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"Alive"
Alive cover
General information
Artists: Sia
Recorded: 2015
Released: 24 September 2015
Format: Digital download
Genre: Electropop · soul
Length: 4:23
Label: Inertia · Monkey Puzzle · RCA
Writer(s): Sia · Adele · Tobias Jesso Jr.
Producer(s): Jesse Shatkin
From the album This Is Acting
Track listing
"Bird Set Free"
(1)
"Alive"
(2)
"One Million Bullets"
(3)
Singles:
  1. "Alive"
  2. "Bird Set Free"
  3. "One Million Bullets"
  4. "Cheap Thrills"
  5. "Reaper"

"Alive" is the second track from Sia's seventh studio album, This Is Acting. Released on September 24, 2015, the song serves as the album's lead single.

Background Edit

Sia confirmed in September 2015 that she would release her upcoming album's lead single later that month. She described that the song was about Adele's life, and written "from her perspective."[1] In an interview with Ryan Seacrest, she explained that, along with "Bird Set Free" and one other song, "Alive" was co-written by Adele, for her then-upcoming album, 25, but neither of the three made the cut. The song was later pitched to Rihanna, who also passed on it.[2]

Having been written from Adele's perspective, the song drew its inspiration from Adele's life. Sia told on multiple occasions that the primary hook, "I'm still breathing," was taken directly from a line by Keith Carlos of America's Next Top Model:

This beautiful young man on the last cycle had said that he had had a tough life, but he said, ’I am still breathing,’ and I felt emotional, and so I wrote it down. [ ... ] I have so much to thank reality TV for.
— Sia[2][3]

Release Edit

In September 2015 at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, Sia confirmed her upcoming album and said that its lead single, called "Alive," would be released later that month on the 26th.[1] She later retweeted an Instagram post, originally posted on September 19th, by her manager at Crush Music Entertainment, David Russell, shared to Twitter which contained a photo of her graffitied symbolic wig silhouette and a release date of September 25th, 2015, painted against a gray city sidewalk, along with the caption "fasten your wig. #Sia #yourenotready".[4][5]

On September 21st, 2015, the profile picture of Sia's Facebook page was changed to the same image on Russell's post. The song's artwork was released the following day.[6][7] On September 23rd, 2015, a 15-second teaser of the song was released, along with the corrected release date of September 24th because Sia "couldn't wait any longer."[8] "Alive" premiered at iHeartRadio's Snapchat Discover channel at about 6 a.m. the following day, and was soon released to other services soon after.[9]

COMPOSITION Edit

"Alive" is written in the key of F♯ minor with a tempo of 100 beats per minute. The song follows a chord progression of F♯m–C♯m–D–F♯m–C♯m–D–Bsus2, and Sia's vocals span from F♯3 to E5.[10]

Promotion Edit

Being the lead single for This Is Acting, "Alive" was promoted during a number of live performances:

  • Saturday Night Live (7 November 2015)[11] – The performance was accompanied by Mina Nishimura, who donned the same outfit as that in the music video. Nishimura gave a performance akin to the music video, only replacing "kata" with choreography that resembled it. Sia wore a blue trenchcoat, matching wig and the symbolic two-toned wig and had wacky eyes drawn over her cheeks for the performance. The whole performance was backed with a black church choir singing the pre-chorus and the chorus.
  • Red Bull Sound Space (12 November 2015)[12] The performance wasn't accompanied by any dancer.
  • The Ellen Degeneres Show (1 December 2015)[13] – The performance was accompanied by Sia's recurring on-stage persona, Maddie Ziegler wearing a black velvet dress along with the two-toned wig, dancing frantically. The performance included Ziegler's reminiscent twisting, whirling, tumbling and breaking the set's glass window twice. Sia hid behind a conical black curtain at the corner of the set. The performance ends with Maddie and Sia simultaneously falling down on the floor.
  • The Voice (1 December 2015)[14] The performance wasn't accompanied by any dancer.
  • The X Factor (6 December 2015)[15] – The performance began with Sia descending on top of a huge glass cage with Julia Speisser in the symbolic nude leotard. Speisser's dance drew inspiration from "Chandelier" and mimicked a variety of its moves. As the song progresses, the glass cage gets lit in various colors and a multitude of patterns.
  • C à vous (9 December 2015)[16] The performance wasn't accompanied by any dancer.
  • C'Cauet (11 Decmber 2015)[17] The performance wasn't accompanied by any dancer.
  • The Graham Norton Show (11 December 2015)[18] The performance was accompanied by Stephanie Mincone, wearing a black bodysuit and doing a similar choreography to the one from The Ellen Degeneres Show. It was described as the "best performance" by Vevo.
  • TFI Friday (31 December 2015)[19] The performance was accompanied by Maddie Ziegler, wearing the same bodysuit and performing the same choreography as The Graham Norton Show performance.

