7 Classic Songs Whose Verses Outshine Their Choruses

A great song – like a great story – needs a polished beginning, middle and end. If even one of…

Jack Haworth


tap out the strokes

A great song – like a great story – needs a polished beginning, middle and end. If even one of these segments is off-key, it can bring the whole thing right down. But when a song’s verses are more exciting than their choruses, is that considered a fault? Raging Bull’s exhilaration and drama is focused primarily at the middle, yet the film as a whole is still considered a classic.

The same applies to music; it’s rare, but it often happens that the sheer eminence of a verse outshines the chorus, not because the chorus is of a low quality, but because comparison brings it down in our minds. Conversely, some verses are made to look good simply because of the refrains’ inadequacy.

Here are my top 7 tracks at the moment that peak before they should for one reason or another…

7. S.O.S – ABBA

Now, don’t get me wrong here – the classic bubbly euro-pop Abba is a guilty pleasure that I’ve always retained, but it’s songs like ‘S.O.S’ that make me question whether they might’ve been capable of something beyond cheesy karaoke hits for the British public to dance ironically to. The opening interplay of melancholic pianism and melodious splashes of synth is a genuine spark of pure pop gold; guilty pleasures wholly aside. But then, after the mournful vocals and their sombre keyboard accompaniments twist into a very Abba chorus, the brief illusion is shattered into a glittery array of very ordinary bubble-gum.

From then on, it floats between the two unremarkably and the end result is another hit for them, but a miss when you consider what it might have been…