Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sia: We Are Born

Sia and I got off to a little bit of a rough start on this one (if you have getting tired of reading about my running, skip to the paragraph 3- totally understandable). For about a week, people in the Chicago area might as well have lived in Florida during hurricane season for all the rain and horrible winds we had. Last Saturday I very smartly deferred my long weekend run to Sunday (which I usually find some reason to do) because of how wet the path I use was certain to be, not to mention the horrible humidity. Unfortunately, when I woke up on Sunday, not only was it MORE humid, but more thunderstorms were on the way. Because I cannot afford to miss a single long weekend run, I was left with no choice but to head to our community center and run on the indoor track there.

There are both pros and cons to running on this indoor track. The pros: 1). No humidity, which my body simply cannot tolerate; 2). The track is soft, which is easy on the feet; and 3). You can always look out the window and see your car in case you need to abort your run and rush home for an emergency (how I would be notified of said emergency I’m not sure). The cons: 1). You can always look out the window and see your car, which makes it very difficult not to make up some reason to stop running and go home; 2). 12 laps equal a mile, which means plenty of opportunities to be lapped (repeatedly); 3). The corners of this mini-track are banked, and I don’t really “do” inclines in any form; and 4). Extreme boredom. All this can amount to what is referred to in the running world as a “bad run”. Even though it was my first step-back week of marathon training (translation: shorter!), when you feel like a hamster in a wheel, it’s difficult to keep going.

This point about boredom is important because it means I unfairly expect my music to assume the dirty job of entertaining me, and that was a tall order for Sia last Sunday. I really like Sia from a previous album I have and was excited to listen to this album, which was recently released. Unfortunately, Sia’s voice can sound just a tinge whiny and that was not what I needed to keep me going. All this is to say that I didn’t really love the album the first time I listened to it. Still, I persisted this week, listening to it quite a few times through. The thing about Sia is that she can come across as a little laid back and her songs don’t punch you right away, but they definitely grow on you the more you listen.

This album in iTunes came with a 6-minute video where Sia talks about making this album. She’s kind of a cute little blond pixie from Australia and has her dogs and a kitten in the video, which is endearing. I always think it’s interesting to hear an artist discuss what inspired them for a particular song or album or what sound they were going for; unfortunately, that kind of information is sometimes hard to lock down without a personal interview (my dream!). However, in this video she did talk about what sound she was going for: “a really fun pub album with a bouncy dance-around vibe” (she’s lived in England for ten years) if you can imagine what that would sound like. I have to say it is definitely more energetic than the previous album of hers that I’m familiar with. It’s also kind of cool to get a little glimpse into the recording process and get a taste of her personality from the video. Fun fact about Sia: she’s bisexual and she’s a PETA spokesperson! (I read that on Wikipedia, she didn’t say either in the video)

After listening to the album for a couple days, I considered each song individually and realized that I really liked most of them, particularly the ones that have a more upbeat tempo. Particular faves:

· Clap Your Hands – supposed to be the first U.S. release
· You’ve Changed – has done really well in Australia and was played on the t.v. show The Vampire Diaries
· Bring Night – Sia is ready for a night on the town with this song
· Never Gonna Leave Me – this is a really catchy song. She sings fast and with a strong accent, so it’s hard to sing along, but I’m not sure we’re meant to. Just let her sing it.
· The Co-Dependent – lyrics are exactly what you would expect based on the title, but somehow Sia makes it fun
· Big Girl, Little Girl – I only put this one on because I discovered the beat is the exact pace of a brisk walk to the train, which always makes me feel very close the music.

Try some Sia today! She has two videos out from this album and trust me when I tell you that the one for You’ve Changed (below) is the less bizarre of the two.

Incidentally, I had what is referred to in the running world as a “good run” other day and I attribute it entirely to the awesome 4-minute playlist from my previous post!

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