Follow TV Tropes


Stop and Go

Go To

Electric Six, "Improper Dancing"

You're listening to a really fast song and all of a sudden it just stops. It is silent for a couple of seconds. Then it continues as if nothing happened. Quite a few even say "stop" before the break.

This effect can also be achieved with Siamese Twin Songs that are commonly played together as one song.

Not to be confused with the name of a convenience or gas store. Contrast Musicalis Interruptus. Compare Subdued Section (where only certain instruments do this). A musical version of Dramatic Pause. Sister Trope to Fake-Out Fade-Out, where the mid-song stop has more of a lead-up, and Sudden Soundtrack Stop, where it's background music that goes quiet.

Music Examples

    open/close all folders 
    Alternative/Indie Rock 
  • Arctic Monkeys use this trope very often in their songs, with notable examples being "Brianstorm", "If You Were There, Beware", and "The View from the Afternoon".
  • Belle and Sebastian's "Like Dylan in the Movies".
    Lisa's kissing men like a long walk home
    When the music stops...
  • Built to Spill actually end their song "In the Morning" with this.
  • "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" by Cake. The music video has a Vox Pops concept where people off the street listen to the song on headphones and react, and one listener is caught by surprise at this point because they thought it was just a very short song.
  • Appropriately enough, "Dance Stop" by Daniel Amos, from the album Vox Humana. Just before each chorus, Terry shouts "Stop!" and all the instruments go silent. (According to the liner notes, the audience is supposed to freeze during this part.) Then everyone says "Aaaaaaaaaaah DANCE!" and the music starts back up again.
  • "Jesus I Was Evil" by Darcy Clay does this before the last chorus.
  • Eagles of Death Metal, as another Josh Homme project, use this trope about as often as humanly possible. "I Only Want You" is the most striking example, featuring two of these in a less-than-three-minute song.
  • Eels' "Novocaine For The Soul" from Beautiful Freak has a long awkward pause right before the bridge. It's fairly unexpected because it's not remotely a fast song.
  • Used in Electric Six's "Improper Dancing", and explicitly called out by vocalist Dick Valentine: "Stop...continue!". In live performances they traditionally play with this by sandwiching an entirely different song between the "stop" and "continue", usually either "(Who The Hell Just) Call My Phone" or an unexpected Cover Version.
  • "Monkey Wrench" and "Next Year" by Foo Fighters. Exaggerated with "Rope" where it's done twice.
  • Garbage's song "Supervixen" has a repeating one as a part of the main riff.
  • "Stop!" by Jane's Addiction. Most songs named "Stop", really.
  • "Freetime" by Kenna has this several times. The video has a Black Screen of Death followed by a Jump Cut to match the audio each time.
  • Happens in "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers.
  • Once after the chorus in The Kills' "Love is a Deserter".
  • Alanis Morissette's "All I Really Want": "Why are you so terrified of silence? Here can you handle this?" followed by two seconds of silence. Then the song continues.
  • Done by Neutral Milk Hotel in "Ferris Wheel on Fire".
  • New Order - "Every Little Counts", near the end right after the last verse.
  • OK Go do this in "Get Over It" (and hang a big fat lampshade on it in the video by stretching out the pause long enough to play some ping pong).
    • And again in "I Want You So Bad I Can't Breathe".
  • Queens of the Stone Age are fond of both this trope and the Fake-Out Fade-Out; the most prominent example is the extremely jarring silence in the middle of "You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire".
    • Earlier example: the instrumental "Hispanic Impressions" from their debut.
    • And of course the one right before the Epic Rocking finale of "Song for the Dead".
  • "Radio Song" by R.E.M. features a prominent pause after the last chorus before the vocals come back in to mark the outro.
  • Occurs in "Just" by Radiohead from The Bends. In the video the silent moment is significant because it is the moment where a man who has inexplicably come to lie down on the middle of the footpath whispers something to the crowd that has gathered to watch. We don't hear what it is, but it cause them all to lie down just like him.
  • "Can't Hardly Wait" by The Replacements briefly pauses twice, before the bridge and before the outro.
  • About 2/3's of the way through the extended jam coda of "I Am the Resurrection", the last track on The Stone Roses' eponymous debut, The Stone Roses.
  • Right after the first chorus of The Strokes' "Hard to Explain".
  • "Metal Mickey" by Suede features a pause between the guitar solo and the chorus that follows.
  • They Might Be Giants do a version in their song "Older". "And still marching on." This is another case where the artist likes to stretch out the pause for as long as they can live for comedic value. (And throw confetti.)

