Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Sia aims to return and reboot image with ‘Reasonable Woman’

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Illustration by Sophie Zhang
The album’s release has gone largely under the radar, and it has not yet been ranked on the Billboard Top 200.

A decade ago, Sia emerged as a solo artist when her album “1000 Forms of Fear,” debuted at No. 1 on U.S. Billboard Top 200. Now, she is reimagining her public image with her newest album, “Reasonable Woman.”

The Australian artist has come under fire for a series of controversies. Sia’s “Elastic Heart” video, released in 2015, featured a preteen Maddie Ziegler and 28-year-old Shia LaBeouf dancing in a way many viewers felt was perverted and pedophilic.

Years later, her 2021 film “Music” featured a neurotypical Ziegler portraying a child with autism in a way many felt was insulting and misrepresentative. While Sia tried to clarify her intentions, some fans remained disappointed.

In some ways, Sia’s 10th studio album feels like an attempt to learn from her past and rise from the ashes, both in the reflective lyrics and crescendoing rhythms. After taking three years off since releasing her ninth album, Sia has reemerged in an attempt to reboot her career.

The album begins with a deepened techno-rhythm in “Little Wing,” a song which harkens back to the theme of flight seen in past songs like “Electric Bird” and later songs on “Reasonable Woman.” Sia bursts into belts, crafting a resounding anthem with lyrics like “Don’t give up, keep trying / I know soon you’ll be flying.”

Sia’s work often deals with reconciliation of her childhood and younger self, but this album has a new take. She directly addresses her younger self, distancing from her past while uplifting the present as a space of rebirth and light.

The next two songs remain upbeat and powerful, with features from Chaka Khan and Kylie Minogue, before the album reaches a somber shift in “I Had A Heart.” The aching entrance to the song is met with a brightening chorus and lyrics to match, telling the story of rising above the abandonment of someone she loved. The tone shift within the song itself echoes the rolling sentiments of the album, which move between mournful, grateful and empowered.

The following track, “Gimme Love,” was released in September 2023 as the first single off the record. While it is representative of the overall upbeat tone of the album, it fails to show off some of the more experimental aspects, like exploration of her vocal range or the incorporation of various genres within one song, that depart from Sia’s abstract artistry that the world is used to seeing.

“Incredible,” released in early April as the third single off the album, which features singer and rapper Labrinth, is far more successful. It starts off with a doppler sci-fi beat, built upon by layered modulated vocals. Labrinth’s vocals take over toward the song’s second half before the two artists mix, creating a cohesive yet nonrepetitive sound.

In arguably the most striking feature, Paris Hilton teams up with Sia on “Fame Won’t Love You,” which laments the isolation that comes with being in the public eye, harkening back to the public scandals and falling-outs that both stars have had.

Sia closes out the record with “Rock and Balloon,” a track beginning with softened mumbling and a recollection of dark times. The song swells, rising as she calls to someone who is “the rock to her balloon,” and has loved her in the midst of it all. Calling out to this loved one marks an interesting outward turn after writing so much of the album from an introspective lens.

However, this tonal change at the end seems to signify exactly what the album is meant to discuss — renewal. By closing the chapter of explanation and self-reflection, Sia seems to show she is ready for not just something new, but something more.

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