Australian singer Sia set the bar high earlier this year with the release of “Chandelier”—which still has one of the best videos of 2014 to date—from her upcoming album 1000 Forms of Fear, and its follow-up, “Eye of the Needle,” a beautiful ballad that fell mostly under the radar. Her latest, “Big Girls Cry,” is similar to the latter song, a midtempo tune about love—but it also works simultaneously as a powerful takedown of the old saying, “big girls don’t cry.”
That phrase has made frequent appearances in popular culture, perhaps most notably in the 1962 Four Seasons hit of the same name. (Some millennials, though, may recognize it from Fergie’s 2006 song of the same name—or maybe even from 1992’s Big Girls Don’t Cry… They Get Even.)
The idea that women should keep a “tough girl” facade no matter the circumstances has been challenged before, but not quite like Sia’s “Big Girls Cry.” In it, she completely removes any shame in being emotionally honest with yourself, even when it means having a public breakdown: “I may cry ruining my makeup,” she sings confidently. “I don’t care if I don’t look pretty/ Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking.” It’s a refreshing and long-overdue perspective.