This song wastes no time at all. One second in and BOOM, the chorus hits. Sure, early Beatles lyrics can be sickly sweet, and this song’s no exception. But those simple, soppy words are all part of the moptop charm, eh? No one ever said you had to be Leonard Cohen to pen a perfect chorus.
Originally commissioned for the Gary Oldman thriller Romeo Is Bleeding, this Bon Jovi power ballad went on to trump ‘Livin' On A Prayer’ and become the best selling single ever. And you can tell why. A dramatically billowing rock epic, 'Always' sounded like it was tailor made for first dances at weddings - or drunken 3am communal singalongs.
‘Crazy In Love’ was a lesson in ‘more is less’. With classic R’n’B restraint, this track about loco d’amour was all about the drums, the brass and B’s raw vocal. The go-go rhythm of the verses morphs into a trumpet-driven riff for the chorus. Catchier (as well as cleverer) is the post-Jigga rap bridge which runs a counter rhythm against the trumpet riff. It was epic, game changing stuff.
An example of the Butler/Anderson partnership at its best. The chorus is intriguing and troubling: “Oh what turns you on?/Now your animal’s gone” Brett sings, sounding eternally 16 years old. ‘Animal Nitrate’ reaches its peak when the chorus flows into Butler’s labyrinthine guitar solo and the whole thing fizzes with faded glamour.
‘Funeral’ was an album that wrapped up grief in depression-defying riffs and uniting choruses. Nowhere more so than on ‘Wake Up’. The choruses were wordless and joyful - lush, stirring declarations of intent that cried out to be bellowed at the heavens by thousands of people at once.
Coming in after almost two minutes of laconic guitar fuzz, the hook of this chorus blindsides the listener. Though the track opens with Casablancas’ earnest vocals, by the time the chorus comes around, he shrugs off responsibility and runs through a list of excuses. He missed the last bus, he’ll take the next train, the dog ate his homework, and nobody told him there was a test today.
‘Don’t Stop Believin'’ is a track that makes you wait for what you want. The chorus doesn’t come in until the final quarter of the song. It takes three verses, three instrumentals, and two pre-choruses before the payoff arrives. But what a payoff! Lead singer Steve Perry brings it all back home as he triumphantly parades the chorus, holding on to that feeling. A song so good even Glee couldn't kill it.
Lindsey Buckingham had inflicted enough damage on Stevie Nicks in the verses of ‘GYOW’. “Packing up/shacking up is all you want to do,” he sang in a line that she hated (and denied). Buckingham’s bitter chant of “You can go your own way” must have cut like glass, and yet with its uplifting chord progression, it sounded, paradoxically, like the sweetest sentiment ever.
The premise behind Africa is a slightly flawed one - a man is imagining the continent based on a documentary he’s seen. But that can’t take away from the joyous chorus, with its infectious drum fill and refrain of "I bless the rains down in Africa". Why the rain might need blessing by the members of Toto is beyond us, but whatever makes them happy makes us happy.
Almost inhumanly high, Bon Scott’s screech details life on the road. Though he’s living easy and living free, he probably overpaid on the "season ticket on a one-way ride". By the time the chorus has come around, the listener is all geared up to go wherever the melody takes them. Appropriately shouty, the chorus is just easy enough to sing while jumping up and down with arms around each other.