Singer-songwriter Sia Furler unveiled the music video for her new single “Chandelier” on Tuesday, and just like the song, it's fantastic. People have been foolishly sleeping on “Chandelier” since it came out almost two months ago, but it’s still one of the best songs released so far in 2014! Now, “Chandelier” has one of the year’s most compelling music videos, to boot.
Directed by Sia and Daniel Askill (who also directed Sia’s “Breathe Me” visual), the “Chandelier” music video only has one speed: manic. Viewers watch as a young girl, wearing a flesh-colored leotard and a severe white-blonde Sia wig, frantically dances her way through the various rooms of a seriously dilapidated apartment. In the video’s opening shot, the girl is motionless, carefully suspending her body in the doorframe to her bedroom.
At first, I was like, is that Sia? She’s so tiny! No, of course it’s not Sia. It’s Maddie Ziegler from the reality show Dance Moms. That doesn’t really mean anything to me, but maybe it does to you — I’m basically a grandma when it comes to reality television. The last reality show I watched religiously may have been FOX’s Joe Millionaire all the way back in 2003. Ah, memories. But back to “Chandelier."
At first, I was kind of bummed that Sia herself wasn’t going to appear in the video, but my disappointment faded as I quickly became mesmerized by Ziegler’s bizarre dancing. After jumping, twirling, and cartwheeling her way around the bedroom, Ziegler moves in to the kitchen, and then eventually the living room. All the while, she never stops moving. I imagine that at least some of this routine was choreographed, but often, it feels like she’s just making it up as she goes along — and that’s awesome. As the song comes to a close, Ziegler stands in the apartment’s open doorway, repeatedly curtsying, a maniacal smile plastered across her face. Whoa. It’s a creepy image, but also a powerful one. It's like she's saying, "Enter...if you dare."
On “Chandelier,” Sia sings about a wild party girl who is literally swinging from the chandelier at night, but crippled by feelings of intense guilt and shame come morning. The woman in “Chandelier” is surrounding herself with phony friends who don’t really care about her. She’s self-medicating with alcohol. She’s out of control. Of course, I can’t say for sure that “Chandelier” is autobiographical, but Sia has spoken candidly about her struggles with alcohol and drug abuse in the past. (It's interesting to note that there is a portrait of Sia hanging on the bedroom wall in the video.)
The way I see it, the apartment represents the narrator’s mind — troubled, neglected, and cluttered. Ziegler’s insane dance moves and endless child-like energy perfectly embody the reckless abandon with which the storyteller is living her life. This video is an exhilarating, surprisingly fascinating visual depiction of addiction — and probably even depression. Kudos to Sia for dropping one of the best music videos this year out of nowhere!
Watch the music video for “Chandelier” below. If you like what you hear (and see), please consider supporting Sia by buying “Chandelier” on iTunes. Sia’s new album, 1000 Forms of Fear, will be released this summer.