Sledgehammer

Album: Single release only (2016)
Charted: 69
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Songfacts®:

  • This soaring ballad was recorded by Rihanna for the Star Trek Beyond movie. The Bajan songstress had the song in her back pocket for a several years beforehand (it most likely was originally earmarked for Anti). Back in 2014 she tweeted a lyric fragment from its chorus, "You're just another brick and I'm a sledgehammer."
  • The song was written by Australian singer-songwriter Sia. It was the pair's first collaboration since their 2012 international chart-topper "Diamonds."
  • A sledgehammer is a manual tool used to break through brick structures. Rihanna sings here of hitting a wall caused by someone close to her before using the metaphorical sledgehammer to break it down.
  • Other artists that have recorded songs titled "Sledgehammer" include Peter Gabriel and Fifth Harmony.
  • The intergalactic music video was the first ever to be shot entirely with IMAX cameras. It was directed by Floria Sigismondi (David Bowie, Justin Timberlake, Bjork) and features Rihanna playing a mystical alien with cosmic abilities.
  • Rihanna has been a fan of the sci-fi franchise since she was a little girl. "My dad really is the one who introduced me to Star Trek," she said. "It just took me one episode to fall in love with this other world that I couldn't understand, but I felt like I could relate to."

    "I was always very curious about the characters and the storyline," Rihanna added. "You always felt emotionally connected to the characters and whatever they were going through."
  • Sigismondi explained the video's concept to Billboard magazine: "The story I created is (one) I've always wanted to do a person breaking apart into the universe. I just think that's so beautiful in terms of what you can say about humanity. I've created this mystical being in this otherworldly planet being that harnesses the power to manipulate the elements and the elements around her being the sand, the rocks and the earth, and that she actually has a power as well to conjure up the energy and create light and stars. So she transforms into the universe itself.

    I think when you listen to the lyrics and when you look at the themes of the movie, but [Captain] Kirk's dilemma in his recent goals and he's not happy and he's questioning why he's doing what he's doing; and it's about breaking down those barriers. So for me, pushing through life, through yourself, and it leaves the audience with a feeling of an expansive universe. And one where we all live in, but we know very little about. It's sort of this mystical magical place. And I think it's in all of us."

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