  • "When Big Joan Sits Up" by Captain Beefheart, after the line "she's out of reach".
    • "Blabber 'N Smoke": "It's gonna hang you all.... dangle you all".
  • "The Doge's Palace" by Mike Oldfield begins with a short introduction. Then, before the main theme starts, there is a short pause.

  • Aaron Copland does this approximately two to two-and-a-half minutes into "Hoedown" from his ballet, Rodeo.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach does this in the third stanza of the cantata Christ lag in Todes Banden (BWV 4), in which the music stops on the word "nicht" (nothing remains) before continuing. He also does this in a number of fugues, generally in the initial statement of the theme, e.g., the fugues from the D Major Prelude and Fugue for organ (BWV 532), and from the C Major Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue (BWV 564).
  • Older Than Radio: Johann Strauss does this near the end of "By the Beautiful Blue Danube".
  • A fairly obscure example: "A Cowboy Symphony" by Pierre La Plante.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven's variations for solo piano on the arietta "Es war einmal ein alter Mann" by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (WoO 66) has one measure of sudden silence right in the middle of the theme. This bar of silence is consistently carried over in Beethoven's thirteen subsequent variations; the fifth and ninth variations take the opportunity to switch to a different tempo and meter for the ensuing five-bar modulation from the dominant back to the tonic key.

  • "I Like Traffic Lights" by Monty Python plays this to ratchet the irritation and Ear Worm factor up.
  • "How Sweet to Be an Idiot" by Neil Innes.
  • Tenacious D's Cosmic Shame" has KG play guitar while JB, in spoken word, encourages the members of the audience to quit their day jobs and pursue their artistic dreams. JB states that they will check back in on the audience in a few years to evaluate their progress, and will then either urge them to keep at it or to stop, at which point KG stops playing the guitar.
    JB: Now, after a couple of years of you focusing earnestly on your craft, KG and I will swoop in, we will check out your progress, and we will encourage you to continue!
    Or we will say stop.
    [KG abruptly stops playing guitar; Beat]
    And then, seriously, you must stop, or penalties will be created and enforced.

  • Goldfrapp's "Oompa Radar" stops at a somewhat reasonable point, complete with a quick outro. It then rumbles loudly back into action totally unexpectedly after a few long seconds.
  • "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO does this twice. The first is after the second chorus: the music cuts out just before the final line, which then echoes out into silence, Redfoo delivers the memetic "Every day I'm shufflin'" line... and then the music starts back up again. (The music video matches this by cutting to black when the music stops, and cutting back for the "Every day I'm shufflin'".) The second is lampshaded by a cry of "Stop!" — there's a second of silence, then "Hatin' is bad", then the music starts up again.
  • The song "Logic" by Logic System (pet project of Hideki Matsutake, better known for his work with Yellow Magic Orchestra) does this rather abruptly about halfway through. After a few seconds (just long enough to make the listener uncomfortable and wonder what's wrong with their stereo or computer or whatever) it starts up again as if nothing happened.
  • Mindless Self Indulgence LOVES this trope.

  • "Gloomy Sunday", a Hungarian song that was popularized by Billie Holiday's cover of it, actually pulls three of these.
  • "Moanin'" by Charles Mingus has one that forces a transition from a chaotic section of the song where literally every wind player is soloing at once back to a rockin' bari sax riff.
  • "In The Mood" by Glenn Miller was an early example.

