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Surprisingly Gentle Song

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So, you have a band. They have a tendency to need to be Careful with That Axe. Their songs tend to be loud, aggressive, hardcore. Whether they lean toward Three Chords and the Truth or Epic Rocking, they are The New Rock & Roll. Moral Guardians hate them. They go crazy with the guitars, they go wild on the drums, the music is always played at top volume...

Wait, what? A slow, quiet, gentle piece? Beautiful and soft, it may be heartwarming or heartbreaking, but the defining characteristic is that it is far less aggressive a piece than you would ever expect from this band.

This very often appears as the last song on an album, in an example of Album Closure. May be a Black Sheep Hit, but differs from that trope in that it's not necessarily a hit, and only applies to normally aggressive bands. Many Power Ballads also prove to be examples of this trope. Compare Playing Against Type, Rated G for Gangsta (for rap musicians specifically), Kinder and Cleaner, and Scary Musician, Harmless Music.


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  • AFI's "The Leaving Song: Part 1" and "The Interview".
    • Averted with "God Called In Sick Today", and especially "Silver and Cold". The latter starts out with a quiet piano, and the listener is probably expecting one of these. Then, before you can say "Your sins into me, oh my beautiful one" it turns into a classic AFI sing-along-able anthem.
  • "Hello" and "My Immortal" by Evanescence, although the radio edition of the latter (arguably their second most well known song) ends off with a harder sound. (Link to the album version for that reason).
    • "Swimming Home" is this to their Self-Titled Album and "Good Enough" is this for The Open Door.
  • Extreme mostly plays Funk Metal with electrifying guitar work. And then they hit it big with the acoustic ballad "More Than Words", which is the only song they're really remembered for. Their other top 40 hit, the relatively obscure "Hole Hearted" was a similar ballad.
  • The Foo Fighters have many. From their debut, the very first was "Big Me" (which causes some Mood Whiplash on the album it's on), and then come "Walking After You", "Aurora", "Tired Of You", "Stranger Things Have Happened", the entire second disk of In Your Honor...
  • Linkin Park tends to have one or two of these per album, ranging from "My December" to "Iridescent".
  • MewithoutYou's Catch For Us Foxes, after eleven tracks of blistering and screaming soundscapes, concludes with "Son of a Widow", which is rather quiet and tender.
  • Nirvana has "About a Girl" from Bleach, (an album otherwise filled with sludge metal-influenced grunge tracks) "Polly" and "Something in the Way" from Nevermind, and "Dumb" and "All Apologies" from In Utero. Nevermind in general is a somewhat surprisingly gentle album for them, as Bleach and In Utero are a fair bit heavier.
  • "Misguided Ghosts" by Paramore is a soft, slow acoustic number, which makes it a stark contrast to the rest of Brand New Eyes, which consists of loud, aggressive songs (and more than a few The Reason You Suck Speeches).
    • Also off that album: “The Only Exception” could qualify as this, relatively speaking.
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers have quite a few of these. "If", "Tear," "Slow Cheetah," and "Dosed" are just a few of their newer examples.
    • Early in their career they used this trope sparsely, with songs like "Grand Pappy Du Plenty," "Lovin' And Touchin'," and "Behind the Sun.". Now however, they pretty much do this style of song all the time.
    • While most of 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magik is sex-punk-funk, "I Could Have Lied," "Breaking the Girl," and "Under the Bridge" are all soft, mellow precursors to their newer work. The latter is a special case as it is one of their most famous songs.
    • Californication was when they really started to tone things down, with songs such as "Porcelain," "This Velvet Glove" (to an extent), "Road Trippin'", and "Scar Tissue." This was in response to lead singer Anthony Kiedis's desire to focus more on singing rather than his famous rap-yarling.
  • The Smashing Pumpkins's "Stumbeline" off of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is a wistful, acoustic song sandwiched between two much louder and guitar-heavy songs, "Thru the Eyes of Ruby" and "XYU", which is the hardest song on the album.
    • A lot of Adore is this, particularly "Crestfallen" and "Annie-Dog".
  • "Lost in You" by Three Days Grace, which was a major hit for the group, is a little different from their normal sound to say the least. While the recent album was quite a bit softer than previous ones, this one still stands out.
  • The Used have quite a few, and write damn good slow, sensitive songs when they're not writing aggressive, fast punk rock songs. To name a few: "Smother Me", "All That I've Got", "Kissing You Goodbye", "Tunnel", "Yesterday Feelings" and "Blue And Yellow".


