Album Reviews

Sia – Reasonable Woman

(Atlantic) UK release date: 3 May 2024

The Australian star’s latest is full of soaring pop anthems which are easy to sing along to, and proof that she can still hit the high marks

Sia - Reasonable Woman If it’s not broke, then why try to fix it? That seems be Sia‘s mantra over the past few years, and it’s an understandable one. As well as producing genuine pop bangers such as Chandelier and Titanium, Sia Furler has also become one of the most successful songwriters of our times, working with the likes of Rihanna, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus to stamp herself across the modern pop landscape.

However, there’s a definite sense that some of the shine has come off the Sia brand in recent years. Her much vaunted film, Music, was a bona-fide flop, and attracted a lot of criticism from the autistic community over casting choices and a scene in which physical restraint was depicted. In recent years, her music too has become as predictable while never quite reaching the heights of her earlier work.

Reasonable Woman certainly sounds like a Sia album. There’s the usual cast list of guest stars – this time around, Kylie Minogue and Labrinth are joined by none other than the former embodiment of modern celebrity culture Paris Hilton – and Furler’s regular producers Greg Kurstin and Jesse Shatkin are sharing producer credits. And, as usual, it sounds ENORMOUS – full of soaring pop anthems which are easy to sing along to.

It is, at least, a big step up from the Music soundtrack, which sounded like a thrown together bunch of formulaic Sia songs. Reasonable Woman does sound like some care’s been taken over it – opening track Little Wing (no relation to the Jimi Hendrix song of the same name) is a big, uplifting ode to a troubled friend (“don’t give up, keep trying, I know soon you’ll be flying”). It may not win points for originality, but it’s what Sia does best.

That’s followed by Immortal Queen, which has a real swagger and crunch to it, and the inevitable big swell of a chorus – the sort of pop music you should play very loud. The Kylie collaboration, the self-empowerment ode to solitary clubbing Dance Alone, is also a decent pop-dance track, even if it does pale in comparison to anything that was on Minogue’s album last year.

There is though, a fair amount of forgettable, formulaic songs on Reasonable Woman. Tracks like Towards The Sun, One Night and Go On are very much filler, while Champion is suitably uplifting and arresting, but is diminished by too much auto-tune and a seemingly endless procession of guest rap verses. The duet with Paris Hilton, Fame Won’t Love You, is a decidedly self-referential, meta anthem about the perils of chasing fame, but Hilton’s voice is not a good match for the far stronger vocals of Sia, who overpowers her when the two sing together.

At 15 tracks, it’s also way too long, although in a world where a Taylor Swift album can last for two hours, Sia isn’t the only pop star in need of an editor. However, when it’s on form, Reasonable Woman is proof that Sia can still hit those high marks like she’s always been able to. The trouble is that there’s just not enough of those high points on this record.

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Sia – Reasonable Woman
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