1000 Forms of Fear


Jul 04, 2019

Big Breakthrough

Written by @vildanasuta from Living Like V / 7 mins read

Sia Kate Isobelle Furler was born on 18 December 1975 in Adelaide, South Australia. Her father, Phil Colson, is a musician, and her mother, Loene Furler, is an art lecturer. Sia is the niece of actor-singer Kevin Colson. She said that as a child she imitated the performing style of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Sting, whom she cites as early influences. She attended Adelaide High School. In the mid-1990s, Sia started a career as a singer in the local acid jazz band Crisp. She collaborated with the band and contributed vocals to their album Word and the Deal (1995) and EP Delirium (1997). In 1997 Crisp disbanded, and Sia released her debut studio album, OnlySee, on Flavoured Records, in Australia, on 23 December. The album sold about 1,200 copies. Unlike her later albums, OnlySee was marketed under her full name, Sia Furler. It was produced by Jesse Flavell. She moved to London, England, and provided lead vocals for the British duo Zero 7. In 2000, Sia released her second studio album, Healing Is Difficult, on the Columbia label the following year, and her third studio album, Colour the Small One, in 2004, but all of these struggled to connect with a mainstream audience. Sia relocated to New York City in 2005 and toured in the United States. Her fourth and fifth studio albums, Some People Have Real Problems and We Are Born, were released in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Each was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association and attracted wider notice than her earlier albums. Uncomfortable with her growing fame, Sia took a hiatus from performing, during which she focused on songwriting for other artists, producing successful collaborations "Titanium" (with David Guetta), "Diamonds" (with Rihanna) and "Wild Ones" (with Flo Rida). In 2014, Sia finally broke through as a solo recording artist when her sixth studio album, 1000 Forms of Fear, debuted at No 1 in the U.S. Billboard 200 and generated the top-ten single "Chandelier" and a trilogy of music videos starring child dancer Maddie Ziegler. In an interview published by NME in February 2015, Furler revealed that the album as a contractual obligation: “Basically, I put this out to get out of my publishing deal. I was planning to be a pop song writer for other artists. But my publishing deal was as an artist, so I had to put one more album out. I didn’t want to get famous, so I kept all the songs I wanted and had fun making it.”

Partying To Excess

“Chandelier” was released as the lead single from Sia’s sixth studio album, 1000 Forms Of Fear. Despite its soaring melody, the song has a sad theme describing the life of a “party girl”. On the track, Sia talks about her alcohol and drug addiction. The song has been described as Sia’s breakthrough performance due to its huge commercial success and critical acclaim. Sia has written songs for pop stars like Rihanna, Katy Perry and Britney Spears, but this time she saves the “swing from the chandelier” moment for her own angelic voice. Billboard named the track one of the most memorable choruses of all time. The music for the song was released featuring American dancer, Maddie Ziegler from the TV show Dance Moms. The video was directed by Sia and Daniel Askill and choreographed by Ryan Heffington. The music video received a lot of praise from critics, many calling it the “most groundbreaking” music video of 2014. Ziegler’s dancing was pointed as the highlight of the video, pushing her to widespread popularity. The video went on to receive multiple award nominations including the Grammy Award for Best Music Video. Sia recreated the music video during promotional live performances as well. Before "Chandelier", Sia was a singer with mediocre success. She was really struggling to push her career when she lost her partner to an accident. She got addicted to drugs, suffered depression and even wrote a suicide note. Drugs and alcohol were her only coping mechanisms. This song is about the time she was addicted to alcohol and drugs and her struggle to get out of it.

If It Hurts, You Will Feel It

The song "Big Girls Cry" is very literal. There aren't many veiled messages, just a lot of pulse-words that are meant to deliver the meaning with little else. Imagine being in a long-term relationship for quite some time, and then it ends, and you are left to your own devices, leading your own life apart from them (especially with the aspect of being a "tough girl" and not crying)… she says she comes home from work or whatever on her own, no one has attempted to contact her all day, she pretends to be busy anyway as if it doesn't matter that no one is trying to see her, order some take-out, watch TV all night (informercials = pay TV...), and then wake up alone only to repeat the process. She says it quite literally that it's agony to be so alone with so many standards to uphold, to look strong and tough, to look unbothered by a major event in her life, and then finally just admitting that despite all the make-up and smiles and pretending to be something, that she is in pain and her heart is breaking. There is a saying, and a song by Fergie, "Big Girls Don't Cry"... this is saying exactly the opposite, that it doesn't matter how old you are, if you are hurt, it is okay to cry. She's stuck in a perpetual loop of being expected to remain strong, look pretty, sit up straight, don't cry, and not being able to do it, seemingly resulting in a public breakdown because she has been hurt and by someone she loves/loved and she is lonely. Sia also wrote the song "Pretty Hurts" by Beyonce, and if you compare the lyrics to this song with that one, it's almost like they could be counterparts to the same story, most likely direct experiences from her life.

The Battle Not To Fall Apart

Elastic Heart concerns a particularly tolling relationship (and the inevitable break-up). Although she has been hurt in the past, Sia has learned to protect herself by living with a newfound wariness when falling in love. The song was originally released for the 2013 film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as a collaboration with Canadian R&B singer The Weeknd. This solo version was released as a single in 2015. The music video features actor Shia LaBeouf and “Dance Moms” star Maddie Ziegler dancing an animalistic duet in a big cage. In Sia's video, Maddie Ziegler is affliction, charismatic in her wildness and her anger. By the video’s end, she’s driven Shia LaBeouf to exhaustion, to his slump at the cage's edge. Mania’s push and pull requires an elastic heart. It’s a battle, as Sia writes, not to "fall apart".