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Chandelier (Sia song)

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"Chandelier"
Single by Sia
from the album 1000 Forms of Fear
Released 17 March 2014 (2014-03-17)
Format
Recorded 2013
Genre Electropop
Length 3:36
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Sia singles chronology
"Elastic Heart"
(2013)
"Chandelier"
(2014)
"Eye of the Needle"
(2014)

"Chandelier" is a song by Australian recording artist Sia from her sixth studio album, 1000 Forms of Fear (2014). Written by Sia and Jesse Shatkin and produced by Shatkin and Greg Kurstin, the song was released on 17 March 2014 as the lead single from the album. It is an electropop song, featuring electronica, R&B and reggae influences. Lyrically, the song has a melancholic theme, detailing the demoralisation and rationalisation of alcoholism through the typical thought process of a "party girl".

"Chandelier" received mainly favourable reviews from music critics, who praised Sia's songwriting and vocals. Commercially, the single attained widespread success, charting within the top five on record charts in 20 countries including Australia, Italy, Norway, Poland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In the United States, the single peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Sia's first single to appear on the Hot 100, as well as her first top ten single as a lead artist on the chart, and has sold over 2 million copies in the country. The song received nominations at the 57th Grammy Awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance, with its video receiving a nomination for Best Music Video.[1]

A music video for the song, directed by Sia and Daniel Askill, and choreographed by Ryan Heffington, features dancer Maddie Ziegler. In support of the single and 1000 Forms of Fear, Sia, often with Ziegler, performed "Chandelier" on a number of television shows, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Saturday Night Live, and at the Hollywood Bowl.

Background[edit]

In 2010, Sia released her fifth studio album We Are Born, which ended up at number two on the Australian Albums Chart.[2] Following the release, Sia took a hiatus from performing and co-wrote songs for other recording artists, including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Flo Rida and David Guetta.[3] In 2013, Sia recorded the track "Elastic Heart" for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack.[4]

In May 2014, Sia announced her sixth studio album 1000 Forms of Fear and released "Chandelier" as its lead single.[5] Sia revealed that she initially wrote the track for Rihanna or Beyoncé, but decided to record the song herself.[6][7] The melody was formed after Sia played the piano, while Greg Kurstin and Jesse Shatkin played the marimba in the studio.[8] In the United States, "Chandelier" was released for digital download onto iTunes Stores on 17 March 2014 through Monkey Puzzle, with distribution by RCA Records.[9] In the United Kingdom, "Chandelier" was released digitally on 29 June 2014.[10] A day later, it was sent by RCA Records to US hot adult contemporary radio.[11]

Composition[edit]

A 21-second sample of "Chandelier", an electropop ballad featuring electronica, R&B and reggae influences

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Chandelier" was written by Sia and Shatkin and was produced by Kurstin and Shatkin. It was described as an electropop ballad,[12] featuring "soaring" synthesisers,[13] "militant" drums,[14] and hip hop beats with electronica,[15] R&B,[16] and reggae influences.[17] The song features Sia's "jaw-dropping" vocal performance.[18] The song is written in the key of Bb minor and it follows the chord progression of Bbm–Gb7–Ab–Fm.[19]

Lyrically, "Chandelier" has a sad theme talking about "the glitter and fatigue of a party girl's life".[6] John Walker from MTV Buzzworthy opined that the song has a dark theme, "toeing the line between celebration and self-destruction as it becomes increasingly more blurred".[20] At the song's opening, Sia sings "Party girls don't get hurt, can't feel anything ... I push it down" over a reggae-influenced background.[17] During the chorus, she chants, "I'm gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier/ I'm gonna live like tomorrow doesn't exist, like it doesn't exist".[20] A few critics compared the song's musical style to works done by Rihanna, including Jeremy Gordon from Pitchfork Media,[18] and Melinda Newman of HitFix.[21]

Critical reception[edit]

"Chandelier" garnered mostly positive reviews from music critics. Andrew Trendall from Gigwise wrote that the song "springboards Sia from a behind-the-scenes genius into a superstar in her own right".[22] Gordon from Pitchfork Media praised Sia's vocal performance on the track and commented that the track "is enough to make you want to swing from a chandelier".[18] Bradley Stern from the website MuuMuse labelled "Chandelier" the best pop single of 2014, complimenting Sia's songwriting credits and her voice on the song.[15] In a VH1 article, Emily Exton shared that thought, deeming it the best song Sia had ever written.[23] Writing for Time magazine, Jamieson Cox deemed "Chandelier" a "disarming, unforgettable listen that'll make you glad Sia kept this one for herself."[24] In a less enthusiastic review, Melinda Newman from HitFix thought that Sia "can do a lot better than this".[21]

