Dark Reprise

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"You'll wash my tender leaves and smell my sweet perfume.
You'll water me and care for me, you'll see me bud and bloom.
I'm feeling strangely happy now, contented and serene,
Oh, don't you see, finally I'll be...

Somewhere that's green."
—Audrey, from Little Shop of Horrors before getting fed to Audrey II.

A song starts in sunshine, but has a dark reprise.

There are two main forms; the first is the sarcastic echo, the second is the dark reprise. This trope is favoured by the writers of musicals.

The sarcastic echo is a duet, but one party is oblivious to this fact. The main singer opens with a happy, even sappy verse. But there is an onlooking character mocking the first from the wings.

The other form is the dark reprise. Early in the show, we get a joyous song. In a later act, sadder and wiser, those same lyrics or melody are ironic and sad. Sometimes the reprise alters the original lyrics; sometimes they are the same, only sung more slowly and mournfully. In the case of a theme's reprise, the piece may have no lyrics at all. The "dark" part may even be literal, with the reprise using dimmer lighting.

The dark reprise is a subtrope of Ironic Echo, and the Evil Twin of Triumphant Reprise. Of course, the Dark Reprise and Triumphant Reprise can easily overlap if they happen to be the reprise of the Villain Song. In this case, the reprise comes as the villain stands triumphant (at least for now,) which is good news for him but bad news for everyone else.[1]

Compare Dual-Meaning Chorus, more common in country music, where a song's chorus is interpreted differently with each iteration (and the song only plays once).

Can overlap with Lyrical Dissonance, although a dark reprise tends to smooth this over with a more somber arrangement. Note that this can also apply to moments that don't use music. See also Soundtrack Dissonance, Funny Aneurysm Moment.

Examples of Dark Reprise include:

