Sledgehammer (Rihanna song)

"Sledgehammer" is a song recorded by Barbadian singer Rihanna. It was released on June 27, 2016 as a single to promote Star Trek Beyond. It plays during the film's closing credits but is not included on the film's soundtrack. Rihanna co-wrote the song with Sia Furler and Jesse Shatkin. A music video for the song was released on June 30, 2016, and shows Rihanna performing magical acts on a foreign planet. The video was shot entirely on IMAX cameras.

Sledgehammer (Rihanna single).png
Single by Rihanna
ReleasedJune 27, 2016 (2016-06-27)
Producer(s)Jesse Shatkin
Rihanna singles chronology
"Nothing Is Promised"
"Too Good"
Music video
"Sledgehammer" on YouTube

Background and releaseEdit

On June 26, 2016, Rihanna hinted that she would release a new song, stating on Instagram, "Got something for y'all tomorrow".[1] Over two years prior, Rihanna tweeted, "You're just another brick and I'm a sledgehammer", hinting that she had been working on the song since 2014.[2] The song was written collaboratively by Rihanna, Sia Furler and Jesse Shatkin.[3] Rihanna and Sia had previously worked together on the former's 2012 song, "Diamonds".[4]

A new trailer for Star Trek Beyond featuring "Sledgehammer", was released on June 27, 2016, the same day that the song was released.[5] Rihanna subsequently said that she had been a fan of the Star Trek franchise since she was a child, after being introduced to it by her father. She explained that "This is something that's been a part of me since my childhood, it's never left me, I love Star Trek. It was automatic. I would do anything in terms of music. It's such a big deal not only as a fan, as a musician... because Star Trek is such a big deal across the globe."[3]


The song is a piano ballad[6] written in the key of D major with a slow tempo of 65.5 beats per minute in common time. It follows a chord progression of D – B (B/C in the coda) – Gm, and Rihanna's vocals span from G3 to F5.[7]

Critical receptionEdit

Camila Cassidy of The Edge gave the song a generally positive review stating, "She pretty much nailed it – it feels tone perfect. It’s a little orchestral, swooping, but with a strong enough chorus and verse pattern to be commercially successful." However she also stated, "As a dramatic theatrical piece? It’s a little weak, too much fuss with the lyrics while instrumentation takes a back seat. As a radio hit? The vocals aren’t prominent enough...Both are excellent, but both just need to be more."[8] Daniel Kreps from Rolling Stone wrote, "Rihanna sings on the aching chorus, which sports a monster hook typical of Sia's work."[6] Rachel Sonis from Idolator gave the song a 7/10, stating, "The Aussie singer-songwriter knows exactly how vast Rih[anna]’s vocal abilities are and isn’t afraid to push them. No doubt, this probably came in handy, since “Sledgehammer” — from Rihanna’s haunting drones to the song’s thunderous melody — is a monster of a track."[9] A Bit of Pop Music wrote, "‘Sledgehammer’ is a powerful pop ballad with a huge chorus, that should do well in combination with the probable success of its movie...but it might be time for Sia to shake up her formula a bit, as ‘Sledgehammer’ is in no way a surprising composition."[10]

Music videoEdit

A music video for the song premiered June 30, 2016 in IMAX theaters at 9:00am EST. The video was then released onto Vevo and Tidal an hour later. The music video was the first to be shot entirely with IMAX cameras.[11] The music video features Rihanna dressed in a sci-fi costume performing magical acts, with Swarm Ships from Star Trek Beyond flying around her. At the video's ending, Rihanna turns into a celestial god, face to "face" with the USS Enterprise.

The video was shot at the Trona Pinnacles by director Floria Sigismondi.[12]


Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (2016) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[13] 69
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[14] 40
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[15] 72
France (SNEP)[16] 60
New Zealand Heatseekers (Recorded Music NZ)[17] 6
UK Singles (OCC)[18] 69
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[19] 2
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[20] 16
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[21] 40
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[22] 36

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (2016) Position
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[23] 48


  1. ^ Rebello, Lara (June 27, 2016). "Rihanna teases new Star Trek Beyond single Sledgehammer". International Business Times. Manhattan, New York City. Archived from the original on June 28, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2016. The video for the new track will be released on 27 June at 12pm GMT.
  2. ^ Kreps, Daniel (June 27, 2016). "Hear Rihanna's Aching 'Star Trek Beyond' Ballad 'Sledgehammer'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 5, 2016. Singer's Sia-penned track appears in new trailer for upcoming sci-fi epic
  3. ^ a b Kaufman, Gil (June 30, 2016). "Rihanna Cops to Being Lifelong 'Star Trek' Fan: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  4. ^ Smith, Nigel M. (June 7, 2016). "Rihanna returns with Star Trek Beyond theme Sledgehammer". The Guardian. Retrieved July 5, 2016. The self-professed Star Trek fan falls short in her single for the third entry in the revamped film franchise, with a generic-sounding ballad co-written by Sia
  5. ^ Sotteck, T.C. (June 26, 2016). "Rihanna teases Monday release for new Star Trek Beyond song". The Verge. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Hear Rihanna's Aching 'Star Trek Beyond' Ballad 'Sledgehammer'". Rolling Stone. June 27, 2016.
  7. ^ Fenty, Robyn. "Rihanna "Sledgehammer" Sheet Music". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  8. ^ "Review: Rihanna – 'Sledgehammer'". The Edge. July 2, 2016.
  9. ^ "Pop Perspective: Rihanna's "Sledgehammer" Rated & Reviewed". Idolator. June 27, 2016r.
  10. ^ "Single Review: Rihanna – Sledgehamme". A bit of Pop Music. June 27, 2016.
  11. ^ "Rihanna and the Starship Enterprise costar in the trippy video for Sledgehammer". The Verge. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  12. ^ "'Sledgehammer' video director explains Rihanna's space witch character". Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  13. ^ "CHART WATCH #376". auspOp. July 9, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  14. ^ " – Rihanna – Sledgehammer" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  15. ^ "Rihanna Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  16. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Singles Téléchargés - SNEP (Week 26, 2016)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  17. ^ "NZ Heatseekers Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. July 11, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  18. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  19. ^ "Rihanna Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  20. ^ "Rihanna Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  21. ^ "Rihanna Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  22. ^ "Rihanna Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  23. ^ "Adult Contemporary Songs: Year End 2016". Billboard. Retrieved December 18, 2016.