Album Review: Sia - Everyday is Christmas | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Album Review: Sia – Everyday is Christmas

Sia's first Christmas album has it's fun moments yet lacks the impact of her most popular work, Lucy Painter reviews

This album breaks away from Sia’s previous style of empowering dance-pop songs
When I heard Sia was releasing a Christmas album, I was very curious to see how she would approach this genre considering her previous empowering dance-pop music. Everyday is Christmas is a mix of upbeat, stylised pop songs with some slower ballads. Throughout there are constant festive references, bells and other sound effects used on top of the basic instrumentation. Echoing other recent Christmas music, I find the majority of the pop tracks to be immature in tone and content, whereas the ballads are more sensitive and mature.

The first song, ‘Santa’s Coming For Us’, is the kind of track you hear in shops from the beginning of November: it sticks in your head though you won’t want to hear it for more than a few times. Adding sleigh bells, brass and a funky rhythm section is something Sia employs throughout the album and it certainly works here to remind the listener of just how festive the music is.

Another example of this is ‘Candy Cane Lane’, the second track on the album. My first impression listening to this song was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Christmas: listing the colours of the rainbow and inviting the listener to ‘Candy Cane Lane’ make this music seem immature when compared to Sia’s earlier work, for example the single ‘Elastic Heart’. This is effective for engaging young children but feels lost and irrelevant to those who have heard and loved the artist’s other music.

The majority of the pop tracks tend to be immature in tone and content, whereas the ballads are more sensitive and mature
‘Ho Ho Ho’ is my guilty pleasure on this album. On a first listen, the sound effects are similar to the instrumentation on earlier tracks: whistles, toys and glockenspiels. Listening to the track again, there is a contrast between the childlike musicality and lyrics associated with drinking: ‘…the land of misfits/We’re all losing our legs/We got nothing but this’. On a surface level, this song feels overdone and unstable, but actually in discussing drunkenness at Christmas is clever and refreshing on an album which is mainly childish. Unfortunately, the same thing cannot be said of ‘Puppies Are Forever’, undoubtedly the most random song on the album. In the break before the final chorus, you can hear dog barking sounds and strings in the background and you feel like you’re playing Nintendogs. I feel this album would be much better without this irrelevant addition.

Two of the best songs on the album come at the end. ‘Everyday is Christmas’, as the title song of the album, is a break away from the earlier cliché pop tracks. Despite being filled with classic Christmas references, this song is more sentimental and personal. The chorus lyrics of ‘Everyday is Christmas when you’re here with me/I’m safe in your arms/You’re my angel, baby’ are standard of a love song, though here they are refreshing compared to saying how ‘cute’ and ‘fluffy’ puppy dogs are (on ‘Puppies Are Forever’).

A great end to a mixed album, ‘Underneath the Christmas Lights’, has a similar intimacy. Another ballad, this final track ends the album on a more nuanced and mature tone than where it began. The minimal instrumentation of primarily piano and vocals contrasts to the fuller opening songs. A haunting melody and bittersweet romance are aspect which I feel could have been more of a focus for the album as a whole.

This album generally breaks away from Sia’s previous style of empowering dance-pop songs and, although admittedly very catchy, the majority of tracks do not have the same impact as her earlier work. It is a shame that this album does not have the same musical or empowering impact of singles such as ‘Move Your Body’, ‘The Greatest’ and ‘Cheap Thrills’ and I can only hope Sia returns to what works for the future.

'Everyday is Christmas' is available to stream now.

English and Modern Languages student at the University of Birmingham. Arts and cultures advocate. All views presented are my own. (@painterrlucy)



Published

7th December 2017 at 9:00 am



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