Music Review: Sia “Some People Have Real Problems”

You may or may not have become acquainted with Sia Furler, the 29 year Australian singer, through her successful collaborations with the U.K group Zero 7 . (She lulled me under her spell with “Distractions” and “Destiny” on the Zero 7 album Simple Things).

If you don’t know her from there, do you remember the last six minutes of the “Six Feet Under” finale and soundtrack that featured that ambient and sweeping piano and percussion? That was Sia.

Her voice is not one that is easily digested, but once you become accustomed to the newness and the rawness of it, you want more. Two years after releasing Colour the Small One, Sia and her glorious voice are back with Some People Have Real Problems.

According to Sia, the cover art of her album illustrates a running gag during the recording process, as one person is drawn under a spot of rain, holding an umbrella but still sad faced, while next to them is a person without arms or legs and smiling happily. A self reminder to not complain about her ‘rich people problems.’

Musically, the album is less electronic than her previous work. Quite a few of the songs are about relationships, whether leaving the toxic ones or finding the right one.

Among some of my favorites:

The opening track, “Little Black Sandals”, which is clearly about walking away from a bad relationship.

The second track, “Lentil”, which brought me to new musically emotional heights toward the end, as she so earnestly belts, “I never meant to you put down, I’m trying not to fall apart.”

My absolute favorite song is “Day Too Soon”. Gorgeous through and through, it is about finding your perfect match. I’m already singing this one in the shower, in the car, everywhere.

The Girl You Lost to Cocaine” is a surprisingly fun and upbeat track, while “Academia” (which guest stars Beck on background vocals) is a quirky tune only Sia could pull off.

“I’m a binary code that you cracked long ago” she sings, “But to you I’m just a novel that you wish you’d never wrote / I’m greater than x and lesser than y /so why is it

That I still can’t catch your eye? / You’re a cryptic crossword, a song I’ve never heard /

While I sit here drawing circles I’m afraid of being hurt…”

Some People Have Real Problems is everything lacking in commercial music today – earnest, with incredible vocals, lyrical intensity, and depth. The album is the perfect winter blanket; wrap yourself up in Sia’s voice and let it warm you through winter’s chill.

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