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Sledgehammer (Fifth Harmony song)

"Sledgehammer" is a song recorded by American girl group Fifth Harmony. It was written by Jonas Jeberg, Meghan Trainor and Sean Douglas, and produced by both Jeberg and Harvey Mason, Jr. It was released on October 28, 2014, as the second single from the group's debut studio album Reflection. Musically, "Sledgehammer" is an electronic dance song with synthpop, new wave and 1980's music style influences with lyrics using a "sledgehammer" as a metaphor to express the physical effects that are caused by excessive love.

Five young women dressed in white in different positions. The name "Sledgehammer" is written in red, while "Fifth Harmony" is in platinum color.
Single by Fifth Harmony
from the album Reflection
Released October 28, 2014 (2014-10-28)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2014; Windmark Recording Studios
(Santa Monica)
Genre EDM
Length 3:52
Fifth Harmony singles chronology
"Worth It"
"Worth It"
Music video
"Sledgehammer" on YouTube

Commercially, the song peaked at number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it their first top 40 entry and charted there for a total number of fifteen weeks. At the time, it was the group's highest charting song in the United States, surpassing the previous peak upheld by "Boss", which charted at 43. It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on June 26, 2015. In Canada, it reached a peak of number 63 on the Canadian Hot 100. The song peaked in the top 40 in several countries such as New Zealand, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

An accompanying music video for the song was choreographed and directed by Fatima Robinson. They first performed the song live at the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards pre-show and later at appearances on Good Morning America, Access Hollywood Live, The Talk, the Today Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.


Background and compositionEdit

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 talk about "the kind of love that just can’t be contained."[1] On the behind-the-scenes of the song's music video, the group said they decided to choice "Sledgehammer" for their second single because their debut album has such a variety of sounds, they also described the transition from "Boss" to "Sledgehammer" just "shows how eclectic their sound is."[4]

"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.[1][7][6][3] 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."[8] According to a digital music sheet published at by BMG Rights Management, "Sledgehammer" is written in the key of G Major and is set in a 4
common time with an upbeat pop. The quintet's vocals spans the tonal nodes of G3 to F5 and follows a chord progression of C–G–D–C–Em–D.[9]

Critical receptionEdit

"Sledgehammer received mostly positive reviews from music critics upon its release. Jason Lipshutz of Billboard praised the song's "EDM-meets-new-wave beat" and its "immediate hook, and believe that "Sledgehammer" its "the best pop track about the physical effects of lovesickness since Demi Lovato's 'Heart Attack'."[7] Mike Wass of Idolator called it "a sugary sweet synth-pop anthem with serious radio appeal".[3] Jessica Hyndman of MTV noted that "Sledgehammer takes on a fun pop vibe" that lacked in the group’s previous single banger "Boss."[1] Teen Vogue deemed it as "catchy".[10] While the writer Carolyn Menyes from "Music Times" gave a mixed review to "Sledgehammer", she praised the group's performance commenting that their distinctive voices sound "perfectly", however, Menyes expressed that "Sledgehammer" "falls completely into average territory."[6]

Commercial performanceEdit

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".[11] 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.[12] However, it has since been surpassed by "Worth It", which peaked at number twelve and "Work from Home", which peaked at number four.[13] On June 26, 2015, "Sledgehammer" was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in the United States.[14] It also received a gold certification in both Canada and Sweden.

Music videoEdit


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 group are dressed in colorful dresses and silky hair.[15] MTV released an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of "Sledgehammer" on November 21, 2014.[16] 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.


The members of Fifth Harmony portray themselves as silhouettes dancing in a background of blue and white shades.

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 members in the white and blue shade background.[17]

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. 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".[18]

Live performancesEdit

On November 9, 2014, Fifth Harmony performed "Sledgehammer" for the first time at the pre-show of the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards.[19] The following week, the group performed the song on Good Morning America.[20] and an acoustic version on Access Hollywood Live.[21] On December 16, 2014, they performed a stripped down jazz version on VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live.[22] and closed the year by performing the song on Pitbull's New Year's Revolution that aired on Fox.[23] Upon the release of Reflection, the group performed the song on Today Show, and on The Talk. Several weeks later, the group performed the song on Sunrise while promoting the album in Australia,[24] and on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[25] Sledgehammer also appeared on the setlist for Fifth Harmony's performances at the 2015 New York, New York; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; and Sunrise, Florida Jingle Ball concerts.[26][27] The song was also included on the setlist for the group's headlined international tours, The Reflection Tour and The 7/27 Tour.

Credits and personnelEdit

Credits adapted from Reflection's liner notes.[28]

Recording and management
  • Recorded at Windmark Recording Studios (Santa Monica)
  • Mixed at Larrabee Sound Studios (North Hollywood)
  • Mastered at Big Noize Studios (Los Angeles, California)
  • Published by BMG Platinum Songs BMI – All rights administered by BMG Rights Management (US) / LLC Year Of The Dog Music (ASCAP), Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI) and Eastman Point Publishing (BMI).


