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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 was produced by both Jeberg and Harvey Mason, Jr.. It was released on October 28, 2014 as the second single from their debut studio album Reflection (2015). Musically, "Sledgehammer" is a synthpop and electronic dance song with new wave influences, lyrically, its about strong feelings for someone that are hard to ignore.

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)
Length 3:52
Fifth Harmony singles chronology
"Worth It"
Music video
"Sledgehammer" on YouTube

Commercially, the song peaked at number 40 on the US Billboard Hot 100, making it their first top 40 entry. It also appeared on the US Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Pop Songs charts at numbers 21 and 36 respectively. 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. An accompanying music video for the song, choreographed and directed by Fatima Robinson, was released on the band's Vevo page. They first performed the song live at the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards pre-show and would make later appearances on Good Morning America, Access Hollywood Live, The Talk, the Today Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.



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] It’s about the kind of love that just can’t be contained and forces you to let go.[1] On the behind-the-scenes of the song's music video, they said they "decided to with 'Sledgehammer' for our second single because our album has such a variety of sounds, and we all like completely different genres... the transition from 'Boss' to 'Sledgehammer' just shows how eclectic our sound is. And it's a relatable concept, just being with the person that you like, and feeling your heart beat like a sledgehammer."[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 quitent's voice spans the tonal nodes of G3 to F5 and follows a chord progression of C–G–D–C–Em–D.[9]

Critical receptionEdit

Fifth Harmony performing the song during The 7/27 Tour on August 6, 2016.

Jason Lipshutz of Billboard gave a positive review saying, "Fifth Harmony's second offering from its upcoming debut is already known as 'the single written by Meghan Trainor,' who nailed this girl-group track. With an EDM-meets-new-wave beat and an immediate hook, 'Sledgehammer' is 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 gave a positive review saying, "'Sledgehammer' takes on a fun pop vibe, vastly different from the girls’ hip-hop banger 'Bo[ss]' and last year’s 'Miss Movin’ On'".[1] Teen Vogue called it their "favorite song the girl group's released....ever". Lucas Villa of AXS favorably compared the song to Ciara's "Overdose" and added that "'Sledgehammer' fittingly sounds like it could be [Fifth Harmony's] true breakthrough."[8] Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly stated on a positive review referring to the chorus' lyrics that "if that troublesome heart rate is the secret to creating club-ready delights like this, may they never get that checked out."[10]

Carolyn Menyes of Music Times gave a mixed-negative review of the song saying, "Fifth Harmony didn't get its band name randomly - these girls can meld their five distinctive voices perfectly. The resulting chorus makes for a sparkling, jangling and endearing musical moment. As for the rest of the song, 'Sledgehammer' falls completely into average territory. The mid-tempo pop ballad lacks the pizazz and sass of lead Reflection single 'BO$$' and, thankfully, it moves away from the slang-friendly and kitschy sampler song 'Them Girls Be Like'. There's something distinctly '80s about 'Sledgehammer,' be it the heavy hand of the synth or the perfectly melded melodies. If there were only a more interesting melody to really bump this song up, it could have been star status".[6]

Commercial performanceEdit

Upon release, "Sledgehammer" debuted on the US 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 so far. On December 4, 2014, the song debuted at number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100. It 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 12) and "Work from Home" (which peaked at number 4).[13] On June 26, 2015, "Sledgehammer" was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the United States.[14]

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 girls of Fifth Harmony are dressed in colorful dresses and silky hair.[15] On November 21, 2014, MTV released an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of "Sledgehammer".[16] On April 20, 2016, the music video for "Sledgehammer" earned the group their fourth Vevo certification for amassing over 100 million views.


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 girls in the white and blue shade background.

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 and 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.


Maggie Malack of PopCrush gave a positive review, raving about the thoughts one has when they have "pure emotions of falling for someone". She also praised the group's "undeniable confidence" and their "incredible vocals." She continues her review by noting the video's "maturity and ethereal quality" which portrays the group as "pop royalty".[17] Lucas Villa of AXS praised the video's "style and simplicity". He notes the more "tame affair" the video has from their previous single, Boss and also sees the video as "another side" to the "burgeoning girl group".[18] 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".[19]

Live performancesEdit

On November 9, Fifth Harmony performed "Sledgehammer" for the first time at the pre-show of the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards.[20] On November 12, they performed the song on Good Morning America.[21] That same week, they performed an acoustic version of the song on Access Hollywood Live.[22] On December 16, they performed a stripped down jazz version of the song on VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live.[23] The girls performed the song on Pitbull's New Year's Revolution that aired on Fox on December 31, 2014.[24] On February 3, 2015, they performed the song on Today Show, and on The Talk on February 5, 2015, upon the release of Reflection. They also performed the song during their Reflection Tour (2015). On February 18, 2015, the group performed the song on Sunrise while promoting the album in Australia,[25] and on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on February 25, 2015.[26] Sledgehammer is on the setlist for Fifth Harmony's performances at the 2015 New York, NY; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; and Sunrise, FL Jingle Ball concerts.[27][28]

