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Sia's "Elastic Heart" Music Video - My Interpretation

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past day or two, you simply cannot avoid the hype that is surrounding Sia's new music video for her latest song off the '1000 Forms of Fear' album - "Elastic Heart."

The video features familiar face Maddie Ziegler, (Chandelier, anybody?), and a personal favourite of mine, Shia LaBeouf. Directed by the Aussie pop singer and Daniel Askill, the video features Ziegler and LaBeouf performing an intense and emotional interpretive dance sequence inside what appears to be a giant birdcage. 


However, the music video, which premiered just over 24 hours ago, has already received much criticism and negativity, with many online users calling it 'disturbing' and even suggesting pedophelia. 

Unfortunately, art isn't for everybody. Some people would much prefer to watch Ariana Grande shoot missiles out of her breasts against a horrific, fail of a green-screen (watch her video "Break Free"). It is a shame because  this really is a stunning visual with a real thought provoking power. Users see a middle-aged man and a younger girl and automatically assume it is inappropriate. Not having a artistic mind-set is inappropriate in my eyes.

In my opinion, both Ziegler and LaBeouf are playing characters that are representing Sia. Ziegler represents her harsh past and bad habits, and I believe this is clear when looking back and analysing the 'Chandelier' video and lyrics. LaBeouf represents the 'new' Sia, strong and powerful, yet trying ever so hard to let go of the past. Let me break the video down for you.

  • The music video opens with LaBeouf and Ziegler standing opposite each other in a large, bird cage. They can't escape from it and they must face each other.
  • LaBeouf makes the first move, but struggles when Ziegler lunges forward, frightening him. The interpretive dance fight between them continues, with Ziegler clearly 'winning,' as she chases LaBeouf around the cage.
  •  LaBeouf does try his best to escape, using all his strength to climb out of the cage. Ziegler falls to the ground, her eyes shut, as though she has finally been defeated. LaBeouf falls, yet lands ever so carefully, trying his best to keep his 'past-self' shut down. 
  • Everything seems calm and quiet. Ziegler lies still on the ground as LaBeouf lies beside her to clarify he can finally 'let go' of his past-self. It's a trick and the nasty habits re-awaken. 
  • LaBeouf tries to compromise with Ziegler. It's a stunt. Ziegler 'bites him back.' Again, this horrific past-self just won't give up!
  • The interpretive dance routine continues, this time LaBeouf has came back stronger than before. Refusing to let his 'past-self' beat him in this fight, he gives it every last thing he's got. He shakes her, lifts her and chases her. 
  • Ziegler appears too quick. She slips through the cage barrier, leaving LaBeouf (who represents Sia's stronger-self), behind and trapped. LaBeouf, screaming in anger and rage, tries his hardest to escape. 
  • LaBeouf carries Ziegler on his back, learning to live with his past. It is something that is a part of him now and always will be, he must learn to live with it. Ziegler's representation will always be there. He must learn to deal with it.
  • The final shot represents finally letting go and moving on from the past. You've fought it. You've overcame it. You've learnt to accept it. Now you must let go of it. 
Now I've broken down the video for you, can somebody please explain to me why this video may seem disturbing? 

After reading some negative YouTube comments, it appears a lot of users weren't too impressed with the choice of costume. Think of it like this. Would it make sense if LaBeouf was wearing a suit? No. It would completely change the moral of the story it is trying to tell. A suit would bring in endless amounts of interpretations and it would become confusing. "Why is LaBeouf wearing a suit? What does that represent? Is he portraying a man of business? Wealth?" What if Maddie were to wear a sun dress, would that be better? No. Again, this would bring many more interpretations to the meaning of the video! Nude, skin tone clothing has been specifically chosen for this video as it represents raw, naked truth. Material items become distracting. Simple clothing brings the attention of the viewer to the face and the movement of the body, and after all, this is how the story is being told. 

People see skin and automatically assume sex. This video has nothing to do with sex. They then begin to argue the age difference between Ziegler and LaBeouf. My real question is, what is the difference between a man and young girl acting in a box office film together, than acting in a music video, interpreting dance movement. Interpretive dance is just that - interpretive! They are both professionals surrounded by a team of even more professionals! Nothing dodgy is going on here!

I could honestly go on and on about this forever, but let me end it here - anybody who disagrees with this video simply doesn't understand it. If you disagree, please let me know why. I'd love to hear your views and opinions. 

Do you disagree with my interpretation, or do you think the video has a completely different meaning? Let me know in the comment section below!

- KVL xo




29 comments on "Sia's "Elastic Heart" Music Video - My Interpretation"
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