Default Usage

Stage Musicals

  • "Somewhere That's Green" from Little Shop of Horrors. A song with some of the same lyrics is first about dreaming of a bright future with Seymour, and then about begging Seymour to feed her to a man-eating plant.
    • This is made even more twisted because of her reasoning (she says she wants Seymour to take care of her as part of Audrey II).
    • "Act 1 Finale" contains some lyrics and melody from "Prologue/Little Shop of Horrors", but in a more sinister tone and playing behind the maniacal laughter of a man-eating plant.
    • The opening notes to Don't Feed The Plants are the same as the opening notes to the Prologue. Additionally, the penultimate line would be a reprise of the Cut Song We'll Have Tomorrow, were it not cut, and there are very subtle reprises of Feed Me and Somewhere That's Green throughout the song.
    • Averted with Suppertime II. Sure, it's dark, but it's debatable whether it's actually any darker than the first Suppertime.
    • Sudden Changes, a brief solo Seymour has just before Feed Me, is the same as the opening to Somewhere That's Green. It's lighter than Somewhere That's Green's reprise, but is darker than the initial Somewhere That's Green. This makes it appropriate that it comes between the two.
    • Downtown is already a depressing song, but an instrumental version of it plays after Audrey dies and it's more depressing by far.
      • In the demo version, the same effect would have been had by playing an instrumental version of We'll Have Tomorrow after Audrey is killed. The difference is that while Downtown is already a depressing song, We'll Have Tomorrow would have been MADE a depressing song through its association with Audrey's death. The reason for the change is almost certainly the original version of We'll Have Tomorrow being cut.
      • In German productions, Seymour sings a Dark Reprise of Suddenly Seymour instead. Suddenly Seymour was originally a romantic duet between Seymour and Audrey, so Seymour singing it alone in that depressing voice is just... depressing. All versions of this scene are depressing.
    • Though cut out of many productions, an downbeat instrumental version of Mushnik and Son plays after Mushnik is killed.
    • Also noteworthy is "The Meek Shall Inherit", which starts cheerful and gradually shifts into a dark echo of its earlier verses. By the time the final "you know the meek are gonna get what's coming to 'em by and by..." rolls around, it's downright ominous.
      • A cut song from the demo version would be a genuine dark reprise to The Meek Shall Inherit. It would have been sung by Patrick Martin, on how he intends to sell the plants across the world.
    • Also in the demo version, halfway through Now (It's Just The Gas), Orin and Seymour would have sung a modified version of Seymour's opening verse as a duet. Whereas Seymour's verse is about how he wants to kill Orin but can't, the verse Orin and Seymour sung together would have been Orin pleading for his life and swearing to reform while Seymour decides he can't bring himself to save Orin.
    • Bigger Than Hula Hoops uses the same underscore as Da Doo does. Da Doo is a cheerful song about how Seymour found Audrey II, Bigger Than Hula Hoops is a violent fight between Seymour and Audrey II.
  • "I have a song to sing, O!" from The Yeomen of the Guard. The first rendition is a sentimental ballad. In the end, it's painfully heartbreaking. And this is done without any changes in the music - only the context.
    • There is one change: the line "Who loved her lord and laughed aloud" turns into "Who loved her lord and dropped a tear" because the actress playing Elsie in the premiere thought that the straight repeat was too cruel. Sir Gilbert agreed. She was right, too."
  • Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds song "Brave New World" relates the Utopian dreams of The Artilleryman, who thinks the alien invasion is a opportunity to throw away the hated modern world and build an underground utopia. The music is a heart-rousing soundtrack to any—every glorious revolution. The Journalist punctures this in deadpan narration: The Artilleryman has a tunnel ten feet long and outside tripods are moving. The song is reprised, with a maudlin tone that now belies the words, and the discordant interpretation of the music gives the impression of a drunken, foolish dreamer, sitting in a cellar singing to himself as the world goes to hell outside.
    • Of course, If you complete the game as the Martians, it's implied he wouldn't have failed so hard if he had got a few people to help him.. Oh look, he did!
    • The song 'The Spirit Of Man' combines this with the Sarcastic Echo - whilst the embittered, broken and deranged Parson Nathaniel's verses deal with his disillusionment with the sins of those around him, and his delusional belief that the invading Martians are 'demons' sent by Satan to wipe out humanity, his wife Beth's chorus is an optimistic, hopeful exhortation to the finest and noblest elements of human nature within 'the spirit of man'. Then a Martian craft crash-lands on the house in which the characters are sheltering, Beth is crushed under the rubble and Nathaniel takes over her chorus, the lyrics now altered to reflect his bitter, defeatist worldview.
    • 'The Eve of the War' and 'The Fighting Machine' are also reprised on several occasions (usually to accompany situations of impending doom), but the example that fits this trope best is the start of Dead London, which features a slow, somber repeat of the Fighting Machine main riff. Jeff Wayne likes this trope.
  • Near the end of Wicked, the beginning of "No One Mourns The Wicked," the play's first song, sung by the Ozians rejoicing over the Witch's death, is heard again - except now we've gotten to know her as a sympathetic, even tragic, character. It also superimposes the last refrain of "For Good". Earlier, right after Elphaba's "melting", a sad instrumental of "For Good" plays.
    • Wicked is in love with this trope. The riff which accompanies the lyrics "Unlimited/My future is unlimited" in "The Wizard and I" is heard three times more throughout the musical, in "Defying Gravity" ("Unlimited/Together we're unlimited"), at one point in the full version of "No Good Deed" ("Unlimited/The damage is unlimited"), and finally at the beginning of "For Good" ("Limited/Just look at me, I'm limited").
    • Also, "I'm Not That Girl" - same words, different character singing it.
    • Additionally, the recurring lyrics about Elphaba regarding "a celebration throughout Oz that's all to do with me/you" are inverted from their intention when Elphaba's death is celebrated at the end of Act II.
      • Or Fiyero's "Life's more painless for the brainless" line...
    • And, in a very nice touch that most people don't realize until they watch the show at least a second time, almost every line Glinda sings in the opening number serves as its own Dark Reprise.
    • In "Dancing Through Life", Boq tries to, but can't bring himself to tell Nessa about his feelings for Glinda. Nessa tells him:

We deserve each other
Don't you see this is our chance?
We deserve each other, don't we Boq?