  • The techno/electronica musician Cursor Miner has a pop ballad titled "For Each Other".
  •'s chiptune album R.E.T.R.O. ends with the power ballad "Whatever Mattered".
  • VNV Nation has the Tear Jerker piano ballad "From My Hands" on OFPAG, and the synthpop power ballad "Nova" on Automatic, among others.
  • Crystal Castles has "Tell Me What to Swallow" and "Celestica".
  • Most of the Hardcore Techno band Machine Girl's full albums have at least one. "Frenesi - GabberTrap Remix" from WLFGRL and "Xleepy" from ...BECAUSE IM YOUNG ARROGANT AND HATE EVERYTHING YOU STAND FOR are both gentle electronic pieces in albums full of screaming, aggressive beats, harsh ambience, and drum-slamming; "Scroll of Sorrow" from U-Void Synthesizer is a little higher-energy, but still a much more standard pop song than the rest of the album.

    Garage Rock 
  • The Hives are mostly known for high speed garage rock, but their album Veni Vedi Vicious throws in "Find Another Girl", a pretty faithful cover of a 60's R&B ballad by Jerry Butler. It sticks out quite a bit in the middle of the album.
  • The Monks were a Garage Rock band from the sixties whose music was unusually aggressive for the time, and who were later considered a precursor to Punk Rock. Because their album Black Monk Time wasn't received well at the time, they started going for a Lighter and Softer sound for their last two singles. Their final release "Love Can Tame The Wild" / "He Went Down To The Sea" was especially surprising - the A-side is a sprightly Silly Love Song, while the B-side is a ballad with a seemingly Phil Spector-influenced arrangement featuring vibraphone and trumpet. As bonus tracks on Black Monk Time, these two tracks sort of induce some Mood Whiplash.

    Indie Rock 
  • King Charles tends to go with orchestral sounds and lots of production. The song Oh England is just Charles, riding in a hansom cab and playing his acoustic guitar while he sings a love song to his home country.
  • Modest Mouse, whose songs typically consist of shrieking existential crises in the form of really elaborate metaphors, also produced "Little Motel," a sober reflection after the loneliness "earned" after destroying a relationship.
    • Much of The Moon and Antarctica is surprisingly gentle, to the point where ending it with "What People Are Made Of", and, more specifically, a scream, comes as a surprise.
    • "The World at Large" and to an extent "Ocean Breathes Salty" as well.
  • "Spit on a Stranger" by indie rockers Pavement is a ballad (albeit a rather bizarre one) from a band who usually did uptempo songs with Word Salad Lyrics.
    • Also the downright dreamy "Major Leagues", and "Father to a Sister of Thought" (which is also a surprisingly gentle song from the otherwise experimental album it comes from).
  • Origami Angel: GAMI GANG has a bunch of hardcore rock songs, but then there's "Greenbelt Station". It's about the singer's girlfriend, who grows apart from him, although he knows she's happy where she is. It's much more poignant, quiet, and slow than the rest of the album.

