10 Songs Where The Verse Beats The Chorus
Loving the chorus of a song is like loving sex with your significant other: you’re supposed to. But there are those rare men who actually prefer ::shudder:: conversation over fornication. It’s at that same sporadic rate which we also find unicorns, completed Tebow passes, and yes, songs where the verse trumps the chorus. Here are 10 that stand out.
1. Billy Joel “We Didn’t Start The Fire”
Billy Joel’s massive library of pop/rock hits is actually chock full of songs that soar before the chorus (think “Heart attack-ack-ack-ack” from “Movin Out”), but this song’s popularity is purely due to the Piano Man acting more like Rain Man for four minutes, frantically running down the history of the world in between quick snippets of a chintzy chorus. Oh and kids, this was pretty much our Google before Google.
2. Weezer “Buddy Holly”
Weezer’s debut album is a classic, but it was the video for this song that really propelled Rivers Cuomo and company to stardom rather than the cheesy chorus. “What’s with these homies dissing my girl?” is not only the first line of this song, it’s also the highlight.
3. Outkast “Hey Ya”
The catchiness of Outkast’s biggest single doesn’t wait for the chorus, it starts at :01. “My baby don’t mess around, because she loves me so, and this I know fo’ showww.” The chorus doesn’t kill the song by any stretch, but it is just two words. Stretched out. Twice.
4. Leonard Cohen “Hallelujah”
Cohen wrote and released this song in 1984, but somehow it took 20 years before it reached mainstream status. True fact: There are fewer musicians who haven’t covered this song than there are Altoids flavors.
5. Eric B & Rakim “I Know You Got Soul”
Rappers are rappers because they like to talk—and they can’t sing. So you can put 90% of every rap song in the Verse > Chorus category, but we’re going with a legend here. Rakim’s rhyme skills are probably the greatest of all time, and this early hit shows why the choruses were always just filling time before his killer flow.
6. The Who “Pinball Wizard”
That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball, but that’s technically not the chorus. The chorus is “He’s a pinball wizard, There’s got to be a twist, A pinball wizard, He’s got such a supple wrist.” We haven’t done our homework on this, but we’re pretty sure that’s the last time anyone other than Clay Aiken used the term “supple wrist” in a song.
7. Eminem “Lose Yourself”
Maybe you think the high point of Eminem’s 8 Mile anthem comes at :30 in when the guitar licks begin, or :53 when the bass starts to thump, or maybe even 1:14 when the snare kicks in as the rhyme intensity lifts. But this much we can agree on: The high point is surely not at 1:37 when Mr. Mathers chants the repetitive chorus.
8. Charlie Daniels Band “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”
Is this the funkiest country song of all time? Yes. For starters, it features Charlie Daniels rapping in 19-freaking-79. Then you’ve got the wicked fiddle action. There’s no way the chorus could’ve matched that 1-2 punch.
9. Kings of Leon “Use Somebody”
This one is debatable, sure. But what resonates with you more, Caleb Followill’s achy-voiced verses or the “Oh, whoaaa oh oh, whoaaa oh oh” chorus? We think the former is what makes it special.
10. The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
Gotta have some Beatles in here, and we gotta admit, nothing else in this classic album opener matches the ferocity of Paul McCartney’s screaming “It was 20 years ago today!”