    • In "Wicked Witch of the East", Boq finally sings to Nessa about his feelings for Glinda with the same melody as before. Nessa reacts badly this, accidentally botching a spell to force him fall in love with her, destroying his heart instead. She then realises how evil she has become without realising it, singing:

Alone and loveless here
With just the girl in the mirror
Just her and me, the Wicked Witch of the East
We deserve each other

  • At the beginning of Ragtime's second act, Coalhouse manages to reprise both "Wheels of a Dream" and "The Prologue" (and also "Your Daddy's Son," but that was rather dark already) while spiraling into homicidal madness. It's very effective.
  • "Bewitched" from Pal Joey ("Wise at last / My eyes at last / Are cutting you down to your size at last")
  • The Bittersweet Ending of Camelot includes a reprise of the title song, with the lyrics now referring to Camelot in the past tense.
  • The musical Titanic ends with a reprise of earlier songs about how amazing the ship is. As the ship has now sunk, the lyrics become ironic. (e.g. "I Must Get on that Ship" is reprised to mean the lifeboats instead of Titanic)
    • It also works the lyrics of "The Proposal/The Night Was Alive" which are made tragic by the circumstances. This song has more to do with the personal stories of the singers.
    • While the full song does not appear in the show, the musicians are heard playing a slow song called "Autumn" in Act I. In Act II, after Mr Andrews is literally driven insane by his predicament, his last lines are: "Autumn... shall we all meet in the autumn... shall we all meet... in the autumn..."
      • "Autumn" was a commonly-played tune on the actual Titanic's voyage- and in an uncommon Real Life example, the musicians also played it while the ship was sinking.
        • It is still a matter of some debate whether the song played was the 'Autumn' version of the hymn or the 'Nearer My God To Thee' version.
  • Man of La Mancha has a song "Little Bird, Little Bird", which is first sung by a group of men attempting to flirt with Aldonza, the tavern wench whom Don Quixote imagines to be a noble lady. Much later in the story, while singing the same song, they rape her.
    • In the same musical, the song "Dulcinea" has two dark reprises. Directly after Don Quixote sings it to Aldonza, the muleteers (same group of men from the above example) sing the chorus mockingly. Later, when Don Quixote is dying and has renounced his dreams, Aldonza sings a version with slightly different lyrics back to him, begging him to make her feel like someone with self-worth and dignity again.
  • Similarly, in the Jekyll and Hyde musical, the song "Sympathy, Tenderness" is sung once in each act: in the first, it is sung by the prostitute Lucy as she reflects on the kindness Dr. Jekyll has shown her; in the second act, it's sung by Hyde as he rapes and murders her.
    • The Crowd Song "Facade" gets four reprises, two of which are much darker than the original song already is.
    • Not to mention, "Lost in the Darkness" is first sung by Jekyll to his father, who is mentally ill. In the latter part of the musical, after he's realized how much control Hyde has over him, he sings it to himself; using the exact same words.
    • Likewise, in the 1941 film, Ivy first sings "See Me Dance the Polka" in a cheery production number; later, Hyde forces her to sing it as he strangles her.
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Toby sings an innocent song of devotion to Mrs Lovett called "Not While I'm Around", in which he promises to never let her come to harm. Later, Mrs Lovett sings a section of the same song... while looking for Toby to hand him over to Sweeney to be killed.
    • Even better - Mrs. Lovett's first Dark Reprise of "Not While I'm Around" actually comes right in the middle of Toby's version, complete with an off-key violin screeching under her vocals to set it apart from the rest.
    • Anthony's soaring ballad "Johanna" from midway through Act I, gets partially reprised at the top of Act II. The sentiment is similar, albeit intensified: Anthony seeks at all costs to free Johanna from the tyrannical Judge Turpin so they can be together. What makes it a Dark Reprise is its juxtaposition with Sweeney's lyrically and musically distinct song, also called "Johanna," as he cuts people's throats and shunts their corpses into a bakery.
      • Sweeney's version, by contrast, is an exercise in complacency, an emotionally repressed farewell to his daughter in which he states that he's so involved in his murdering and goal of ultimate revenge that he's stopped caring about her.