"Chandelier" was listed as one of the best songs of 2014 by several publications. Consequence of Sound placed the song at number 5 on their list of Top 50 Songs of 2014.[25] The single was named one of the 50 best songs of 2014 by Rolling Stone (number 15),[26] Time Out (number 19),[27] and Complex (number 31).[28] The single ranked number 11 on PopMatters's list of The 75 Best Songs of 2014.[29] Additionally, Spin ranked the track number 8 on its The 101 Best Songs of 2014 list,[30] while Slant Magazine placed the song at number 14 on its list of The 25 Best Singles of 2014.[31] In the annual Pazz and Jop mass critics poll of the year's best in music in 2014, "Chandelier" was ranked at number 7.[32] Billboard listed "Chandelier" as the best song of 2014.[33] The song was placed at number fifteen on Rolling Stone‍ '​s 50 Best Songs of 2014 list.[34]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, "Chandelier" debuted at number 75 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart dated 31 May 2014.[35] It peaked at number eight on the chart, becoming the first top ten single by Sia to appear on the chart as a lead artist.[36] The song reached one million units sold in the US in August 2014,[37] and surpassed the 2 million mark in sales in January 2015.[38] The song also reached number six on the Canadian Hot 100.[39] In June 2014, the single was certified platinum by Music Canada.[40]

"Chandelier" was successful in Oceania and Europe, peaking in the top five on 20 national record charts including: France,[41] and Poland [42] (number one); Australia,[43] Italy[44] and Norway[45] (number two); New Zealand[46] and Slovakia[47] (number three); and Norway and Scotland (number five).[45][48] The single was certified quadruple platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA),[49] and platinum by the Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ).[50] In the United Kingdom, "Chandelier" charted at number six on the UK Singles Chart.[51] In France, the single was the third best-selling single of 2014, according to Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.[52]

Music video[edit]

A shot of the music video, featuring eleven-year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler.

The music video for "Chandelier" was released on 6 May 2014. It features Maddie Ziegler, a then-11-year-old dancer.[53] In the video, Ziegler wears a medium-length blonde wig matching the one that Sia used to promote the album. Throughout the video, Ziegler dances in a deserted, dirty apartment "while spinning, kicking, leaping, crawling, falling, twirling and hiding herself behind window drapes".[54] An alternative one-take version of the clip was released in June 2014.[55] Ziegler was personally asked by Sia to appear in the video via Twitter.[56] The video was directed by Sia and Daniel Askill,[54] and was choreographed by Ryan Heffington.[57] Ziegler shared her thoughts about the choreography with New York magazine:[56]

I like the whole dance. It was really different and weird for me, because I usually don't, you know, be a crazy person every time. It was so fun to do and it was really out of the box and it expanded me a lot, because I'm used to competition dances where you're like, "Point your toes!" But this time it was like, you just need to let go and feel it.

The choreography was praised by media outlets; an editor from The Guardian wrote that Ziegler "dances with such impressive flexibility".[55] Nolan Feenay from Time magazine commented that the dance moves in the "Chandelier" music video could be the best dance routine of 2014.[58] "Chandelier" received nominations at the MTV Video Music Awards for Video of the Year and Best Choreography, and ultimately won the latter.[59][60] On 5 December 2014, it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video.[1] The video went viral on YouTube and became the seventh most-watched video on the video-sharing website of 2014.[61][62] It has received over 730 million views, becoming the 17th most viewed YouTube video of all time.[63] As of January 2015, Billboard ranked the video at number 12, on the list of the 20 best of the 2010s (so far).[64] Both Rolling Stone magazine and Spin magazine named it the Best Music Video of 2014.[65][66] VH1 listed it first among the "most groundbreaking" videos of 2014.[67]

Live performances[edit]

Sia performed "Chandelier" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on 19 May 2014,[35] with Ziegler recreating the choreography in the music video.[68] Sia also performed the song on Late Night with Seth Meyers on 9 June 2014, with Girls star Lena Dunham performing new choreography.[69] In July 2014, Sia performed the song on Jimmy Kimmel Live!,[70] and Ziegler taught host Jimmy Kimmel and his sidekick Guillermo some of the dance moves from the music video.[71] In July 2014, Sia performed the song on the VH1's show "SoundClash", along with her songs "Elastic Heart" and "Big Girls Cry" from the album.[72] Sia and Ziegler also performed the song on Dancing with the Stars and at the 2014 We Can Survive Concert at the Hollywood Bowl.[73] In February 2015, Sia and Ziegler, together with comic actor Kristen Wiig, performed the song in a cluttered apartment set on the 2015 Grammy Awards telecast.[74] For all of these performances, Sia sang the track with her back to the camera.[75][76] She performed the song on Saturday Night Live in January 2015, veiled, with a sad-looking mime who performed the lyrics in American sign language.[77]

Covers and parodies[edit]

Sara Bareilles (pictured in 2008) covered "Chandelier" on her Little Black Dress Tour in 2014.

