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"Sledgehammer" is the second single from Fifth Harmony's debut studio album, Reflection. It was released on October 28, 2014 and written by Jonas Jeberg, Meghan Trainor and Sean Douglas, and produced by both Jeberg and Harvey Mason, Jr.

Background Edit

On October 23, 2014, Fifth Harmony announced "Sledgehammer" as the second single from their debut album, Reflection, during a live stream event.[1] The song was written by Jonas Jeberg, Meghan Trainor, and Sean Douglas, and produced by Jeberg and Harvey Mason, Jr..[2][3] The group's vocals were produced & recorded by Heberg, Mason, Jr. and Andrew Hey at Windmark Recording Studios in Santa Monica, California.

According to Jessica Hyndman of MTV, the song is about "the kind of love that just can’t be contained and forces you to let go." On the behind-the-scenes of the song's music video, the group said they "decided to go with 'Sledgehammer' for our second single because our album has such a variety of sounds, and we all like completely different genres... the transition from 'Boss' to 'Sledgehammer' just shows how eclectic our sound is. And it's a relatable concept, just being with the person that you like, and feeling your heart beat like a sledgehammer."[4]

Composition Edit

"Sledgehammer" incorporates influences of the 1980's musical styles in its production.[5][6] Its synthpop production contains an uptempo EDM beat with new wave influences and heavy synths. Lyrically, the song uses sledgehammer as metaphor to expressed physical effects caused by excessive love. It can be noted during the line, "If you take my pulse right now, it would feel just like a sledgehammer."

According to a digital music sheet published at Musicnotes.com by BMG Rights Management, "Sledgehammer" is written in the key of G Major and is set in a 4 4 common time with an upbeat pop. The quitent's voice spans the tonal nodes of G3 to F5 and follows a chord progression of C–G–D–C–Em–D.[7]

Critical reception Edit

"Sledgehammer received mostly positive reviews from music critics upon its release. Jason Lipshutz of Billboard gave a positive review saying, "Fifth Harmony's second offering from its upcoming debut is already known as 'the single written by Meghan Trainor,' who nailed this girl-group track. With an EDM-meets-new-wave beat and an immediate hook, 'Sledgehammer' is the best pop track about the physical effects of lovesickness since Demi Lovato's 'Heart Attack'." Mike Wass of Idolator called it "a sugary sweet synth-pop anthem with serious radio appeal".

Jessica Hyndman of MTV gave a positive review saying, "Sledgehammer takes on a fun pop vibe, vastly different from the girls’ hip-hop banger 'Bo[ss]' and last year’s 'Miss Movin’ On'". Teen Vogue called it their "favorite song the girl group's released....ever". Lucas Villa of AXS favorably compared the song to Ciara's "Overdose" and added that "'Sledgehammer' fittingly sounds like it could be their true breakthrough."

In a mixed-negative review, Carolyn Menyes of Music Times said, "Fifth Harmony didn't get its band name randomly - these girls can meld their five distinctive voices perfectly. The resulting chorus makes for a sparkling, jangling and endearing musical moment. As for the rest of the song, 'Sledgehammer' falls completely into average territory. The mid-tempo pop ballad lacks the pizazz and sass of lead Reflection single "Boss" and, thankfully, it moves away from the slang-friendly and kitschy sampler song "Them Girls Be Like". There's something distinctly '80s about "Sledgehammer", be it the heavy hand of the synth or the perfectly melded melodies. If there were only a more interesting melody to really bump this song up, it could have been star status".

Commercial performance Edit

Upon release, "Sledgehammer" debuted on the Mainstream Top 40 at number 28, and peaked at number 21 on December 25, 2014, becoming their highest position on the chart and surpassing their first single "Miss Movin' On". The song went on to spend three non-consecutive weeks at its peak position.

For the week dated December 4, 2014, the song debuted at number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100. It eventually rose to a peak of 40 on its fifth week on the chart with week sales of 85,000, marking Fifth Harmony's best week sales as well as their highest charting single and first top 40 hit. However, it has since been surpassed by "Worth It", which peaked at number twelve and "Work from Home", which peaked at number four. On June 26, 2015, "Sledgehammer" was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in the United States.

Music video Edit

Background Edit

The music video was uploaded to Fifth Harmony's official Vevo account on November 25, 2014. It was directed and choreographed by Fatima Robinson, who also directed the music video for "Boss". Scenes in the video include a swing set, an unicorn sculpture, and a silhouetted man swinging a sledgehammer all while the girls of Fifth Harmony are dressed in colorful dresses and silky hair. MTV released an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of "Sledgehammer" on November 21, 2014. The video earned the group their fourth Vevo certification, reaching 100 million views on April 20, 2016, and gave the group a new milestone as all three singles from their debut studio album attained this goal.