CRITICAL RECEPTION Edit

Rolling Stone critic Jon Blistein described Furler's vocals as "devastating, electrifying," and wrote, "while the dramatic build of "Alive" sounds straight out of Adele's wheelhouse, the outsized pop production — courtesy of Jesse Shatkin — and the ragged, throat-cracking, enrapturing vocal run Sia embarks on at the end are quintessentially her."[20] "Alive" also came in at #56 on the annual Triple J Hottest 100 for 2015.[21]

COMMERCIAL PERFORMANCE Edit

CHARTS Edit

Chart (2015–16) Peak

position

Australia (ARIA)[22] 10
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 39
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 49
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia) 2
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) 28
Canada CHR/Top 40 (Billboard) 36
Canada Hot AC (Billboard) 40
Croatia (Airplay Radio Chart) 5
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100) 43
Finland (Suomen virallinen latauslista) 5
France (SNEP) 17
Ireland (IRMA) 44
Italy (FIMI) 57
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 29
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100) 39
Scotland (Official Charts Company) 14
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100) 82
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100) 31
Spain (PROMUSICAE) 21
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 69
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 30
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[23] 30
US Billboard Hot 100[24] 56
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard) 38
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard) 32

CERTIFICATIONS Edit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[25] Platinum 70,000^
*sales figures based on certification alone

^shipments figures based on certification alone

xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Music video Edit

Sia - Alive05:01

Sia - Alive

Alive
Release date: 5 November 2015
Director(s): Daniel Askill · Sia
Producer(s): Jason Baum
Cinematographer: Mathieu Plainfossé
Editor(s): Adrian Seery · Lorin Askill
Photographer(s): Ari Robbins
Cast: Mahiro Takano

The music video for "Alive" was released on November 5th, 2015. Directed by Daniel Askill and Sia, the video features child karate star Mahiro Takano performing traditional "kata" – a form of choreography in karate – while matching the music, evident in the final part of the video. The music video was shot in a suburb in Tokyo, Japan over the duration of a week.[26]

A lyric video for "Alive" was uploaded on Sia's Vevo channel on October 20th, 2015. Directed by Lior Molcho, the video shows a group of faceless figures in the symbolic two-toned wigs and hoodies, who spray the lyrics on walls around a metropolis. As the video progresses, the lyrics are accompanied by graffitied images, portraits, skulls, Xanax pills, a barking dog and a roaring tiger.[27]

Track listing Edit

Digital download - Single[28]

  1. "Alive" – 4:23

Remixes - EP[29]

  1. "Alive" (Plastic Plates Remix) – 4:58
  2. "Alive" (Maya Jane Coles Remix) – 5:07
  3. "Alive" (AFSHeeN Remix) – 3:16
  4. "Alive" (Boehm Remix) – 3:50
  5. "Alive" (Cahill Club Remix) – 4:18

Lyrics Edit

I was born in a thunderstorm
I grew up overnight
I played alone
I played on my own
I survived
Hey...
I wanted everything I never had
Like the love that comes with light
I wore envy and I hated that
But I survived

I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don't change
And nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope, just lies
And you're taught to cry into your pillow
But I survived

I'm still breathing, I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing, I'm still breathing
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive

I found solace in the strangest place
Way in the back of my mind
I saw my life in a stranger's face
And it was mine

I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don't change
And nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope, just lies
And you're taught to cry into your pillow
But I survived

