It’s hard not to like Sia. Besides having a voice that is at once powerful and coyly sweet, she’s become synonymous with one of the best hours on television. The final episode of Six Feet Under was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen, and most of its magic is thanks to the marriage of images with Sia’s song, “Breathe Me.” Of course, before being made famous by HBO, Sia was a vocal contributor to the laid back vibes of Zero 7, so it’s not as if she was necessarily a stranger to attention. But how can one follow up one of the most recognizable songs in cable television history? Well, you do it again seems to be the answer. Lady Croissant is Sia’s live album, plus one new track and surprisingly captures both the beauty of her voice and the intricacy of every song, from the spacey keys of the Zero 7 tracks to the string section of “Breathe Me.”
Lady Croissant was recorded at New York’s Bowery Ballroom in April of 2006, so it’s been almost a year since the show was performed, but I suppose good shows last forever. However, this show is anything but just a live version of her breakthrough album, Colour the Small One. Sia mixes up the playlist nicely with three songs from Colour, two from Zero 7, one from her debut, Healing is Difficult, one track that seemingly hasn’t appeared anywhere before, and a cover of a Kinks tune as inspired by the Pretenders’ intense cover version.
Throughout the live portion of the album, Sia displays confidence despite the insecurities inherent in her lyrics, a connection with each one of the songs and a raw emotion that is difficult to duplicate in a studio. “I Go to Sleep,” the Kinks / Pretenders cover, is the perfect example of all three. There is no time at all that you don’t feel Sia is in command of the song, despite the fact that the lyrics denote someone out of control. She follows that up with the song I’m sure everyone was waiting to hear, “Breathe Me.” I was absolutely stunned at how incredible this song sounded live. I wouldn’t have imagined that it could have been duplicated, especially with strings and glockenspiel being such key elements. Not only do Sia and her band pull it off, they very nearly make the song better.
There’s also one brand new studio track available on Lady Croissant (by the way, is that a play on “Lady Marmalade?”), that being “Pictures,” a song far more upbeat and dance-driven than anything performed previously, even including her Zero 7 collaborations. Could this mark a new direction for the Australian chanteuse? Possibly, but in the meantime, we have “Breathe Me,” and if that’s all that she’s remembered for, I wouldn’t necessarily be disappointed.
Sia – Colour the Small One
Zero 7 – Simple Things
Dido – Live at Brixton Academy