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Mood Whiplash / Music

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    In-song examples 
  • Both the song and the video for "This is America" by Childish Gambino feature this. The song repeatedly shifts between upbeat and poppy dance beats to a grim and somber, slower beat. The video shifts in tone by having Gambino shooting a tied-up black man in the back of the head with a pistol, then resuming dancing to the beat. He later does the same thing with an assault rifle and a choir. Considering the Lyrical Dissonance involved was meant to show how people focus more on pop culture than the problems of their society, this whiplash was absolutely intentional.
  • Classical examples:
    • 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 often-stormy second movement has two points where the tempo suddenly changes in the middle of a bar.
      • 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 first movement of "Pini di Roma" by Ottorino Respighi, "I pini di Villa Borghese," is loud and ebullient and all treble and no bass, with even the bassoons and celli forced to play in their uppermost registers. The second movement, "Pini presso una catacomba," begins much more quietly and somberly using only muted horns and low strings, with some of the double basses descending to low C in the second bar.
    • Fryderyk 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 widely 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?
    • Johann Sebastian 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.
    • Alfred Schnittke composed possibly the most extreme examples of this. Schnittke's signature style (known as polystylism) is to take existing styles of music and bash them together without trying to integrate them. This naturally leads to wild changes in mood in the space of only seconds. For example, his Concerto Grosso no. 1, especially in the second and fifth movements, and all of the Symphony no. 1.
  • Bill Bailey's musical parodies tend to revolve around sudden, jarring shifts between musical genres to highlight the absurdity of what he's singing about:
    • 'Insect Nation' 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.
    • And again in his Emo Music parody "Oblivion"note . Most of the song is a self-pitying melancholy ballad except for a moment where the song suddenly slams into hardcore thrashing Metalcore for about fifteen seconds, before immediately switching back to the self-pitying melancholy ballad as if nothing had happened.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • "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 know, the sequence where all the ghosts break out of the containment unit?
  • "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 a "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 heartfelt 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")
  • "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.
  • System of a Down's "Chop Suey" from Toxicity 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.
    • The second half of the Hypnotize album of Mezmerize/Hypnotize has weird mood whiplashes. It fades from the somber "Holy Mountains" to the perverted "Vicinity of Obscenity" and "She's Like Heroin", then back to the sad "Lonely Day" and "Soldier Side".
  • The song Blue by The Birthday Massacre whiplashes between light, airy verses with upbeat keyboard accompaniment and a much heavier chorus with dark lyrics sung in something approaching a growl. It's jarring, creepy, and highly effective. The music video follows the same idea, with added Mind Screw and horror.
  • 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.
  • "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.
  • "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.
  • 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, most grinding 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: 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 song "Bangles" by Niraj Chag is heartbreakingly beautiful and bittersweet (and the live version might even take it up a notch), made more so 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. Now, here's the original version.
  • "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.
  • My Chemical Romance 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?"
  • Mötley Crüe's "Girl, Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)" starts as a 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.
  • Pantera's Suicide Note pt 1 and 2 pretty much jumps Pantera's emotional spectrum (depressing to Angry) between parts.
  • "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
  • Richard Harris's "MacArthur Park" has the music inexplicably change from solemn and melodious to a goofy upbeat solo just before the last reprise of the chorus.
  • 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...
  • The Uncluded's single "Delicate Cycle" alternates back-and-forth sharply between verses in which Kimye Dawson sings sweetly about her parents' jobs and how she helped them as a child to Aesop Rock singing about cutting off people's body parts and sending them in the mail.
  • Waltz of the Snowflakes from Pyotr Ilyich 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.
  • "Susan's House" from Beautiful Freak 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"
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • Counting Song, by Adam Buxton. It starts off lighthearted (counting monkeys, dolls, hats, cats, etc.) 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.
  • Somewhat understandable in Imagine Dragons' "Nothing Left To Say/Rocks" on account of it being two songs spliced together and sold as a unit. "Nothing Left To Say" is an intensely depressing song about "drowning in the waters of my soul" while "Rocks" is catchy, danceable, and happy.
  • "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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lampshaded by Nate Dogg guesting on Warren G's "Regulate." When Warren is being held up by some stick-up men while looking for some girls, Nate has a Big Damn Heroes moment and then gets right back to business.
