Sia Expands ‘This Is Acting’ with Deluxe Edition
Sia expands ‘This Is Acting’ with the release of a deluxe edition. The Deluxe adds highlights with “Cheap Thrills,” “The Greatest,” and “Jesus Wept.”
On January 29, 2016, Sia released This Is Acting, an album made up of rejected songs by big-named artists. That sounds horrible, but the album of songs co-written by Sia turned out to be a blessing for her. It earned her another top-five album, and a no. 1 hit, “Cheap Thrills.” What better way to celebrate than expand This Is Acting into a deluxe edition?
“Bird Set Free” and “Alive”
Before exploring the expanded edition of the album, the original version featured some standout moments. The best of the bunch arrived at the top of the album. Listening to the dramatic, uplifting “Bird Set Free” (co-written with Greg Kurstin), it’s hard to believe another artist passed on it. Sia nails it. The same can be said of “Alive” (co-written by Adele), a power ballad in a similar vein.
“Move Your Body”
“Bird Set Free” and “Alive” represent the best of the best. Still, This Is Acting features other highlights. Up-tempo record “Move Your Body” is fun, but certainly not transcendent. Call it what it is – a guilty pleasure. Follow up “Unstoppable” represents another respectable moment. “Unstoppable” benefits from excellent production work and a memorable chorus.
“I’m unstoppable / I’m a Porsche with no brakes / I’m invincible / yeah, I win every single game / I’m so powerful / I don’t need batteries to play / I’m so confident, yeah I’m unstoppable today…”
“Reaper” provided the original issue of This Is Acting another great moment. In a review for Starpulse (penned by yours truly), the following was said in regard to “Reaper”:
“Reaper,” another reject from Rihanna is stronger and one of the songs that is more memorable from this particular album. Sia’s vocals are assertive and the energy is present from start to finish. The chorus rules here.”
Another song worth mentioning is “House on Fire,” which graced our evergreen playlist, 14 ‘House’ Songs More Thrilling Than Chilling at the House.
“Cheap Thrills” and “The Greatest”
The deluxe edition of This Is Acting adds seven songs. “Cheap Thrills,” featuring Sean Paul starts the show. This remixed version of the song that ended up being a no. 1 hit. “Cheap Thrills” and follow-up “The Greatest” (featuring Kendrick Lamar) are the biggest attractions of the deluxe edition. When reviewing greatest previously, we summed it up, stating:
“All in all, “The Greatest” is yet another potential hit at the hands of Sia. It’s slickly produced and features an uplifting, positive message. Unlike so many pop artists, she doesn’t need to be profane or aim low – she goes bigger and benefits because of it. While Kendrick Lamar doesn’t deliver his most transcendent verse, his appearance only amplifies the potential success of this song.”
Beyond the crème de la crème, Sia adds three more brand new songs: “Confetti,” “Midnight Decisions,” and “Jesus Wept.” “Confetti” follows the two up-tempo attractions, slowing the tempo slightly. Of the new songs – all ballads – “Confetti” is the liveliest. It is in the mold of the likes of “Chandelier,” “Bird Set Free,” and “Alive.” As always, Sia delivers a passionate performance, showcasing the sheer power of pipes. The cracks add to the completeness of the performance.
Later, “Midnight Decisions” arrives, dramatic in nature and soundly performed. It doesn’t supersede her most powerful solo ballads, but is a solid addition to the collection nonetheless. “Jesus Wept” is the crowning achievement of This Is Acting deluxe. It is stunningly beautiful – enigmatic, haunting, and powerful. Even so, the spotlight will continue to shine on “Cheap Thrills” and “The Greatest.”
Five of seven songs have been accounted for – what about the other two? Following “Confetti,” the Alan Walker Remix of “Move Your Body” pads the deluxe version. It is enjoyable, but wouldn’t be enough to sway a buyer to purchase or repurchase This Is Acting. The closing cut, “The Greatest” eliminates the contributions of K-Dot.
Ultimately, This Is Acting is an enjoyable album. It’s imperfect, even in its deluxe form, but theirs is plenty to like. Vocally, Sia is on autopilot throughout. She’s a terrific songwriter.
Gems: “Bird Set Free,” “Alive,” “Reaper,” “Cheap Thrills” (ft. Sean Paul), “The Greatest” (ft. Kendrick Lamar) & “Jesus Wept”