My Monday Pop Obsession: Sia’s “Chandelier”

Since I’m going to be complaining about pop culture a lot, it seems only fair to talk about some things I love. I’ll try to make it regular thing. This week, it’s Sia’s song “Chandelier” and especially the accompanying music video.

The key to a good music video, in my opinion, is to do something interesting without getting in the way of the song. A lot of music videos are just there. It’s an excuse to put the artist in a variety of outfits and have them lip-synch into a camera. They’re fine, but just powerfully uninteresting and forgettable.

What I love about the “Chandelier” video is how much it complements the song while also being so simple at the same time. The choreography is amazing, beautiful and silly and frenetic all at once, and the dancer, Maddie Ziegler, is phenomenally talented. Picking a stark, run down room as the setting reflects an underlying sadness. Together, the video creates a sense of vulnerability that actually made me listen to the lyrics more closely and realize that the song is not just about partying your face off.

For example:

Party girls don’t get hurt
Can’t feel anything, when will I learn?
I push it down, push it down

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

Gotta get out now, gotta run from this
Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

Despite the chorus’ focus on swinging from the chandelier and pounding shots, the entire song makes it clear that the partying is an attempt to escape from an inner desperation. The beauty of the video is that it enhances this aspect of the song without pounding you over the head with it.

The best example of this in the video actually comes in the last shot, where the Ziegler puts on a fake smile and practices her curtsy before sending the video with a long shot on her standing, in the dark, in the doorway. It’s a beautiful, forlorn moment without a single fake tear in sight.

It might have been a risky move to make music video focused entirely on a contemporary dance routine without the actual singer making an appearance. But it worked out perfectly. Together, the video and the song stand out as an amazing work of art.