This video follows the same trail as her other videos for “Elastic Heart” and “Chandelier”. Both singles were from 2014s 1000 Forms of Fear. Using a wig-clad Maddie Ziegler, the artist communicated the unpredictable, childish nature of her former self through interpretive dance. Ziegler would kick, bare her teeth and beat on Shia Labeouf. This is a stark difference between the cool, collected Sia of “Alive”.
The video stars Mahiro Takano, a 9-year-old Youtube star. In the video, she’s wearing a black-and-white bobbed wig, making her another one of Sia’s alter-egos. Difference is, this new girl is not dancing. The child begins practicing martial arts, as Sia’s smoldering wails grow more and more severe. She’s fighting. She’s kicking, punching, and breathing, all to a perfect beat. Towards what, the viewer does not know, but we realize that it’s a better place than here. There is pain in the vocals, but the message is a positive one. She’s alive and can scrape herself out of the dark cage Ziegler’s Sia would trap herself in. Her dual hair color may represent her gradual change; how she grew from the frenzied Ziegler Sia, to this person. She’s learned self-control and perseverance. Stoic and strong, more power flows through this little girl, backed by Sia’s raspy, emotional vocals, than some dictators.
Sia is a recovering addict with a life fit for a book, and tells her story through her art. Many of Sia’s songs document her battle with grief, depression, and loneliness. This album is Sia’s resolution. This is her journey to shake herself of these clouds. Instead of being drowned out by her suffering you can hear her confidently begin to float above it. If you wander a little deeper into the album and listen to “Bird Set Free”, it follows the same vein and helps flesh out the theme. Her cries of, “I don’t want to die” are simple and explain why she needs Takano’s Sia to overcome her struggles.
This videos sent goosebumps throughout my body, which I’ve grown to expect from Sia’s visuals. It was emotional and raw, like her, like her voice, like her music. This album is starting out heavy and necessary, but leaves one with a sense that there is more to look forward to. Sia is not singing for just the sad anymore, she’s singing for the sad and the hopeful.