, Lyricist - Ike Schultz, Assistant Engineer - Marquis Collins, Composer, Lyricist

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

11
Broken Glass 00:04:24

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Jesse Shatkin, Bass, Composer, Drums, Guitar, Keyboards, Lyricist, Producer, Programmer, Recording Engineer - Jasper Leak, Composer, Lyricist - Manny Marroquin, Mixing Engineer - Chris Galland, Assistant Engineer - Ike Schultz, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

12
Space Between 00:04:48

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Cameron Deyell, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Producer - Christopher Braide, Composer, Lyricist, Recording Engineer - Manny Marroquin, Mixing Engineer - Chris Galland, Assistant Engineer - Ike Schultz, Assistant Engineer - James Brown, Engineer

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

13
Cheap Thrills 00:03:44

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sean Paul, Associated Performer, Featured Artist - Sia feat. Sean Paul, Associated Performer - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Greg Kurstin, Composer, Lyricist - Sean Paul Henriques, Composer, Lyricist

(P) 2015 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

14
The Greatest (feat. Kendrick Lamar) 00:03:30

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Kendrick Lamar, Associated Performer, Composer, Featured Artist, Lyricist - Sia feat. Kendrick Lamar, Associated Performer - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Greg Kurstin, Composer, Engineer, Lyricist, Producer - alex pasco, Engineer - Julian Burg, Engineer - Serban Ghenea, Mixing Engineer - John Hanes, Engineer

(P) 2016 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

15
Confetti 00:04:06

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Christopher Braide, Composer, Lyricist, Recording Engineer - Jesse Shatkin, Bass, Drums, Mixing Engineer, Percussion, Piano, Producer, Programmer, Recording Engineer, Synthesizer - Sam Dent, Engineer

(P) 2016 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

16
Move Your Body (Alan Walker Remix) 00:03:37

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Alan Walker, Engineer, Other, Re-Mixer - Anders Froen, Engineer, Other - Greg Kurstin, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Mood Melodies, Re-Mixer - Gunnar Greve, Co-Producer - Sören Von Malmborg, Mixing Engineer

(P) 2016 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

17
Midnight Decisions 00:03:42

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Christopher Braide, Bass, Composer, Drums, Electric Guitar, Lyricist, Other, Percussion, Piano, Producer, Programmer, Recording Engineer, Strings, Synthesizer - Erik Madrid, Mixing Engineer - Jorge Gutiérrez, Assistant Engineer

(P) 2016 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

18
Jesus Wept 00:05:29

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Samuel Dixon, Composer, Lyricist

(P) 2016 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

19
The Greatest 00:03:30

Sia, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sia Furler, Composer, Lyricist - Greg Kurstin, Composer, Engineer, Lyricist, Producer - alex pasco, Engineer - Julian Burg, Engineer - Serban Ghenea, Mixing Engineer - John Hanes, Engineer

(P) 2016 Monkey Puzzle Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records

Album Description

Reflecting her years as a music industry veteran, Sia Furler took a self-aware, practical approach to her return to the spotlight. She recorded her comeback album, 1000 Forms of Fear, to get out of her publishing contract; its acclaim led to This Is Acting, a collection of songs originally written for -- and rejected by -- clients such as Adele, Rihanna, and Beyoncé. As the album title hints, there's more going on here than just recycling. In a way, Furler is acting when she writes songs to fit the images these artists portray, and her own interpretations of them add another layer of theatrical distance. This isn't necessarily a bad thing -- she initially shopped "Chandelier" to Rihanna and Beyoncé before keeping it for herself and imbuing it with the unique frailty that made it a smash hit. Sia's skill at crafting songs full of drama and vulnerability that feel real, no matter how loud they get, is in full force on This Is Acting, particularly its first two tracks. Originally intended for Adele -- another master of huge-yet-genuine-sounding songs -- "Bird Set Free" and "Alive" are filled with wounded empowerment and vocal acrobatics that sound just as powerful (if less bombastic) coming from Sia. Elsewhere, Furler's songwriting is more generic, for better and worse: "Unstoppable" boasts the confidence of a hit single that could belong to any number of divas, but even a presence as compelling as Sia can't elevate "Broken Glass" or the Beyoncé reject "Footprints" above cookie-cutter balladry. Though she returns to the intimate songwriting of her pre-pop career on "One Million Bullets" -- the lone song Furler wrote for herself -- many of This Is Acting's most interesting and successful moments happen when Sia takes on more unexpected roles. A pair of songs intended for Rihanna let her show off a more lighthearted side: The spare, reggae-tinged pulse of "Cheap Thrills" echoes Major Lazer's "Lean On" (yet another song Rihanna rejected), but a backing chorus of what sounds like alien children reinforces that this is a Sia song, while "Reaper" lets her explore a more easygoing version of her seize-the-day anthems. Given that Furler didn't originally plan to make these songs her own, it's impressive that This Is Acting works as well as it does -- only the wannabe banger "Move Your Body" and "Sweet Design"'s flashy, hard-hitting R&B are truly unconvincing. For the most part, however, This Is Acting's meta-pop is another example of how cleverly Sia brings her her experiments into the mainstream. ~ Heather Phares

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