February 8, 2021 Sia – MUSIC – Songs From And Inspired By The Original Motion Picture (Album Review)
While many of us have spent our downtime throughout the past year pining for a night out, Australian powerhouse singer-songwriter Sia has been feverishly creating—both a film and an accompanying studio album. No, not a soundtrack, per se, but MUSIC – Songs From And Inspired By The Original Motion Picture. Monkey Puzzle/Atlantic Records deliver the collection on Friday, February 12, 2021.
The release of MUSIC – Songs From And Inspired By The Original Motion Picture coincides with the opening of the Drama/Musical, which was directed by Sia and stars Kate Hudson, longtime Sia collaborator Maddie Ziegler, and Leslie Odom Jr. The story of a newly sober woman (Hudson) who becomes the sole guardian of her half-sister (Ziegler), a young woman who is on the autism spectrum, Music revolves around themes of self-discovery and family.
So a collection of tracks inspired by the film is guaranteed to be an emotional journey, right? Well, throughout the 14-song collection, the songstress is careful to balance soaring, cinematic moments with light-hearted, upbeat bops. Mixed by Serban Ghenea (Rihanna, Ellie Goulding), along with Jesse Shatkin (Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Clarkson), Greg Kurstin (Pink, Niall Horan), and multi Grammy Award winning DJ David Guetta, MUSIC – Songs From And Inspired By The Original Motion Picture features contributions from the likes of P!nk, Dua Lipa, Labrinth, KAMILLE, Burna Boy, and more. But don’t get your hopes up for a P!nk x Sia or Dua Lipa x Sia single just yet: the two exceptional performers only provide songwriting contributions.
However, there’s still plenty to enjoy throughout MUSIC – Songs From And Inspired By The Original Motion Picture, which opens with a figurative bang to the chipper “Together.” Truthfully, we didn’t realize that Sia’s warm and comforting voice calling for unity and love was exactly what we needed until it arrived—and it’s the perfect balm for 2021. Standing as a very opposite offering, second track “Hey Boy” serves as an unintentional anthem that sees the vocalist inviting all her single ladies to get funky, calling to mind Queen Bee.
In some senses, these two tracks represent the yin and yang of the album as a whole: part inspired and uplifting lyrical content and part simplistic bops. The piano and vocal led ballad “Saved My Life,” co-written with Dua Lipa, would fall into the former category; an impassioned moment and a gorgeously moving tribute to the one who was sent to help us save our lives. It’s a show-stopping moment that won’t be topped later on, although the stunning “Courage to Change,” co-written with the high-flying Miss P!nk, certainly makes an excellent case for best track.
Then there are the less dramatic tracks, lyrically speaking. From the soft island breezes that flit across “Floating Through Space” and “Miracle,” to the Moog synths in “Eye to Eye” and more summery swaying throughout “1 + 1,” MUSIC – Songs From And Inspired By The Original Motion Picture revels in warmth, and dewy sonics that suggest beach-time vibes. Although the lyrical content does not always beam with pure sunshine, though there is always an abundant caress of hope. Moments such as the cinematically grandiose “Beautiful Things Can Happen,” ethereal atmospherics of “Lie To Me,” and the experimental “Oblivion,” featuring a flawless guest vocal from Labrinth, have further depth.
Unfortunately, “Play Dumb” is largely forgettable filler and the titular track, “Music,” is a bit of a mixed bag. While it’s musical score is stunningly filmic in nature, Sia’s vocal performance is not the best on the collection—not bad by any means, but this siren can do better, sing bolder. Speaking of which, while the alternate version of “Hey Boy” that includes the talented Burna Boy is an even catchier take on the original thanks to his inclusion, it’s an odd note to end on.
As a standalone collection, MUSIC – Songs From And Inspired By The Original Motion Picture offers plenty of diversity, but there still exists the possibility of an even greater eclecticism to show off the talented singer’s range and skills. Similarly, throughout there are gorgeously moving moments and sweeping musical vistas, though they don’t always meet inside the same songs. For those that are already fans of the singer-songwriter, her ninth LP certainly won’t turn you off, but for those who are not yet fans, it might not be a reason to convert. And yet, there’s still a lot to be said for a woman who is creative enough to write and direct her own film, compose its complementary collection, as well as an original score (which also arrives on February 12th), and still have time to smile. For this, Cryptic Rock gives MUSIC – Songs From And Inspired By The Original Motion Picture 3.5 out of 5 stars.