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Mood Whiplash: Music
  • Listen to the acoustic version of "Fell in Love Without You" by Motion City Soundtrack. Now listen to the normal version... yeah.
    • Happens with a lot of acoustic versions. Acoustic is softer and more natural, they lack the hard rock and pop of the regular versions.
  • Frederic Chopin's 24 preludes are all short - only five are longer than 2 minutes, and only one even approaches 5 minutes in length. Most begin and end suddenly, and moods are widly different throughout.
  • Robert Schumann made a whole style out of doing this. Not only did his many sets of short pieces often vary dramatically in mood from one piece to another, but sometimes they did that within individual pieces — for example, "Florestan" from his Carnaval, Op. 9 (in the video, 2:05 in)
    • In fact, Florestan was the name that Schumann gave to one of the two wildly divergent sides of his personality, the other being Eusebius. Schumann would often sign his writings, "Florestan and Eusebius", would postfix some of his works "F" or "E" to indicate which personality wrote a particular piece, and would sometimes write multiple conflicting reviews of the same piece of music, one from each personality.
      • Did I mention that Schumann was totally nuts?
  • This was one of the reasons that Beethoven's 6th (The Pastoral) was not well received in its day, as while the 5th (which was very popular even then) was fiery and passionate, the 6th was decidedly not, instead switching to a more lighthearted mood. His 3rd, however, was popular precisely because of this, as it evoked an immense range of varying emotions on its own.
  • J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor contains a rather jarring example in the "Confiteor". This part starts out bittersweet-sounding, and with the words "et expecto resurectionem mortuorum" (I look for the resurrection of the dead) the movement becomes very sad and slow. Then after a while the music abruptly turns incredibly upbeat - with the same lyrics.
  • Parodied in the Bill Bailey mini-rock opera song 'Insect Nation', which opens as a paranoid hard-rock track declaring how insects will one day overthrow and subjugate humanity, suddenly switches into a tender, gentle ballad wistfully bemoaning the breakdown of human-insect relations, before then instantly switching back to paranoid hard-rock ranting once more.
    • And again in his 'Proper Ballad', which starts as a man bitterly bemoaning his lonely way of life with a bit of lightly angst rock, becomes a sweet ballad once he finds the girl of his dreams, and then turns into a hard-rock nightmare detailing the man's almost psychopathic reaction to his girlfriend cheating on him.
      • And yet again in 'Beautiful Ladies'. The song starts as a parody of Chris de Burgh, then switches to a growled chorus of "Kill kill kill kill kill the trolls! Hunt them down, there shall be no clemency!" and then straight back to pop. Or when he added an upbeat cockney piano riff into Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Or his black metal segment of The Magic Roundabout. In fact, just Bill Bailey period.
  • Bedouin Sundclash's 2010 album has a few cases of this ("Fool's Tattoo" to "May You Be the Road", "Elongo" to "No One Moves, No One Gets Hurt"). However, even despite the melancholic yet slightly happy mood of the album, the ultimate whiplash happens in the last track, "Follow The Sun", which has a dreary, surreal nightmare feel and is about the survivors of a nuclear fallout. However, even that is ambiguous as the lyrics even imply they may already be dead and their souls are roaming the earth.
  • Sorry by Nerf Herder relies heavily on this trope, especially in the second verse.
    Sorry I saw you and I heard birds sing,
    Sorry I touched you and I heard bells ring,
    Sorry I jacked off outside of your window
    While you were sleeping, I thought you'd never know
  • The track listing of volume 2 of the soundtrack to The Wedding Singer is interesting. "Just Can't Get Enough" by Depeche Mode is followed by "Love Stinks" by The J. Geils Band... which is then followed by "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates. Sheesh!
  • Danny Brown made this trope into an artform with XXX, where he frequently goes from absolutely hilarious comedy rap to horrifically dark and depressing material about addiction and self-destruction.
  • Also in Michael Jackson's Thriller, where the fluffy ballad "The Girl Is Mine" is followed by the title track.
  • Straight to Hell by Hank Williams III. The first disc: "Outlaw country! Hell yeah!" The second disc (barring the first very first track): "Disturbing aural collage! What the hell!?"
  • Nightwish's "The Poet and the Pendulum" takes the cake for this trope, opening with a mystical and wondrous intro before switching to a symphonic power metal tale of a maddened and frantic poet, before switching to a placid melody that conveys a sense of acceptance, to a short track with pendulum blade-related sound effects and a boy reading ominous lines to build tension, to a rage and spite-filled rant expressing glee at the poet's demise, back to the second part, back to the mysterious child and the sounds effects, and finally to a comforting end as the poet is laid to rest. On top of all that, there are some hints that the song's portions may in fact be backwards.
