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Last Chorus Slow-Down

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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. Bonus points if Chorus Girls show up to form a kick line.


Examples:

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     Pop 

     Rock 
  • The One-Hit Wonder "What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes repeats the first verse slower in the ending. The same thing happens in the He-Man parody cover by Slackcircus.
  • "The House of the Rising Sun" played by The Animals. Only in the instrumental portion at the very end, after the lyrics are done.
  • "Magical Mystery Tour" by The Beatles.
  • Billy Joel's "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)".
  • "Lookin' Out My Back Door" by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
  • Daniel Amos's "Sudden Heaven", from Fearful Symmetry.
  • Played straight in "Come On Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners, but then subverted as the song ends up slightly faster than how they started!
  • "American Pie," by Don McLean.
  • Genesis does this with 'Home By the Sea' ... in the second part, 'Second Home By the Sea'.
  • Jethro Tull's "With You There to Help Me" from Benefit. The flashy finish actually continues on for about two minutes.
  • "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)
  • "Black Diamond" by KISS.
  • Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven".
  • "You and Me" by Lifehouse.
  • Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell does this several times. Actually, it's more of a Bridge Slow Down, but whatever.
  • "Family Snapshot" by Peter Gabriel.
  • Inverted by "Amtrax" by Pretty Balanced. The last chorus is significantly faster than the previous ones.
  • Right at the end of "Bohemian Rhapsody".
  • 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 .
  • Starflyer 59's "Your Company", the last track from Leave Here a Stranger.
  • The Stone Roses' "I Wanna Be Adored".
  • Weezer does this arguably twice on their Pinkerton album, once in "Pink Triangle" and a lesser example in the interlude of "The Good Life".

     Metal/Alt Metal 
  • "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 Swedish death metal band Arch Enemy has quite some songs ending like these. A couple examples would be "The Last Enemy" or "Nemesis".
  • Power Metal band Cellador has the song "No Chances Lost" ending like this.
  • Babylon by Edguy.
  • "Powerslave" and "Run to the Hills" by Iron Maiden.
  • Megadeth has "A Tout le Monde" and "Trust".
  • Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters".
  • 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.

     Punk/Alternative/Indie Rock 
  • "Zehn kleine J├Ągermeister" by German punk metal band Die Toten Hosen.
  • 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.
  • Vampire Weekend's "Sunflower".

     R&B/Soul 
  • "Thin Line Between Love and Hate" by New-York based R&B group The Persuaders (though it doesn't play the entire chorus).

     Jazz 
  • The Frank Sinatra version of "New York, New York" is another solo example.

     J-Pop 

     New Wave 
  • The last verse of Nena's "99 Luftballons" (99 Red Balloons).

     Country/Folk 
  • "Playboys of the Southwestern World" by Blake Shelton uses a last chorus slowdown, but only on the first half of the last chorus.
  • "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood does this, complete with drumline and dramatic cymbal crash after "and I proudly stand up".
  • 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).

     Classical 

     Other 
  • 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.
  • Creature Feature's ''Such Horrible Things''.
  • "The Cliff" by the Red Army Chorus. "...udaloye zhityo aaaaataaaaammaaaaaaannnaaaaaa..."
  • 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.

Other Examples:

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     Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • "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.

     Film 
  • "Prince Ali" from Aladdin.
    • In the Broadway version of the same film, there's also "High Adventure," originally written for the film and restored for the Broadway musical.
    • Found in "A Friend Like Me" in the musical Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular that ran at Disney California Adventure.
  • "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!!!
  • "Do You Want To Build a Snowman?" from Frozen (2013) has its last verse get sung at a slower tempo than the first two verses.
    • Additionally, "For the First Time in Forever" ends with Elsa's solo, then Anna's and Elsa's Counterpoint Duet, which are done at a slower tempo than the opening two verses that compose Anna's solo.
  • "The Inquisition" from History of the World Part I.
  • The title song of Victor/Victoria, at least in the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation.

     Theater 
  • 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.
  • The title song of Cabaret is a solo version of this, slowing down (with a Truck Driver's Gear Change) to begin the final strain ("Start by admitting from cradle to tomb"). The opening number, "Willkommen," is also subjected to this.
  • "They Both Reached For The Gun" from Chicago.
  • "What Would We Do Without You?" 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.
  • "Beyond My Wildest Dreams" from the stage adaptation of The Little Mermaid (1989) slows down in the first phrase of the last chorus, before returning to normal tempo. "One Step Closer" and "If Only" also feature this trope.
  • Then there is also the act one finale to Mame, which is the title song. TWICE!!
  • Matilda does this in "Miracle" (solo), "Telly", "When I Grow Up" (Counterpoint Duet), and "The Smell of Rebellion".
  • The Phantom of the Opera: The last repetition of "Masquerade" 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 as the Phantom crashes the party, and then gets cut off.
  • 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.
  • 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 AN ALMOST INFINITE NUMBER OF 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").
  • "Springtime for Hitler" from The Producers. FUCKING TWICE!!!
  • Oklahoma! pulls an Unbuilt Trope with "I Cain't Say No," though within the Dream Ballet and not sung, and slows down dramatically near the end of the first of two choruses.

     Video Games 
  • "That's Death" from the Discworld adventure game Discworld II: Mortality Bytes.
  • "Sweet Soul Brother" from Jet Set Radio does this.
  • 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.

     Web Original 

     Western Animation 


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