New Music 7.8.14 – Sia On the Flip Side

Lifehacker introduced me to the Long Tail yesterday, which shows you an artist’s LEAST popular songs on Spotify.

It has great potential if it can weed out the skits and duplicate/alternate tracks. For example, both Kanye West and Jay-Z have a version of “No Church in the Wild” as their least-played track. Yet the same song is in their respective top-10s.

It’s misleading and I wish I had some interesting findings to report. Alas, I still enjoy the possibilities.

Here’s music:

Sia – 1000 Forms of Fear

Rating: She Deserves the Spotlight, Even if She Doesn’t Want It

Sia has been around for years, writing hit after hit to accompany her under-the-radar solo albums. You should have heard of her by this point. 1000 Forms of Fear is her sixth studio album and would be considered her first post-spotlight in the states. It’s hovering around diva status.

I represent Exhibit A on uneducated Sia history. I first heard of her from David Guetta’s “Titanium,” which is still gets me ready for gladiatorial carnage every time I hear it. As she became more prevalent in the pop industry as a writer and featured artist, I saw that she has a bunch of previous albums that were somewhat underwhelming. Good voice, sure, but maybe the production wasn’t there.

1000 Forms of Fear is a positive progression for Sia. This album seems to be meant for today’s ears and I’m glad she avoids going bubblegum at every turn, which is easy to do seeing who she has written for. Instead of being a let-down in the face of recent success, this is an extension of her unique talent, both vocally and in the songwriting. She tried to commit suicide a few years ago when faced with a burst of stardom, so I think the themes and album cover both have something to say about that. How good is “Chandelier?”

It’s one of the year’s finest pop albums, but saying so might be going against her point. Regardless, the warmth of the spotlight can be soothing if you accept it.

Gulp – Season Sun

Rating: Beach House Light

As my random find of the day, this indie outfit is made from Super Furry Animals’ Guto Pryce. I don’t know who they are, but it’s a frame of reference for some of you.

This music would have had more of a significance a couple years ago when The xx and Beach House were wreaking havoc all over the indie charts, but today Gulp seems rather passe. It’s not bad, it’s just gentle and more of a psychedelic dream than a purposeful venture, which is the era we are in at the moment. I did enjoy “Grey Area” as a mind-zoner.

Their videos are a trip:

John Barrowman – You Raise Me Up

Rating: Malcolm Merlyn Has Some Pipes

I just finished season two of Arrow and that show has reached elite status. I hope that DC does the right thing and can somehow tie this into the Justice League movies. If you enjoy superhero programming that doesn’t cut any corners, this may be the best on television. And, yes, I watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

So imagine my surprise when I see big bad Malcolm Merlyn (Captain Jack to Doctor Who fans) as a talented vocalist. These adult Broadway-style ballads are not my type of music at all, and that probably goes for everyone reading this. But since the show’s main villain from season one just released an album, I had to use that opportunity to spread the word about Arrow.

On a related note, the show’s lead actor, Stephen Amell, has the best celebrity Facebook page ever. He’s ripped, generous and isn’t afraid to nerd out. It’s the perfect mix.

Updated Best of 2014 playlist:

Slash and Myles Kennedy are getting better at their collaborations. “World on Fire” is just what we need in the music industry right now.

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