    • Imaginaerum has this combined with Genre Shift, when the album bounces from moody jazz ballad Slow, Love, Slow to joyful folk metal piece I Want My tears Back and finally to the "nightmare circus" themes of Scaretale.
  • The album Coming Up to Breathe by Mercy Me has "I Would Die for You" as its last track, followed by the hidden track "Have Fun". And the contrast is obvious even without the song names.
  • The Beatles' The White Album: The end of LP/CD 1 - "Julia" a tearful ballad written by Lennon for his deceased mother. Beginning of LP/CD 2 - "Birthday", an uproarious cheery rocking tune that's about, well...yeah.
    • And at the end of the album, the chaotic aural collage "Revolution 9" is followed by the sweet, lushly orchestrated ballad "Good Night". Both were Lennon compositions.
    • Also from the same album: the disturbing, intense "Happiness is a Warm Gun" followed by the bouncy, cheerful "Martha My Dear". A quite telling example of the contrast between John and Paul's styles.
      • Not to mention Abbey Road where "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" portrays a tortured mind obsessed with a girl weighing on his mind and 4 solid minutes of a terrifying outro before going into the light and soft "Here Comes The Sun"
    • And don't forget "Helter Skelter", which is followed by the acoustic track "Long, Long, Long".
    • Literally any Beatles album has at least one example. Especially the aforementioned White Album, in which literally every two songs (with the sole exception of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Happiness is a Warm Gun") contradict each other.
      • The flip side of the "Yellow Submarine" single? "Eleanor Rigby."
      • Help! has the outright depressing "Yesterday" stuck between two upbeat songs ("I've Just Seen a Face" and "Dizzy Miss Lizzy").
  • All Things Must Pass: George Harrison goes from the somber, sobering "Beware of Darkness" to the peppy harmonica strains of "Apple Scruffs."
  • "Magic" by Mick Smiley. For the first 2 minutes or so, it's an upbeat early 80s pop ballad, then...well, you may recognize what it turns into from Ghostbusters ...you know, the sequence where all the ghosts break out of the containment unit?
  • Blue by The Birthday Massacre. One minute the song's all light-hearted, next minute the sweet-sounding words turn into deep growling and the music changes to match.
  • On The Beach Boys album Surf's Up, it happens twice in a row. "Disney Girls," one of the most peaceful songs on the album, is followed by "Student Demonstration Time," which includes lyrics about the Kent State shootings, among other things, and is one of the heaviest songs the band did. This is then followed by "Feel Flows," which brings the mood back to tranquil.
  • "The Commander Thinks Aloud" by The Long Winters fits this trope beautifully. What starts a gentle, light, and hopeful song practically smashes you over the head with a five-word line that completely skews the song's feel to a sense of shock and loss in three seconds without a single change of key.
  • "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses is all sweet and euphoric in the first part (which developed out of an "circus melody" the band made while fooling around), until the ending kicks in and it gets all angsty. No, not Wangst, but genuine and convincing angst.
    • In the same album, "Rocket Queen" goes from sexual and aggressive to a healtfelt final stanza. (also, the two most sensitive songs, "Think About You" and "Sweet Child O' Mine", are sandwiched between two which couldn't be less romantic, "My Michelle" and "You're Crazy")
    • The music video for "November Rain".
  • "Detroit Rock City" by KISS starts out innocently enough with a rocker getting up to head out on the town to play a gig, driving through the city of Detroit and listening to rock n' roll radio. The last verse ends with a truck heading toward him with no time to get out of the way, the rocker knowing he's going to die in a head-on collision in a matter of seconds.
  • Relient K will occasionally put slow, solemn, often depressing songs on otherwise upbeat albums. The fastest, loudest, and most upbeat song usually follows immediately after this song. The more depressing the first, the more likely an extremely fast and cheery song will follow.
  • System of a Down's "Chop Suey" starts off as an angsty nu-metal song in the verse. Followed immediately by the soft and melodic chorus, then back to the angsty verse as Serj screams "DIIIIIIIIIIIE!!!!!!!"
    • A lot of System of a Down's songs are like that, juxtaposing acoustic Eastern folk music and really cool, melodic vocal harmonies with trash-metal guitars and Serj's heavy-metal scream. Like "Radio/Video", "Toxicity", and pretty much any song of theirs that isn't straight-ahead thrash.
