BACKGROUND INFORMATION

On the 6th album of the Australian singer Sia, titled “1000 Forms of Fear”, released in 2014, “Chandelier” was one of the outstanding tracks. Written by Sia Furler and Jesse Shatkin, the song was released mid-March 2014 as the first and lead single from this great album. Although it mainly is electropop, it features electronica, R&B and reggae influences.

The song is melancholic, and described the demoralisation of alcohol abuse through the mind of a party girl.

Chandelier became a top 5 hit on more than 20 countries like Poland, France, Italy, Norway, New Zealand and Sia’s homecountry Australia.
In the USA the single peaked at number 8 on the famous Billboard Hot 100, which meant that it was Sia’s first single as a lead artist in the Hot 100. There were sold more than 2 million copies in the USA, and received 4 nominations at the 57th Grammy Awards for Song of the Tear, Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. It’s video received a nomination for Best Music Video.

A music video for the song, directed by Sia and Daniel Askill, and choreographed by Ryan Heffington, features dancer Maddie Ziegler. It has been viewed on YouTube more than 1.6 billion times, becoming one of the most viewed YouTube videos ever posted. 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!, Saturday Night Live, and at 57th Grammy Awards.




Background

In 2010, Sia released her 5th studio album “We Are Born”, which ended up at number two on the Australian Albums Chart. 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.

In 2013, Sia recorded the track “Elastic Heart” for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack.
In May 2014, Sia announced her sixth studio album 1000 Forms of Fear and released “Chandelier” as its lead single. Sia revealed that she initially wrote the track for Rihanna or Beyoncé, but decided to record the song herself. The melody was formed after Sia played the piano, while Greg Kurstin and Jesse Shatkin played the marimba in the studio. 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. In the United Kingdom, “Chandelier” was released digitally on 29 June 2014. A day later, it was sent by RCA Records to US hot adult contemporary radio.

Composition

“Chandelier” was written by Sia and Shatkin and was produced by Kurstin and Shatkin. It was described as an electropop ballad, featuring “soaring” synthesisers, “militant” drums, and hip hop beats with electronica, R&B, and reggae influences. The song features Sia’s “jaw-dropping” vocal performance. The song is written in the key of B ♭ minor and it follows the chord progression of Bbm–Gbmaj7–Ab–Fm in the verses, Gbmaj7–Bbm-Ab in the pre-chorus, and Gbmaj7–Ab–Db/F–Gbmaj7 in the chorus.

Lyrically, “Chandelier” has a sad theme talking about “the glitter and fatigue of a party girl’s life”. 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”. The song’s opening lyrics, “Party girls don’t get hurt, can’t feel anything … I push it down”, are sung over a reggae-influenced background. Walker noted that during the chorus, Sia sings, “I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier/ I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist, like it doesn’t exist”. A few critics compared the song’s musical style to works done by Rihanna, including Jeremy Gordon from Pitchfork Media, and Melinda Newman of HitFix.




Music video

The music video for “Chandelier” was released on 6 May 2014, featuring then-11-year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler. In the video, Ziegler wears a medium-length blonde wig matching the one that Sia used to promote the album. Throughout the video, Ziegler performs an interpretive dance in a deserted, dirty apartment “while spinning, kicking, leaping, crawling, falling, twirling and hiding herself behind window drapes”. An alternative one-take version of the clip was released in June 2014. Sia had seen Ziegler on Dance Moms and asked her to appear in the video via Twitter. The video was directed by Sia and Daniel Askill, shot by cinematographer Sebastian Wintero and was choreographed by Ryan Heffington.

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