    I laid all them bustas down / I let my gat explode / Now I'm switching my mind back in to freak mode.
  • Japanese Avant-Garde Metal band Sigh are pretty fond of this, which is one of the many things that makes them so Mind Screwy. Perhaps the band's most iconic example is "Requiem - Nostalgia", which starts out as a stately Power Ballad and ends with a flippant classical snippet (an excerpt from Fryderyk Chopin's Minute Waltz) overlaid with what sounds like several hundred samples of giggling babies. This closes the album, mind you.
  • Frank Zappa: Many of Zappa's songs and compositions have sudden and unexpected changes in style and mood.
  • Joan Baez' song Love Song to a Stranger part 2 is a sweet, sentimental song about past lovers with lines such as "He laughed like chimes of a silver bell, his eyes were alexandrite blue". The last verse? "I finished my bottle of Germany's best and concluded my thoughts on the past: That love is a pain in the ass."
  • John Zorn: Made an art out of Genre Roulette. His music switches back and forth between different genres almost as if he were operating a remote control. As a result, the mood of his pieces alters between chaotic and quieter moments often. Check out albums like Radio and Music for Children to see what we mean.
  • Mr. Bungle's entire act is based on Genre Roulette, which is, to a lesser extent, present in related bands Faith No More (shares a lead singer with Mr. Bungle from The Real Thing onward, and Mr. Bungle's guitarist is part of the band on King For a Day...Fool For a Lifetime) and Secret Chiefs 3 (which is led by Mr. Bungle's guitarist and bassist), so it's to be expected that this trope would crop up often in their works. The king of musical Mood Whiplash, however, is undoubtedly Mr. Bungle's Disco Volante, which has, in order, an intentionally bad song about a serial killer using his yearbook as a hit list, a track that consists of scatting over a church organ playing what sounds like circus music, a sequel to a track on the first album that plays lockjaw for Body Horror, a funky unlisted track (that's hidden in a double groove on vinyl release) where the bassist steps up to the microphone to sing in an exaggerated old man voice about how he's been kicked out of the band, a Middle-Eastern techno song, a spoken word Italian-language track with lyrics depicting domestic violence, a disturbing song about child abuse that ends in a skit depicting what sounds like sexual molestation, a sequel to the song about lockjaw that plays the body's four humors for Body Horror, a song with lyrics gurgled in a nonsense language, a 10-minute instrumental that describes the feeling of drowning, a playground song about masturbation, a song about a platypus, and then Merry Go Bye Bye, a song that is itself made of Mood Whiplash and Genre Roulette, and a Bonus Track that consists of the band making silly noises on their instruments and screaming obscenities.
  • The Megas: "Fly on a Dog" is a depressing song about Mega Man bitterly contemplating his fate as a weapon, and how awesome it is to fly on a dog.
  • Dy E's "Fantasy" music video goes from a story about kids breaking into a pool after dark and making out to a Lovecraftian horror story that ends with everyone dead or forced into a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Muse:
    • I Belong to You" goes from Elton John-esque poppy piano ballad, straight into a slower, French segment in the middle, and back to the poppy beat, with little to no transition. The Twilight version cuts out the midsection.
    • "Revolt" starts off with an '80s style stadium rock beat in the verses and guitar solo... then instantly speeds up for a more pop-rock chorus, complete with The Four Chords of Pop, with little to no transition. This one actually threw off several fans—just look at this real reaction from a listener.
  • "Sleepytown Train" by Optiganally Yours is, as you might suspect from the title, essentially a lullaby. Then suddenly, near the end, we get this lyric:
    Your teeth fall out in the sink
    And I'm trying to help
    You've been gut-shot in the rain
No further reference to this incident is made in the few lines that follow.
  • "Smiley" by Ronnie Burns starts as an upbeat pop track... then it slows down, and... "Smiley, you're off to the Asian war / And we won't see you smile no more." Burns said that it was inspired by a friend who was drafted, and whose personality had radically changed when he returned.
  • While "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" by the Backstreet Boys is a fairly straightforward song about grief, the music video had its world premier during MTV's New Years Eve 2000 special. Sure, the group was at the height of their popularity, but one must question why The Powers That Be chose the night of the biggest party in recent history to premier a dark, somber video about loss and loneliness. But then again, if you're the kind of person who spends New Year's sitting at home watching TV...