  • Tool uses this sometimes. For example, the slow, haunting song "Parabol" transitions directly into the upbeat (but still dark) "Parabola". For some reason, though, it actually works.
    • Not to mention "Ticks and Leeches", the next track on the album. It goes from easily some of the heaviest music the band has ever written, to clean guitars and minimal drums, back to the extremely heavy music. And is immediately followed by "Lateralus" which has an extremely quiet and calm introduction.
  • This is a video of Itzhak Perlman playing the heartwrenching theme from Schindler's List on a violin, preceded by him being interviewed by a certain film critic. If you don't want this trope to occur, don't look at who said film critic is, It's Gene Shalit!
  • Peter Gabriel's song "Darkness" alternates between an intense industrial track and a soothing ballad. The mood whiplash is intentional, occurs multiple times, and interestingly enough is played straight.
  • From The Rolling Stones' Aftermath album: the beautiful, Elizabethan-sounding ballad "Lady Jane" is sandwiched between the decidedly less romantic "Stupid Girl" and "Under My Thumb".
  • Sufjan Stevens' album Illinois: From "They Are Night Zombies" to "The Seer's Tower", the music and lyrics get progressively darker, culminating in the lines ''"Still I go to the deepest grave / where I go to sleep alone." This is immediately followed by the jaunty piano intro of "The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders".
  • "Ces Gens-Là" by Jacques Brel: starts out with sinister, monotonous music, as the speaker describes a family in sometimes darkly humorous but mostly very bitter terms...then swells wonderfully as he tells of his love for the daughter...and quickly sinks back to a depressive mood.
  • Tom Lehrer is great at these.
    • ''We Will All Go Together When We Go" starts off as a lament over inevitable mortality and the mourning that ensues, and then quickly changes to a "positive dynamic uplifting song in the tradition of the great old revival hymns" - about how the nuclear Armageddon will kill us all at the same time.
    • Poisoning Pigeons in the Park is a carefree, whimsical song despite the subject matter - "All the world seems in tune / On a spring afternoon, / When we're poisoning pigeons in the park."
    • In Old Mexico has a few examples:
      • "The mariachis would serenade, / And they would not shut up till they were paid."
      • "We ate, we drank, and we were merry, / And we got typhoid and dysentery."
      • "For I hadn't had so much fun since the day / My brother's dog Rover / Got run over."
      • "In that moment of truth I suddenly knew / That someone had stolen my wallet."
  • "Buildings in America" by Richard Swift. After the second chorus, the song switches from a quiet ballad to oppressive noise-pop.
  • "Filth in the Beauty" by The Gazette goes back and forth from a soft pop melody to a hard metal riff.
  • "Band on the Run" by Paul McCartney has two mood changes, the first more obvious than the second. The original is too subtle to qualify; the Foo Fighters cover isn't.
  • Meat Loaf's 2010 album Hang Cool Teddy Bear has a significant example in the second half. The slow, moving love ballad "Did You Ever Love Somebody" is immediately followed by a song about how the singer has a ridiculously large erection ("California Isn't Big Enough (Hey There Girl)"). The whiplash is increased when you remember that this is being sung by a now-62-year-old rocker, making the latter song sound like an unnecessarily explicit Cialis commercial.
  • Single File, a compilation album by electronic dance group The Beloved, has such a moment. The song Time After Time is a heartbreaking love song about someone in a tumultuous, failing relationship. The following track contains a prominent sound sample of one of the band members farting.
  • Several songs by Between The Buried And Me tend to do this in really odd ways. The songs "Fire For A Dry Mouth" and "Naked By The Computer" (yes, that's the real title) begin and end in opposing ways. The former begins with some of the hardest, grindingest metal they produce, but ends with a weird, rather upbeat instrumental section that gives the feeling of passing into the night. The latter begins with a slow, strumming line of guitar chords and then enters into what the former starts with for the rest of the song.
  • Coheed and Cambria does this with "Always and Never". The lyrics start like this:
    Stay with me and fall asleep
    Pray to God for no bad dreams...
    • And then it ends with...
    I'm still waiting here... to kill all of you.
  • Any John Cale song which involves him screaming, taken to the logical extreme in live performances (before he sobered up). Case in point.
  • Iron Maiden open their Powerslave album with "Aces High", an anthemic tune about WWII fighter pilots. Right after that song is "2 Minutes To Midnight", with a decidedly anti-war message.
    • Iron Maiden in general are truly dark, especially when compared to their pop-oriented counterparts Judas Priest (who are usually more a case of Dark Is Not Evil). Many of their songs are inspired by actual British or European history, both of which are rife with centuries of violence and death. "Aces High" sounds pretty gung-ho until you reflect on what will happen to Britain if the pilots fail, and that many of them are going to be shot down by the Luftwaffe in any case. "The Duellists" has as its protagonist a swordsman who is frightfully outmatched but accepts a challenge to a duel anyway to avoid being branded a coward, and dies in the attempt. "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," based on the Coleridge poem of the same title, is true to the original's general Downer Ending. "Paschendale," their World War I tribute, is a genuinely terrifying song (sounding more like Black Sabbath than Iron Maiden, actually) with soldiers dying in droves in a muddy no-man's-land. "The Clansman," like "Aces High," would sound pretty hopeful if not for the line "And I swear that I'll never be taken alive!" When they do a (relatively) lighthearted number like "Holy Smoke," it sounds quite out of place.
    • And for another album succession example, on Piece Of Mind the upbeat "Sun And Steel" followed by the creepy "To Tame A Land".
    • Sometimes the whiplash happens in the same song: "These Colours Don't Run" alternates between "War Is Hell, I'm afraid to go to it" ("There is no one that will save you, going down in flames,No surrender certain death you look it in the eye") and the chorus with its patriotic message ("Far away from the land of our birth, We fly a flag in some foreign earth, We sailed away like our fathers before, These colours don't run from cold bloody war")
  • The Pokémon anime's "2.B.A. Master" CD, a compilation of songs from the first season of the animé, has this for at least half of the CD. Track number seven is a Tear Jerker known as "The Time Has Come [Pikachu's Goodbye]." note  The next song is an upbeat "Pokémon Dance Mix," and that is exactly what it is called. The next song is a song based off of the Team Rocket trio's motto. The next song is an anthem of eternal friendship. "Misty's Song," a love ballad from the eponymous character to Ashnote , is immediately followed by the Pokérap. Which is then followed by "You Can Do It If You Really Try," a decidedly more downbeat but nonetheless uplifting song.
  • The song "Bangles" by Niraj Chag is heartbreakingly beautiful and bittersweet (and the live version might even take it up a notch), made moreso by the music video, which tells the story of an old woman reminiscing about the childhood she spent playing with her grandfather, and how it ended when she was married at a young age. I wept. Now, here's the original version.
  • "Rebel Rebel," that poppy, cheery bi anthem from David Bowie? On the album Diamond Dogs, it's sandwiched right between a grim three-part look at the mind of a pederast and his lover and a string of five songs inspired by 1984.
    • His later album Lodger is another dour one, only perked up tonally by the cheerfully campy "Boys Keep Swinging". That song comes between "Look Back in Anger", about an encounter with a tired angel of death, and "Repetition", about a Domestic Abuser.
  • Gustav Holst's The Planets flips from the ominous and bombastic "Mars, the Bringer of War" to the serene "Venus, the Bringer of Peace". "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity" comes right before the eerie "Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age."
  • King Crimson loves this. A good example within albums is the transition from the loud, angry and downbeat "21st Century Schizoid Man" to immediately, and without any form of transition, switching to "I Talk to the Wind" a soothing, flute heavy song. And the transition works would you believe it.
  • "Another Way To Die" by Disturbed starts out with a slow musical intro, then David Draiman's sombre voice lamenting the state of the environment. After a moment the trademark rush of guitars and double-bass drumming begins along with Draiman's staccato roar.
    • The rest of the album is made up of themes of hardship, despair and disgust with the world. Then after a minute of silence, the band plays a cover of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", giving the album a sense of closure through a journey.
  • Any time an MP3 player with a wide variety of songs is on shuffle, this is undoubtedly going to happen quite often!
  • My Chemical Romance's album Danger Days have "DESTROYA," a heavy rock song about rebelling in everything and everyone, sandwiched between "Summertime," one of the softest, almost The Cure-like song of them, and "The Kids From Yesterday," another soft rock song.
    • MCR also give a classic example with "Early Sunsets over Monroeville". It starts as a calm and slow love ballad about smalltown life...before devolving into minutes of Gerard Way hoarsely screaming as the music fades, apparently about killing his beloved, and ending with the line "But does anyone notice...there's a corpse in this bed?"
    • Also, on The Black Parade, they have "House Of Wolves", followed by "Cancer", followed by "Mama".
  • This happens on The White Stripes' Elephant album, although it's not as obvious as other examples. "I Want to Be the Boy to Warm Your Mother's Heart" is a sweet piano ballad about being in love. It's followed by the much, much darker "You've Got Her In Your Pocket," another ballad, about obsession and jealousy. The fact that the two songs sound rather similar hides the whiplash, but when you notice it, it hits hard.
  • This happens a lot on Pavement albums. To take one example, on Slanted and Enchanted, the touching, bittersweet "Here" is followed by "Two States," a fast, punky song about how Southern California sucks. On Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, the slow, enigmatic "Newark Wilder" is followed by "Unfair"...another song about how Southern California sucks!
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic does this from time to time.
    • A perfect example is on the album "Straight Outta Lynwood," after his Rage Against the Machine parody "I'll Sue Ya." After an angry song like that one, there's an abrupt guitar chord, which is directly followed by a one-second pause going into "Polkarama," which has the Dance Craze "Chicken Dance" as an intro. Of course, THAT goes into a polka cover of "Let's Get It Started" by The Black Eyed Peas.
    • Within the song "That's Your Horoscope for Today", the prediction for Sagittarius goes from the lighthearted, silly predictions for others to "Kill them" in a deep, evil sounding voice without any music playing, then jumps straight back to silly in the very next line.
  • On the album Loud by Rihanna, the tracklisting seems to be randomized. Point being that the slow, sad "Fading" is inbetween the upbeat "Cheers (Drink to That)" and "Only Girl (In the World)"
  • On a duets album from Barbra Streisand, there is a collection of duets, lovesongs mostly, all very slow and emotional... then at the end they stuck in "Ding Dong! The witch Is Dead". Talk about breaking the mood...
  • Mötley Crüe's "Girl, Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)" starts as an kind of mellow song about reflecting on foolish mistakes in a past romance. It then turns into a hard-rocking jam about telling that girl to get the hell out.
  • Evelyn Evelyn's self-titled debut album follows up "Sandy Fishnets", a tragic ballad about the murder of a child prostitute, with "Elephant Elephant", a happy little ditty about going for a ride on a pet elephant.
  • Dido's album Safe Trip Home follows Us 2 Little Gods, perhaps the only genuinely uplifting song she's ever done, with The day before the day, which is about her dad dying.
  • Pantera's Suicide Note pt 1 and 2 pretty much jumps Pantera's emotional spectrum (depressing to Angry) between parts.
  • Lady Gaga has a case of album whiplash. The Fame had a few darker songs ("Paparazzi" has some disturbing undertones, and "Poker Face" isn't quite as lyrically upbeat as you'd expect), but was mostly composed of light, dance-oriented songs like "Just Dance" and "Summerboy." Then came The Fame Monster, a shorter album originally intended to be an EP. Sure, we have "Telephone", if you can disregard the video, but we've also got "Bad Romance", "Dance in the Dark" (which, while Word of God claims is about being yourself, seems to be more about an abusive relationship), "Alejandro", and "Speechless", which is notable if only for the fact that it uses little to no Auto-Tune, no synthesizers, and relies solely on piano, guitar/bass, and drums (and take a look at the lyrics— a bit more bitter than you'd expect from Gaga).
  • "Matches" by Sammy Kershaw. Boy meets girl, girl gives boy matchbook with her phone number on it, girl leaves boy, boy finds matchbook, boy goes to the bar where they met, boy laments. It's one of a million slow, sad country songs, except that it ends with this exchange:
    And everybody at The Broken Spoke
    Well they all thought my crazy story was a joke
    Now they're all out in the parking lot, starin' at the smoke
  • MacArthur Park has the music inexplicably change from solemn and melodious to a goofy upbeat solo just before the last reprise of the chorus.
  • MC Lars does this on his album This Gigantic Robot Kills. The majority of the songs are humorous satire. Then we get "Twenty-Three" halfway through the album about his friend's suicide.
  • Blondie's Parallel Lines, with the upbeat "Hanging on the Telephone," "One Way or Another" and "Picture This" followed by the dark and moody "Fade Away and Radiate." It is done again on the second side with the pop-punk "Sunday Girl" followed by the disco-blues "Heart of Glass," and then the hyperactive "I'm Gonna Love You Too."
  • Parodied in "Jack Sparrow" by The Lonely Island. It's supposed to be a hip-hop track suited towards a club, though lyrically, Michael Bolton kind of goes off on a tangent...
  • Queen's album A Night at the Opera starts with the dark song "Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to...)", them immediately shifts to the whimsical "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon".
    • In the reverse order of moods on the same album we have "Seaside Rendezvous" followed by "The Prophet's Song", and two songs later, "Good Company" followed by "Bohemian Rhapsody".
      • "Bohemian Rhapsody" itself goes from acappela harmonies to piano ballad to melodic guitar solo section to jaunty, nonsensical opera to raging heavy metal back to another, slower melodic guitar instrumental, and back to a slow ballad section.
  • Metallica's Black Album has each of the two Power Ballads ("The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters") stuck between two really aggressive songs.
  • On The Offspring's Greatest Hits Album, the Grief Song "Gone Away" is between two songs of their usual fast-paced snarky punk, "All I Want" and "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". (in the original album, less so, as the track before it's somewhat darker than the follow-up)
    • And like the Black Album above, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace has the heartfelt and downright depressing songs ("Kristy Are You Doing OK?" and "Fix You") between snarky/aggressive tracks.
  • The Veronicas placing Heavily Broken between Speechless (An acoustic love song) and I Could Get Used To This (A happy with someone special song)
  • Britney Spears, the penultimate track of In the Zone is the upbeat girl power-ish "Brave New Girl", which segues into "Everytime", one of the most Tear Jerker songs Britney ever recorded...
  • The entirety of Human After All is just one, long whiplash. It starts off with the cool, slightly disturbing title track, then jumps right into terror and madness with "Prime Time of Your Life". Then it goes into the awesomeness that is "Robot Rock". Then the unsettling hissing of "SSSSTEEEEEEEEAMMM! MACHIIIIIIIIINE!". After that, you have the calm, somewhat saddening "Make Love". Then right back into madness with "I AM THE BRAINWASHERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" Then On/Off happens. Then back to Epic Rocking with "TELEVISION. RULES THE NATION." Once more into madness with the ever so disturbing "Technologic".
    • The last song has a whiplash within a whiplash. "Emotion" starts off like a calm little song in the vein of the previously mentioned "Make Love", or even "Something About Us", but then it suddenly uses pieces from the end of Technologic. The really unsettling bits, too.
  • Wire's third album, 154, is positively loaded with this, sandwiching exquisitely catchy synth-pop constructions like "The 15th" and "Map Ref. 41ºN 93ºW" between visceral, charging art-punkers ("Two People In A Room", "Once Is Enough") and bizarre, nightmarish sound experiments ("The Other Window", "Indirect Enquiries"), or following all seven slow, brutal minutes of "A Touching Display" with the quick, snappy two of "On Returning".
  • Warren Zevon's Mr. Bad Example starts with "Finishing Touches," a gritty, brutal breakup song...then leads into "Suzie Lightning," a tender unrequited love ballad.
  • For the most part John 5's solo albums are about what you'd expect from a guitarist who's worked with Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson - however, he'll almost always throw in at least one country or bluegrass influenced instrumental. Vertigo even sandwiches a rendition of "Sweet Georgia Brown" between two shredding-based instrumental metal workouts.
  • Waltz of the Snowflakes from Tchaikovsky's score from The Nutcracker ballet. It has pretty, soothing vocals... then it switches and sounds like there should be a war going on or something.
  • Cowboy Troy's Loco Motive album follows up the sad, beautiful "If You Don't Wanna Love Me" with a spoken-word intro to the next song, by Larry The Cable Guy. In it, he does his trademark "git-r-done" and makes a Barbra Streisand joke. Even worse, the sequencing puts Larry's spoken word in the same track as "If You Don't Wanna Love Me".
  • "Susan's House" by Eels switches from one of the weirdest, darkest verses in the band's canon (and that's saying something) to the most beautiful, piano-led chorus they've ever come up with. This comes complete with a change in mood of the lyrics, from "Down by the Donut Prince a fifteen year old boy lies on the sidewalk with a bullet in his forehead" to "Going over to Susan's house, she's gonna make it right"
  • Dir En Grey's album The Marrow of a Bone starts off with a slow alt-metal power ballad. It is then followed with several really aggressive songs, and the album doesn't slow down again for a while.
  • The Zombies' "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)" would probably stick out like a sore thumb no matter where it was placed on Odessey And Oracle, as it's an eerie, pump-organ-based Protest Song about the horrors of war in the middle of a summery Baroque Pop album. As it stands, it's right after the optimistic love song "This Will Be Our Year", so lyrically we go from "the warmth of your love's like the warmth of the sun" to "I have seen a friend of mine hang on the wire like some rag toy \ then in the heat the flies come down and cover up the boy". And after that comes "Friends Of Mine", which is a little bittersweet lyrically, but is still the cheeriest-sounding song on the album.
