This Is Acting is the seventh studio album by Sia. The album was released on January 29, 2016. Most songs on the album were written by Sia for other artists that rejected them and Sia eventually recorded herself.

Background Edit

In December 2014, Sia told SPIN that she had "two [more records] completed and ready to go" and wanted "2015 to look like it's been fucked."[1] She first revealed the details of the album in an interview with NME published in February 2015. She confirmed that the album was already finished and "more pop" than any of her previous works.[2] She also revealed that the success of her previous album, specifically its lead single, encouraged her to continue releasing new material. Sia also explained to NME the title of the album:

I'm calling it 'This Is Acting' because they are songs I was writing for other people, so I didn't go in thinking 'this is something I would say'. It's more like play-acting. It's fun.

Release and promotion Edit

During an online chat with fans in April 2015, Sia revealed that the album would "probably" be released in early 2016, but possibly before the end of 2015. In September 2015, Sia confirmed the album's lead single "Alive" would be released later that month and was originally written for Adele; the British singer and songwriter co-wrote but "rejected" the song at the last minute. The album's release date, 29 January 2016, was confirmed in early November 2015.[3]

"Bird Set Free" was released as the first promotional single along with the pre-order of the album on November 4, 2015.[4] The song was originally written for Pitch Perfect 2 but it was rejected in favor of "Flashlight". The song was then pitched to Rihanna. After being rejected, it was then recorded by Adele but did not make the cut for her third studio album, 25.[5] "One Million Bullets" was released as the second promotional single on November 27, 2015. The song is the only one on the album that was not written for another artist.[6] "Cheap Thrills" was announced as the album's third promotional release and was released on December 16, 2015. The song was one of two tracks rejected by Rihanna who, as Furler described, was a no-show at the recording sessions.[7] "Reaper" was released as the fourth promotional single on January 7, 2016. The song was written by herself and Kanye West for Rihanna, but Sia decided to keep it. "Unstoppable" was released as the fifth and final promotional single on January 21, 2016. Jessie Morris of Complex commented that the song sounds like a "page torn right out of Demi Lovato's Confident book", while editors of other media platforms like Idolator noticed this as well, which raised speculation that the track was intentionally written for Lovato.[8]

On 7 November 2015, Sia performed "Alive" and "Bird Set Free" on Saturday Night Live; the episode was hosted by Donald Trump.[9] She performed "Alive" onThe Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Voice on 1 December, followed by "Alive" on The X Factor in the United Kingdom on 6 December. Sia appeared on The Graham Norton Show on 11 December, where she sang "Alive" and it was revealed that she considered wearing a prosthetic mask instead of a wig.[10] Sia performed "Cheap Thrills" on January 27, 2016 on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[11]

Deluxe Edit

On September 29th Team Sia announced that Sia would be releasing This is Acting Deluxe on the 21st of October. The deluxe edition will feature 'The Greatest (with and without Kendrick Lamar)' and 3 unreleased tracks, 'Confetti', 'Midnight Decisions' and 'Jesus Wept'. The deluxe edition will also feature 'Move Your Body' remixed by Alan Walker.

Critical reception Edit

This Is Acting received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 67, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 29 reviews. The A.V. Club gave the album a favorable review, stating that "There’s a clear theme here, and it’s emancipation—from fear, from doubt, and most of all, from feeling as though she wasn’t meant to be a star. Gone is the uncertainty that still clung to many of her earlier efforts at mainstream pop hits of her own; success has granted her the confidence to dive into the deep end of the mainstream music pool, and the results are potent." Jon Pareles from The New York Times gave the album a mixed review, writing "In “Alive,” as she repeats “I’m still breathing!” in the chorus, she makes her voice break a different way each time she sings it. But Sia’s success as a hitmaker has also turned into a pitfall. Even as she and her producers flaunt their layered vocals and whiz-bang sound effects, there are already so many of Sia’s midtempo victim-to-victory anthems around that they offer diminishing returns, particularly when listened to as an album."[12]

Charts Edit

Chart (2016) Peak


Australian Albums (ARIA)[13] 1
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders) 11
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia) 4
Canadian Albums (Billboard) 3
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI) 35
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts) 9
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista) 8
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) 14
Irish Albums (IRMA) 5
Italian Albums (FIMI) 13
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) 5
Scottish Albums (OCC) 2
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan) 14
Taiwanese Albums (Five Music) 4
UK Albums (OCC)[14] 3
US Billboard 200[15] 4

Track listing Edit

This Is Acting — Standard edition[16][17]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Bird Set Free" Sia · Greg Kurstin Kurstin 4:12
2. "Alive" Sia · Adele Adkins · Tobias Jesso Jr. Jesse Shatkin 4:23
3. "One Million Bullets" Sia · Shatkin Shatkin 4:12
4. "Move Your Body" Sia · Kurstin Kurstin 4:07
5. "Unstoppable" Sia · Christopher Braide Shatkin 3:37
6. "Cheap Thrills" Sia · Kurstin Kurstin 3:31
7. "Reaper" Sia · Kanye West · Noah Goldstein · Charles Misodi Njapa · Dom $olo West · $olo · Goldstein · 88-Keys · Shatkin · Jake Sinclair 3:39
8. "House on Fire" Sia · Jack Antonoff Shatkin 4:01
9. "Footprints" Sia · Tyler Williams · Josh Valle · Nikhil Seetharm T-Minus · Valle · Seetharm · Shatkin 3:13
10. "Sweet Design" Sia · Kurstin Kurstin 2:25
11. "Broken Glass" Sia · Jasper Leak · Shatkin Shatkin 4:24
12. "Space Between" Sia · Braide Cameron Deyell 4:48
Total length: 46:29
Target exclusive bonus tracks[18]
13. "Fist Fighting a Sandstorm" Sia · Shatkin Shatkin 3:48
14. "Summer Rain" Sia · Shatkin Shatkin 3:53
Total length: 53:52

References Edit

  1. Brodsky, Rachel (7 December 2014). "Sia Is SPIN's 2014 Artist of the Year". SPIN. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Renshaw, David (17 February 2015). "Sia reveals early details of brand new album 'This Is Acting'". NME. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  16. "Sia — Thanks to all of the theaters for revealing the...". Sia Music. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  17. "This Is Acting by Sia on iTunes". iTunes. Accessed on 2016-01-13.
  18. "Sia - This Is Acting". Target. Accessed on 2016-01-21.