Synopsis Edit

The video begins the members of Fifth Harmony standing in a background of white and blue shades, where Camila claps her hands and the screen goes dark. The group are now sitting in a pyramid stair, where Camila is moving her hands in rhythm of the song, before switching back to the prior scene. The screen goes dark momentartily several times, switching from a shot of a shirtless man moving a sledgehammer and the girls in the white and blue shade background.

The scene turns into color, revealing the faces of the group for the first time, and each pound their heart with their hands as the lyric "If you could take my pulse right now, it would feel like a sledgehammer" is sung. Choreographed dance moves such as the members throwing their fists in the air and the shot between the shirtless man moving the sledgehammer are alternated. The screen then shows blue and orange colors, in a special effect mimicking lights moving around they. After several scenes, they are individually shown singing, all wearing a different dress from the first shot.

The video continues with repeating several scenes with the negative special effects becoming more present. In a different shot, one of the group (unknown due to her silhouette) is seen with a fan blowing air towards her, waving her hair and dress simultaneously. The video rewinds the moment the shirtless man breaks pieces of brick apart to make it seem as if though the pieces are reforming, similar to when one is going through heartbreak.

Reception Edit

Maggie Malack of PopCrush gave a positive review, raving about the thoughts one has when they have "pure emotions of falling for someone". She also praised the group's "undeniable confidence" and their "incredible vocals." She continues her review by noting the video's "maturity and ethereal quality" which portrays the group as "pop royalty". Lucas Villa of AXS praised the video's "style and simplicity". He notes the more "tame affair" the video has from their previous single, Boss and also sees the video as "another side" to the "burgeoning girl group". Writing for Billboard, Jason Lipshutz says the video's monochromatic setting allows the group to "demonstrate their maturity". He also states that the video is "more of a relax fest" and called the "giddiness radiation" of the girls "pretty infectious".

Live performances Edit

On November 9, Fifth Harmony performed "Sledgehammer" for the first time at the pre-show of the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards. The following week, the group performed the song on Good Morning America. and an acoustic version on Access Hollywood Live. On December 16, they performed a stripped down jazz version on VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live. and closed the year by performing the song on Pitbull's New Year's Revolution that aired on Fox.

Lyrics Edit

[Intro: All]
If you could take my pulse right now
It would feel just like a sledgehammer
If you could feel my heart beat now
It would hit you like a sledgehammer

[Verse 1: Camila]
I don't admit it, I play it cool
But every minute that I'm with you
I feel the fever and I won't lie, I break a sweat
My body's telling all the secrets I ain't told you yet

[Pre-Chorus: Ally]
Oh oh
I struggle to contain
Woah oh
The love that's in my veins
Oh oh
And how it circulates
Oh oh

[Chorus: All]
If you could take my pulse right now
It would feel just like a sledgehammer
If you could feel my heart beat now
It would hit you like a sledgehammer
You're taken over the beat of my body, you just don't let up, don't let up
You're taken over the beat of my body but you lift me up, lift me up
If you take my pulse right now
It would feel just like a sledgehammer

[Verse 2: Lauren]
So close together, so far apart
You're turning me on and my fire's waiting for your spark

[Pre-Chorus: Ally]
Oh oh
I struggle to contain
Woah oh
The love that's in my veins
Oh oh
And how it circulates
Oh oh

[Chorus: All]
If you could take my pulse right now
It would feel just like a sledgehammer
If you could feel my heart beat now
It would hit you like a sledgehammer
You're taken over the beat of my body, you just don't let up, don't let up
You're taken over the beat of my body but you lift me up, lift me up
If you take my pulse right now
It would feel just like a sledgehammer

[Bridge: Normani & Ally & (Camila)]
The truth is out, no stopping now, I'm getting closer
I've had enough, undress my love, I'm coming over
(If you could take my pulse right now
It would feel just like a sledgehammer, oh
And if you could take my pulse right now
It would feel just like a sledgehammer, hammer, hammer)

[Chorus: All]
If you could take my pulse right now
It would feel just like a sledgehammer
If you could feel my heart beat now
It would hit you like a sledgehammer
You're taken over the beat of my body, you just don't let up, don't let up
You're taken over the beat of my body but you lift me up, lift me up
If you take my pulse right now
It would feel just like a sledgehammer

References Edit

Reflection
30 January, 2015 • Syco Music • Epic Records
Songs
Released Top DownBO$$SledgehammerWorth ItThis Is How We RollEverlasting LoveLike MariahThem Girls Be LikeReflectionSuga MamaWe KnowGoing NowhereBody RockBrave Honest BeautifulI'm In Love With A Monster
Unreleased Double VisionOverTellin' MeChange The Bad BoyThe Way You LookNo Catching Feelings
Artists
Fifth HarmonyCamila CabelloAlly BrookeLauren JaureguiDinah Jane-HansenNormani Kordei
Tour
The Reflection Tour


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