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Music Reviews

MPAA Rating
Album
Nothing But the Beat
Genre
Pop, EDM/Electronica/Techno
Performance
Reached No. 7.
Record Label
Virgin, EMI
RELEASED
April 24, 2012
Reviewer
Adam R. Holz
David Guetta

David Guetta

"Titanium"

David Guetta's name may be the one on this song. But, as is his custom with virtually all his music, you won't actually hear his voice anywhere on his latest hit. Instead, the French electronic dance music maestro programs and sequences the song's infectious beats, synthy swooshes and digitized loops while Australian singer Sia (who last guested on Flo Rida's hit "Wild Ones") delivers a spare story of steely determination in the face of criticism.

As was the case on Guetta's 2011 collaboration with Usher on "Without You," the narrative here is a bare-bones affair. Sia sings from the perspective of someone who's been badmouthed (perhaps by an ex), but she insists she's as resistant to that defamation as titanium is to bullets.

"You shout it loud," she begins, "but I can't hear a word you say/ … I'm criticized, but all your bullets ricochet/You shoot me down, but I get up/I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose/Fire away, fire away." The song's titular lyric (repeated eight times) bristles with proud defiance: "You shoot me down, but I won't fall/I am titanium."

The only hint we get that the context of this crit could be a failed romance comes in the song's second verse: "Cut me down, but it's you who'll have farther to fall," Sia warns. "Ghost town and haunted love/Raise your voice/Sticks and stones may break my bones/I'm talking loud, not saying much."

Despite that flash of seeming vulnerability, though, Sia says she's still impervious to his explosive words: "Stone hard, machine gun/Fired at the ones who run/Stone hard, as bulletproof glass/You shoot me down, but I won't fall/I am titanium."

If the song's subject matter is laced with metaphorical violence, the video turns a literal corner, and a darker, more haunting one at that. It opens with images of a devastated school—holes in the walls, lockers ajar, paper everywhere, a juice box leaking its contents on the floor—as an adolescent boy on his knees unclenches his hands from around his head in the middle of the destruction. It looks as if a bomb has gone off … and that he's perhaps the only survivor.

He isn't. As he stands, pulls a ski hat on and begins to walk down the hallway, a terrified teacher on the phone in a classroom spies him, panics and slams the door.

So is he a young school terrorist? Yes. But not in the way you think.

The boy flees on a bike and reaches his home at the same time police do. And that's when things take a turn that would have felt right at home in the movie Carrie (or, if you want to go with a more recent comparison, perhaps X-Men or Push or Chronicle). Turns out the boy is indeed venting destructive rage—but he's doing it telepathically, a skill he employs against startled policemen to escape once more.

In the end, a SWAT team corners him in the woods, whereupon he curls into a ball and unleashes a psychic tsunami, a telekinetic shock wave of energy that hurls his would-be captors out of the way as effectively as a real grenade would have done.

Fade to black.

It's a compelling, cinematic video, one that squeezes quite a lot of story into 3:42. Quite a lot of grim story.

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