Since starting her career as a little-known but critically acclaimed figure on the indie rock scene, Sia has become a pop sensation. As well as writing songs for some of the biggest names in the business, she’s carved out a hugely successful solo career with her dance-tinged pop anthems. While primarily known for her painful, emotionally wrought lyrics, she’s as much a master of motivational songs as she is of melancholic ones. Here, we rank the 10 best Sia songs of all time.
Kicking off our list of the 10 best Sia songs of all time is Numb. Taken from Sia’s 2004 sophomore album Colour the Small One, Numb tackles depression and addiction in a way that, given Sia’s history with both subjects, feels more like a journal entry than a song at times. Despite the subject matter, the seam of hope running through the song stops it from descending into bleakness. For a particularly powerful version, try the live rendition from 2007’s Lady Croissant.
As billboard.com says, the title of this next track says it all. Sia rips through Unstoppable with enough swagger and confidence to motivate armies. Unsurprisingly, it ended up being remixed for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Pop it on your playlist next time you hit the gym and you’ll understand why.
8. Big Girls Cry
As toptenslist.com admits, Big Girls Cry isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. if you like songs that get you on your feet and ready to go, you’re going to be disappointed. But there’s a lot to love about this slow-burning number, from the emotive lyrics to Sia’s heavenly vocals. Next time you’ve got a quiet moment, stick it on and prepare to be impressed.
7. Burn the Pages
Next time you’re feeling full of regret, take the advice of Sia and “place your past into a book/Burn the pages, let ‘em cook”: As suggestions go, it’s sound advice. It’s a sound song too, showcasing Sia’s almost startling talent for songcraft along with some frankly dazzling vocals.
6. The Greatest
Although Sia hasn’t publically confirmed as much, most people have taken The Greatest to be a tribute to the victims of Orlando’s Pulse nightclub shooting. If it is, then it’s an incredibly fine one, pitching stark, painful lyrics and searing vocals against a danceable backdrop of reggae grooves and thundering drums. The video, which features Maddie Ziegler and 48 other dancers, is just as much a work of art as the song. Released as the third single from Sia’s seventh studio album, This Is Acting, on 6 September 2016, it was an international hit, debuting at No.52 on the US Billboard Hot 100, No.25 on the Australian Singles Chart, No.49 on the UK Singles Chart, and entering the Top Ten in France, New Zealand, Scotland, Finland, Norway, Hungary, Spain, and Sweden.
5. The Fight
She might be a dab hand at songs that draw on the darker side of life, but Sia rarely loses hope. On The Fight, she’s at her optimistic best. There’s still plenty of emotion, but as she sings about overcoming failings and refusing to allow our weaknesses to define us, it’s impossible not to resist the call to keep on fighting the good fight. Recorded as the opening track of her 2010 album We Are Born, it’s since become one of her most enduringly popular tracks.
4. Breathe Me
The exquisitely delicate Breathe Me may have been released several years before Sia became a major international star, but it still managed to achieve moderate chart success, peaking at No. 71 in the UK, No 19 in Denmark, and No. 24 on the US Rock Digital Songs. After its inclusion in the series “Six Feet Under,” it saw a resurgence in sales, and has since gone on to sell over 1.2 million copies in the US alone.
As liveabout.com notes, Titanium was the song that bought Sia to worldwide attention. She originally wrote it with singers like Katy Perry and Alicia Keys in mind, but after French DJ David Guetta decided he preferred her demo vocals to anyone else’s, she ended up featuring on one of the biggest hits of 2012. The song became the longest-charting dance hit since Michael Jackson’s Thriller, thrusting Sia into the limelight and winning her huge acclaim for both her songwriting and vocals. If you want to feel like you could take on the world (and win), this is the song to listen to.
2. Elastic Heart
If you’re nursing a broken heart, Elastic Heart is the song to mend it. As the lyrics speak about finding the strength to move on, the lush arrangements, driving drums, and soaring vocal loops inspire you to do exactly that. Sia has always been a master of slightly eccentric but utterly infectious pop tunes, but she’s rarely sounded quite so sublime as she does here. The video of Maddie Ziegler and Shia LaBeouf dancing an animalistic duet in a cage may have raised some eyebrows, but the song endures as a stone-cold classic. Released on 9 January 2015 as the third single from her sixth studio album, 1000 Forms of Fear, it made the top 10 in Australia and the United Kingdom, and the top 20 in the US.
As NME writes, while most pop songs tend to capture the temptations of excess, few of them have the self-awareness to realize it. Chandelier is the exception, drawing on our obsession with glitz and glamour to unleash a song of such epic proportions, it’s impossible not to get swept along in its tidal wave of decadence. Released as the lead single from her 2014 album, 1000 Forms of Fear, the song reached the top 5 in 20 countries and peaked at No. 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100.