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One short phrase repeated over and over seldom makes an exciting chorus.

Many would be songwriters when putting together a song, decide it needs a chorus. The audience just needs something to sing along with. So the songwriter writes a chorus. If you are kind to the audience, you write a chorus that is memorable, singable, and does not insult their intelligence. One way to avoid insulting the intelligence is to avoid repetitive choruses. The chorus will come around at least two or three times in the song. If it is the same line repeated four or more times, it will seem like the one line ate the whole song. Your audience will be asleep.

That said, are there any reasons you might have a song with a repetitive chorus? Almost every rule has an exception. Obviously, a parody of bad song writing is a good excuse to indulge. Another possibility is if you were trying to demonstrate something that was either long or boring. A waiting song might have a repetitive chorus.

The Reverend Robert B. Jones has a wonderful song called “I Wrestled with an Angel,” which was his reaction to the events of 9/11/2001. Even a minister can take time to understand that. His chorus is several repetitions of the phrase: “I wrestled with the angel all night long.” He varies the melody and intensity behind the line to keep it from getting too boring for the audience. It also conveys the sense of a long struggle.

So, while repetition is one of the poet/lyricist’s tools, abusing it is possible and too often done.

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