It was either Soren Kierkegaard or Wayne Campbell from Wayneâ€™s World who said: â€œOnce you label me, you negate me.â€ And so it goes with Sia â€“ whose latest release, Some People Have Real Problems, was filed in the electronica section of my local record store. Siaâ€™s career veered into the electronica territory when she did some vocals for Zero 7, and her musical contribution to Six Feet Underâ€™s series finale (â€œBreathe Meâ€) demonstrated she can be a rather intense singer.
Flash forward to 2008, and Sia sounds like sheâ€™s ditched electronica to dabble in jazz, show tunes stylings, and straight-ahead pop. The most radio-friendly tunes on Some People Have Real Problems being â€œThe Girl You Lost to Cocaineâ€ (download) and the hidden track at the end of â€œLullaby.â€ Sia even does a cover of the Pretendersâ€™ â€œI Go to Sleepâ€ that is quite lovely — and almost surpasses the original.
Perhaps itâ€™s my penchant for odd songs that made me warm up to â€œAcademiaâ€ (download), but I found that the semi-robotic style of Sia’s vocals (with additional vocals by Beck) helped make it one of the strongest cuts on the CD. I donâ€™t quite know how to classify this CD other than to say, that at times it has â€œFeatured at Starbucksâ€ written all over it. The first five songs are pleasant and thoughtful pop tunes for the furrowed-brow crowd who enjoy sipping coffee combinations at a certain famed coffeehouse behemoth. After â€œAcademia,â€ however, the songs sound a little less conventional and a little more interesting, with some compositions inviting comparisons to Fiona Apple.
If you still buy CDs, you may find Siaâ€™s Some People Have Real Problems in the electronica section. But get ready for a collection of songs that defy labeling.