Here's a repost of one of my amazon reviews:
This album is incredible. Let me expand. I, like many others in the U.S., was introduced to Sia by her single "Breathe Me" which blew me away and basically obligated me to buy this album right away. While Breathe Me is still my favorite song on the album, every song on this album is so good that I've been listening to it over and over again every day for months, and with the size of my library, that's extremely rare.
I've enjoyed her contributions on the Zero 7 albums for a long time, and I recently bought her debut solo effort "Healing is Difficult," but both of these projects differ from each other and sound much different than Colour. Her first album is much more beat-oriented, with infusions of R&B and a little jazz influence. Overall, the songs are musically sound and catchy, but her voice does not really get a chance to shine. Her work on Zero 7 accomplishes this better, and comes closer to the sound on Colour, but because it was primarily the work of the other two band members, it wasn't her own work and thus was not a proper representation of her talent.
Colour the Small One is a towering achievement, and deserves attention as one of the best albums to be released of late. Sia's voice is almost surreal in its beauty and range--sometimes a light, airy, but melancholy and seemingly effortless expression, other times a piercing, forceful, fluctuating unique sound that seems to serve a cathartic purpose, and certainly demands attention. It's difficult to describe the overall sound of the album, but perhaps a discussion of the instrumentation will be enlightening: there is an electronic component to the album, but it's by no means a dance album, and fits more into a chill category. The use of acoustic guitar is right on: the music isn't centered on it, but is beautifully accompanied by it. Piano provides a similar backing. Orchestral bits (cello, flute, etc.) only contribute to the overall feel and beauty of the album. Each song sounds different but they all seem to fit so well together. Many of the songs are composed of slower verses, and drawn out and repetitive choruses, but this is not a negative thing, because Sia's voice is all you want to hear, and it really shines in this album.
I don't really know who to compare her to, because her sound is so unique, but Tori Amos, Feist, a little Rachael Yamagata, and of course Zero 7 come to mind. Everyone of my friends who have heard any of her music inevitably ask who it is and love her immediately. Needless to say, I highly recommend this album. It is both sad and refreshingly hopeful at the same time. Breathe Me still blows me away every time I hear it, and I cannot stop listening to the other songs such as Don't Bring Me Down, Moon, The Church of What's Happening Now, and Numb....I also saw her live a few nights ago, and while I wasn't sure what to expect, again I was blown away. Never have I seen an artist have so much fun on stage, but also so in the zone while singing. That supports her talent: Sia is incredible in her songwriting and her execution. The lyrics are deep and meaningful, not superficial poppy stuff, and her execution is of the utmost maturity. You will love this album, it's too varied to be categorized, and too beautiful not to appreciate.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I decided to review a song somewhat periodically so that my favorite bits of music would get the attention they deserve. I chose to make The Good Life's "Album of the Year" my first because every time I listen to this song, I think, that might be the best song I've ever heard.
The frontman of The Good Life, Tim Kasher, is a genius songwriter, telling the stories of lost love and loneliness that progress over the course of a year, encapsulated in the twelve tracks (months) of this album. The opener is April, and like the rhyme "april showers bring may flowers," metaphorically the song presents both the melancholy of loss and hope for the future.
This album has been aptly described as "Catchy, moody, pop rock that fluctuates between the all-ages club and the smoky cabaret, right alongside sing-along crescendos that spin into cinematic bursts," and it's these bursts, like on this track, that make this band so engaging.
Kasher recounts the story of a relationship, from when they met until the last time they saw each other, reminiscing on important little moments, while only hinting at what caused their demise. The key to this song, I believe, is that the music perfectly complements the lyrics, in that the emotional parts of the music follow the emotional parts of the song. It seems that the way he sings this song is exactly how he would sing it if he were simply recalling his ended relationship. If you've ever felt any of the feelings he releases, you'll get into this song and it will seem like it's your own.
Anyway, here's the song (listen to it loudly):
...And the lyrics:
The first time that I met her I was throwing up in the ladies room stall. She asked me if I needed anything; I said, “I think I spilled my drink.” And that’s how it started (or so I’d like to believe)...
She took me to her mother’s house outside of town where the stars hang down. She said she’d never seen someone so lost, I said I’d never felt so found – and then I kissed her on the cheek... and so she kissed me on the mouth.
Spring was poppin’ daises up ‘round rusted trucks and busted lawn chairs. We moved into a studio in Council Bluffs to save a couple bucks...Where the mice came out at night, neighbors were screaming all the time. We’d make love in the afternoons to Chelsea Girls and Bachelor No. 2. I’d play for her some songs I wrote, she’d joke and say I’m shooting through the roof, I’d say, “They’re all for you, dear, I’ll write the album of the year.”
And I know she loved me then, I swear to God she did. It's way she’d bite my lower lip and push her hips against my hips and dig her nails so deep into my skin.
The first time that I met her I was convinced I had finally found the one. She was convinced I was under the influence of all those drunken romantics – I was reading Fante at the the time – I had Bukowski on the mind. She got a job at Jacob’s serving cocktails to the local drunks. Against her will I fit the the bill: I perched down at the end of the bar. She Said, “Space is not just a place for stars – I gave you an inch, you want a house with a yard.” And I know she loved me once, but those days are gone. She used to call me everyday from a pay phone on her break for lunch – just to say she can’t wait to come home.
The last time that I saw her she was picking through which records were hers. Her clothes were packed in boxes, with some pots and pans and books and a toaster. Just then a mouse scurried across the floor.....we started laughing ‘til it didn’t hurt...