  • Most EBM and Futurepop acts have at least one ballad per album. Example: Covenant's album Northern Light has "Bullet", a morose Power Ballad but industrialized... Placed in an album with fast-paced songs such as "We Stand Alone" and "Call The Ships To Port".
  • Emilie Autumn: The Art Of Suicide and Shalott are this on Opheliac.
    • If I Burn, What Will I Remember, I Don't Understand, Gaslight, Start Another Story off Fight Like A Girl.
  • Ministry contributed a surprisingly faithful acoustic cover of "Friend Of The Devil" to the compilation The Bridge School Concerts, Vol. 1 - they were given an afternoon slot for the title benefit concerts, and, thinking their usual style of performance wouldn't fit the setting, opted for a semi-acoustic set featuring four Cover Songs from the 1960s and 1970s and one original.
    • Surgical Meth Machine are an Al Jourgenson side-project who are usually a bit faster and heavier than Ministry... Except for the song "Invisible", a trip-hop influenced ballad with clean electric guitars and smooth vocals.
  • Nick Cave with The Good Son, and even gentler with The Boatman's Call and No More Shall We Part.
    • This was the premise behind Nick Cave's "Lyre of Orpheus," as opposed to its raucous companion piece, "Abattoir Blues."
  • Nine Inch Nails did this every now and then, considering that the usual sound of the band is industrial metal. Examples include "A Warm Place", "Lights in the Sky" and "Every Day Is Exactly the Same."
  • Project Pitchfork's "Green World", a New Age-ey ballad by a traditionally aggro-darkwave group.
  • Type O Negative with Can't Lose You. Aside for a small pace-setting intro, it fails to break out into the bands usual rockin' guitars and shouting, (or obnoxious sex noises).
  • Synthpunk/proto-industrial band Suicide of "Frankie Teardrop" fame produced the Synth-Pop ballad "Surrender" in 1988.
    • In a similar vein is "Dream Baby Dream", a soft and surprisingly optimistic number from a band known for their very dark music.
  • Front Line Assembly's otherwise Industrial Metal-dominated album Improvised Electronic Device has the somber rock ballad "Afterlife".
  • Belgian aggro/terror EBM artist Suicide Commando has "Land of Roses", a dark electro ballad featuring Innocent Soprano Charlotte Nuytens.
  • Throbbing Gristle, one of the Trope Makers of the industrial genre, have "United", a Gary Numan-esque Synth-Pop/Dark Wave number.

    Noise Rock/Noise Pop 
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain, famous for ear-splitting feedback and concerts that ended in violence, did this with the albums Darklands and Stoned and Dethroned.
  • A few of The Paper Chase's songs depart from their usual highly confrontational noise-rock/post-hardcore approach in favor of more melodic, introspective songs, though titles such as "Out Come the Knives" and "At the Other End of the Leash" show that the mood isn't necessarily any different.
  • Showbread has "The Missing Wife". "Matthias Replaces Judas" starts off as one of these, but gradually builds up in intensity.
  • Sonic Youth has "Winner's Blues," an acoustic ballad, sticking out from their usual Noise Rock.
  • Velvet Underground pulled an entire album of this with The Velvet Underground. Part of this was because a lot of the band's gear was stolen, but they also deliberately wanted to make a Lighter and Softer album after the Darker and Edgier White Light/White Heat so as to avoid painting themselves into a corner. The trend continued with Loaded, which was their response to their record company asking them to make an album "loaded with hits".