Awards and nominationsEdit

"Sledgehammer" was nominated for Choice Love Song at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards, but lost to One Direction's single, "Night Changes."[29]

Track listingEdit

  • Digital download
  1. "Sledgehammer" – 3:52
  • UK Digital single[30]
  1. "Boss" – 2:51
  2. "Sledgehammer" – 3:52

Credits and personnelEdit

Recorded at Windmark Recording Studios (Santa Monica)
Mixed at Larrabee Sound Studios (North Hollywood)

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Reflection.[31]


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
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[40] 30
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[41] 75
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[42] 112
US Billboard Hot 100[43] 40
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[44] 36
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[45] 21


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[46] Gold 40,000^
Sweden (GLF)[47] Gold 20,000^
United States (RIAA)[48] Platinum 740,000^

 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.[49]

Release historyEdit

Country Date Format Label
United States[50] October 28, 2014 (2014-10-28) Digital download
United Kingdom[30] December 7, 2014 (2014-12-07)
  • Syco


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  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. ^ a b Villa, Lucas (November 17, 2014). "Listen: Fifth Harmony hits like a 'Sledgehammer' on Meghan Trainor-penned single". AXS. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Sledgehammer by Fifth Harmony - Music Sheet". BMG Rights Management. Retrieved March 27, 2017. 
  10. ^ "5HonTour on Twitter". Twitter. 
  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 Hot 100 for Fifth Harmony. 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. ^ "Fifth Harmony Are Ethereal Powerhouses in 'Sledgehammer' Video". PopCrush. 
  18. ^ "Fifth Harmony premieres stylish music video for 'Sledgehammer'". AXS. 
  19. ^ "Watch Fifth Harmony Hit Like a 'Sledgehammer' In New Video". Billboard. 
  20. ^ King, Brittany (November 9, 2014). "Fifth Harmony Performs 'Sledgehammer' At The MTV EMAs". Hollywood Life. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  21. ^ Eishler, Juliann (November 12, 2014). "Fifth Harmony Wows With First TV Performance Of 'Sledgehammer'". Hollywood Life. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  22. ^ Thompson, Heather (November 15, 2014). "WATCH: Fifth Harmony Performs "Sledgehammer" Acoustic". J-14. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Fifth Harmony Performs 'Sledgehammer' on VH1's Big Morning Buzz!". Fifth Harmony. February 16, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  24. ^ Sartore-Bodo, Dina (December 31, 2014). "Fifth Harmony Rocks With 'Sledgehammer' Performance On NYE". Hollywood Life. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Fifth Harmony LIVE - Video". Yahoo!7 TV. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  26. ^ Gracie, Bianca (February 26, 2015). "Fifth Harmony Perform "Sledgehammer" On 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show': Watch". Idolator. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  27. ^ "New York's Jingle Ball 2015: A Power Ranking". SPIN. December 12, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Fifth Harmony – Performs at the Y100 Jingle Ball 2015 in Sunrise, Florida". CelebMix. December 21, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2017. 
  29. ^ Steiner, Amanda (August 16, 2015). "Teen Choice Awards 2015: See the full list of winners!". E! Online. Retrieved August 19, 2015. 
  30. ^ a b "iTunes - Music - BO$$ - Single by Fifth Harmony". iTunes Store (UK). Apple. December 7, 2014. 
  31. ^ Reflection (CD liner notes). Fifth Harmony. Epic Records / Syco Music. 2015. 
  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 for Fifth Harmony. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  36. ^ "Fifth Harmony – Chart history" Billboard Canada CHR/Top 40 for Fifth Harmony. 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. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 20154 into search. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  41. ^ " – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer". Singles Top 100.
  42. ^ "UK CLUK Update 20.12.2014". zobbel. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  43. ^ "Fifth Harmony – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Fifth Harmony. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  44. ^ "Fifth Harmony – Chart history" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Fifth Harmony. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  45. ^ "Fifth Harmony – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Fifth Harmony. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  46. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer". Music Canada. March 29, 2016. 
  47. ^ "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.
  48. ^ "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
  49. ^ "RIAA Adds Digital Streams To Historic Gold & Platinum Awards". Recording Industry Association of America. May 9, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  50. ^ "iTunes - Music - BO$$ - Single by Fifth Harmony". iTunes Store (US). Apple. July 7, 2014. 

External linksEdit