Lingua Mea Vita


Lyrical Analysis — Sia, Playground

Sia Furler is one of those singers that always seems like she’s hanging out in the shadow of someone “bigger” than herself— Beyonce and Christina Aguilera have both name dropped her as an “inspiration” (and probably thanked her in the fine print in their album jackets). Sia’s song “Breathe Me” made it’s way into trailers for weepy movies after it made every viewer of the Six Feet Under series finale (me included) bawl their eyes out back in 2005. I like Sia most for her collaborations with Zero 7: “Destiny” a.k.a. that song Lacoste used to play on their website and “Somersault” a.k.a. the only love song that doesn’t make me sick.

So it’s clear that a lot of people in the music industry want a piece of Sia. Why you may ask? She’s a got a tiny, but powerful voice (think Aretha Franklin meets Nelly Furtado; listen her tear into Zero 7’s Distractions here. Aretha-Nelly kicks in around 3:25), but her skill as a songwriter (especially lyrically) stands out as ever so crafty and bubbling with cleverness. For example, her song “Playground” from the album, Some People Have Real Problems:

Those distracted by the catchy-cool lyrics of the song may not notice that this song is more of a poem, mocking the concept of “cougars” or old ladies chasing young guys. The chorus goes:

I don’t want to grow old
Bring me all the toys you can find
You don’t want to grow up
You can be my partner in crime

At first blush, this could sound like a woman trying to keep a love innocent, but when put with lyrics like:

I’ll be sure to write you from the war
Put your guns away it’s tea time
Water bombs and tea towel tired moms
Looking for a little me time

and

Let’s play chase
Let’s put make up on our face
You can catch me if you can
We can make a secret place

the chorus suggests that this could be sung from a point of an older lady trying to seduce someone much younger. She mentions “the war” and “tea towel tired moms looking for a little me time”; the war could mean the difficult love lives of older women, who are often “tired moms”. The playing chase and putting make up on your face—that’s pretty self-explanitory. Women cake themselves in makeup to be more attractive, or chased, especially as they get older.

Add all of this on to the fact that they album is called “Some People Have Real Problems” versus “Kiddie Love Stories”, I personally think Sia Furler is mocking the cougar lifestyle.

I could be reading way too far into it, but I do think that Sia is a clever enough songwriter to put a sassy, fun song with a interesting veiled meaning to it. She reminds me a lot of P!nk in her early days, the girl with catchy songs and take-no-shit type vocals. Take a listen to Playground, and see what you think for yourself: