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Last Chorus Slowdown
The moment in a song where the refrain comes around for one last time, tempo dramatically slows down, and volume increases to full. Tempo often increases a few bars after for a flashy finish.

Common in modern production numbers, where the entire ensemble gets to sing and tap their hearts out. It doesn't have to be the entire chorus, though... or from a musical.

Often used to lead into a Big Rock Ending. Compare Truck Driver's Gear Change.

Examples

  • "Lookin' Out My Back Door" by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
  • "Side By Side By Side" from Company: "Okay now, ev-'ry-bo-dy..."
  • Hello, Dolly!! does this with its title song... TWICE!
  • The most characteristic example from La Cage aux folles is the title song, but "Masculinity" and "The Best Of Times" also have this.
  • Then there is also the act one finale to Mame, which is the title song. TWICE!!
  • "Springtime for Hitler" from The Producers. F**KING TWICE!!
  • The title song of Cabaret is a solo version of this, slowing down (with Truck Driver's Gear Change) to begin the final strain ("Start by admitting from cradle to tomb").
  • The Sinatra version of "New York, New York" is another solo example.
  • "American Pie," by Don McLean.
  • "Black Diamond" by KISS.
  • Right at the end of "Bohemian Rhapsody."
    • As if those last two weren't long enough already.
  • "That's Death" from the Discworld adventure game Discworld II: Mortality Bytes.
  • "Return to the Sea" from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch goes a little too far with this one. When it slows down, it also changes its tune enough that, until the full version came out on the CD, people thought the last part was a different song.
  • "Castles Made of Sand" by Jimi Hendrix. Slowdown? Check. ("And so castles made of sand... slip into the sea... eventuallyyy.."). Normal end? Yeah, that too. (The slide guitar melody from the intro is repeated with added reverb)
  • One song in the Rhythm Game O2Jam, "Identity part II," does this, and, if you're playing it on Hard difficulty, you are then suddenly greeted by rapid scales and a charlie foxtrot of notes arranged to form a word in Korean hangul. The latter is humanly impossible to clear without missing any notes.
  • "Powerslave" by Iron Maiden.
    • "Run to the Hills" also.
    • "The Thin Line Between Love and Hate" (though it doesn't play the entire chorus).
  • The Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday".
  • "House of the Rising Sun" played by The Animals. Only in the instrumental portion at the very end, after the lyrics are done.
  • "Your Cover's Blown" by Belle & Sebastian.
  • Rufus Wainwright loves this trope.
  • "Zehn kleine Jägermeister" by Die Toten Hosen.
  • "Playboys of the Southwestern World" by Blake Shelton uses a last chorus slowdown, but only on the first half of the last chorus.
  • 99 Luftballoons/Red Balloons.
  • "Masquerade" from The Phantom of the Opera is a prime example of this. The last repetition is much slower, and louder, than the rest of the piece. However, it doesn't speed up again, but rather suddenly falls sideways into a minor key when the Phantom enters, and then gets cut off.
  • "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast.
    • Oh, it gets better... The eight-minute extended version of "Be Our Guest," heard in the stage version, lampshades this!
    Cogsworth: OH NO!! NOT THE KICKLINE!!!!
  • "Prince Ali" from Aladdin.
    • In the Broadway version of the same show, there's also "High Adventure," originally written for the film and restored for the Broadway musical.
  • The Dropkick Murphys' version of Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya does this epically.
    • Dropkick Murphys love this trope in general. "Black Velvet Band" and "Skinhead on the MBTA" are just a few other examples that come to mind.
  • "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood does this, complete with drumline and dramatic cymbal crash after "Stand up."
  • "A-RA-SHI" by Arashi
  • "Stairway to Heaven".
  • Babylon by Edguy
  • "They Both Reached For The Gun" from Chicago.
  • "Shoot to Thrill" by AC/DC fakes out one of these, because the song gets back to its normal speed just before the end.
  • The full version of the HeartCatch Pretty Cure! opening theme could be considered as having this... except it's a Second-to-Last Chorus Slow Down.
  • The full-length version of The Angry Video Game Nerd's Theme Tune.
  • Creature Feature's ''Such Horrible Things''.
  • Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell does this several times. Actually it's more of a Bridge Slow Down, but whatever.
  • The title song of Victor/Victoria, at least in the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation.
  • Billy Joel's "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)"
  • "Family Snapshot" by Peter Gabriel.
  • While a bit hard to distinguish, R.E.M.'s song "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" supposedly slows down during the last chorus. Word of God says the band noticed bassist Mike Mills looked pained during recording and slowed down somewhat, and Mills was taken to the hospital afterwardsnote .
  • "Magical Mystery Tour" by The Beatles.
  • Played straight in "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners, but then subverted as the song ends up slightly faster than how they started!
  • "The Cliff" by the Red Army Chorus. "...udaloye zhityo aaaaataaaaammaaaaaaannnaaaaaa...."
  • Arch Enemy has quite some songs ending like these. A couple examples would be "The Last Enemy" or "Nemesis".
  • Megadeth has "A Tout le Monde" and "Trust".
  • Opeth's "The Drapery Falls" kind of ends like this. "Deliverance" as well (though the "rock" ending after the Last Chorus Slow Down is rather long).
    • "Rather long" here means that the song extends for another four minutes after the last chorus. You know - longer than the average rock or pop song. And this four minute extension is home to some awesome riffs in a bizarre time signature.
  • Power Metal band Cellador has the song "No Chances Lost" ending like this.
  • Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters".
  • Frequently done with the final verse of John Philip Sousa's "Stars And Stripes Forever", although Sousa probably didn't originally write it that way, seeing as how it's a military march and all.
  • Also frequently done with the final chorus of "The Battle of the Hymn of the Republic", usually paired up with the most stirring, heartfelt, tear-jerking moment of a patriotic speech or battle.
  • Parodied in some productions of The Pirates of Penzance during the number "With Catlike Tread" starting with the Joseph Papp NYC revival. Some productions take this to further extremes by performing as many as SEVERAL encores to this particular moment, each slower and louder than the one before, regardless of the inevitable fatigue.
    • Also from the same play, "I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major General" frequently gets this treatment. Then inverted to all hell if an encore is called for (which is likely). It's fairly common for a Major-General Stanley who can handle it to say to the conductor "Presto agitato, sil vous plais, Maestro" ("Very quick, if you please, Master").
  • In Pippin, "Glory" does this in the section when the full ensemble starts singing "The gates of heaven await" to a slow rock beat, with a big "you ain't seen nothin' yet" flourish.
  • The Stone Roses' "I Wanna Be Adored".
  • "Raise This Barn" from the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Apple Family Reunion".
  • Weezer does this arguably twice on their Pinkerton album, once in "Pink Triangle" and a lesser example in the interlude of "The Good Life".
  • Willie Nelson's version of "Blue Skies" (originally composed in 1926 by Irving Berlin) does this not once, but twice. Towards the end of the song, the chorus reappears at half tempo - that is, what notes normally would have been crotchets (quarter notes) are now minims (half notes); and then it happens again: the notes are now four times as long as they were originally, and the original crotchets are now semibreves (whole notes).
  • The Book of Mormon does this with "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream," slowing down from fast Heavy Metal to grandiose big-band swing, and speeding back up again after six bars.
  • "Sweet Soul Brother" from Jet Set Radio does this.

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