  • On Dr Dre's 1999 album, "Fuck You" starts with a serious answering machine message left by a lady who misses her significant other terribly (and sounds like she's trying to not have an emotional breakdown)... and then suddenly when the music comes on we go from "I've just always wanted someone like you in my life, I love you so much that I'd do anything" to I JUST WANNA FUCK BAD BITCHES. Somehow, the fact that the song's very openly about cheating (the chorus goes "I just wanna fuck you/No touching and rubbing, girl/You've got a husband at home who/Loves you/You gotta give him your quality time") doesn't help.
  • The Foo Fighters' debut album starts with the slightly heavy "This Is A Call" and the full-on aggressive "I'll Stick Around"... and then comes "Big Me" before some more heavy tracks. (in the Greatest Hits Album too, though follow-up "Breakout" builds the sonic assault instead of being straight-up like predecessor "Monkey Wrench")
  • Roy Clark's "Thank God and Greyhound" starts out as wistful peon to the end of a bad relationship, and then shifts in mid-chord to a cheerful celebration that it's over. (The "Greyhound" in the title refers to the bus on which the singer's other half is leaving town.}
  • Mariah Carey is guilty of this on a few occasions:
    • She does it twice on "Glitter", which admittedly has the excuse of being a "soundtrack" - still, it's hard not to be a bit startled when "Reflections (Care Enough)", a drippy ballad that talks about parental abandonment and wishing she'd just been aborted instead, is followed immediately by a rowdy cover of "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life"; or when the dreamy "Twister", dedicated to a stylist friend of Mariah's who committed suicide, is tailed by the peppy, upbeat "Loverboy".
  • Garbage always ends have a Downer Ending on their albums. But the deluxe edition of Not Your Kind of People follows the usual depressing ballad that closes the regular album with a catchy, dance-y electronic rock song on their usual style.
  • There may be no example of this trope more striking and brutal than the song "The Boiler" by The Bodysnatchers and Rhoda Dakar, which begins with the singer's humorous, self-deprecating description of being asked out on a date, and ends with her terrified screams and desperate pleas for her rapist to stop - as the jazzy, upbeat ska music continues in the background the entire time.
  • On Boys for Pele by Tori Amos, the nonsensical and silly "Mr. Zebra" is followed by "Marianne", a gloomy song about the death of the titular girl.
  • From the album "Magnicifent" by Driftless Pony Club, "18 Years Later" is a rather solemn song about a man losing his sister in the war, and then being sent out himself, presumably never coming back himself. What are the first lines of the next song ("All Quiet")? "Screw you North Dakota!"
    • Oddly enough, this happens with "All Quiet" too. After the fittingly somber ending, it's followed by the two peppiest songs on the album, "They Built the Future," although Lyrical Dissonance is in play, and "Bedrolls Across America".
  • Counting Song, by Adam Buxton. It starts off lighthearted (counting monkeys, dolls, hats, cats, ect.) with a smiling sun in the background. Then, as the song progresses, it becomes more and more cynical and jaded (talking about failures, disappointment, lost opportunities, betrayal, death, and so on.) The video even ends with the singer being crushed by number cubes. All while the same, happy melody plays in the background.
  • ABBA's 1974 album Waterloo contained an example of this. The hard rock-flavoured "Watch Out", which contains an epic explosion at the end of the song (possibly inspired by Queen) is immediately followed by the bouncy "What About Livingstone?" For comparison.
    • Likewise, their final album The Visitors has "Two For The Price of One" (an upbeat track with Bjorn singing about answering a personal ad) sandwiched between two emotional Agnetha-led songs, "One of Us" and "Slipping Through My Fingers".
  • Black Sabbath's Paranoid has "Planet Caravan", a quiet ballad about space travel that's sandwiched between the title track and "Iron Man", a pair of crushing heavy metal tunes.
  • Kelly Clarkson is very fond of this trope.
  • "This Old Guitar" by John Denver which is mostly about how his guitar made his life so much better has a verse about how his guitar "gave me my lovely lady" and how it "brought us close together", followed immediately by "and I guess it broke her heart."
  • Demi Lovato spent part of 2010 making a hip-hop influenced, uptempo party album. Somewhere along the way, her Creator Breakdown came around. As a result, her 2011 album Unbroken is filled with danceable, fun-loving, often Hotter and Sexier (by Demi-standards) tracks like "Who's That Boy", "All Night Long", "You're My Only Shorty" and "Hold Up" mixed with heartfelt, personal, often autobiographical material like "Fix A Heart", "Lightweight". "Skyscraper" and the Here We Go Again outtake "For The Love Of A Daughter". The album's biggest hit, "Give Your Heart A Break", falls between the two extremes.
