Writing the chorus of a song is not the easiest thing to do, unless of course, it’s not worth remembering. Regarded as the catchiest part in most cases, the chorus is often what determines whether a song turns out to be a hit record or not.
With the chorus being such a vital component, you have to make sure that it not only sounds good but is also different enough to matter to the listener. On top of that, you also have to separate your first chorus from your last chorus (although they are usually the same words) so that your fans will want to listen to the end every time and not just press the skip button after hearing the verses. In other words, it has to be more than just a regurgitation of the first or second chorus (or how many other times you use it in the song) for it to have any real impact.
The most common pattern used in writing songs often goes like this: first verse-first chorus-second verse-second chorus-bridge-last chorus. Other song patterns that switch up that order include those that begin with the chorus; those that don’t have a bridge; and those that have just one verse, along with two choruses separated by a bridge. Whatever the case, the last chorus needs to stand out so that people will be inclined to listen to the end.
Let’s look at some creative ways you can do that:
1. Add more emotion
This is a common way to make the last chorus of a song not only sound different but also hold the listeners. When people connect with a song, it is more likely that they will want to hear it again, especially if you leave them on an emotional high with the last chorus.
2. Raise the vocals
Another popular way to add interest to the last chorus of a song is allowing the singer to sing it at a higher pitch than its previous iterations. This is common with singers that have ‘big voices’, such as Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. Listeners may end up being impressed with the singer’s vocal range and listen to the end just to hear that final vocal performance on that last chorus.
3. Introduce a new theme or words
This might be a bit tricky to do without changing the meaning of your song but if you’re able to do it, can provide an appropriate end to the song for the listener. A good example is Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” where she sings ‘Let it Burn’ several times in the last chorus which somewhat concludes the chain of events in the rest of the song.
4. Change the melody
Switching up the melody in the last chorus is a great way to catch listeners off guard, especially when they’re hearing the song for the first time. Whether you want to slow it down, speed it up, or sing in an entirely different key, this can be a good way to set up your last chorus and ensure that the song doesn’t get played halfway.
5. Slow the tempo
If done right, this is a good way to end songs which are fast-paced. The trick is to transition smoothly from a high BPM into a slower one with the last chorus, bringing down the listener from an energetic high.
6. Repeat the main hook
If your song has a dominant hook, you could consider repeating it several times to make up the last chorus of the song. Doing this could result in the song being even harder to forget. “Act a Fool” by Ludacris uses those three words repeatedly at the ending chorus, along with ‘too fast, too furious’ until the song eventually fades.
A good chorus is the focal point of most songs, the part which can sell any song even if the verses are not that great. Getting it right can, therefore, mean the difference between a song being a favorite for many and one that is played a few times and then forgotten.