This Is Acting
Label: Monkey Puzzle Records/RCA Records
What makes the electropopper’s seventh album “acting” is that it almost entirely comprises songs originally pitched to other artists. Spacey, swooping survivor anthem “Alive” and piano ballad “Bird Set Free” were meant for Adele, for instance; other cuts were earmarked for Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Shakira and Rihanna—another survivor anthem called “Reaper,” in the latter’s case. Sia’s not so much expressing herself, she has said, as trying on costumes. She’s also offering up lots of inspirational affirmation, usually in spare-then-louder synth-ballad form, and with plenty of vocal quirk attached.