Sia Wrote Rihanna's "Sledgehammer" & The Video Clearly Took Some Clues From Her, Too
For those of us who had been sitting by our computers, waiting patiently for a new Rihanna music video after "Work" (work, work, work), the news that she officially dropped the video for "Sledgehammer" was much appreciated. The video, which features the song that debuted in the recent Star Trek Beyond trailer, finds RiRi on a desert planet casting some sort of alien magic and looking altogether otherworldly. But the most interesting thing about Rihanna's "Sledgehammer" is that it looks a lot like a Sia music video.
Now, this development isn't too surprising, after all Sia wrote "Sledgehammer" song for Rihanna to perform. She also wrote Rihanna's hit, "Diamonds" which has a similar exotic feel and works hard to exemplify the depth of Rihanna's range. Heck, according to Popsugar, Sia's new album This Is Acting has some tracks on it that were originally meant for Rihanna though they didn't make it onto Rihanna's album Anti, so it's clear these artists have some sort of connection. So it's not completely out of character that the "Sledgehammer" video has some pretty intense Sia vibes — nor is anyone complaining about this fact (and if you are, knock it off). Also, to the powers that be: I don't think anyone would complain about a Sia & RiRi collaboration in which both artists are actually singing together. So, you know, maybe get on that.
And if you've somehow missed the overt Sia vibes all over this song and its video, here's a solid breakdown because I really need to win this argument:
1. The Sound, In General
Yea, I get that Sia wrote the song so this one is a big duh, yet it's still important to mention because I was shocked by how Sia-esque the production is as well. The slow beginning of this song which then goes into crashing percussion with the hearty vocals is a bit similar to Sia's "Alive," and you know it.
2. This Video Is All Rihanna
A lot of Sia's videos see her solo and dancing by herself. Sometimes this changes, and she's cage-fighting with Shia Labeouf, but overall she's just doing her own thing (or maybe a mini version of herself is doing her own thing). In "Sledgehammer," Rihanna is completely alone on a desert planet dancing with herself — though it looks to be less dance and more witchy vibes.
3. There Are No Costume Changes
In most of videos, she (or again, her mini-me) rocks a single, very plain outfit and her iconic platinum short hairstyle with those bangs. In "Sledgehammer" Rihanna wears a single costume as well and never changes her hair from its alien half pony tail. Her look is a bit more alien priestess than Sia's doppelganger, but the idea of remaining the same character is still there.
4. The Meticulously Specific Color Scheme
There is a very serious purple vibe going on the desert planet Rihanna finds herself on and I don't hate it. While Sia sticks with high contrast blacks, whites, and shades of grey and tan, her chosen color schemes are absolutely meticulous. RiRi does the same though she gets to have much more fun with the vivacious warm tones.
5. An Emphasis On Hands
While Rihanna is doing a lot of dancing the utilize her arms and hands (rather than the gyrating moves she often puts in her videos) to seem like a mysterious alien with the power to control those weird alien bird things, and her moves have a definite Sia vibe. In fact, just look at Sia's video "Soon We'll Be Found":
6. An Ambiguous Ending
At the end of "Sledgehammer" the Starship Enterprise is locked onto a giant Rihanna face in space. It's not clear if our Alien Witch Rihanna is evil and the Enterprise is going against her or if she is a buddy of the crew. This sort of ending, in which we don't know whether to feel sad or happy for our protagonist, happens in a few of Sia's videos. Yet the one I'm most reminded of is her collaboration with LaBeouf in "Elastic Heart" where mini-Sia has seemingly won the cage match, but still seems pulled (literally) to be in the cage.
While the video and song of "Sledgehammer" definitely has its own Rihanna flair, there is a serious Sia vibe. It's nice to know that these talented artists can work together and be influenced by each other. Keep it up, you talented ladies, you.