  • Back when it was first released, "Only Women Bleed" was this for Alice Cooper. More recently, he's had a habit of including one such song on each album.
  • Between their second and third albums, Alice in Chains released Sap and Jar Of Flies, two EPs which proved them capable of surprising versatility and restraint. They played mostly acoustic and clean electric guitars and made use of strings as well.
  • Akercocke has a few parts with clean vocals in their otherwise extremely heavy blackened death metal, but the last song off the album Antichrist - Epode - is fully mellow, beautiful (and is about Satan himself.)
    • Each of Akercocke's last three albums ended with a song that fell under both this trope and Lyrical Dissonance. "Goddess Flesh" closes out Choronzon with a rare example of an Intercourse with You ballad, while "Lex talionis" (Latin for the law of talion, most frequently expressed as "An eye for an eye", which provides a fair indication of the lyrical content) closes out their Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone.
  • The Grindcore band Anal Cunt had an entire album of surprisingly gentle songs called Picnic of Love.
  • Annihilator's very first track "Crystal Ann" is a classical instrumental.
  • Samba Briza by Atheist is a Latin Jazz track on a Technical Death Metal album.
  • Avenged Sevenfold has a few of them, particularly "Seize the Day" and "So Far Away". An early example of this is "I Won't See You Tonight Part 2" from Waking The Fallen, when they were still a metalcore band. Also, we can't talk about them without mentioning Dear God, which is a straight up country ballad. From Hail to the King, we've got the blues-ballad "Acid Rain". But the most jarring example is probably "Warmness on the Soul" on their debut album: a sweet love ballad in the middle of a hardcore punk album where all the other songs are screamed.
  • Black Label Society has Spoke in the Wheel, a very mellow and depressive song that contrasts with other songs sung and composed by bearded, foul-mouthed, pinch-harmonic-crazed Zakk Wylde.
    • The Black Label Society album Hangover Music Vol. VI' is made up mostly of softer songs that utilize acoustic guitar and piano, meaning that the album really is good music to listen to while hungover.
    • "In This River", from their Mafia album, was a quiet ballad Wylde dedicated in memory of Darrell Abbott (he'd actually written it months before Abbott's death.
  • "Flower Sun Rain" by Japanese Doom Metal band Boris is very relaxing until the very end, when it builds into a scorching guitar solo accompanied by heavy drum fills.
  • "The Bard's Song" by Blind Guardian qualifies with its medieval folk sound contrasted against the blazing, speedy, Power Metal sound they normally have.
  • "Heal" by Buzzov-en from At a Loss. They're a Sludge Metal group. This is probably the only non-angry song in their entire discography.
  • A very minor example as the band incorporates a lot of folk passages in most of their songs, but Cormorant's album Metazoa ends on "Voices of the Mountain"; a breath-taking guitar duet with a soft crackle of fire.
  • Cult of Luna have a few instrumental interludes that aren't crushing metal, but they have a few full-length songs here and there. "Marching to the Heartbeats" on Somewhere Along the Highway sounds like a lighter Jesu track. "And With Her Came the Birds" from the same album sounds almost like a depressing folky blues track. "Passing Through" on Vertikal ends the album on a simple, somber note.
  • Death have the moving instrumental named "Voice Of The Soul" which contains no drums whatsoever.
  • Deftones are generally known for their shoegaze-influenced metal works, but they've also released a fair amount of gentle songs as well.
    • "Teenager" is a straight-up dream pop song with a gentle trip hop beat.
    • "Sextape" and "Entombed" are also more straightforward dreamy shoegaze songs.
  • Metalcore band Demon Hunter seems to pile on more and more of these with every album, but they'd be hard pressed to top their first notable one, the EPIC Tear Jerker "My Heartstrings Come Undone".
  • "Louder Than Thunder" by The Devil Wears Prada, sung entirely by guitarist/clean vocalist Jeremy Depoyster.
  • The Dillinger Escape Plan have included a few more accessible songs off their more recent albums. They're still very experimental and innovative but make better use of their singer's clean vocal range (something their first singer didn't have.) Tracks like Unretrofied, Black Bubblegum & Milk Lizard sound akin to something a more agressive Faith No More might write.
  • "Darkness" by Disturbed, a soft, acoustic dirge with a cellist section of all things. This from the band who an album earlier provided the world with "No, Mommy! Don't do it again!".
    • Even though it's much heavier, "Overburdened" would count as well.
    • Their cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" grows somewhat heavier with each stanza, but retains every bit of the melancholy tone the song calls for.
    • From the same album, "The Light" is, while not a ballad, a very hopeful song of encouragement. Again, harkening back to their earliest hit, it's hard to picture the same guy screaming "Open up your hate and let it flow into me" being the same guy singing "When you think all is forsaken, listen to me now, you need never feel broken again..."
  • Dog Fashion Disco is an avant-garde metal band who frequently include a "gentle in sound but not subject" track on their albums. However, on their album Experiments in Alchemy, they played this straight with "En La Noche" a latin/jazz fusion love song about a newly married couple dancing in the moonlight. It's a big departure for a band whose other gentler songs are about burying someone they killed in the desert, knowing that someone who has wronged them is already destined to die, and Pogo the Clown.
  • DragonForce has one slow song per album in between all the blazingly fast Power Metal: "Starfire", "Dawn Over a New World", "Trail of Broken Hearts", "A Flame for Freedom", and an acoustic version of "Seasons".
  • Dream Theater's "Vacant" is the Surprisingly Gentle Song off of Train of Thought, since it's slow and melancholy, and just piano, cello, and vocals.
  • Epica has "Delirium", "Solitary Ground", "Tides of Time", "Trois Verges" and "White Waters".
  • Early on, gentle Faith No More songs were pretty rare. The early acoustic instrumental "Jim" seemed to have been included for the sake of this trope. Ditto "Edge of the World", a piano ballad written from the point of view of a paedophile. Later on they got pretty eclectic and juxtaposed heavy rock numbers such as "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies" and "Cuckoo for Caca" with gentle numbers such as "Take This Bottle" and "Just a Man". The band also loved to mess with their audience's expectations of what style of music they were supposed to perform, and they regularly played completely straight-forward covers of pop ballads at their concerts. Among their favorites were The Commodores' "Easy", The Bee Gees' "I Started a Joke" and Herb Albert's "This Guy's in Love with You", and they even released the first two as singles.
  • Five Finger Death Punch has a few, especially with "Remember Everything". "Walk Away" and "Far From Home" are a couple more.
  • Flyleaf, while not a loud band at all, has had a few songs that are dramatically more calmer and quiet then their usual songs. Mostly in their first studio album.
  • "The Garden of the Goddess" by Galneryus
  • The last two tracks off of the album Abducted by Death Metal band Hypocrisy are mellow Pink Floyd-esque Progressive Rock tracks. This is in sharp contrast to the rest of the album and their discography.
  • Iron Maiden has "Wasting Love" (the closest they got to a ballad), "Journeyman" (their first acoustic track), and "Empire of the Clouds" (an 18-minute long song that for half is driven by pianos).
  • Judas Priest: "Angel," "Lost and Found," "Before the Dawn," "Epitaph", "Last Rose of Summer", "Lost Love", "New Beginnings", "Never Forget".
  • American Nu Metal band Limp Bizkit recorded a Cover Version of The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes" for Gothika, which is an Alternative Rock ballad than their usual material.
    • When it comes to their original material, they have "Hold On," a slow Art Rock song. "Re-Arranged" is also fairly soft, but gets heavier towards the end.
  • While Lyriel is a Symphonic Metal band that tends towards the softer side of the genre, their album Paranoid Circus contains the track "Lullaby" which is exactly what the tittle suggests. This track is preceded and followed by tracks that feature aggressive drumming.
  • Megadeth's "Promises" , which is a beautiful power ballad, complete with string arrangements and being based around a Romeo And Juliet theme. If someone else was singing it, you would never know Dave Mustaine had written this song.
    • "A Tout Le Monde", a song about loss and grief.
  • The Melvins are largely associated with grunge and sludge metal, but have a few gentle songs in their repertoire: "Black Bock" is lightly psychedelic folk-rock (albeit with some serious Lyrical Dissonance). The Crybaby includes a pair of straight country covers featuring Hank Williams III (Hank Williams' "Ramblin' Man" and Merle Haggard's "Okie From Miskogee"). And "PG x 3" is an eerie, mostly a capella version of the folk song "Peggy Gordon", inspired by its use in The Proposition.
  • "Acrid Placidity" by Meshuggah of the album Future Breed Machine. However, the song is still extremely off-putting.
  • Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" and "The Unforgiven".
  • Death metal band Morbid Angel featured the haunting "Desolate Ways" on their Blessed Are The Sick album.
  • Motörhead, a band commonly known for being one of the rowdiest, loudest, crudest bands, released a song titled "1916", a slow, mournful song about a young man being killed in battle in World War 1.
    • They actually have a fair few of these; among others, there's "Love Me Forever", "I Ain't No Nice Guy", "Whorehouse Blues" and "God Was Never On Your Side".
  • The Ocean has a soft ballad about Galileo right in the middle of their progressive metal album.
  • Progressive Death Metal band Opeth has several examples, including "To Bid You Farewell", "Credence", "Epilogue", "Benighted", "Face of Melinda", "Harvest", "For Absent Friends", several others, plus the entirety of Damnation, Heritage, and Pale Communion, all of which qualify as Surprisingly Gentle Albums. With the latter two (their two most recent albums as of this writing) they would appear to have made a full-on Genre Shift to Progressive Rock, so this trope may no longer apply.
  • Pantera's cover of "Planet Caravan" by Black Sabbath - enough so that the Far Beyond Driven liner notes include a short message from Phil Anselmo explaining to fans (who might not be familiar with the original) that they're just covering a song they like, not attempting to have a pop hit.
    • The Black Sabbath version itself also qualifies - While Ozzy was singing, their albums almost always included a token ballad like "Changes" and/or a short, pretty acoustic instrumental like "Orchid".
    • Pantera themselves are not immune to writing gentler songs, "Cemetery Gates" is Pantera's attempt at a Power Ballad and Suicide Note Pt. I is extremely subdued and depressing. It is immediately followed by "Suicide Note Pt. II", EASILY Pantera's hardest song.
  • Rammstein often has one toward the end of an album: e.g. "Roter Sand", "Nebel", "Ohne Dich" and "Ein Lied."
  • Similarly, Sabaton has a number of softer pieces, most notably the outro of the Primo Victoria Re-Armed Edition, "Dead Soldier's Waltz", and "Purple Heart", track 8 on the same album.
  • Slipknot's "Vermillion, Prt. 2" and "Circle". And more recently "Snuff".
  • Strapping Young Lad were mostly known for super-heavy Death Industrial Thrash Metal, but then there are "Two Weeks", "Almost Again", and "Polyphony", which basically qualify as straight-up ballads.
    • Devin Townsend's Ghost is a surprisingly gentle album, which consists of new age and ambient music.
  • System of a Down's "Lonely Day" is considerably softer than their usual style.