In May 2014, Puddles, the "sad clown with the golden voice" performed a version with Postmodern Jukebox that by April 2015 had had over two million views on YouTube. In July 2014, Sara Bareilles performed an acoustic version of "Chandelier" during her Little Black Dress Tour.[78] Reut Odinak from the Seattle Weekly lauded Bareilles' vocals on the cover.[79] Likewise, MuchMusic's Evan Desouza wrote that "The song sounds almost [unrecognisable] with the stripped, acoustic cover. Of course no one can match Sia's insane voice, but Sara does a decent job. Her vocals sound amazing."[80] Later that month, contestant Emily West from the ninth season of America's Got Talent performed the song with an orchestral background to advance past the quarterfinals.[81] On 5 August 2014, Scottish band Twin Atlantic covered the song on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.[82]

In September 2014, Irish band The Script delivered a rendition of the song on the same radio programme. Music and Lyrics praised the three-man harmonies.[83] Reigan Derry performed the song the third live show of the sixth series of The X Factor Australia in August 2014, gaining a standing ovation by the judges. Also Andrea Faustini performed the song on The X Factor UK in November 2014.[84] The tenth episode of Selfie, "Imperfect Harmony", featured Karen Gillan singing a karaoke version of the song that segued into a cover by The Wind and The Wave and a sequence mimicking the original video.[85] In October 2014, the dance moves on the music video for "Chandelier" were parodied on Saturday Night Live by Jim Carrey, Kate McKinnon and Iggy Azalea in a sketch.[86] In the Glee episode "We Built This Glee Club" (119th episode overall), in March 2015, Samantha Marie Ware, Becca Tobin, and Laura Dreyfuss perform the song while J.J. Totah does Ziegler's dance routine and Marshall Williams swings on a chandelier.[87] In January 2015, Swiss singer Mélanie René performed a slowed-down version of the song as her cover selection for the Swiss national final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2015. She went on to win the final and earn the right to represent her country in Vienna.

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[9]
  1. "Chandelier" – 3:36
Digital remixes EP[88]
  1. "Chandelier" (Four Tet Remix) – 4:31
  2. "Chandelier" (Plastic Plates Remix) – 4:27
  3. "Chandelier" (Cutmore Club Remix) – 5:08
  4. "Chandelier" (Hector Fonseca Remix) – 6:27
  5. "Chandelier" (Liam Keegan Remix) – 5:16
  6. "Chandelier" (Dev Hynes Remix) – 3:44

Credits[edit]

Credits for "Chandelier" are adapted from CD single liner notes[89]

Recording locations
Personnel

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[49] 4× Platinum 280,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[40] 3× Platinum 240,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[136] Gold 30,000^
Germany (BVMI)[137] Platinum 400,000^
Italy (FIMI)[138] 3× Platinum 90,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON)[139] Platinum 60,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[50] 2× Platinum 30,000*
Sweden (GLF)[140] 4× Platinum 160,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[141] Platinum 30,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[142] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[143] Platinum 2,000,000[38]
Streaming
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[144] 2× Platinum 2,600,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales/streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Release date Format Label Ref.
Belgium 17 March 2014 Digital download
  • Monkey Puzzle
  • RCA
[145]
Brazil [146]
France [147]
Norway [148]
Portugal [149]
Spain [150]
Sweden [151]
United States [9]
Australia 18 March 2014 Inertia [152]
United Kingdom 29 June 2014
  • Monkey Puzzle
  • RCA
[10]
United States 30 June 2014 Hot adult contemporary RCA [11]
Belgium 22 July 2014 Digital remixes EP
  • Monkey Puzzle
  • RCA
[153]
Brazil [154]
Canada [155]
Germany [88]
Norway [156]
Switzerland [157]
United States [158]
Australia 25 July 2014 Inertia [159]
New Zealand [160]
Italy Contemporary hit radio Monkey Puzzle [161]
Germany 19 September 2014 CD single RCA [162]
United Kingdom 22 September 2014 [163]
Canada 30 September 2014 [164]
France [165]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]