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How to Write a Catchy Chorus that Sticks in People's Heads

Reading time: 4 minutes


When it comes to writing a memorable and impactful song, a catchy chorus is key. It's often the most memorable part of a song, and can be what makes a song a hit. But how do you write a chorus that resonates with listeners and stays in their heads long after the song is over? In this blog post, we'll share tips and techniques for writing a catchy chorus that sticks in people's heads.

Understand the Purpose of a Chorus

The chorus is the heart of the song. It's the section that repeats throughout the song and serves as the main message or theme. The purpose of a chorus is to summarize the message of the song in a memorable and impactful way. It's the part of the song that listeners are most likely to remember, so it's important to make it catchy and emotionally resonant.

Identify the Key Elements of a Catchy Chorus

A great chorus has several key elements. First, it needs to have a simple and memorable melody. The melody should be easy to sing along to and should have a hook that catches the listener's ear. Second, the lyrics should be singable and easy to remember. The simpler the lyrics, the more likely they are to stick in people's heads. Finally, the chorus needs to have a strong hook. This is the part of the chorus that's repeated several times and serves as the main takeaway for the listener.

Craft a Strong Hook

The hook is the most important part of a chorus. It's the part that catches the listener's ear and makes the chorus memorable. A strong hook can come from the melody, the lyrics, or a combination of both. Look for words or phrases that are simple, easy to remember, and emotionally resonant. For example, in the chorus of the hit song "Shallow" by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, the hook is the phrase "I'm off the deep end, watch as I dive in." It's simple, memorable, and emotionally resonant.

Use Repetition Effectively

Repetition is a powerful tool for creating a catchy chorus. The more a listener hears a phrase or melody, the more likely they are to remember it. But repetition can also become monotonous if overused. Look for ways to vary the repetition, such as changing the melody slightly each time or adding a new instrument to the mix. For example, in the chorus of "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake, the hook is the phrase "I got this feeling inside my bones, it goes electric, wavey when I turn it on." The melody of the hook changes slightly each time it's repeated, adding variation and interest.

Consider the Structure of Your Chorus

There are several different structures you can use when writing a chorus. One popular structure is the AABA format, where the first two lines of the chorus are identical, the third line is different, and the fourth line repeats the first two lines. Another popular structure is the ABAB format, where two different lines alternate with each other. Experiment with different structures to find what works best for your song. For example, in the chorus of "Hello" by Adele, the structure is AABA, with the first two lines repeating: "Hello from the other side, I must've called a thousand times."

Write Lyrics that Resonate

The lyrics of a chorus should emotionally resonate with listeners. Look for words and phrases that capture the essence of your song's message or theme. The simpler the lyrics, the easier they are to remember. Use imagery and metaphor to create a vivid picture in the listener's mind. For example, in the chorus of "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, the lyrics paint a powerful picture: "Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah / You say I took the name in vain / I don't even know the name / But if I did, well really, what's it to you? / There's a blaze of light in every word / It doesn't matter which you heard / The holy or the broken Hallelujah." The imagery and metaphor of the lyrics add depth and emotion to the chorus.

Create Contrast Between the Chorus and Verse

Contrast between the chorus and verse can create a powerful impact on the listener. Look for ways to create contrast between the two sections, such as using a different melody, tempo, or key. The chorus should stand out from the rest of the song and be the most memorable part. For example, in the chorus of "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor, the chorus is more upbeat and energetic than the verse, creating a contrast that makes the chorus stand out.

Examples of Great Choruses

Now that we've gone over some tips for writing a catchy chorus, let's take a look at some examples of great choruses from popular songs:

  • "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey: The chorus of this classic rock anthem is simple but effective. The melody is easy to sing along to, and the lyrics are empowering and uplifting.
  • "Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran: The chorus of this pop hit is infectious and impossible to forget. The repetition of the phrase "I'm in love with your body" creates a strong hook that stays in your head long after the song is over.
  • "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi: The chorus of this 80s classic is iconic. The melody is powerful and memorable, and the lyrics are relatable and uplifting.
  • "Happy" by Pharrell Williams: The chorus of this upbeat pop song is simple and joyful. The repetition of the word "happy" creates a strong hook that's impossible not to sing along to.
  • "Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish: The chorus of this alternative pop hit is haunting and memorable. The repetition of the phrase "I'm the bad guy" creates a strong hook that sticks in your head.


Writing a catchy chorus takes time and effort, but it's worth it when you create something that resonates with listeners and stays in their heads long after the song is over. Remember to focus on the key elements of a great chorus, such as a strong hook, simple and memorable lyrics, and effective use of repetition. Experiment with different structures and melodies, and don't be afraid to create contrast between the chorus and verse. With these tips and examples in mind, you'll be on your way to writing choruses that stick in people's heads.

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