      • In the original stage version of Sweeney, the Judge had a musically distinct Dark Reprise of "Johanna", like Sweeney's, but it was cut from the final production.
    • Sweeney's songs in general are always dark, but at least Mrs. Lovett is singing along in most of them. In the final one, Sweeney Todd begins singing a falsely jaunty tune ("The history of the world, my pet...") -- itself a reprise of "A Little Priest"—while maniacally waltzing with a visibly terrified Mrs. Lovett, who intersperses his lyrics by frantically begging for his forgiveness. We all know what happens next...
    • In fact, nearly every song in this show has a Dark Reprise... most of which are incredibly dark to begin with: "A Barber and His Wife," "A Little Priest," and "Pretty Women," just to name a few. Sondheim's pretty economical with his musical material.
  • In the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast, the Beast acknowledges that Belle is his last chance when he sings "If I Can't Love Her," then reprises it bitterly when convinced that his chance has been lost.
  • In the musical version of The Scarlet Pimpernel:
    • Chauvelin sings "Where's The Girl?" as a love song to Marguerite, then later renounces her in a snarling reprise.
    • Shortly after "When I Look at You", it is repeated by a second character with exactly the same lyrics.
    • A reprise of Madame Guillotine. While hard to make darker, it is a declaration of determination to hunt by Chauvelin and is in some cases referred to as The Riddle: Part 1. While not on most albums, it's on the German cast album as "Das Verwirrspiel: Teil 1"
  • In Of Thee I Sing, President Wintergreen and his wife Mary dismiss the concerns of reporters by singing "Who Cares?" They sing a Dark Reprise when those concerns have escalated to the point where his impeachment is imminent. The preceding scene has Diana singing a personal reprise of "Because, Because," which with new lyrics becomes accusatory rather than "sweet and sunny."
  • In Show Boat, as Ravenal abandons his family, he sings the same song to his daughter that he sang when he first met her mother: "Only make believe I love you..."
  • The musical Aida is full of this. "How I Know You", "My Strongest Suit", "Elaborate Lives"...
  • Used a lot in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, particularly The Phantom of the Opera. Most notable in the songs 'All I Ask of You' (Raoul asking Christine to love him always), then the Phantom singing its tragic reprise about his love for her. Of course, love turns him evil, as shown by the dark reprise.
    • Also at the end when the Phantom is forcing Christine to choose between him or Raoul, we get three Dark Reprises in one. Erik sings a Dark Reprise of Past the 'Point of No Return' (which was kinda dark already) while Christine is singing one of 'Angel of Music', and Raoul is singing one of 'All I Ask Of You'.
    • This is seen again at the start of Act II in Masquerade, where everyone is happy and joyful, until things take a turn for the sinister in 'Why so Silent' and the Phantom reappears.
    • The entire lengthy finale (Down Once More/Track Down this Murderer) is a Dark Reprise of earlier songs. Listen to the music without words and you'll find it difficult to pick out a new melody.
    • Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. The first line 'My mind is clearer now' becomes 'My mind is in darkness now', and in a possible reversal, his anguished 'Every time I look at you I don't understand/Why you let the things you did get so out of hand' from The Last Supper is repeated peppily at the end in Superstar.
      • Not to mention "I Don't Know How to Love Him", first sung by Mary Magdalene, and then later by Judas as he prepares to hang himself.
      • And "John 19:41", the ending instrumental of the play, is itself an (even sadder) counterpart to "Gethsemane".
      • Jesus's trial scene features a dark reprise of Hosanna.
    • Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has the bright, cheerful opener 'Any Dream Will Do' repeat rather mournfully when Joseph is reunited with his sick, elderly father.
      • Doesn't really count because the earlier version of that musical only had "Any Dream" at the end, the song also being at the beginning was a later addition. A better example is Joseph singing his prophetic dreams early in the musical and then reprising the rhymes when he meets his brothers again - this leads into the dark "Grovel, Grovel".
    • The Likes of Us, the first ever Webber/Rice musical, has an upbeat love song called "Love is Here", which admittedly doesn't actually have any reason for being there. It is reprised in a slower tempo later, as the two lovers are breaking up.
