“Chandelier”: Sia Swings In With The Best Pop Single Of 2014 So Far

by Bradley Stern

Chandelier - Single

Over the past five years, Sia has steadily become pop music’s most in-demand songwriter.

She’s penned tracks for everyone from Christina Aguilera (“You Lost Me”) to David Guetta (“Titanium”) to Ne-Yo (“Let Me Love You”) to Rihanna (“Diamonds”) to Britney (“Perfume”) Beyoncé (“Pretty Hurts”). Really, which major pop player hasn’t tapped her for a tune?

Yet after all this time, apart from some high profile features and a one-off soundtrack single, she’s not yet released a solo single of her own since 2010.

This is the comeback at last — and it’s a beast.

“Party girls don’t get hurt…”

“Chandelier” was penned and produced alongside constant collaborators Greg Kurstin and engineer-turned-producer Jesse Shatkin (who I spoke to about the song last week), and formally kicks off the long-awaited follow-up to 2010’s We Are Born.

The track is unbelievably catchy from start to finish, sauntering along on a tripping hip-hop beat, marimba and a light bubbling of electronica in the distance (a Kurstin signature!) that reeks of Top 40 appeal — but it’s deceptively deeper than your standard radio fare.


“1, 2, 3, drink…”

And we’re off! With a drinking game of a pre-chorus, the shots are lined and ready to go, all for that massive whoosh of a chorus…


IIIIIII’m going to swiiiiiiing from the chan-de-li-eeeeeeeeer!

BOOM. That chorus, my God(ney) — surely it’s one of the best choruses Sia’s ever delivered? Her voice is just nuts — “vocal acrobatics” doesn’t even do justice to describe that kind of unhinged wailing. She’s belting to the breaking point, quivering at the sheer force. Who else could deliver that kind of a chorus? No one — which is why it’s a damn good thing Sia kept it for herself.

“Help me, I’m holding on for dear life…”

But it’s not quite a happy song at all, is it? As the drinks continue to flow and that massive swell of a chorus transitions into an equally stunning post-chorus (also, why isn’t there more of this in pop music?!), we’re getting another glimpse of the party girl glimmering from the chandelier: She’s terrified, fucked up and barely just hanging on. (2007 realness, if you catch my drift.)

“Here comes the shame, here comes the shame…”

Like the subject matter of another obsession of late (Tove Lo‘s “Habits”) “Chandelier” is ultimately a brutally honest tale of substance abuse not-so-thinly veiled within a hook-heavy pop song.


“Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight…”

And the song’s final few moments, as the music cinematically swells and Sia repeatedly begs herself to keep holding on? Done.

Sia’s always been an exceptional storyteller, but she’s really gone and done it this time: It’s more than one too many shots at the club. It’s beyond the 3 AM stumble back to the apartment, the tearful breakdown against the door and that text to your ex. It’s a cry for help set to song, ultimately.

50 Shades Of Too Real? One of the best songs of 2014? Her best since “Breathe Me”? It all sounds like hyperbole, I know…but it’s true.


“Chandelier” was released on March 17. (iTunes)

  • Chris

    Suddenly I want to buy a chandelier.

  • theMichaelShane

    she also wrote Celine Dion – Loved me back to life

  • http://plakatyfilmowe.blogspot.com/ Mierzwiak

    That chorus is unstoppable. Wow.

  • Drew Novak

    This is nowhere near her best. The hyperbole is unreal!

  • Claudio Maddöx

    Another great review!

  • Joe

    Why is that when Christina Aguilera screams and screeches its “over singing” but when Sia does it its “vocal acrobatics”? Its not a bad song but there are parts where her vocal is unpleasant at best.

  • nick perles

    I liked almost everything on “We Are Born” more than this. And this doesn’t sound much different, frankly. Not bad, by ANY means, but not nearly as good as Sia has been before. Her album should be good, though, considering all of her major pop collaborations in the last year.

  • Cal

    I wouldn’t call this vocal acrobatics but it’s certainly more tolerable than Xtina’s screeching because it parallels the deep meaning of the song and conveys its emotion, whereas Xtina (for the most part) screeches notes that she used to be able to hit.


    I honestly think this is the best Sia song there is! She is just flawless! 10 out of 10!!!

  • Evan

    It’s definitely catchy, but it’s a little bit bombastic and overblown for my taste.

  • dominic halsey

    Another great review:)

  • BigDickBitch

    i don’t think her voice is particularly that great, albeit, it’s got a unique sound. Nor do i think the song is that catchy, but, then again, i’m no music exec.

  • Mike Caprarola

    Cal, Joe Must be a Disney channel butterfly pop fan. Doesn’t get the connection between the lyrics pointing to a person who’s really down and struggling and the vocals sounding the way they sound. They make her sound that way for a reason man…c’mon and think before you criticize

  • Mike Caprarola

    Wasn’t a Sia fan before this song mainly because I’ve never heard her music but after hearing this amazing powerful very well written song and doing a little research I learned this isn’t her only gift to the music world. Shes a hell.of a talent! Well done Sia more please

  • Mike Caprarola

    That’s the way to give your oponin…not being a dick but being honest.

  • Shanne

    Are you JOKING!? Even when Sia “screeches” her tone is amazing! You probably like Kesha…

  • RachRockinOut

    Totally love this track. Can’t wait to hear what people think of her newest single “Eye Of The Needle” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyHMQvQwTIs​

  • Jupiter

    I kinda like the chorus but she sounds like a horse with a sore throat during the verses.

  • Joe

    Hands down the best song of 2014. She should be a shoe in at the Grammys

  • Liar Journalist

    She is just original. This time she really sing it from the heart. Not just the best song of the year (stiff competition as coldplay is doing fine also, and pharrel, and izzy, and ..) but she makes the millions of youtube population wanted to cover her song again and again. Chandelier is just open that door where everybody could rush into her room. Just amazing and totally amazing of the whole package of Sia.

  • Teeter Von Schnauzen

    This is one of the most grating songs I’ve ever heard. Someone really needs to tell Sia that the word Chandelier doesn’t have like 6 or 7 syllables. The girl that sang this song on The Voice performed it 1000% better than Sia because she wasn’t pushing to hit the entire chorus. THAT performance showed what this song can be. Sia is a great writer and has a great voice. This particular song, however, should have probably been left for a Christina calibre vocalist.

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  • EastBayer

    Except that Sia is a better vocalist than either of those…and I love me some Beyonce! Sia could sing it pretty if she wanted, but the raw tone matches the underlying bluster and anxiety far better.