Repetitive endings
songs whose endings sing to me

Metal crowd barriers stacked in a repetitive pattern

For years I’ve been interested in songs that break the traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus song structure in favour of something more like verse-verse-verse-verse-chorus-chorus-chorus-chorus.

They often feel like two half-written songs stitched together (which I think is very likely how many of them were created). The band or songwriter has an idea for one song, mainly made of verses. They have another idea for another song, mainly just a chorus. They aren’t alike enough to merge into the traditional structure, but perhaps they can be simply played one after another?

A consequence of this approach to songwriting is that the second half - the chorus-chorus etc half - is usually extended. The chorus gets repeated many times, and perhaps the artist starts messing about with it. Adding harmonies, adding sound effects, experimenting further. Mucking about. Padding out to make an otherwise short song more song-like.

Sometimes the songwriter will take the final line, or final verse, of their verse-verse-verse-verse and turn that into a repetitive ending. It’s not really a chorus, but it can be made to sound like one if you repeat it enough times.

Something about the repetition at the end captures me. It can feel like a chant, even when there’s no chanting. Like something collective, emotionally charged, something strident. I like joining in. Especially if there are harmonies.

I’ve started a Spotify playlist where I’m collecting repetitive-ending songs I like, and it’s called Repetitive endings.

Filed under: music
15 Apr 2018