It was either Soren Kierkegaard or Wayne Campbell from WayneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s World who said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Once you label me, you negate me.Ã¢â‚¬Â And so it goes with Sia Ã¢â‚¬â€œ whose latest release, Some People Have Real Problems, was filed in the electronica section of my local record store. SiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s career veered into the electronica territory when she did some vocals for Zero 7, and her musical contribution to Six Feet UnderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s series finale (Ã¢â‚¬Å“Breathe MeÃ¢â‚¬Â) demonstrated she can be a rather intense singer.
Flash forward to 2008, and Sia sounds like sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Girl You Lost to CocaineÃ¢â‚¬Â (download) and the hidden track at the end of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lullaby.Ã¢â‚¬Â Sia even does a cover of the PretendersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Ã¢â‚¬Å“I Go to SleepÃ¢â‚¬Â that is quite lovely — and almost surpasses the original.
Perhaps itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s my penchant for odd songs that made me warm up to Ã¢â‚¬Å“AcademiaÃ¢â‚¬Â (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 donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite know how to classify this CD other than to say, that at times it has Ã¢â‚¬Å“Featured at StarbucksÃ¢â‚¬Â 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 Ã¢â‚¬Å“Academia,Ã¢â‚¬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 SiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Some People Have Real Problems in the electronica section. But get ready for a collection of songs that defy labeling.