Sia: Joyous Pop With A Dark Twist

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In "Bring Night," Sia caresses her words, while a reedy ache runs through every syllable. RJ Shaughnessy hide caption

toggle caption RJ Shaughnessy

In "Bring Night," Sia caresses her words, while a reedy ache runs through every syllable.

RJ Shaughnessy

Friday's Pick

  • Song: "Bring Night"
  • Artist: Sia
  • CD: We Are Born
  • Genre: Pop

There's no doubt that Sia's voice is a different beast entirely from Kelly Clarkson's. Where the latter comes at the listener in a clear, powerful blast that connotes a handsome robustness — even at her most vulnerable — the former is more delicate and bruised. Sia caresses her words, sometimes to the point of formlessness, while a reedy ache runs through every syllable.

And yet Sia's "Bring Night" finds the Australian singer coming as close as she'll probably ever come to emulating the American Idol. Driven by a guitar that keeps time with a steady simmer of percussive clicks, and blooming into a gorgeously melodic chorus that plays against the urgent rhythm underneath, the song combines all the hookiest aspects of "Since U Been Gone" and "I Do Not Hook Up."

"Bring Night" isn't simply a sparkling amalgam, though. The playfulness of the words — which look to the possibilities that await after dark — is echoed in small twists strewn throughout the song. A toy piano flits in and out between verses. Handclaps simulate a heart skipping a beat in anticipation. The backing vocals behind the title sound like a middle-school cheerleading squad recorded from half a football field away. Those scattered bits and scraps are as crucial to expressing Sia's personality as her singing, even on something as straightforward as a joyous pop song.

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