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How To Write A Post-Chorus

Sep 04, 2021

How do you write a post-chorus?

What is the purpose of a post-chorus?

Should I have a post chorus in my song?

Let’s discuss.


What Is The Purpose Of A Post-Chorus?

The purpose of a post-chorus is to add a bonus to your chorus.

A post-chorus effectively extends the chorus, adding a section that maintains or increases the sonic energy of the chorus, but with a new vocal motif or hook.

Think of a post-chorus as an after-party. You aren’t too tired yet, and you’re having a great time with some friends you haven’t seen in a while, so why let the end of the party mean the end of the night?

So you find a new place to hang out and keep it going for a bit longer. This is what a post-chorus is like. Sure, you’re changing it up a bit by adding a new hook, but the sonic energy or peak of the chorus is maintained for a bit longer.

A post-chorus also functions as an opportunity to effectively have 2 different highlights of the song instead of one. 

Now you have a highlight in the chorus, but then you have a second highlight in the post-chorus.

A post-chorus usually doesn’t have a lot going on lyrically. In fact, it often just adds a synth hook and has no vocals at all.

But there are some exceptions to this. For example, “Happier” by Marshmello actually contains the main idea of “I want you to be happier” in the post-chorus (link starts with the chorus). 

A post-chorus can also function as a second opportunity to add to your main idea and theme. In fact, I’d argue that a post-chorus usually should add to your main idea as it is a part of the peak of your song.


What makes a post-chorus a good post-chorus?

A good post-chorus effectively provides a second highlight to your song and is a natural follow-up to your chorus.

A post-chorus is usually short, but provides a new hook while maintaining the sonic energy of the chorus.

This hook can be vocal or instrumental. Often, a post-chorus will have a simple vocal without much lyrical content. 

Take Charlie Puth’s “Attention” (link starts at chorus), which simply adds a single, repeating line in the post-chorus. It doesn’t particularly add anything thematically to the song, but it adds another catchy hook for listeners to attach to.

Other times a post-chorus will simply extend the chorus with a new instrumental hook. This is very common in today’s pop music.

For more insight into what makes a good post-chorus, think about the name. 

A post-chorus should feel strongly associated with the chorus. It needs to feel like bonus content at the end of the chorus, not an entirely new section.

In a lot of songs, the line between a post-chorus and just a continuation of a chorus can be a fine line. If you’re not paying attention, it’s very easy to miss that a song has a post-chorus.

It’s almost like a chorus outro with a hook.

Put simply, a good post-chorus has a memorable hook and maintains (or increases) the sonic energy and excitement from the chorus.


Should I Write A Post-Chorus For My Song?

This is a very difficult question to answer. Because, on face value, it might seem like there’s never a bad time to add more to the peak of a song.

But I’d argue there’s a reason that pop music makes constant use of a post-chorus while other genres use them much more rarely.

I think the first reason is that the fundamental job of pop music is to be catchy. What better way to make your song catchy than to add another hook after your chorus? 

Think about how many pop songs simply have a synth hook in their post-chorus. That’s not adding any thematic or lyrical value to the song. But it is adding catchy value. 

Most other genres tend to put a bit more of an emphasis on lyrical and thematic content. So following every chorus with a post-chorus that adds little to no thematic value would be detrimental.

You might be saying “but, you just said how a post-chorus can be a good opportunity to add to the theme!”.

I did. So that brings us to the scenarios where I think a post-chorus could be used well. 

If your chorus doesn’t quite nail the theme of your song, a post-chorus can be a perfect place to do that. 

Especially if you have a short chorus, a post-chorus that brings the main idea of the song to light can be a perfect way to make the peak of your song last longer while also giving you an opportunity to clearly communicate the central idea of your song.

Does your chorus make the theme clear? If so, you probably don’t need a post-chorus. 

Is your chorus a bit short? Could it use more lyrical content to make the central idea more clear? If so, a post-chorus could be very helpful.

Overall, I think the dominance of post-choruses in pop music while being largely unutilized in other genres is both a warning and an opportunity.

Maybe there’s a good reason other genres haven’t adopted the post-chorus. But, at the same time, perhaps we can take the pop post-chorus and adjust it to the needs of our songs to create something really great.

It’s an opportunity because we know it can be a helpful section of a song, but songs that are sonically similar to our own don’t generally use them. So a post-chorus can be a way to separate ourselves from the crowd and do something that is subtly different.

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