    Hip Hop/Rap 
  • "Intergalactic" by Beastie Boys - "Beastie Boys known to let the beat" (1 second pause) "nnnn...DROP!"
  • Employed once per verse in Busta Rhymes' "Break Ya Neck". The sheer speed of Busta's rapping on the song makes the sudden stops sound even more stark in contrast.
  • Happens with some frequency in "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer.
  • Employed to great effect in J Dilla's "Stop" from the album Donuts. As it's a gapless album, that brief stop is the only moment of silence on the entire album.
  • "What" by A Tribe Called Quest - "Peace for a minute, Doug E. Fresh said Silence."

  • "This Dying Soul" and "Fatal Tragedy" of Dream Theater are two examples.
  • "Silence Is Sexy" by Einstürzende Neubauten takes several breaks in the middle of an already very slow song so we can hear Blixa Bargeld taking a drag on his cigarette before resuming.
  • In Flames' "Free Fall" features this before the first chorus: "This is the free faaaaallll!" ... "AAAAAAHHHHHHH!" The instruments drop out again right after that chorus, but the vocals stop it from being a second example.
  • Before the final verse of "All Nightmare Long" by Metallica.
    • They also have them before the solo in "Sad But True" and before the final verse in "The God That Failed".
  • "Augen Auf" by Oomph!.
  • The introduction to Sonata Arctica's "Misplaced" does this.
  • Symphony X does this live on occasion.
  • System of a Down does this at the very beginning of "Prison Song". One brief guitar chord — a few seconds of silence — then the song kicks in.
  • "The Love from a Dead Orchestra" by Versailles.
  • Drowning Pool and Rob Zombie's song "The Man Without Fear" has a stop and go in the beginning of the song, followed up with a "GO!"

    New Wave 
  • Elvis Costello's "God's Comic" has a pause that feels like the end of the song before resuming with the second half of the last verse.
  • "Need You Tonight" by INXS has a moment where the song comes to a halt, but not to complete silence: it's when Michael Hutchence sings "I'm lonely!" before the final chorus. In the middle of the line, the band stops, and there's a split second of silence before they go on again.

  • "3 O'Clock Things" by AJR has this happen near the end. After the last lyric ("That if you're fucking racist/ then don't come to my show") the music stops for a few seconds, then one of the members then says "No, we have to do one more" and the song continues for about 30 seconds.
  • Aqua's song "Be A Man" goes quiet right when the lyrics go "when everything stops..."
  • Britney Spears' cover of The Arrows' "I Love Rock N' Roll" does this.
  • Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" tells us "NOW STOP!... Wait a minute — fill my cup, put some liquor in it!"
  • "Evidence" by Daisy x Daisy.
  • "Stop and Think It Over" by Dale & Grace.
  • Ed Sheeran's "Give Me Love".
  • Hedley's "Lose Control" says "everybody just stop...and bring it back around like..."
  • "Ice" by Lights does this after the line "My mouth is frozen so I can't even speak".
  • Jason Mraz's "Wordplay" has a break of less than half a second in the line "Pull out the stops — got your attention!" It's more than enough to get the listener's attention.
  • This live version of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" by Michael Jackson has a huge pause in it about halfway through.
  • The second verse of P!nk's "Sober" does this immediately after a line that says "I don't wanna be the girl that has to fill the silence" for about 3 seconds.
  • Notably averted by the Spice Girls in their song "Stop".
  • "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift.