  • Taylor Swift's Speak Now album is a perfect example of this. Listen to Enchanted - a breathy, lovestruck ballad about how she was 'enchanted' to meet somebody, while hoping that he's not in love with somebody else. Then listen to the follow-up track - Better Than Revenge, a sarcastic revenge song mocking a girl who stole a boyfriend to her, telling her to 'go stand in the corner and think about what she did' and show her 'how much better you are'. Definitely a big one.
  • Ian Campbell's The Sun Is Burning is a gentle song that, for the first three verses, appears to be about the beauty of a sunset, as the sun burns in the sun, turns to the west, and sinks low as couples hold hands and children play. But then the sun comes to earth, in the form of a nuclear bomb.
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor's album ''Lift Your Skinny Fists up like Antennas to Heaven: after lots of Epic Rocking and symphonic Post-Rock, the track "Antennas to Heaven" opens with "Moya Sings Baby-O," a lighthearted acoustic song about drowning and killing a baby. Incredibly jarring sandwiched in between their signature style of music.
  • Sarah McLachlan's album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy segues from 'Hold On', a song of a person trying to have one more happy day as their lover is dying, to 'Ice Cream', a song about how the object's love is even better than eating ice cream.
  • Dream Theater albums sometimes have this between light and heavy songs.
    • On Awake, the serene acoustic "The Silent Man" abruptly transitions to the chugging opening riff of "The Mirror", which was the heaviest thing the band had done up to that point.
    • On Octavarium, the uplifting U2-esque "I Walk Beside You" is followed by the heaviest song on the album, "Panic Attack".
    • On Systematic Chaos, the over-the-top fantasy-themed "The Dark Eternal Night" is followed by the somber, reflective "Repentance", part of the AA saga.
  • mothy's album Evils Court manages to have, in this order: Repulsive Eater Conchita, a completely terrifying song about cannibalism; Ten-Minute Love, an adorable song about not being able to confess; and Regret Message, about a former psychopath whose actions led to her brother's death begging to see him again and desperately begging for forgiveness.
  • Pink Floyd's epic rock opera The Wall jumps from the acoustic "Goodbye Blue Sky" to "the droney "Empty Spaces" to the Aerosmith-like bluesy hard rocker "Young Lust" to the ballad-turned-sarcastic rocker "One Of My Turns" to another drone, "Don't Leave Me Now".
  • Gustav Mahler's symphonies have some extreme contrasts in moods.
    • In Symphony No. 4, when the slow movement's main theme returns for the third time, the tempo upshifts suddenly several times, from "Andante" to "Allegretto" to "Allegro" to "Allegro molto." Then it suddenly quiets down and returns to the original tempo, and just when it seems as if the movement is ready to fade out, there is an unanticipated key change to E major and a fortissimo explosion of orchestral color.
    • The first movement of the Symphony No. 5 begins as a gloomy funeral march, then suddenly bursts into a fast and intense middle section.
    • The finale of Symphony No. 6 has moments of mood whiplash intended to be so shattering that the score literally calls for hammer blows.
    • The first subject of the second movement of Symphony No. 9 is a ponderously cloddish Ländler that never strays far from C major. The second subject increases the tempo suddenly and modulates wildly.
  • The video for Ice Cube's "Today Was a Good Day" is pretty much an open depiction of the track itself: Ice Cube having a really good day. Airings of the videos usually end with the seemingly odd sight of the light of a police helicopter cresting the roof of his house. What you usally dont see is a few more seconds of several cops and police cars surrounding the area, and Cube simply ignoring them as he goes inside. This hides the transition straight into the video for "Check Yourself", where you see that his entire family has been murdered, and he's being arrested for it.
  • The original Music Video for Norazo's Superman, song made popular by Pump It Up. The music is upbeat and is assumed to be a parody of the superheroes genre, but the video is made out of lyrical dissonance, and it opens and closes with this trope. It's no wonder Andamiro chose to replace the music video with something more whimsical and delete the opening and closing.
  • Twenty One Pilots have the song "Ode to Sleep", which has dark-sounding verses and a ridiculously happy sounding chorus that almost sounds like a different song altogether.
  • T Baby's infamous It's So Cold in the D. The video shows her friends laughing at her and what seems to be dancing to a totally different song. She slowly loses her rhythm until she's starting verses in the middle of the background beat, which it's hard not to laugh at. This is immediately followed by pictures of people in her life who died as a result of gang violence, including one of a young child in a coffin. Not too easy to laugh after that.

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