Andrew Paschal: Lots of pop artists sing about overcoming adversity and “not giving up”, and often it rings hollow, coming across mostly as a fear of negative emotions and insistence on positivity at all costs. When Sia sings about these things, though, I believe her. Her lyrics are no different than your typical Katy Perry or Demi Lovato anthem, but you can hear the pain and brokenness in her voice; the fact that she weaves such shattered emotions into a perfect pop tapestry, as she does on “The Greatest”, speaks to a real and authentic triumph. This has been Sia’s calling card ever since her pop revitalization a few years back, but there’s something particularly labyrinthine, twisted, and gnarled about this one that makes it stand out even by Sia standards. Unlike the extraverted bangers on This Is Acting, “The Greatest” is rawer and more psychological; it takes you inside a mind coursing with adrenaline, the survival instinct kicking in just as the water begins to rise. [8/10]
Latest Blog Posts
JUNO and Polaris Prize-nominated singer-songwriter Donovan Woods released a deluxe edition of his fourth album, Hard Settle, Ain’t Troubled, back on August 22nd that includes four bonus live performance tracks. Woods’ profile is rising quickly and making his hometown of Toronto proud as he’s become an in-demand songwriter in Nashville with his plainspoken but universal lyrics. “What They Mean” premieres today on PopMatters.
Having relocated to Nashville from Los Angeles at the turn of the decade, singer/songwriter Stewart Eastham launched his solo career in 2013 after disbanding his original group, Day of the Outlaw. Reconvening the rhythm section of his former band for sophomore solo outing Dancers in the Mansion, Eastham’s goal was to create an album of songs with a “head bobbin’ vibe”.
Canadian indie poppers Royal Canoe released their latest album, Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit, just last week and the band’s new single is the catchy, groove-laden “Bicycle” that quickly establishes itself as a bonafide earworm. The tune is backed by this lovely new animated video created by Bill Acheson and Matea Radic. They’re going to tell us about how they made the video, but please be sure to check out the band’s huge list of tour dates below so you can catch them live.
London’s Blue House makes lovely, intricate indie pop music so light and airy that the melodies could be pasted on gentle rolling clouds passing above your head. “John the Unready” is one of two tracks that the duo, James Howard and Ursula Russell, released on September 9th via Canvasclub, Canvasback’s imprint for singles by up and coming musicians. Hushed “ba ba ba’s”, understated guitar lines, languid synth washes create a state of utter dreaminess. The video is animated and featuring a rabbit. Howard says, “Respect to Tjoff Koong Studios for making something so good with my cryptic instruction that ‘I imagine the video involving a rabbit.’”