  • "The Beauty Is" from The Light in the Piazza: first sung by Clara, expressing hope and excitement at the possibility of finding love and happiness. The song is reprised by her mother, Margaret, who fears that Clara may never find love and happiness (due to her mental disability) and Margaret's guilt over her own culpability.
  • Reefer Madness (the musical adaptation, of course) uses this straight with "Romeo and Juliet", where Jimmy and Mary compare their love to that of Romeo and Juliet, but neither knows the ending. It is reprised later as Mary dies, fulfilling the Romeo and Juliet parallels.
  • Into the Woods repeatedly reprises the title number, one of which is a bona fide Dark Reprise. The first time the song is sung (as part of the sprawling opening number), the characters are off to make their wishes come true in the woods. The Act II reprises the tune, as the characters realize that getting their wishes had unintended consequences, and they must return to the woods to do some major damage control.
    • Also happens with the duet "Agony": in Act I, two royal brothers are each singing about a woman they have fallen for, ending with "I must have her to wife." They reprise the number in Act II... talking about two different women. After justifying their infidelity, they end with "Ah well, back to my wife." Funny, but darker as well.
    • Into the Woods also provides a rare inversion of this trope. In "Stay With Me", the Witch berates Rapunzel for disobeying her, singing, "What did I clearly say? Children must listen!" Later, in "Witch's Lament", she mourns Rapunzel's death: "No matter what you say, children won't listen." Finally, the song becomes the finale "Children Will Listen"—which, although not exactly cheery, is certainly much less bitter and resentful.
  • The Wicker Man (musical version) starts with Sgt. Howie singing a musical version of the 23rd Psalm along with the rest of his church congregation. At the end, he sings it again in a more defiant/terrified tone, while being burnt to death in the eponymous Wicker Man.
  • "Wilkommen" from Cabaret, which first appears as an upbeat opening number but closes the show on a sinister note as the cast sings a discordant version surrounded by Nazi regalia.
    • "Wilkommen" gets even darker in the revival version, when the Emcee takes off his treachcoat to reveal a concentration camp uniform with a pink triangle, implying that he was taken away for being homosexual.
    • "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" could also be considered an example of this trope. Depending on what the director chooses to do, the cabaret dancers sometimes sing it early on while everything's still going well, as a happy, hopeful anthem.
    • "Married" also qualifies. Not that the words are changed, but in the reprise the song is interrupted by a brick being thrown through the window of Herr Schultz's shop, because he is Jewish. This causes Fraulein Schneider to realize she can't marry him.
  • Oliver!:
    • "Reviewing The Situation" is first sung by Fagin as he tries and fails to convince himself to abandon his criminal ways, later reprised with the Artful Dodger as they pledge their dedication to a life of crime.
    • "It's a Fine Life" may be an even better example of this trope. It's first sung by Nancy and Bet as a relatively cheerful song, but is later reprised by Nancy, Bill Sikes, Fagin, and Dodger in a more sarcastic and dark manner.
      • When you look at Bill's treatment of Nancy, the original becomes pretty dark on its own: "Though you sometimes do come by/The occasional black eye/You can always cover one/'Till he blacks the other one/But you don't dare cry!"
    • "As Long As He Needs Me" is another example: the first time Nancy sings it to demonstrate how she won't give up Bill despite his abuse, the second is right before Bill decides he doesn't need her anymore - and murders her in cold blood.
  • In the final scene of West Side Story, Tony, believing Maria to have been murdered, goes out and gets himself shot, and only then sees Maria. They start to sing a Dark Reprise of "Somewhere", but he dies in the middle.
    • The same is picked up instrumentally by the orchestra as Tony's body is carried off, which this writer argues are some of the most heart-wrenching final chords to come out of Broadway.
      • In addition, Tony & Maria's "I Want" Song "Tonight" is twisted later when the Jets and Sharks sing a variant of this about how Bernardo and Riff's knife fight will end their rivalry.
  • Kismet ends with a Dark Reprise of "Sands Of Time," as the characters vanish one by one from the stage.