    Prog Rock 
  • Frank Zappa's lyrics were usually either pointed political/sociological satire or a Bawdy Song about groupies and the like. He absolutely despised Silly Love Songs and didn't care about be taken seriously, making most of his music comedy stuff. Yet Zappa could write very heartwarming music if he wanted, notably in his guitar solos and some of his instrumental compositions, but also in genuine non-comedy songs like "Lonely Little Girl" and "Mom & Dad" (We're Only in It for the Money), all tracks on Cruisin' With Ruben And The Jets, "Valerie" (Burnt Weeny Sandwich), "Directly from My Heart to You" (Weasels Ripped My Flesh), "Sharleena" (Chunga's Revenge), "Tears Began to Fall" (Fillmore East, June 1971), "Village of the Sun" (Roxy & Elsewhere), "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up" (Joe's Garage) and "Alley Cat" ("The Lost Episodes").
  • "Come Away Melinda" on Uriah Heep's first album. Especially since the rest of the album is Very 'Eavy (and very 'umble). It's also this song that made them become Uriah Heep (having gone into the studio as a band called 'Spice' and using a session keyboardist on the track made them realise they needed a permanent keyboadist, which led to them changing their name to Uriah Heep).
    • "Rain" from the Magician's Birthday record is a soft piano ballad with a bit of bass and drums thrown in here and there. It was originally written with nothing but piano and vocals, but the band's manager insisted they have to make it a little more congruent with the rest of the album's songs.
  • King Crimson: While In the Wake of Poseidon mostly continues the dark Jazz Fusion style of In the Court of the Crimson King, "Cadence and Cascade" and the "Peace" trilogy are tranquil folk compositions.