  • This happens in AFI's song "The Despair Factor"—except Davey stops to say, "My whole life is a dark room. One. Big. Dark. Room." Then it carries on fast, as before.
  • Lampshaded by German punk band Die Ärzte in "Radio Brennt": "Stop!" [sound of deep breathing] "Weiter!" ("go on!").
  • Fugazi's "Waiting Room": somewhat unusually this happens before the lyrics even start. It lasts exactly as long as you think it would (8 beats), ends with a full bar of tom buildup, and comes back in with the same exact dynamics as before. It seems to pretty much just be a manufactured moment for crowds to just scream their heads off. And it's awesome.
  • Green Day's "Peacemaker" on 21st Century Breakdown stops for a second in the middle for the guitar to find the right note to start the solo on.
  • La Dispute do this twice in "Said the King to the River".
  • Origami Angel: GAMI GANG has "Tom Holland Oates". After the line "close my eyes and count to ten", the background instrumental stops as the singer can be faintly heard counting. However, "nine, ten!" is screamed, and the music starts up again.
  • Near the end of "53rd and 3rd" by The Ramones from their album Ramones.
    • "Rockaway Beach" features a short pause before the drums come back in for the last chorus.
  • "1985" (originally by SR-71, but made popular by Bowling for Soup): "Stop... stop... stop! [moment of silence] ...and bring back Springsteen, Madonna—"
  • "Seven" by Sunny Day Real Estate, during the verses—plays the main riff during each line, then stops for a moment between each one.
  • Wire's "Field Day For The Sundays" manages to fit three short ones in a 30-second song.

    Progressive Rock 
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression (Part 1)" has a variation on this. During the line "We've got thrills and shocks, supersonic fighting cocks" the music cuts out completely for the duration of the word "shocks".
  • Happens several times in quick succession during the second part of Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick.
  • King Crimson: "The Devil's Triangle" briefly comes to a stop at the end of the second movement, "Hand of Sceiron", only for a click track to start playing, which gives way to the even more chaotic third movement, "Garden of Worm".

  • "Living on the Edge" by Aerosmith comes to a complete stop for a few seconds between the final verse ("But we could tell 'em no/Or we could let it go/But I would rather be a-hangin' on") and the final chorus, with some drum pounds to mark the rhythm before the song continues.
  • The last chorus in "No Matter What" by Badfinger.
  • "The Little Girl I Once Knew" by The Beach Boys does this twice. It was released as a single, but it didn't chart very well because radio disc jockeys were reluctant to play it due to its moments of dead air.
  • "I'm Only Sleeping" and "All My Loving" by The Beatles. ("Helter Skelter" doesn't count because it's a Fake-Out Fade-Out. Ditto "Rain" and "Strawberry Fields Forever".)
  • "River of Dreams" by Billy Joel does this toward the end. Joel would have fun with it during live renditions by seeing how far he could drag out the pause before the audience lost its patience.
    • He did it during a Grammy ceremony as a protest after the network cut short a speech by Frank Sinatra because it wanted to go to commercial. During the pause, he quipped to the audience, "Valuable advertising time is going by."
  • "Career of Evil" by Blue Öyster Cult.
  • Critical Mass' "Completely" stops for a second or so during the line "I give myself...completely."
  • "Rock On" by David Essex.
  • Deep Purple do this in the live version of "Space Truckin'".
    • They also do it in "Child in Time" after the epic guitar solo, and in "Pictures of Home."
  • "I Looked at You" by The Doors is a great example.
  • Firehouse's "Lovers Lane", lampshaded in the lyrics themselves:
    "My motor's runnin'/Yea, it's gettin' hot, I get overloaded overheated could explode I can't believe it we just gotta stop." [Beat] [continues]
  • Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" pauses for a couple of seconds before each verse, with each pause preceded by a sharp hi-hat just to emphasize it even more.
  • Heart's "Magic Man" has one roughly 2/3 of the way through.
  • The Elton John song "Island Girl" does this twice.
  • Led Zeppelin's song "What is and What Should Never Be" has a couple of these.
    • Also the song "Thank You".
    • "Heartbreaker" from Led Zeppelin II ends mid-word before picking up on the next song in the album a half-second later, "Living Loving Maid", which is the second half of a Siamese Twin Song.
      • There are also a couple Stop And Goes within "Heartbreaker" itself.
    • There are multiple pauses throughout "Nobody's Fault But Mine".
  • Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" has a pause between two of the "Hallelujah"s towards the end in which all instruments stop.
  • Queen's "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" from News of the World (Queen) are Siamese Twin Songs which are almost always played together as one piece, and, as such, the space between them (abrupt guitar riff ending, beat, cold intro vocals) sounds like a Stop and Go.
  • "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" from the Raspberries has quite possibly the perfect example. It happens at 4:24.
  • Heavily layered on on the first verse of "She Calls This Love" by Reece Mastin.
  • "The Look" by Roxette.
  • "Bodhisattva" by Steely Dan.
  • Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel: "Come Up and See Me (Make Me Smile)"
  • Tommy James and the Shondells' "I'm Alive" comes to a sudden stop right before the two-minute mark, then waits a full two measures before resuming.
  • The Who do this in "The Seeker" twice. The echo on Roger Daltrey's voice makes those moments all the more striking.
  • The Young Rascals' 1966 hit "Good Lovin'" has one of the better-known instances of this.

