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Sledgehammer (Fifth Harmony song)

"Sledgehammer" is a song recorded by American girl group Fifth Harmony for their debut studio album, Reflection (2015). The song was released on October 28, 2014 by Epic Records and Syco Music as the record's second single. It was written by Jonas Jeberg, Meghan Trainor and Sean Douglas, and produced by Jeberg and Harvey Mason, Jr.. Musically, "Sledgehammer" is an EDM song with synthpop, new wave and 1980s music style influences. Its lyrics use a sledgehammer as a metaphor to express the physical effects caused by excessive love.

Shot of Fifth Harmony dressed in white. The single's name and the artists are written in red and platinum color, respectively.
Single by Fifth Harmony
from the album Reflection
A-side "Boss"
Released October 28, 2014 (2014-10-28)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2014
Studio Windmark Recording Studios
(Santa Monica)
Length 3:52
Fifth Harmony singles chronology
"Worth It"
"Worth It"

Music critics generally gave positive reviews of the song, praising its production. Commercially, "Sledgehammer" peaked at number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Fifth Harmony's first top 40 entry in the United States. It was eventually certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of over one million copies. The song also reached the top 40 in several other countries, including New Zealand, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

An accompanying music video for the track was choreographed and directed by Fatima Robinson. The visual portrays each member as a silhouette and they sing in a swing set, among other scenes. Critics noted the video's simple aesthetics as part of a growth in the group's visuals. Fifth Harmony performed the song live at the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards, Good Morning America, The Talk, Today Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.


Background and compositionEdit

During a live stream on October 23, 2014, Fifth Harmony announced that "Sledgehammer" would be serviced as the second single from their debut studio album, Reflection (2015).[3] They described it as a transition from their precedent single "Boss" (2014).[4] The track was written by Jonas Jeberg, Meghan Trainor, and Sean Douglas, while production was handled by Jeberg and Harvey Mason, Jr.[5] The group's vocals were produced and recorded by Heberg, Mason, Jr. and Andrew Hey at Windmark Recording Studios in Santa Monica, California.[5]

"Sledgehammer"'s synthpop production contains an uptempo EDM beat with new wave and 1980s music influences, along with heavy synths.[5][3][6][7][8] Lyrically, the song uses a sledgehammer as a metaphor to express physical effects caused by excessive love. This can be noted during the line, "If you take my pulse right now, it would feel just like a sledgehammer."[9] Jessica Hyndman of MTV suggested that the track talks about "the kind of love that just can't be contained".[3] According to 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 melody. The quintet's vocals span from G3 to F5 and follow a chord progression of C–G–D–C–Em–D.[10]

Critical receptionEdit

"Sledgehammer" received generally positive reviews from music critics. Jason Lipshutz of Billboard praised the song's "EDM-meets-new-wave beat" and its "immediate hook", believing that "Sledgehammer" is "the best pop track about the physical effects of lovesickness since Demi Lovato's 'Heart Attack'." It was tied as the best ranked song of the week, sharing the honor with "Don't It" (2014) by country singer Billy Currington.[7] Mike Wass of Idolator called it "a sugary sweet synth-pop anthem with serious radio appeal".[5] Jessica Hyndman from MTV noted that "'Sledgehammer' takes on a fun pop vibe" that lacked in the group's previous single "Boss".[3] A reviewer from Teen Vogue deemed the track as "catchy",[11] while writer Carolyn Menyes from website Music Times gave a mixed review to "Sledgehammer". She praised the group's performance, commending that their distinctive voices sound "perfectly", but expressed that the single fell "completely into average territory."[6]

In a 2017 article published on Idolator, Mike Neid placed the song in his "should have been bigger" category, stating that the track was one of the group's most "underrated". Neid further commented on how their visuals were not as "sexy" as the music video for their 2016 single "Work from Home", but served as a "joyful and chic" reminder of their "youthful beginnings."[12] Billboard ranked the song at number 57 on their 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time list.[13] Lipshutz stated that, although one of their lyrics is "more than a bit confusing", the group manage to "sell their tale of unsaid infatuation with dedicated melismas and gooey production".[13]

Commercial performanceEdit

Upon its release, "Sledgehammer" debuted on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 chart at number 28 and peaked at number 21 in December 2014, becoming their highest position on the chart and surpassing their debut single "Miss Movin' On" (2013).[14] The song went on to spend three non-consecutive weeks at its peak position. For the week dated December 4, 2014, "Sledgehammer" 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 sales of 85,000, aided by a price reduction on digital download sites, which reported a 277 percent spike in sales. This marked Fifth Harmony's best week sales, as well as their highest-charting single and first top 40 hit;[15] it has since been surpassed by "Worth It" (2015), which peaked at number 12 and "Work from Home", which peaked at number four.[16] On June 26, 2015, "Sledgehammer" was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the United States for sales of one million units.[17] It also received a Gold certification in both Canada and Sweden.

Music videoEdit

In the music video, the members of Fifth Harmony portray themselves as silhouettes dancing in a background of blue and white shades.

