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anewman

Songs That Change Tempo Half Way Through

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You know those songs that change tempo about half way through? You think you've got the song figured out, and then all of a sudden it throws something completely different at you (usually it's a faster tempo). And it's IMMENSELY sweet. It's one of the most pleasurable things in music.

Here are my examples...

Elton John, Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - about 5 and a half minutes in, this piano lick kicks in and it just makes me swoon.

Arcade Fire, Wake Up - at 3:50ish the tempo completely changes and it's like you're getting two songs in one. It's utterly beautiful.

Arcade Fire, Une Année Sans Lumiere - at about 2:45 it suddenly goes all syncopated guitars, a complete change from the slowish and rather lovely song that's gone before, and it's really satisfying.

Arcade Fire, Crown of Love - at about 3:45 it does something similar to Une Année Sans Lumiere, again brilliantly satisfying for some reason.

Sufjan Stevens, Come on! Feel the Illinoise!, from Illinois - at about 2.20 it suddenly goes all 'The Cure' on you, before morphing yet again into a completely different tempo at around 3 minutes. It makes me fall off my chair in delight.

Boards of Canada, '84 Pontiac Dream, The Campfire Headphase - just after 3 minutes in, it somehow manages to move to another level of gorgeousness, just with a key change. Utterly wonderful. Utterly utterly beautiful.

Kate Bush, Sunset, from the new one, Aerial - at 4 minutes, a strummed guitar breaks in with a new, faster tempo, and suddenly life feels wonderful...

So my questions are:

What's the name for this, if it has one? I think it's one of the most beautiful things a pop song can do. What other lovely examples of this are there? I can't tell you how much fun it's been to listen to all those songs in a row to make this post.

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Paranoid Android - Radiohead

IT starts off really slow, then guitars kick in, tune completely changes and all chaos ensues. And then the tempo slows agin to the end. Beautifully done.

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Pfft, it's more amazing when a song changes tempo multiple times in a song.

King Geedorah - No Snakes Alive

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Have a listen to Reflekt - Need to feel loved feat. Delline Bass (seb Fontaine & Jay P's type mix) ( From the Its all gone Pete Tong soundtrack)

Its starts off pretty jumping, nice and easy to get you stomping about the dance floor for a good few minutes. Then about 2 mins 54 its calms abit, so you can get your breath back. Then about 4 minutes into it be prepared to lose your load, it kicks in about 4.54 or so, a lovely bit of thump thump thump.

I like this one very much. :)

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EASILY IMPRESSED?

o/\o

most decent rock/metal/prog/art-rock would probably blow your mind.

even most of the basic Sabbath songs had several tempo changes.

and for the record, the tempo change in Wake Up ruins the song.

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Size 9 - I'm Ready

I love it when in the middle of this epic club track, it cuts to a single synth string note with a lady repeating the words "I am ready" a few times. Then, a massive fat hip hop break drops, along with some sub bass. Then the song speeds back up from 90-125bpm and there is a 2 minute drum roll before the tune kicks back in proper. Josh Wink is a fucking genius.

The only other one I can think of that hasn't been mentioned is Goldie - Sensual.

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and for the record, the tempo change in Wake Up ruins the song.

No way. I honestly can't understand that. That bit of the song, where it goes from this gigantic overblown rock thing, to this suddenly foot-tapping bit, is about my favourite thing on that album.

Seriously, you have to justify this statement.

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Try having a listen to the Vib Ribbon soundtrack. :lol:

Lil Louis - French Kiss

My work here is done.

o/\o for these two :D

Paranoid Android - Radiohead

IT starts off really slow, then guitars kick in, tune completely changes and all chaos ensues. And then the tempo slows agin to the end. Beautifully done.

I'm only singing the song in my head but I'm not sure this actually changes tempo. I think the beats per minute is pretty steady throughout, it's just the amount of beats in the bar that change.

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o/\o for these two :lol:

I'm only singing the song in my head but I'm not sure this actually changes tempo. I think the beats per minute is pretty steady throughout, it's just the amount of beats in the bar that change.

the middle bit is slower, surely? the "rain down" bit.

Seriously, you have to justify this statement.

the music before the tempo change is amazing.

the music after the tempo change is shit.

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the middle bit is slower, surely? the "rain down" bit.

Ah yes, my mistake - I just popped the cd on. I wasn't singing that bit in my head for some reason.

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the music before the tempo change is amazing.

the music after the tempo change is shit.

Well I guess it's a matter of opinion - but I like the music after the tempo change because of the music that comes before. On it's own it wouldn't be very good, but coming after the long drawn out rock stuff in the first bit, it just feels like the song is moving to a slightly different level. It's like the first bit could potentially be a bit portentous and overblown - when you start the song, it sounds amazing, but after a while you kind of think enough, change it a bit, and the song does that with this totally relaxed and foot-tappingly joyful section at the end. I love that.

I'm probably not describing it very well.

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So, if more tempo changes are better I guess an act like the Ruins are probably one of the best, what with around 40-50 tempo and stylistic changes per song. But they're actually a decent band.

Most of the time this sort of extremity is little more than pointless showboating drivel though.

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So, if more tempo changes are better I guess an act like the Ruins are probably one of the best, what with around 40-50 tempo and stylistic changes per song. But they're actually a decent band.

See also : Cardiacs

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I love the way BYOB - SOAD changes so much, its goes from being quite melodic to a screaming fit of rage. Its just brilliant and it makes for the best air guitar ever.

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So, if more tempo changes are better I guess an act like the Ruins are probably one of the best, what with around 40-50 tempo and stylistic changes per song. But they're actually a decent band.

Most of the time this sort of extremity is little more than pointless showboating drivel though.

Clearly, more tempo changes doesn't necessarily = better music. It's the way they're handled - but they can be fantastic. And some music seems to be completely unaware of them.

For example, I love Bruce Springsteen but I can't think of a single song in which he does this. But the Arcade Fire album is almost littered with examples.

Anyway, I think it can be a cool effect, just wondered if people had some particularly cool examples they'd like to post.

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Most Godspeed You! Black Emperor tracks. In fact, probably all, use tempo changes very well.

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Mansun certainly knew how to disregard the verse-chorus-verse template when it came to writing Six.

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Dazed and Confused by Led Zeppelin (the album version as an example of this, mainly).

any Dillinger Escape Plan. if you find the sheer aggression listenable.

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any Dillinger Escape Plan. if you find the sheer aggression listenable.

Check.

Broken Vow is a wicked, then again. All of Jane Doe is jawdroppingly awesome. Yet near unlistenable.

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I know its been destroyed by oversaturation, but the first time I heard Franz Ferdinand "take me out" I was amazed.

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