  • Signor Benedick The Moor's 8 and a half minute epic Bisen Francisco In: The Iconic Chronic Colonic (The Epic Conclusion You've All Been Waiting For!) is a great example of this, with the first 3 and a half minutes or so comprising a satirical comedy song about a caricature of a rapper who picks up a girl from a bar (after accidentally picking up a guy), gets chased by the cops on the way home, and falls asleep while they "get dirty" due to taking too much Xanax. From there, the beat fades and the song transitions into an atmospheric soundscape, with the silly style of rapping Signor used previously getting overtaken by shouting and somber singing, and the lyrics transforming into a heavily metaphorical take on several philosophical concepts. This is also echoed by the next (and final) two tracks on the album, which deviate heavily from the often-comedic avant-garde hip hop sound of the album, veering into a dark dreamlike sound collage before ending with Signor narrating his own existential crisis.
  • Chris Isaak's "I Believe" is an upbeat, hopeful sounding song, until it gets to the chorus:
    I believe in lovers walking side by side
    I believe that someday we'll be satisfied
    I believe the angels listen, God hears us pray
    And I believe in a beautiful day
    Yeah, I believe it's gonna work out okay
    But not for me, and not for you...
  • "She Blinded Me With Science" by Thomas Dolby is mostly bouncy and lighthearted, but has a very ominous sci-fi sound that plays at various points.
  • "Love Cherry Motion" by LOONA/Choerry. The kpop girl group LOONA's discography has a lot of songs with considerable mood whiplash and experimentation, but this solo song for 8th member Choerry takes the cake. The song starts off cute and sweet, a lot like other typical girl group songs... and then the bass drops. There's even a compilation of reactions to the unexpected drop.
  • The video for Talking Heads's "Road to Nowhere" has a time-lapse scene of a couple raising a family and growing old together and leaning in to kiss each other, which is very touching up until they start spinning around and flailing their arms like maniacs.
  • This is a defining feature of Hobo Johnson's sound. Both lyrics and delivery switch rapidly from excited to sad to silly and humorous from line to line, creating an emotional rollercoaster in every song.
  • Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr. Blue Sky" has been a beloved song for its Sweet Dreams Fuel and bouncy melody, but the last two minutes turn into a slow-paced, operatic rock piece that feels like a complete tonal 180, and also ends with a distorted, vocoded voice exclaiming, "Please turn me over!"
  • Sabaton's "Versailles" begins by combining a sad-but-hopeful tune over the spoken history with a celebratory and triumphant melody linked with the sung lyrics, as the War to End All Wars comes to an end. Midway through, it shifts to a very creepy Dark Reprise of the latter tune, as the singer wonders whether they've really ended the war at all. Spoiler alert: they didn't.
  • The first four verses of "Up The Junction" by Squeeze describe how the protagonist fell in love with and married the girl of his dreams, how they were poor but happy because they had each other, and culminates with the birth of their daughter, and it seems like he has everything he could want in life. Then there's a two-year Time Skip and the last two verses reveal that he developed a drinking and gambling problem which destroyed his marriage and his wife has broken off contact with him, leaving him alone and miserable (and too stubborn to try and make amends with her). All with the same upbeat, cheery melody as the first two-thirds of the song.

    In-Album examples 
  • Any time an MP3 player with a wide variety of songs is on shuffle, this is undoubtedly going to happen quite often!
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers':
    • Blood Sugar Sex Magik contains a bit of this, despite each song fading into the next one. A notable one would be the transition from the heavy, sex-charged "Suck My Kiss" to the slow, melancholy "I Could Have Lied," before going into the funky "Mellowship Slinky in B Major." Yet the album is so well-pieced together that hardly anyone is bothered by this transition.
    • Californication is a bit weirder, moving from the rocking punk-funk song "Get On Top" to the slow, calm title-track "Californication." At the very end of the album, the songs move from the psychedelic, melodic outro of "Purple Stain" to the slap-popping "Right On Time," and finally the soft acoustic "Road Trippin'". Seriously, who sorted the songs on this album?