  • Bad Brains have some, mostly due to their reggae influences coming to the forefront: Their self-titled album, for instance, consists of Hardcore Punk interspersed with a few down-tempo reggae songs ("Jah Calling", "Leaving Babylon", and "I Love I Jah" specifically).
  • Bad Religion: "Million Days" off of the Canon Discontinuity album Into the Unknown.
    • "Slumber" from Stranger Than Fiction may also qualify - it resembles an alternative rock song of the loud-soft-loud variety more than it does a Power Ballad, but the verses are surprisingly soft.
  • The Birthday Party's "Jennifer's Veil", from their final EP, is musically quieter and folkier than anything they'd ever done before, and a pointer towards the more tasteful moments of Nick Cave's solo career. (However, it's purely a musical example: the lyrics appear to be about a guy coming back from a war to discover that his girlfriend or sister has been hideously disfigured and probably raped by enemy soldiers.)
  • Converge has "Phoenix In Flight", off the album Jane Doe, which is very, very soft for being a song by them. But right after that, there comes "Phoenix In Flames", which is just your average Converge song, but harder.
  • Danzig's Sistinas. While it's technically credited to Glenn Danzig & The Power Fury Orchestra, there's also "You And Me", from the soundtrack to Less Than Zero. Both are Roy Orbison-influenced ballads that show off Glenn Danzig's crooning vocal style, rather than the dark metal he's commonly associated with.
  • Dropkick Murphys have "Broken Hymns" and their popular cover of "The Green Fields of France", which are gentle anti-war songs in comparison to their usual Irish punk style.
  • Future of the Left, a band known for their aggressive post-hardcore sound and singer Andy Falkous' often darkly funny lyrics, has "French Lessons", a quiet song about love and unhappy marriage. The band's playing is much more subdued on this one, and while Falkous' lyrics are still humorous, their tone is much bleaker than it is on their usual songs.
  • Glassjaw, normally an extremely loud and aggressive band, has two of these songs on their El Mark Digital EP. "The Number No Good Things Can Come Of", a piano and drums piece, and "Oxycodone", a Lounge-sounding tune with the lead vocalist singing in improvisation.
    • And now, their latest work, "Daytona White" and "Stations of the New Cross" also count. In fact, most of their Coloring Book album (from which these two songs come from) is this compared to some of their previous work.
  • Green Day broke out with fast and snarky pop punk, and then released "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)", an acoustic song that became a mainstay of graduations and such. They have since followed it with similar tracks like "Macy's Day Parade", "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", "21 Guns", and "Ordinary World".
  • Though Hüsker Dü gradually got a bit Lighter and Softer musically, "Never Talking to You Again" could be considered one at the time of it's release: an acoustic, folk-influenced (though still bitter-sounding) ballad in the middle of what was mainly a noisy Hardcore Punk album. The album in question, Zen Arcade, also featured a couple of melancholy piano instrumentals, "One Step at a Time" and "Monday Will Never Be the Same". They would continue to include at least one example of this trope on each album from then on, amongst which are "Don't Know Yet", "No Reservations", "Perfect Example", "Too Far Down", "Hardly Getting Over It", and "No Promise Have I Made".
  • The soft, melodic and depressing "Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?" by The Offspring became a big Black Sheep Hit of the band.
  • Rise Against have the all-acoustic "Swing Life Away," "Hero of War," and 'Roadside'.
  • Doll Skin is normally a punk rock/pop punk band with fast, energetic songs about topics ranging from misogyny to fascism. "Sweet Pea", by contrast, is a slower song about missing a loved one while on the road. "This is just a song about how I love you..."

