“Chandelier” is one superb music video, and it is definitely not easy to top such great work. For Sia, though, it appears not very difficult as she managed to pull off another great feat through “Elastic Heart,” a song off The Hunger Games: Catching Fire original soundtrack. Released on January 7, 2015, “Elastic Heart” started intense artistic discourses about its visual representations. Ranging from pedophilia to father and daughter relationships, the connotations of the video only proves how deep and intense Sia’s artistry is.
For “Elastic Heart,” Sia recruited again Daniel Askill, who also directed the Grammy-nominated single, “Chandelier.” The collaboration between the two artists resulted in a praiseworthy performance from both Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler, who interpreted a cage fight. Ryan Heffington, the choreographer, continued the internal struggle theme from “Chandelier,” which actually works well considering the theme of the song is about empowering the self.
While the pedophilia theme is making buzz around social media, it’s rather premature to conclude that it was the intention of the music video. Also, some commenters argue that it was about a father-daughter relationship. However, through visual and movement hints, it is rather considerable to retain the internal struggle theme. Noting the choreography, the movement of both Shia and Maddie shows the battle to set the self-free from any form of anxiety, or to use Sia’s album, from 1000 Forms of Fear.
At the latter part of the video, Maddie was shown to release herself from the cage, which can be interpreted as, finally, the liberation of the self from any anxiety and fear. There was struggle in Maddie’s freedom, including leaving behind the undesirable self, which was portrayed by Shia’s character. Theoretically, it can be seen as a manifestation of Alfred Adler’s psychological concept of the real and ideal self, or the contradiction between the “I am” and the “I should.” The conflict between the roles portrayed by Shia and Maddie must be discussed too. The maturity exhibited by the child is used against the backdrop of the childlike demeanor of the matured person. The contrast is striking that it can create another pool of artistic interpretation.
There’s no denying the brilliance of the conceptual formation of the video. It matches the emotional depth required by the song, which was written flawlessly. Lyrically, the song was able to create successful metaphors that do not look forced. The words flow seamlessly creating a beautiful prose about triumphantly overcoming any obstacles of any form.
While originality may be questioned, the striking similarities between “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart” only worked for Sia’s advantage. Through this video, Sia only propelled herself to becoming one of the most important artists of this generation. If only this excellence becomes the standard of mainstream music today, then quality will never be doubted. Arguably, “Elastic Heart” ranks among the most powerful videos produced this decade.