Sia - "The Greatest" (Singles Going Steady)

Unlike the extraverted bangers on This Is Acting, "The Greatest" is rawer and more psychological.

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]

Adriane Pontecorvo: There's nothing subtle about Sia's anthem for self-confidence. That's fitting, of course, as are the herds of dancing children, the joyful steel drums, and the nonstop energy throughout the song. As Sia's songs go, this isn't the most original or interesting cut, but it's genuine and empowering, which is nice to see in a dance single. It won't go down in the annals of musical history as groundbreaking, but it's bound to brighten someone's dark day once in a while, and that's worth something. [7/10]

Michael Pementel: "The Greatest" has one of those upbeat, poppy, adrenaline fueled instrumentals that doesn't let up; once it kicks in it's meant to keep you energized, and is structured to only rest for a little bit before going full blast. It's all club banger, late night car ride, and party jam rolled into one, as Sia sings along with a motivational booster sure to last on one's musical library for quite sometime. And I must say, which each verse, key, drum, and bass beat... the choreography behind the music is easily one of the best to be seen in an age. Beyond Sia, the cast delivers on such a brilliant level with the dancing to accompany this song. To be honest, knowing so little of Sia, "The Greatest" is what will get me to listen to more of her work. [9/10]

Chris Ingalls: I like the sparseness, the fact that the song takes its time to really kick into gear. Once the chorus comes in, however, it falls into a pretty standard, predictable pop template. Sia's a great singer and is obviously surrounded by some pretty talented people, but this is hardly something to write home about. [6/10]

Scott Zuppardo: I'm terribly unversed in the current pop scene but even I heard the song about a chandelier. And liked it. Sia seems to have a formula for topping the pops and I find it interesting and refreshing that she chooses to never actually star herself in the videos. Obviously a forceful song writer with worldly pop sensibilities but the fact that she doesn't need to be visual to everyone makes her cool in my book. Here's another number to fluff our children's egos. The video smokes too, a bonafide heart tugger, the little girl is fantastic as an actress sans words, no less as a dancer. [7/10]

Paul Carr: In the old days guest verses from rappers used to be phoned in rubbish. An attempt by a pop star for authenticity and street-cred (see Gwen Stefani, Lily Allen, Jessie J etc.) However, this new floor filler from Sia sees none other than swaggering, critical darling Kendrick Lamar serve up a few lines. It’s a typically brash verse that adds weight to the idea that he can produce virtuoso raps for fun. He is easily matched by another master of their craft in Sia. Few can write a high gloss pop song as effortlessly as her. This is another fine example of her ability to write a masterly hook that will lodge itself into your brain. [7/10]

SCORE: 7.33





Dancing in the Street: Our 25 Favorite Motown Singles

Detroit's Motown Records will forever be important as both a hit factory and an African American-owned label that achieved massive mainstream success and influence. We select our 25 favorite singles from the "Sound of Young America".


The Durutti Column's 'Vini Reilly' Is the Post-Punk's Band's Definitive Statement

Mancunian guitarist/texturalist Vini Reilly parlayed the momentum from his famous Morrissey collaboration into an essential, definitive statement for the Durutti Column.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression

The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?


Datura4 Take Us Down the "West Coast Highway Cosmic" (premiere)

Australia's Datura4 deliver a highway anthem for a new generation with "West Coast Highway Cosmic". Take a trip without leaving the couch.


Teddy Thompson Sings About Love on 'Heartbreaker Please'

Teddy Thompson's Heartbreaker Please raises one's spirits by accepting the end as a new beginning. He's re-joining the world and out looking for love.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Little Protests Everywhere

Wherever you are, let's invite our neighbors not to look away from police violence against African Americans and others. Let's encourage them not to forget about George Floyd and so many before him.


Carey Mercer's New Band Soft Plastics Score Big with Debut '5 Dreams'

Two years after Frog Eyes dissolved, Carey Mercer is back with a new band, Soft Plastics. 5 Dreams and Mercer's surreal sense of incongruity should be welcomed with open arms and open ears.


Sondre Lerche Rewards 'Patience' with Clever and Sophisticated Indie Pop

Patience joins its predecessors, Please and Pleasure, to form a loose trilogy that stands as the finest work of Sondre Lerche's career.


Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' Has No Bite

Ruben Fleischer's toothless antihero film, Venom is like a blockbuster from 15 years earlier: one-dimensional, loose plot, inconsistent tone, and packaged in the least-offensive, most mass appeal way possible. Sigh.


Cordelia Strube's 'Misconduct of the Heart' Palpitates with Dysfunction

Cordelia Strube's 11th novel, Misconduct of the Heart, depicts trauma survivors in a form that's compelling but difficult to digest.


Reaching For the Vibe: Sonic Boom Fears for the Planet on 'All Things Being Equal'

Sonic Boom is Peter Kember, a veteran of 1980s indie space rockers Spacemen 3, as well as Spectrum, E.A.R., and a whole bunch of other fascinating stuff. On his first solo album in 30 years, he urges us all to take our foot off the gas pedal.


Old British Films, Boring? Pshaw!

The passage of time tends to make old films more interesting, such as these seven films of the late '40s and '50s from British directors John Boulting, Carol Reed, David Lean, Anthony Kimmins, Charles Frend, Guy Hamilton, and Leslie Norman.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.