  • Kendrick Lamar has one in his 2015 album "To Pimp a Butterfly." The track u is a heavy track that deals with depression and self hatred. The very next track after this is Alright. This track is anything but depressing. Alright is a very upbeat and uplifting track which states that despite everything bad that is happening, we will make it out of it and be alright.
  • Josh A's entire album of Blessed 3 is this. The first 7 songs all deal with topics like depression, loneliness, and drinking away your issues which hits you on an emotional level and all of them are rather slow paced. However, the final track "Legends" is an fast upbeat song about how he makes music to allow you to escape. Mr T Lexify energy and charisma will instantly bring you into a happy mood from the moment the song starts
  • Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP 1 has the incredibly graphic and disturbing song "Kim" with Eminem shouting throughout almost the entire song which will most likely cause a reaction. Immediately following this... we get the much light hearted track "Under The Influence" which Eminem most likely wrote while he was high
  • 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 nuclear fallout. However, even that is ambiguous as the lyrics even imply they may already be dead and their souls are roaming the earth.
  • 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 art form 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!?"
  • 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:
    • Help! has the outright depressing "Yesterday" stuck between two upbeat songs ("I've Just Seen a Face" and "Dizzy Miss Lizzy").
    • The flip side of the "Yellow Submarine" single? "Eleanor Rigby."
    • The White Album: Literally every two songs (with the sole exception of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Happiness is a Warm Gun") contradict each other.
      • 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 don't forget "Helter Skelter", which is followed by the acoustic track "Long, Long, Long".
      • 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.
      • 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.
    • Abbey Road: "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"
  • All Things Must Pass: George Harrison goes from the somber, sobering "Beware of Darkness" to the peppy harmonica strains of "Apple Scruffs."
  • 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.
  • Harry Nilsson did this with the two biggest singles from his best-known album, Nilsson Schmilsson — the somber, dramatic "Without You" is immediately followed by the silly, wacky "Coconut".
  • KISS's Love Gun has the fifth track, "Tomorrow and Tonight", with its joyful chorus of "We can rock all day / We can roll all night!" be followed just seconds later with the terrifying "gun" sound that opens the title track: "DUHNUHNUHNUH! DUHNUHNUHNUH! DUHNUNNANUNNANUHNUHNUNNANUNNANUH!"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • And for another album succession example, on Piece Of Mind the upbeat "Sun And Steel" followed by the creepy "To Tame A Land".
  • Pokémon: The Seriess "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.
  • "Rebel Rebel," that poppy, cheery bi anthem from David Bowie on the album Diamond Dogs, is 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 Nineteen Eighty-Four.
    • 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.
    • The Deram Anthology has one with "The London Boys", a downbeat ballad about a young man who leaves home for the brights light of the city, only to become disillusioned and alone, being followed by the infamous "Laughing Gnome", a peppy children's song with chipmunk styled vocals.
  • 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 appears on In the Court of the Crimson King; check out the immediate transition from the loud, angry and downbeat "21st Century Schizoid Man" to "I Talk to the Wind" a soothing, flute-heavy ballad, without any silence in between. Fading into the Next Song? Try colliding with the next song. And the transition works, would you believe it.
  • 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.
    • 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 track listing seems to be randomized. Point being that the slow, sad "Fading" is between 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, love songs mostly, all very slow and emotional... then at the end they stuck in "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead". Talk about breaking the mood...
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Queen's album A Night at the Opera starts with the dark song "Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to...)", then 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 acapella 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. Perhaps even more jarring is that following "Everytime", most editions of the album have a bonus "Me Against the Music" remix that has an extremely loud and energetic intro that comes immediately after "Everytime"'s incredibly soft fade out.
  • Daft Punk:
    • The entirety of Human After All is just one, long whiplash. It starts off with the cool, rollicking 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 a twenty-second assortment of random television noises ("On/Off") happens. Then back to Epic Rocking with "TELEVISION. RULES THE NATION." Once more into madness with "Technologic", then into the somber ballad "Emotion".
    • On Random Access Memories, the song "Touch", which goes through several musical styles and has melancholy lyrics, is immediately followed by the upbeat disco throwback "Get Lucky".