  • Die Antwoord has "Moon Love," a song about the duo's daughter, Sixteen, asking her daddy to fix her broken heart.
  • Bone Thugs-n-Harmony 's signature track "Tha Crossroads", which is a touching pop rap ballad about grief and acceptance of death from a band that's otherwise known for dark themes and ominous production.
  • Eminem has a few:
    • The Eminem Show is made up entirely from Rap Rock bangers apart from "Hailie's Song", an adorably off-key pop-R&B song about how happy he is to be with his daughter again - although his nasty sense of humour shows through in the rapped verse.
    • Encore is made up of typical cynical Black Comedy, confessionals about his Dark and Troubled Past, Subverted Kids' Show, Shifting Voice of Madness and shock Toilet Humor, but also contains "Mockingbird", a sweet song about his love for his daughter throughout the years of his poverty.
    • "When I'm Gone" is this for the Slim Shady persona - a ballad in which Slim uncharacteristically raps kindly and sincerely before killing himself to return to being Marshall.
    • Relapse is mostly horrific Serial Killer fantasies, with a few witty hip-hop party songs and a sarcastic, mean confessional about his drug abuse. But there's also "Beautiful", a melancholic and grudgingly self-affirming Rap Rock ballad in which Eminem sing-raps about writer's block and whether he can even still be a rapper. It's also produced in a completely different style to everything else on the album, highlighting its weirdness.
    • The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is mostly energetic, retro-pop and filled with Eminem's characteristic Black Comedy and ultra-technical rapping, except for "Stronger Than I Was", a piano Break-Up Song ballad in which Eminem - not known for his singing ability - belts a pop-soul ballad about his Destructive Romance with Kim from her perspective. It's also an uncharacteristically empathetic song about Kim in general, since she's normally subjected to batterings, Masochism Tangos, Anti Love Songs and murders.

