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'We Are Born' [NON-FAN REVIEW]
on June 28, 2010
A lot of the reviews posted from this album thus far on Amazon seem to be from fans of Sia - which is fine, but my review is from the perspective of someone who has just come upon Sia so may be a bit different. The single "Clap Your Hands" is what attracted me to Sia. The song and the video that followed definitely felt offbeat and fresh, two things that do not tend to get a lot of attention in the U.S. market these days. I decided to give the entire album a chance and am on the fence about it. 'We Are Born' seems to be a concept album - just by the artwork alone you get the sense of Sia and her music being a bit playful, fun and child-like. 'We Are Born' feels like an album that musically explores the innocence, fun and freedom that comes with childhood and the burden, heartbreak and angst that comes with getting older and dealing with changing relationships.
The Good: The 'child' part of the album, being mostly the first half, is exceptionally good and fun. These tracks are spontaneous, fun and straight-up dance inspiring. "The Fight" sets up this inner conflict between the kid and adult that we'll deal with the whole album; "Clap Your Hands" is all about having fun and letting go; "Stop Trying" is another of the albums' best tracks, with kids in the background singing "we are you!" as if to aid in the rebellion of getting older and letting life and troubles get the best of you. There are other uptempo tracks including "Bring the Night" that make the album stand out as being creative and unique.
The Bad: The so-called "down-tempo" tracks aren't necessarily bad but to me don't go well with the tracks mentioned above. These tracks feel like the 'adult' tracks, showing off a more mature sound and dealing with grown-up issues like heartbreak, relationships gone sour and life getting a bit more complicated with age. "Be Good To Me" is a sultry song where Sia pleads with her lover to stand by her and how she'll be dedicated to him for doing so; "You've Changed" has Sia commenting on how a man she's known since childhood has actually gotten better with age; "Big Girl Little Girl" has the carefree 'fun' persona that was present in the dance tracks lecturing the older, burdened adult on the down-tempo tracks that she shouldn't let life get her down. The down-tempo tracks felt a bit jarring considering they follow a slew of great dance and party numbers that are optimistic, happy and celebratory. How the album ends, with these two different sides of Sia trying to find common ground brings down the album a bit, making it something of a psycho-analytic musical journey. The last track, a cover of Madonna's "Oh Father", makes you wonder if it was just a cover thrown in to strike up interest or if, in the story arc being told through the music, if Sia's relationship woes she sings of stems from issues between father and daughter.
In all, it's an okay album. As a new Sia fan, I can't compare it to her past works. I really enjoyed the dance/uptempo tracks because they felt carefree, fun, inspired and unlike anything considered "in" or "popular" in the U.S. market today. These tracks make Sia and her music very appealing. The down-tempo tracks with her lamenting about her relationship issues, however, feel a bit less inspired, overdone, and unexceptional. I'd get the upbeat tracks and consider skipping some of the slower numbers from this release.
Listen to These: "Stop Trying", "Clap Your Hands", "Bring Night", "Oh Father"