Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer

Fine, but next round we’re turning items off…


Alfred Soto: Feels more like a reflex hammer.

Mo Kim: Halfway through the chorus, the girls sing “You’retakingoverthebeatofmybodieeee” in one giddy, breathless phrase; the rest of “Sledgehammer” is sturdily-constructed electronic pop, but that moment’s a nifty little trick, capturing the excitement and vulnerability of new love. After seeing Fifth Harmony tackle the Destiny’s Child empowerment anthem with “Bo$$,” it’s nice to see that they can pull off a song as swoon-worthy as this, too.

Katherine St Asaph: The over-polished hook right at the beginning, the pitter-patter subject matter and the sly flirtation (take someone’s pulse, you’re halfway to taking their hand), have the pat-sounding gleam of early-’00s teenpop. The rest is “Teenage Dream” and the vague swag that every early girl group that rolls down the radio displays more than the last. Take my pulse sometime else and it might respond more.

Iain Mew: Songwriting, production and vocal performances all match the central lyrical conceit. I just wish they didn’t.

Micha Cavaseno: The truth is, this song is a massively frustrated blend of good ideas and bad ideas. The pace of this song manages to feel both rushed and plodding in riding this trotting, galloping bassline. The hiccups are both cute and irritating, and depending on the moment that drum break is either really entertaining or the dumbest thing ever. The girls here are all doing fine to good, and the lyrics are inoffensive, but I can’t say I want to hear this ever again.

Will Adams: I’m genuinely excited by the prospect of fizzy synthpop becoming the vogue in Top 40 pop. Hopefully we’ll learn to push past nonsensical tempo shifts and mixing so brickwalled it hurts to listen to.

Brad Shoup: I trust Meghan Trainor, and I trust those hats, and I trust pop radio. But I’d have quickened the tempo of the bridge. The sequencing at the end wants to race toward the legit buzzy thump, to run alongside that Haimish synthchirp. Plus, their vocals work better as a blur.

John Seroff: By far the best part is around 2:45 — following a pensive illusory slow motion bridge, the clockwork slowly cycles up and the vocals emerge to pace; the lyrics drop back to behind the beat and the tempo shifts to the pre-established throb right on the money note. It’s the most enjoyable teenpop penultimate climax since Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack“. As with “Heart Attack” the rest of the song is boilerplate shimmering bombast, but that single moment has enough gravity to anchor “Sledgehammer” as an inoffensive and entirely explicable hit. There’s power in the rest.

Josh Winters: “Sledgehammer” does an excellent job of painting the exciting anxieties of being in close proximity to your crush. The ladies’ voices unite as one to heighten the magnitude of the feeling, slamming every key word in the chorus directly onto the beat as the pounding toms pummel away. It becomes even more thrilling in the bridge when the rhythm is stripped away and the pulsating synth races up to the surface, creating a truly heart-stopping moment as they find intimacy within the cacophony.

Leela Grace: Using a sledgehammer is steady, relentless labor if you’re doing it right and the landing could be a heart slamming in your chest, but it’s for sure not a pulse. “Jackhammer” would make more sense. Except feelings are the only facts, and once I got hit on the thumb with a sledgehammer and it hurt less than most of my crushes. Infatuation is giddiness and fear and I hear both. Whoa-ohs forever.

Reader average: [6.85] (7 votes)

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3 Responses to “Fifth Harmony – Sledgehammer”

  1. Loved Leela’s blurb

  2. the album it’s pretty good tho

  3. After releasing a couple of average singles, I think this is more of the music that they should be doing. It seems that the girls seem more comfortable in this sound than the others that they have tried and it shows. Even the video seems more natural overall, and when the girls combine for that chorus, the songs main point of view is thrust right through, “sledgehammer” indeed… That bridge part though is definitely the exquisite highlight of the whole song…