Music

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

Over the Rainbow: An Interview With Herb Alpert

Music legend Herb Alpert discusses his new album, Over the Rainbow, maintaining his artistic drive, and his place in music history. "If we tried to start A&M in today's environment, we'd have no chance. I don't know if I'd get a start as a trumpet player. But I keep doing this because I'm having fun."

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