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
    • Diru like to do this a lot, often within the same song. Kyo's penchant for suddenly screaming like a little girl in songs where it wouldn't otherwise be expected no doubt is a contributing factor to this.
  • 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")
  • 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.
  • 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 ("Mr. Zebra" is also about death, but it's much more of a Black Comedy take).
  • From the album "Magnificent" 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".
  • 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 (Album) 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.
    • On Volume 4, the ballad "Changes" sits between the heavy rocker "Tomorrow's Dream" and the delay experiment "FX".
  • Kelly Clarkson is very fond of this trope. For one example, on Stronger, the fun, dancey "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" is followed by the sad, moody "Dark Side".
  • 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.
    • Taylor does this a lot: Red has the extremely somber "All Too Well" followed by the much happier "22" and ''1989" has the catchy, but sad "All You Had To Do Was Stay" followed by "Shake It Off", a cheery song about shrugging off all the bad stuff in your life.
  • 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.
  • Evillious Chronicles: Evils Court manages to have, in this order: Evil Food 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".
  • 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 usually don't 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.
  • Madonna's "Live To Tell" from her ex-husband Sean Penn's movie At Close Range sits in the middle of a bunch of happy danceable songs on the True Blue album.
    • More subtly done is the transition from the happy "Dear Jessie" to the somber "Oh Father" on Like a Prayer through the use of old Victrola record-player music.
  • The second-to-last song on Fleetwood Mac's Tusk is the tense and paranoid Title Track, with its stage whispered vocals and brass band shootout. The very last song is the welcoming Christine McVie love song "Never Forget".
  • Crowded House has two particularly good examples:
    • On Temple of Low Men, "Sister Madly", a skiffle romp, is followed by "In The Lowlands", a post-apocalyptic nightmare.
    • On Together Alone, "Distant Sun", an upbeat pop song, is followed by "Catherine Wheels", a dark ballad about a Domestic Abuse victim who gets Driven to Suicide.
  • This happens a lot with Muse.
    • On their debut album, Showbiz, the hard rock title track is instantly followed by the soft love ballad "Unintended," and then by the hard rock track "Uno."
    • On Origin of Symmetry, after nine tracks of loud, distorted symphonic rock, what is it followed with? A cover of Nina Simone's "Feeling Good."
    • Electric piano-driven love song "Endlessly" is stuck in between hard rockers "The Small Print" and "Thoughts of a Dying Atheist," the latter is followed by the chilling "Ruled by Secrecy."
    • The Resistance goes from guitar-heavy "MK Ultra," to the love song "I Belong to You," then followed by the three-part rock symphony "Exogenesis." Doesn't make it better that "I Belong to You" was also used in Literature/Twilight.
    • The 2nd Law. Just... all of that album.
  • The first American Now! That's What I Call Music compilation was about evenly divided between pop/ r and b and Alternative Rock, but managed to avoid much clash between the two, with one very big exception: Aqua's cheery-sounding euro-pop hit "Barbie Girl" is immediately followed by Radiohead's "Karma Police", which is slower and moodier and ends in a Last Note Nightmare.
    • On the American Now 44, Kelly Clarkson's moody "Dark Side" is followed by Usher's upbeat "Numb".
  • The soundtrack album of Home (2015) has a big case of this. The fourth track, Rihanna's "As Real As You and Me" tells us that "There could be a freak accident / There could be a fatal disease / I know we hate to think about it / But this as real as you and me..." This is immediately followed by Charli XCX's "Red Balloon" - "Ah-ooh! If you got troubles, let 'em go / Let 'em soar so high, high into the sky just like a red balloon / Ah-ooh! Don't let your worries get to you / Let 'em float on by, high into the sky just like a red balloon..." The musical styles of the two songs are just as different as the lyrics, as are the scenes they appear in during the movie.
  • The end of J Dilla's laid back cover of Donald Byrd's "Think Twice" segues into a skit featuring several men playing dice on a Detroit street corner. A fight breaks out during the game, leading to one of the players pulling out a gun and shooting someone multiple times, setting up the hardcore rap track "The Clapper".
