The Singles Party: Sia, ‘Chandelier’

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The Singles Party wanders into the world of dance music this week, examining the new track from Sia, often a “featured vocal” on more dance oriented tracks from the likes of big beat creators like David Guetta. Now, she’s on her own and Pop-Break’s Singles Party tackles it.

The Singles Party welcomes longtime Pop-Break music writers and interviewers Lisa Pikaard and Al Mannarino on board as regular contributors…let’s see what these two new panelists have to say about the dance vocal queen’s latest.

Nick Porcaro: Sia Furler sure has changed since the first time I heard her.

My introduction to the Australian chanteuse was through her soothing guest vocal on “Destiny,” a nice little down-tempo single released by Zero 7 over 10 years ago. Since then Sia has gone on to collaborate with David Guetta and Flo Rida, as well as co-write for just about every major pop star on the planet.

It’s clear from the first notes of “Chandelier” that Sia is fully immersed in her pop songwriter surroundings. The first verse could very easily be a Rihanna single, for instance, but the chorus reveals Sia’s piercing, passionate vocals as her own. Her hysterically over-the-top singing would make Matt Bellamy of Muse proud.

Unfortunately this song does nothing for me musically. We’ve heard this style of song a million times before and Sia’s take is not particularly well-executed, which is kind of odd seeing as she mastered it in Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” Here, however, the mix is compressed to all hell with audible digital distortion, the beat is strangely grooveless, and the Auto-Tuned pre-chorus is just grating.

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Where this song gets interesting, then, is in the lyrics. They’re incredibly easy to miss on the first or second listen, but Sia sings about a very real personal issue on “Chandelier.” She’s the party girl who can’t take control of her surroundings. She uses liquor as a means of escape, only to feel immensely ashamed of her behavior the next morning. The bridge says it best:

“Help me, I’m holding on for dear life
Won’t look down, won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light
’cause I’m just holding on for tonight, on for tonight”

Though the lyrics of “Chandelier” are well-crafted, they’re drowned out by some truly mediocre arranging and production work. I kind of want to recommend this but I can’t. Verdict: One and done.

Jason Stives: It’s fitting that Australian singer/songwriter Sia has written songs for Rihanna in the past because her latest single “Chandelier” could have easily been a song by the singer from Barbados. The difference is there is a level of anguish and desperation in Sia’s singing that I don’t think Ri Ri could convey outside her own range. “Chandelier” is quite the surprising pop song because its big pop, bright, and every bit a dance club anthem. The ‘drink to tonight like there is no tomorrow’ mentality might seem over played but its more about liberation from life here than it is intentionally being a party track. It’s a song about why one needs to party when there is nothing but heartache and disappointment in a person’s soul. That’s not your typical dance pop number. To me it echoes the same frame work of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own”; a song disguising itself as a crowd pleasing dance track but with a layer of depth that you might miss if you don’t pay attention. Good thing she didn’t give this one up to another artist because I don’t think it would measure up the same way it does here. Add to the Playlist

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Kelly O’Dowd: Wow. See, I think this song would work, if it decided what it wanted to be. It’s just a hot mess. I was under the impression that Sia could sing too, so why all the awkward distortion and auto-tune? The lyrics, when you can understand them, seem interesting. We’ve all been there (or is it just me?), where we were “just holding on for tonight” with a drink in our hand. So perhaps, this song is an audio representation of “white girl wasted.” If it is, it totally works! But I’m assuming that’s not the case. As a singer/songwriter, Sia should know good production from bad production. I’m disappointed. Verdict: one and done

Al Mannarino: Although Sia may not be as recognizable for her solo work, she is still one of the most talented artists in music. She has written songs for some of the biggest pop stars on the planet and has also been featured in hits such as Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” and David Guetta’s “Titanium.” After realizing who she was and what she has done I was excited to hear her latest single, “Chandelier.”

The song starts off sounding like a b-side off Rihanna’s latest album. It isn’t until the chorus that Sia shows off her incredible vocals and starts singing her heart out. But this is also the point where the song is ruined for me. She belts out parts of the chorus to the point where it sounds like she is loosing her voice. The way she sings the word chandelier is more irritating then catchy. In the end the song really doesn’t know what it wants to be, which is very disorienting for the listener. It’s unfortunate because this song had the makings of another incredible club/dance hit by Sia…if it wasn’t for that dreadful chorus. Verdict: One and done

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Lisa Pikaard: Sia is a well-known song-writer, best known for “Diamonds,” by Rihanna and “Titanium,” by David Guetta so any song that she keeps for herself should be amazing, right?

Well the song starts off exactly how I expected a Rihanna writer’s song to start. It just had a grooving vibe to it and so hopes were high. Then the song actually started. Sia’s lack of enunciation is brutal on the first verse. I love to connect to lyrics but I don’t like having to work to understand what in the world the words actually are. Despite the problem comprehending the message of the song, the catchy beat kept me from writing it off entirely. Sadly, the chorus came around and it was over. I do not like the way the word “chandelier” sounds in this song nor would I like one hanging in my dining room. I am officially over chandeliers.

I had high hopes for “Chandelier” and for Sia but this song just couldn’t cut it. This isn’t the type of song I’d typically listen to so “Chandelier” would have had to be something really special for me to listen to it again and it just isn’t. Verdict: One and Done.

Bill Bodkin: My expertise and mastery of pop music is limited, but there’s a major problem with Sia’s new track — I legitimately thought “Chandelier” was a Rhianna song for the majority of its duration. That is, until I heard Sia’s patented soaring vocals that she made so famous on “Titanium.” Yet, outside of an initially interesting beat, this song has no real appeal, no real hook. Could it be a smash single? Absolutely. Remember a lot worse has gone onto became the “it” song of the moment. So, “Chandelier” isn’t a terrible song, but it’s also nothing special, pass on this for your playlist. Verdict: One and done.

Final Verdict: It’s a resounding and disappointed no from the panel. Sorry, Sia.

3 COMMENTS

  1. They totally missed the point of everything about this song, the lyrics, musical execution, and music video artistically show what words can’t. Maybe smoke some weed and listen a few more times for a different perspective.

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