May 11, 2015


Sia Gives Folk Classic "California Dreamin'" a Modern-Day Update

Kevin Winter/Getty Images For 102.7 KIIS FM's Wango Tango
Kevin Winter/Getty Images For 102.7 KIIS FM's Wango Tango

From reggae-tinged torch songs to Broadway classics, Sia's emotive vocals can really handle any kind of music. We were floored to hear the singer would take on the classic 1965 single "California Dreamin'" by folk-rock pioneers The Mamas & the Papas for the upcoming blockbuster flick San Andreas.

Sia's "California Dreamin'" has a hauntingly gorgeous orchestral opening for the first verse, complete with a choir and everything. It's all extremely epic and sounds nearly Oscar worthy...until we hit the second verse and a very flat-sounding drum machine and hard-hitting beat are added to the mix, with all those gorgeous orchestral elements getting watered down.

The cover redeems itself a little for the final chorus when the beats are dialed down a bit and Sia begins incorporating the same vocal layering from the original, which makes it such a gripping tune even today.

We understand what they were doing by packing all the modern embellishments (it's 2015 and San Andreas is more or less going to appeal to younger dudes), but the original song's meaning is based around the melancholy of missing sunshine and warmth in the midst of winter. No one bops down the streets to a beat like this to complain about their sadness, so the new production is sort of questionable.

In any case, we're at least glad a superstar like Sia can give a band like The Mamas & the Papas some more love for a new generation—even if the signature tune differs entirely.