  • Aly & A.J.: "Silence" and "I'm Here" on Insomniatic are both extremely quiet tracks unlike the bulk of the album.
  • Usually, The Aquabats! are very excited and energetic...but Hello, Good Night! is surprisingly mellow and thoughtful.
  • The point of the Colma album by Buckethead was to give his mother something calming to listen to while recovering from illness. Thus, it is a dramatically different sound from his usual stuff.* J-Rock band Chatmonchy is normally known for upbeat songs that are heavy on the drums and guitar like "Hana No Yume" - except for a slow piano-and-vocals piece called "Sunao."
  • Elvis Presley doing "Love Me Tender" has to be the Ur-Example, since when it was released he was still viewed as the hip-shaking leader of The New Rock & Roll menace. It really wasn't much of an aberration at the time (he auditioned for Sun Records with ballads and recorded an ethereal version of "Blue Moon" while he was there), and in the context of his whole career it isn't that odd, but it would have been perceived that way in 1956.
  • In Gorillaz we have El Manana from Demon Days (though the video is far from gentle) and Cloud of Unknowing in Plastic Beach (and again). On Melancholy Hill is fairly mellow and has very sweet lyrics, so it could fit, but is perhaps too upbeat for this.
  • Kyuss has "Space Cadet" on the Welcome to Sky Valley album, where it comes between the much heavier "100" and "Demon Cleaner", though Demon Cleaner's still a tad lighter than the rest of the album.
  • "As Tears Go By," "Lady Jane," "Dandelion," "She's a Rainbow" and "Angie" by The Rolling Stones.
  • Tenacious D's Fuck Her Gently, which is a parody of this trope.

    Visual Kei 
  • Dir en grey's "JEALOUS -reverse-" is a piano-vocal reworking of their single "JEALOUS", featuring nothing but Kyo and piano. Also, "ain't afraid to die" is Kyo and piano only until the guitar solos kick in, halfway through the song. Even then, it's still very gentle.
  • "Ares's Lament/"So Lonely," "The Love Of My Life," and "Never Change Your Mind" by Loudness
  • "Wake Up Honey" and "Thanx Givin Day" by Miyavi
  • "Serenade", "Love will be born again" and "Episode" by Versailles.
  • X Japan has plenty of these. The better known ones are: "Crucify My Love", "Tears" and "Forever Love".

    Fictional Bands 
  • Angel Beats! anime band, Girls Dead Monster, usually plays loud and hard (as part of their band's 'distraction creating' intent, but many of their songs do have a quieter version on CD. The original band leader pulls this off the best with her final song before she disappears with a ballad played on a special acoustic guitar, instead of her normal. My Song
  • Pretty much all of The Misfits songs from Jem are arrogant tunes about how cool they are, how strong-willed they are, and how they don't care what others think. "Lovesick" is an Anti-Love Song about how Pizzazz is acting completely off because she's head over heels for Riot.
  • Portrayed in This is Spın̈al Tap with "Lick My Love Pump," Nigel's unfortunately named classical piano piece.
  • SolidS, the Fire band of Tsukipro's Classical Elements Ensemble, has "Timeless". In one of their stage plays, in an improvised talk scene, they and Quell, the Water group, were asked which of their new songs they like.
    Takamura Shiki (Higano Sho, breaking character): "I really like 'Timeless'. It's so gentle, it doesn't really sound like a SolidS song. It sounds more like it should be a Quell song."
    Murase Dai: "You wrote it".
    Takamura Shiki: "Yes. I ripped off Quell."

  • A rare producer-based example. Producer Dann Huff is usually known for his bombastic country-pop arrangements for the likes of Rascal Flatts, with swelling string sections and loads of heavy guitar (Huff is a former member of the rock bands White Heart and Giant, and a session guitarist as well). Even his up-tempos are usually very loud and guitar-driven. But 2013 has seen him moving toward gentler arrangements, as seen in The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two", which sounds surprisingly rootsy; Kelly Clarkson and Vince Gill's "Don't Rush", which sounds like an early 80s country-soul ballad; and Hunter Hayes and Jason Mraz' light, acoustic "Everybody's Got Somebody but Me". Not that he's given up the louder production entirely — The Band Perry's "DONE." is closer to his usual style.
  • Gustav Mahler is famous as the composer of heavily orchestrated symphonies with very long movements and world-shattering climaxes. Mahler's songs, on the other hand, tend to be much more lightly orchestrated, and many of the later ones with texts by Friedrich Rückert are quite gentle indeed.
  • The Caretaker has a 6-hour album about dementia called Everywhere at the End of Time, and throughout there are several tracks which act as "temporary bliss states" during which the patient is briefly relaxed from the horrors of the disease.

Alternative Title(s): Obligatory Power Ballad