  • "If I Loved You" in Carousel is first sung early in Act I, as Julie and Billy flirt with each other by offering romantic hypotheticals, denying their attraction even as they submit to it. Near the end of Act II, a now-dead Billy uses largely the same words to lament that he could never truly admit his feelings to Julie or to himself while he had the chance. (This reprise was added during the show's New Haven tryout; Rodgers and Hammerstein were pleased to see that it boosted sheet music sales of the song.)
  • "I'll Cover You" from Rent. First sung as an inspiring tenor/baritone duet by Angel and Collins as they realize they've fallen in love. Later at Angel's funeral, Collins sings alone in a slow and pained bass-baritone to gospel-like piano chords. To add to the effect, Joanne and Maureen replace Angel in the chorus as the rest of the cast backs them up with "Seasons of Love," and a HUGE suspended harmony at the end adds to the dark nature of the reprise. Contrast the original with the reprise.
    • "I Should Tell You" has a rather abbreviated Dark Reprise right before the finale ("Finale A/Your Eyes"), where Roger and Mimi repeat the song as Mimi is dying - or so they think.
    • Also in the finale, just before "Your Eyes," Roger reprises the beginning of "Another Day," singing "Who do you think you are leaving me alone with my guitar."
    • In the Broadway version, Mimi repeats some of the lyrics from 'Light My Candle' in the finale.
    • Where "Seasons of Love" uses the optimistic lines "How do you measure, measure a year?" and "How do you measure a year in the life?" the reprise "Seasons of Love B," from later on in Act II, has the darker "How do you figure a last year on earth?"
  • In the Musical Grease, the song "Look at Me I'm Sandra Dee" is an early song mocking the main character, Sandy, for being a goody-goody. It has a reprise sung by Sandy towards the end, where she decides to stop being a nice girl and becomes a leather-clad "bad girl" to win back her man.
  • Early in She Loves Me, the protagonist's boss, Mr. Marazak, sings "Days Gone By," in which he reminisces about his freewheeling days as a young man and meeting his wife. Later, after he finds out his wife has been cheating on him, he sings the song again, with identical lyrics, which take on a much more poignant meaning.
  • One of the three couples in Baby is barren, and trying desperately to conceive. The wife, Pam, tries to cheer up her husband, Nick, describing their rigorous (and restrictive) sex schedule in pleasant terms in "Romance." The song gets reprised twice, getting increasingly ironic and agitated, until they get fed up and decide to stop trying.
  • "Master of the House" from Les Misérables (see the Ironic Echo entry below) also gets a dark reprise as "Beggars at the Feast", which shows off Thenardier's immense profit from being a despicable human being.
    • And Gavroche's reprise of "Little People" when he gets shot at the barricades ?
      • In some versions, the song is instead "Ten Little Bullets", a dark reprise of his "I Am" Song segment in "Look Down"
    • There's also Javert's reprise of Valjean's "soliloquy" song. Both represent men at drastic turning points in their lives, however Valjean ends the song by turning over a new leaf, while Javert ends by killing himself.
    • "One Day More" is basically a reprise, with sinister undertones, of just about every song heard hitherto. Especially "Who Am I?"
      • Though the section that uses the tune of "I Dreamed A Dream" turns the song from a reflection on a life crushed by poverty and mistreatment to a song about two lovers wondering if they're ever going to see each other again, so not quite a Dark Reprise, but close.
    • There's also an element of this between Javert's Knight Templar Song, "Stars" and the one he sings before his suicide. In the former, he outlines his philosophy, looking at the stars as a metaphor for a sacred order of society which must be rigidly enforced. The latter, which uses some of the same background melody, contains a Meaningful Echo, where Javert, having his worldview shattered, refers to the stars as "black and cold".
      • And directly as he jumps to his death, the main instrumental motif of "Stars" plays as his falling scream dies away.
      • Javert refers to the stars in the French libretto too, where he sings "...les étoiles rient dans le noir / Elles se moquent de la victoire sur moi des forces du mal ..." ("The stars laugh in the dark / They mock me for the victory of the evil forces over me...")