I'm still breathing, I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing, I'm still breathing
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive

You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing
You took it all, but I'm still breathing

I have made every single mistake
That you could ever possibly make
I took and I took and I took what you gave
But you never noticed that I was in pain
I knew what I wanted; I went in and got it
Did all the things that you said that I wouldn't
I told you that I would never be forgotten
And all in spite of you

And I'm still breathing, I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing, I'm still breathing
I'm alive (You took it all, but I'm still breathing)
(You took it all, but I'm still breathing)
I'm alive (You took it all, but I'm still breathing)
(You took it all, but I'm still breathing)
I'm alive (You took it all, but I'm still breathing)
(You took it all, but I'm still breathing)
I'm alive

I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive
I'm alive

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 7 September 2015. "Sia za MMC: "Vsi mislijo, da bodo s slavo postali kul, ljubljeni in posebni"" (in Slovenian). Radiotelevizija Slovenija. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Sia Talks New Album, Rejection | On Air with Ryan Seacrest". "Ryan Seacrest Presents" on YouTube. Accessed on 2016-01-25.
  3. Garibaldi, Christina (24 Septmber 2015). "A Mannequin Stepped In For Sia During An Interview, And It Was Amazing". MTV. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  4. "fasten your wig. #Sia #yourenotready". "David" on Instagram. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  5. Russell, Erica (23 September 2015). "Sia's Teases 'Alive' Single, and It Arrives September 24". PopCrush. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  6. "Alive #SIA92515". "sia" on Twitter. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  7. "Alive 9.25.15 - see the single art here: http://bit.ly/1YzE1OJ". "Sia" on Facebook. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  8. "Couldn't wait any longer 'Alive' comes out tomorrow morning EST! http://t.co/15eOGubNV3". "sia" on Twitter. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  9. 24 December 2015. "iHeartRadio Exclusive: Sia Debuts Brand New Single 'Alive'". iHeartRadio. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  10. http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0155672
  11. Williott, Carl (8 November 2015). "Watch Sia Perform "Alive" on 'Saturday Night Live'". Idolator. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  12. Sharp, Elliott (12 November 2015). "Watch Sia Perform at Red Bull Sound Space". RedBull.com. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  13. McCall, Malorie (1 December 2015). "Sia Performs 'Alive' on 'Ellen,' But Does She Take Off Her Wig?". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  14. Vincenty, Samantha (2 December 2015). Sia and Her Giant Bow Perform 'Alive' On 'The Voice'". PopCrush. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  15. Brandle, Lars (8 December 2015). "Watch Sia's 'Alive' Performance for 'X Factor U.K.'". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  16. Charbit, Pamela (10 December 2015). "Sia : Alive en live à la télévision française" (in French). virginradio.fr. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  17. "Sia - Alive - Live - C’Cauet sur NRJ". "Cauet" on YouTube". Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  18. Thomas, Kate (11 December 2015). "Sia almost wore mask for Graham Norton Show". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  19. Farmer, Ciara (31 December 2015). "Sia hides in a headless suit for TFI Friday New Year's Eve special". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  20. http://web.archive.org/web/20150925073100/http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/sia-delivers-electrifying-vocals-on-bombastic-new-song-alive-20150924
  21. http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hottest100/15/countdown/
  22. http://www.australian-charts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Sia&titel=Alive&cat=s
  23. http://www.officialcharts.com/archive-chart/_/1/2015-10-02/
  24. http://www.billboard.com/artist/279248/Sia/chart?f=379
  25. http://www.noise11.com/news/music-news-aria-singles-justin-bieber-love-yourself-stays-at-no-1-20160109
  26. Associated Press (20 November 2015). "Meet Mahiro Takano, the Young Martial Arts Star of Sia's 'Alive' Video". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  27. Roth, Madeline. (20 October 2015). "Sia's 'Alive' Lyric Video Is All Wigs, Grafitti And Badassness". MTV. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  28. "Alive - Single by Sia on iTunes". iTunes. Accessed on 2016-02-03.
  29. "Alive (Remixes) - EP by Sia on iTunes". iTunes. Accessed on 2016-02-03.

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