Examples in Other Media

  • The opening for Barakamon, "Rashisa" ("らしさ"), stops after the very first line and then continues on.


  • "Betrayed" from The Producers, when his recap gets to intermission.

    Video Games 
  • One of the more popular DanceDanceRevolution songs to feature this was "Max 300", a song with charts of unprecedented difficulty at the time. The middle of the song slows to a stop, leaving the future targets (arrows) sitting in place for a few seconds, before the song, and arrows, abruptly start up again. Some boss songs really got out of hand with this trope, such as "Chaos", which abruptly stops dozens of times with hardly any pattern at all.
  • In the Groove has a few: "Delirium" in the first game, which has 5 stops in rapid succession, and "Go *60* Go" in the second game, among others. A licensed song by the name of "Stop n' Go" was slated for the unreleased third game.
  • The Rhythm Tengoku stage "Sneaky Spirits" abuses this from beginning to end, combined with seemingly random (but fixed) tempo changes for each phrase. The premise is that ghosts are jumping around behind a brick wall and only expose themselves to be incapacitated on the last beat of each phrase. The only complete phrases are the first two (the first to introduce the player to the concept, the second to introduce the tempo changes) and the last one (as Book Ends). All of the other ones go silent right before you have to defeat the ghost, with the silence starting earlier and earlier as the stage goes on. One of them towards the end goes at an absurdly slow tempo and cuts out at the second beat of the phrase, making you have to count the beats for a full four seconds as you hear nothing but the rain.
    • The series would use this mechanic again in Rhythm Heaven Fever's "Wake-Up Caller," an endless game. In this one, you are an alarm clock and must wake the bird up at the exact time the bird specifies. Like with "Sneaky Spirits," the clock does not always move at the same speed, and while you are initially given full view of the clock and steady music from beginning to end, later iterations not only remove the music after a short while, the screen will fade out too, forcing you to rely on your sense of rhythm. If you continue to succeed even after the music has been reduced to its first four beats, the bird will start asking for times ending in :30 (off-beats, in other words), then times ending in :15 or :45 (quarter-beats), then times ending in :20 or :40 (triplets).
  • The Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure stage "Rematch with Charlie" will have the music cut out each time a flock of pigeons flies by, which has the additional effect of obscuring the screen. In this stage, you are Phantom R, and you have to kick back the weaponized soccer balls Charlie kicks at you. When these pigeons pass through, the only sound remaining are the soccer ball kicks cuing you when to send the ball back. There are no tempo changes in this stage, however.
  • Touhou Project: ZUN places a caesura in a few battle themes:
    • Flandre's theme, "U.N. Owen Was Her?" right before the second chorus.
    • Alice's theme, "Doll Judgement," before the key change.
    • The Prismriver Sisters' theme, "Phantom Ensemble," after the intro.
    • Hecatia's theme, "Pandemonic Planet," before the final chorus.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens after the first chorus in the full version of the Daria theme song, "You're Standing on My Neck" by Splendora.
  • The in-Verse band Dog Gone, from Nature Cat, does this in the chorus of "Streams", letting the music drop out during the singer's fourth line. As the line is a reference to how, at one stage of its journey, the stream "travels underground", the impression is that the music has also dipped below ground — hence, out of reach of surface observers' senses — for a short period.