    • And then there's the finale's reprise of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" Its first appearance is as a rousing call-to-arms as Enjolras foments a rebellion. In the finale, the song is revisited as a sort of hymn about the wretched of the earth finding solace in the end. This may be something of a "light" reprise rather than a "dark" one, but then again, it's being sung by a chorus of the characters who have died.
      • It paraphrases Enjolras' speech in the book at the barricade before the first battle, when they still think they can succeed. It is at once a stirring utopian vision and an example of Dramatic Irony.
    • Also, "Turning", during which the women mourn about the outcome of the battle, uses the same tune as "Lovely Ladies" (the subject of which isn't exactly cheery, but which is sung in a far more uplifting way).
      • 'Lovely Ladies' is nothing but ironic and dark echoes. First it sounds like an upbeat song celebrating the prostitutes, then Fantine becomes a prostitute and it becomes a dark echo when we see the sort of circumstances that lead to women becoming a prostitute, and finally it becomes an ironic echo when she sings the final verse before the abusive customer appears.
    • 'Drink With Me', when first sung, isn't exactly a happy song, but is partly wistful and reminiscent of past times and the current friendship of the students on the barricade. Come the morning, when Enjolras has realised that no-one is coming to help them and they are going to die together, we get a brief, darker reprise sung by the students, which is immediately followed by a dark reprise of 'Castle on a Cloud' by the orchestra. Originally this was sung by little Cosette about her dreams of a mother, toys and friends, but now it symbolises how the dreams of the revolutionaries have failed.
  • In Spring Awakening, Melchior sings the line "You watch me, just watch me - I'm calling, and one day all will know" twice: once early on in the song "All That's Known", and once as a Dark Reprise in the song "Those You've Known".
    • Also in Spring Awakening, Wendla opens the show with the soft, lullaby-like song "Mama Who Bore Me." At the end of the first scene, in which her mother lies to her about the nature of reproduction, Wendla is joined by the other girls for "Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise)", an angry rock version of the song.
    • Another example of this trope is the reprise of "The Word of Your Body". When originally sung by Wendla and Melchior, it is a fearful song of their ignorance of their newfound sexual urges. When Hanschen takes over the song, it becomes much darker and more perverted, as we're made to see Hanschen as a rather slimy, controlling individual.
  • The Off Broadway musical The Last Five Years features something of a Light Reprise, since Cathy's songs start from the time of her divorce from Jamie to the beginning of their relationship - she rebukes Jamie for being self centered and obsessed with his career in "See I'm Smiling", while later in the play she uses similar language to her rebuke when describing how much she loves and wants to be with him in "I Can Do Better Than That" ("I want you and you and nothing but you/miles and piles of you").
  • The Legally Blonde musical inverts this: the titular song is somber while the reprise is upbeat and energetic.
  • Pretty much every key song in "Children of Eden" has at least one poignant reprise or more, because of the theme of history repeating itself and second chances.
    • "Spark of Creation" Eve's big "I Want" Song, is later reprised as a fear that she has passed the fiery spirit that led to the fall of humanity to her son Cain. At the climax, when Noah is no longer sure what God wants him to do, his wife sings a reprise telling him to use his God-given brain to decide for himself.
    • "That's What It Means to be a Father", Father's song about his love for his children, is darkly reprised by Cain as he accuses Adam of crushing his spirit, then by Father again after he wipes out humanity with the flood.
    • Also, the "Without form, void, darkness" from before God creates the universe is sung again after the earth is destroyed with the flood.
    • The big love song "In Whatever Time We Have", about Yonah and Japheth staying together even though she is not allowed on the ark is later sung by the entire family, swearing to stay together even if it means the flood will never stop.
    • "Oh Father, please don't make me choose, either way it's more than I can bear to lose" is repeated three times, first by Adam to Father, then Abel to Adam, then Noah to Father at the end.
  • Barnum has a few:
    • "Love Makes Such Fools of Us All" is reprised by Jenny Lind as Barnum decides to return to his wife Chairy rather than try to pursue her.