  • A couple of albums into their career, Sugar Ray shifted from Alternative Metal to laid back pop-rock. Their Greatest Hits Album mainly concentrates on the latter material, but still includes a few heavy songs: since they didn't put the tracks in chronological order, there's inevitably a few times some whiplash occurs. For one example, the boastful Rap Metal track "Rhyme Stealer" is sandwiched between a cover of Cyndi Lauper's bittersweet Power Ballad "Time After Time" and the deceptively happy-sounding breakup song "When It's Over".
  • G N' R Lies, the second album from Guns N' Roses, has some pretty extreme mood whiplash; the fifth track on the album, "Patience" is a gentle acoustic ballad that's become one of their biggest hits. It's followed by "Used To Love Her" which, while also acoustic, is anything but gentle.
  • Heilung is great at this. Example from their first album, "Ofnir": Schlammschlact is a spoken-word poem about the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, describing in gruesome detail the slaughter of the Roman Legions, finishing with the most horrifying, gut-wrenching screams imaginable. It's followed by the extremely quiet, haunting Carpathian Forest.
  • Sabaton:
    • The album Carolus Rex goes through this at two points. The first, when after the triumphant and blood-pumping "Gott Mit Uns" we go into the Tear Jerker ballad "A Lifetime of War". The second when after the hopeful tone of "The Carolean's Prayer", the triumphal Motive Rant "Carolus Rex", and the fast blood-pumper "Killing Ground", we get the fast-paced yet noticeably down-turn "Poltava", followed by "Long Live the King" and "Ruina Imperii" - mournful cries about the death of Swedish glory.
    • Heroes has another example with the rather abrupt switch from the blood-pumping "Smoking Snakes" to the operatic, grim tale of Witold Pilecki in "Inmate 4859". This happens again when "Inmate 4859" is then followed by the badass, energetic "To Hell And Back".
    • The Last Stand has the relatively low key but fast paced song "Last Dying Breath" be immediately followed by "Blood of Bannockburn", which is by far the most high key songs Sabaton has ever done, which is then followed by the much more slow-paced and low key song "The Lost Battalion".
  • The Gordon Lightfoot album Cold on the Shoulder is very laid back, with the exception of "Cherokee Bend", which addresses 19th century anti Native American sentiment. It makes more use of electric guitars than any other song on the album and is as close as the album gets to a rock song.
  • Kurage-P's album Diary Of Underage Observation is a very depressing album about the lives and troubles of various teenagers in a Japanese high school, through the lens of a girl who records all their lives in her diary due to being too afraid to talk to them. Well, very depressing except for Dance! VR! Dance!, which is pretty much just "OK Boomer" in song form. This is accentuated by the fact that it immediately follows Forgetful Girl, which is about a relationship in which one of the members has short-term memory loss.

  • This was one of the reasons that Ludwig van 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.
  • 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 "Music/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).
  • Gin Blossoms' second major label album, Congratulations...I'm Sorry, is named for the band dealing with simultaneously being congratulated on becoming successful with their first major label album New Miserable Experience while at the same time having people express sympathy for co-founding member Doug Hopkins' tragic death.
  • Michael Jackson's music video of "Black or White" starts with Macaulay Culkin blasting his dad (George Wendt) to Africa with his radio sound and keeps a very upbeat tone for the rest of the song and shows Michael Jackson dancing with people from multiple cultures, two babies playing with a snowglobe, Macaulay Culkin performing a rap, Michael Jackson dancing on the Statue of Liberty, and a variety of different people of various skin colors and body types, as well as of both sexes, morphing into each other, ending with a young black woman miming to the end of the song, who's revealed to actually be an actress in the studio where the video is being filmed. The full version, however, proceeds to show a black leopard stalking its way out of the studio and into the dark and rainy night. Once outside, the leopard transforms into Michael Jackson and begins to compulsively perform a dance that becomes more and more unnerving as it goes along, with a great deal of crotch-grabbing. Suddenly he begins smashing a car, shop windows, etc., screaming all the while. As this orgy of godlike destruction concludes, Michael's screams are mixed with the roars of his leopard alter ego. He finally rips off half his clothes and collapses into the rain-slicked street, whereupon he transforms back into the leopard, snarls, and stalks away. The next scene goes back to upbeat as it's revealed Bart Simpson has been watching the entire time. Homer bursts in and orders Bart to turn off the TV, prompting Bart to retort with one of his trademark wisecracks and him to turn it off himself.