Songwriting Tip #4 – Turning the Chorus into an Anthem

Songwriting Tip #4 – Turning the Chorus into an Anthem

The goal in most songs is to shine a spotlight on the chorus, and really ensure that the hook sticks in our listener’s minds. In this blog post, we’ll analyse how “We Will Rock You” by Queen turns their chorus into a powerful anthem.

This article is a summarised transcript of the fourth part of our video “How to Write a Killer Rock Anthem – 7 Secrets from Queen’s We Will Rock You’’. Click here to watch the video for more details, explanations and examples.

Phrasal Deceleration

If we take a look at the phrasing of the verses, we’ll see that it goes from extremely busy at the start of the verse to less busy as the song heads towards the chorus. This is an interesting phenomenon that is known as phrasal declaration. 

In a nutshell, phrasal deceleration is when we go from having a lot of notes in a bar to having less notes in a bar. This results in us feeling a sense of deceleration, even though the tempo of the song remains unchanged. By using phrasal declaration, we anticipate the refrain even more, as it provides a release from the tension that was building in the verses.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can build tension and release in a song, download this free PDF entitled “Functions of Chords in a Diatonic System”:

Conclusion: Songwriting Tip #4 – Turning the Chorus into an Anthem

By creating a sense of anticipation using phrasal deceleration and ensuring that the refrain only lands on downbeats, Queen successfully creates an anthem that resonates with people of all ages and backgrounds. As songwriters, we should learn from this and try to implement these techniques in our own songwriting as well.

This is only the fourth of seven songwriting tips we have for you from analysing Queen’s song, “We Will Rock You”. Check out the full article for all 7 tips or watch the video here now.

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