Chart (2014–15) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[29] 88
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[30] 49
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[31] 21
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[32] 63
Canada CHR/Top 40 (Billboard)[33] 34
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[34] 27
Ireland (IRMA)[35] 83
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[36] 36
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[37] 30
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[38] 75
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[39] 112
US Billboard Hot 100[40] 40
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[41] 36
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[42] 21


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[43] Gold 40,000^
Sweden (GLF)[44] Gold 20,000^
United States (RIAA)[45] Platinum 1,000,000^

 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

* Since May 2013, RIAA certifications for digital singles include on-demand audio and/or video song streams in addition to downloads.[46]

Release historyEdit

Country Date Format Label
United States[47] October 28, 2014 (2014-10-28) Digital download
United Kingdom[48] December 7, 2014 (2014-12-07)
  • Syco



  1. ^ a b c d Hyndman, Jessica (October 23, 2014). "Fifth Harmony Hit Us Like A ‘Sledgehammer’ With New Single Announcement". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Sledgehammer | Fifth Harmony – Télécharger et écouter l'album" (in French). Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Wass, Mike (October 29, 2014). "Fifth Harmony Unveil Their Flawless 'Sledgehammer' Single Cover And Share The Songwriting & Production Credits". Idolator. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Go Behind The Scenes On The Set Of Fifth Harmony's 'Sledgehammer' [Legendado PT/BR]". YouTube. 
  5. ^ Meister, Peter (February 1, 2015). "Fifth Harmony: Reflection". Sputnikmusic. Sputnikmusic. Retrieved April 9, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Menyes, Carolyn (October 29, 2014). "Fifth Harmony "Sledgehammer" Review: Girl Group Goes '80s on New 'Reflection' Single [LISTEN]". Music Times. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason; Staff, Billboard (November 7, 2014). "The Best and Worst Singles of the Week -- From Fifth Harmony to Spandau Ballet". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Review: Fifth Harmony Harness Pop’s Gooey, Feel-Good Core on ‘Reflection’". SPIN. February 3, 2015. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Sledgehammer by Fifth Harmony - Music Sheet". BMG Rights Management. Retrieved March 27, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Oh Hi, Fun New Fifth Harmony Song! "Sledgehammer" Might Just Be Their Best and Buzziest Track Yet". Teen Vogue. October 30, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Fifth Harmony - Chart history: Pop Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 25, 2014. 
  12. ^ Trust, Gary (January 2, 2015). "Hot 100 Chart Moves: Fifth Harmony Notches First Top 40 Hit With 'Sledgehammer'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Fifth Harmony Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "American certifications – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer". Recording Industry Association of America. 
  15. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (November 25, 2014). "Watch Fifth Harmony Hit Like a 'Sledgehammer' In New Video". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  16. ^ Wilson, Gaby (November 21, 2014). "Go Behind The Scenes Of Fifth Harmony's 'Sledgehammer' Music Video Before It Even Drops". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Watch Fifth Harmony's Badass New Music Video For "Sledgehammer"". Seventeen. November 25, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Watch Fifth Harmony Hit Like a ‘Sledgehammer’ In New Video". Billboard. 
  19. ^ King, Brittany (November 9, 2014). "Fifth Harmony Performs ‘Sledgehammer’ At The MTV EMAs". Hollywood Life. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  20. ^ Eishler, Juliann (November 12, 2014). "Fifth Harmony Wows With First TV Performance Of 'Sledgehammer'". Hollywood Life. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  21. ^ Thompson, Heather (November 15, 2014). "WATCH: Fifth Harmony Performs "Sledgehammer" Acoustic". J-14. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Fifth Harmony Performs 'Sledgehammer' on VH1's Big Morning Buzz!". Fifth Harmony. February 16, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  23. ^ Sartore-Bodo, Dina (December 31, 2014). "Fifth Harmony Rocks With 'Sledgehammer' Performance On NYE". Hollywood Life. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Fifth Harmony LIVE - Video". Yahoo!7 TV. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  25. ^ Gracie, Bianca (February 26, 2015). "Fifth Harmony Perform "Sledgehammer" On 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show': Watch". Idolator. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  26. ^ "New York’s Jingle Ball 2015: A Power Ranking". Spin. December 12, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2017. 
  27. ^ "Fifth Harmony – Performs at the Y100 Jingle Ball 2015 in Sunrise, Florida". CelebMix. December 21, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2017. 
  28. ^ Reflection (booklet). Fifth Harmony. Epic Records / Syco Music. 2015. p. 2. 
  29. ^ Ryan, Gavin (February 28, 2015). "ARIA Singles: Ellie Goulding 50 Shades Of Grey Song Spends Second Week On Top". Noise11. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  30. ^ " – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  31. ^ " – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer" (in French). Ultratip.
  32. ^ "Fifth Harmony – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Fifth Harmony. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  33. ^ "Fifth Harmony – Chart history" Billboard Canada CHR/Top 40 for Fifth Harmony. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  34. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 20154 into search. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  35. ^ "Chart Track: Week 5, 2015". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  36. ^ " – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  37. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 20154 into search. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  38. ^ " – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer". Singles Top 100.
  39. ^ "UK CLUK Update 20.12.2014". zobbel. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Fifth Harmony – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Fifth Harmony. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  41. ^ "Fifth Harmony – Chart history" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Fifth Harmony. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  42. ^ "Fifth Harmony – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Fifth Harmony. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  43. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer". Music Canada. March 29, 2016. 
  44. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 2016" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. February 10, 2016.  Type Fifth Harmony in the top right search bar. Click on "Sok" and select Sledgehammer and see certification.
  45. ^ "American single certifications – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer". Recording Industry Association of America. June 26, 2015.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  46. ^ "RIAA Adds Digital Streams To Historic Gold & Platinum Awards". Recording Industry Association of America. May 9, 2013. Archived from the original on May 26, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  47. ^ "iTunes - Music - Bo$$ - Single by Fifth Harmony". iTunes Store (US). Apple. July 7, 2014. 
  48. ^ "iTunes - Music - Bo$$ - Single by Fifth Harmony". iTunes Store (UK). Apple. December 7, 2014. 

External linksEdit