Album Review

Sia, 'We Are Born'

June 21, 2010

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Pop music grumps who get heated about Ke$ha and Katy Perry clogging up our collective mind-space with spangled twaddle and tosh are probably just salty Sia fans upset with lesser talents for dulling the latter’s shine. In fact, you might be a Sia fan and not even know it. Aside from club staples like “Little Man,’’ her 2003 song “Breathe Me’’ likely made you bawl your eyes out during the finale of “Six Feet Under’’; and her covers of everyone from Britney Spears to the Church have only added to her all-encompassing pop appeal. But it’s “You’ve Changed,’’ the breakout single from the Australian chorister’s fifth full-length that should finally get you to remember her name. It’s a pulse-quickening electro-disco cut with gritty, heartfelt soul falling out of its tight pants pockets. Like the dance-floor romance “Clap Your Hands,’’ it’s ripe for club banger remixes, but it also sustains an emotional through-line that grounds it in heart-rending territory. While the music isn’t out of step with what we’ve come to expect from American pop stars, the difference is Sia’s songs here sound downright lived through: See the fragile cover of Madonna’s “Oh Father’’ for reference. Poppy dance music isn’t disposable on its face, it’s just that our best-known exemplars aren’t doing it right. (Out now). LUKE O’NEIL

ESSENTIAL: “Oh Father’’