An accompanying music video for "Sledgehammer" was uploaded onto 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 visual include a swing set, an unicorn sculpture, and a silhouetted man swinging a sledgehammer while the group is dressed in colorful dresses and silky hair.[18] MTV released an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of "Sledgehammer" on November 21, 2014.[19]

The video begins with the members of Fifth Harmony standing in a background of white and blue shades, where Camila Cabello claps her hands and the screen goes dark. The group is subsequently standing in a pyramid stair, with Cabello moving her hands in rhythm of the song before switching back to the prior scene. Following this, the screen goes dark several times, switching from a shot of a shirtless man moving a sledgehammer and the members in the white and blue shade background.[20] The next scene turns into color, revealing the faces of the group for the first time, with each pounding 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 them. Final scenes shows the members individually 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, the silhouette one of the group 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, Lipshutz said 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.[21] The following week, the group performed the song on Good Morning America[22] and performed an acoustic version on Access Hollywood Live.[23] Nearly a month later, the group performed a stripped down jazz version on VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live[24] and closed the year by performing the song on "Pitbull's New Year's Revolution" that aired on Fox.[25] Upon the release of Reflection, the group performed the song on The Today Show and on The Talk. Several weeks later, the group presented the song on Sunrise while promoting the album in Australia[26] and on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[27] 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.[28] It was also included on the setlist for the group's headlined international tours, the Reflection Tour and the 7/27 Tour.[29][30]

Credits and personnelEdit

Credits adapted from Reflection's liner notes.[31]

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)[32] 88
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[33] 49
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[34] 21
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[35] 63
Canada CHR/Top 40 (Billboard)[36] 34
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[37] 27
Ireland (IRMA)[38] 83
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[39] 36
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[40] 77
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[41] 30
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[42] 75
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[43] 112
US Billboard Hot 100[44] 40
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[45] 36
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[46] 21


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[47] Gold 40,000^
Sweden (GLF)[48] Gold 20,000^
United States (RIAA)[49] 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.[50]

Release historyEdit

Country Date Format Label
United States[51] October 28, 2014 (2014-10-28) Digital download
United Kingdom[52] December 7, 2014 (2014-12-07)
  • Syco


  1. ^ "FIFTH HARMONY - Sledgehammer lyrics". Direct Lyrics. February 5, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Music review: Ariana Grande and Fifth Harmony – how to get from B to A-list". The National. May 31, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Fifth Harmony Hit Us Like A 'Sledgehammer' With New Single Announcement". MTV News. October 23, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Go Behind The Scenes Of Fifth Harmony's 'Sledgehammer' Music Video Before It Even Drops". MTV News. November 21, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Fifth Harmony Unveil Their Flawless 'Sledgehammer' Single Cover And Share The Songwriting & Production Credits". Idolator. October 29, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b 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 "The Best and Worst Singles of the Week -- From Fifth Harmony to Spandau Ballet". Billboard. November 7, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Fifth Harmony: Reflection". Sputnikmusic. February 1, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Review: Fifth Harmony Harness Pop's Gooey, Feel-Good Core on 'Reflection'". Spin. February 3, 2015. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Sledgehammer by Fifth Harmony - Music Sheet". BMG Rights Management. Retrieved March 27, 2017. 
  11. ^ "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. 
  12. ^ Neid, Mike. "Should Have Been Bigger: Fifth Harmony's "Sledgehammer"". Idolator. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 
  13. ^ a b "100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time: Critics' Picks". Billboard. Retrieved July 11, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Fifth Harmony - Chart history: Pop Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 25, 2014. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ "Fifth Harmony Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "American certifications – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer". Recording Industry Association of America. 
  18. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason (November 25, 2014). "Watch Fifth Harmony Hit Like a 'Sledgehammer' In New Video". Billboard. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  19. ^ Wilson, Gaby (November 21, 2014). "Go Behind The Scenes Of Fifth Harmony's 'Sledgehammer' Music Video Before It Even Drops". MTV. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Watch Fifth Harmony's Badass New Music Video For "Sledgehammer"". Seventeen. November 25, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Fifth Harmony Performs 'Sledgehammer' At The MTV EMAs". Hollywood Life. November 9, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  22. ^ Eishler, Juliann (November 12, 2014). "Fifth Harmony Wows With First TV Performance Of 'Sledgehammer'". Hollywood Life. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  23. ^ "WATCH: Fifth Harmony Performs "Sledgehammer" Acoustic". J-14. November 15, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Fifth fth Harmony Strips Down "Sledgehammer" on 'Big Morning Buzz Live'". VH1. February 16, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Fifth Harmony Rocks With 'Sledgehammer' Performance On NYE". Hollywood Life. December 31, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Fifth Harmony LIVE - Video". Yahoo!7 TV. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Fifth Harmony Perform "Sledgehammer" On 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show': Watch". Idolator. February 26, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  28. ^ "New York's Jingle Ball 2015: A Power Ranking". Spin. December 12, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Review Fifth Harmony keeps striving at Club Nokia". Los Angeles Times. March 2, 2017. Retrieved September 7, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Concert Review: Fifth Harmony true to its name". The Providence Journal. August 6, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2017. 
  31. ^ Reflection (booklet). Fifth Harmony. Epic Records / Syco Music. 2015. p. 2. 
  32. ^ Ryan, Gavin (February 28, 2015). "ARIA Singles: Ellie Goulding 50 Shades Of Grey Song Spends Second Week On Top". Noise11. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  33. ^ " – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  34. ^ " – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer" (in French). Ultratip.
  35. ^ "Fifth Harmony Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  36. ^ "Fifth Harmony Chart History (Canada CHR/Top 40)". Billboard. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  37. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 20154 into search. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  38. ^ "Chart Track: Week 5, 2015". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  39. ^ " – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  40. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  41. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 20154 into search. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  42. ^ " – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer". Singles Top 100.
  43. ^ "UK CLUK Update 20.12.2014". zobbel. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  44. ^ "Fifth Harmony Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  45. ^ "Fifth Harmony Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  46. ^ "Fifth Harmony Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  47. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer". Music Canada. March 29, 2016. 
  48. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat" (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.
  49. ^ "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
  50. ^ "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. 
  51. ^ "iTunes - Music - Bo$$ - Single by Fifth Harmony". iTunes Store (US). Apple. July 7, 2014. 
  52. ^ "iTunes - Music - Bo$$ - Single by Fifth Harmony". iTunes Store (UK). Apple. December 7, 2014. 

External linksEdit