There's a quality involved in Sia's fifth studio album, We Are Born, that resonates from the first second that voices begin to emanate and lasts through the final dwindling fade of guitar at the record's close. This quality is something that seems to be missing overall from the music industry and, in light of all the strife in the world, is something greatly needed. Sia has infused this elusive quality into every possible second that she can on We Are Born, and to great effect. Whether you're listening to some of the funky basslines, the effervescent handclaps, the wrenching vocal delivery, or any other aspect of the album, the quality is there with you. That quality is "fun," and We Are Born is, above all else, supremely fun.
Within one minute of listening to "The Fight," the opening track of We Are Born, I was shaking and shimmying with exuberance and vigor.
That's just how powerful Sia's work is on this album. This is a landmark album for the Aussie, who's work has always been solid and well-made, but until recently has been unable to capture me as a fan. We Are Born snared me irrevocably from that beginning, past the chanting of "We are born" that begins "The Fight." And as the album progressed, I kept telling myself, "No ~this~ is my favorite track!" We Are Born is an immediate classic, being the type of release that can captivate music lovers across defining lines. It is a collection of timeless, perfectly-constructed feel-good anthems and emotional performances that made female singer/songwriters such as Dido, Natalie Imbruglia, and Meredith Brooks such a force to be reckoned with in the 90s. "The Fight," in its three-and-a-half minute length, encapsulates the mood of what can be expected in the opening tracks of the album...
Catchy lyrics wrapped in a groovy/poppy/disco arrangement and dipped in sugary goodness that leaves your finger twitching towards the "back" button while simultaneously leaving you breathless to hear what happens next. In this case, "The Fight" is followed up by the album's official lead single, "Clap Your Hands." The feel-good jam never felt this good before, and Sia's voice resonates playfully on top of ample production. "Stop Trying" is where I really began to feel that every track was more fantastic than the last. Continuing the stream of handclap party tracks that puts you in a haze of wonderful and makes you want to sing, "Stop Trying" is one of those tracks you'll actually be singing along with before the end. It is immensely catchy and while Sia's lyrics are more intelligent than your typical pop track, these are simple to remember and easy to latch on to. "Stop Trying" is followed by "You've Changed," which was originally a production by Lauren Flax that featured Sia. The version on We Are Born is definitely a different direction from the synth-heavy dance track that Flax envisioned it to be. The synth riff in Flax's version is instead presented on what sounds like a glockenspiel. While a video was released for "You've Changed" (which is immensely fun) months before "Clap Your Hands," it isn't counted as the official lead single of the album.
"You've Changed" ends the first act of We Are Born. All of the tracks had a similar vibe and delivery, where "Be Good To Me" begins an act where the music is varied and just as powerful, if not a constant party. "Be Good To Me" is in fact a blues track, full of heart and soul. It is slow and ponderous and utterly enchanting, and a fantastic break from the nonstop party. It ushers in the delicious pop confection, "Bring Night." "Bring Night" sounds like Sia's bid for the big time, with soaring vocals and the catchiest performance I've ever heard from her. This track could easily find friends in the first act, but its home is definitely in the second act. "Bring Night" is a brilliant and modern pop track through and through, lacking the disco vibe that carried through the opening act.