    • "The Colors of My Life", the "I Want" Song for both Barnum and Chairy which is initially sung in two parts (hers commenting on his) is reprised as a duet for the couple before Chairy dies.
    • The show closes with a wistful closing reprise of "There's a Sucker Born Ev'ry Minute" as Barnum mourns how the great eccentricities and "humbugs" of the past - which he built his career on - are now forgotten.
  • Hair has "Manchester, England," Claude's cheeky "I Am" Song, a verse of which appears in "The Flesh Failures" by his ghost after he's been killed in Vietnam. Even worse in the film, where the person wailing "Claude, that's me, that's me"... isn't actually him.
  • Kurt Weill was fond of this trope. A very nice example can be heard in the final three songs of The Seven Deadly Sins, which summarize the previous parts both in melody and in lyrics.
    • More famously, the final song of the Threepenny Opera, which echoes the opening song Mack The Knife. "For some are in the darkness, and others are in the light. And we see the ones in the light. The ones in the darkness, we don't see." Although the song is left out in a staggering number of productions, it's one of the most quoted poems in German literature.
  • Papa Ge's version of Ti Moune's dreamy "Forever Yours" at the climax of Once On This Island. The original is about belonging to her lover (and his belonging to her); the reprise is about belonging to Papa Ge, the god of Death.
  • Next to Normal has "It's Gonna Be Good", a bouncy, silly song in act one about Dan's excitement for dinner with the family. The reprise in act two comes after Diana has recovered from amnesia and remembered their son is dead, and she insists on knowing his name, while Dan tries to ignore her and get her out of the house and to the doctor.
    • Also, "I'm Alive", while very dark in substance in its initial iteration, becomes even more overwhelmingly vicious halfway through its reprise — Gabe becomes very vehement in tone and word choice as he reasserts his control over Diana.
    • Although "I Am The One" isn't exactly happy, musically it's very upbeat and energetic, and includes Dan's reassurances to Diana that he'll stay by her side through her manic depression and he "won't walk away" - contrasting severely with it's Dark Reprise, when Diana leaves him: "I am the one who loved you // I am the one who stayed // I am the one and you walked away..." Throw in Gabe, who later in the reprise pushes his father to accept his death by saying his name aloud, and you got yourself a major Tear Jerker.
  • Drood: While "Moonfall" is already an extremely creepy song, the duet reprise takes it to Phantom-esque proportions, resulting in a darkly operatic number to rival any other.
  • Assassins manages to take an already dark song (the opening song, "Everybody's Got the Right") and make it even darker for the finale. In the opening number, the subject is grim, but the words and music are perky and introduces all the characters. The finale, after seeing all of the assassins in their respective attempts, also ends with the assassins aiming their guns and firing at the audience.
  • In the much rewritten musical Martin Guerre, 'Live With Someone You Love' starts out as a beautiful love song, and doubles as Arnaud's "I Am" Song, and is reprised by Bertrande and Martin when Arnaud dies. Also, "I'm Martin Guerre" gets one when Arnaud sings it in the courtroom when he pretends to be Martin. Not exactly dark, but still a bit on the creepy side.
    • In the rewritten version Martin gets a dark reprise of 'Without You As A Friend' during 'Why,' including the line ' so it seems we have come to the end/i'll live my life/without you as a friend.'
  • Inverted in Scrooge, the 1970 musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol: the first version of "Thank You Very Much" is a grave-dancing tune in all but one aspect (someone's dancing on Scrooge's coffin before they bury it) but the reprise is one of genuine gratitude towards the man.
  • "Let Me Entertain You" in Gypsy has a whole different meaning depending on whether June or Gypsy is singing it.
    • "Rose's Turn" is a whole medley of dark reprises: "Here she is, boys!" quotes the Newsboys' intro of Baby June, then segues into bitter parodies of "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Some People," grabs a snippet of the "strip" music from the overture, and even mocks "Mr. Goldstone." The "Mama's talkin' loud" section sounds like new material but it's actually a distortion of a section of "Small World" called "Mama's talking soft" that was cut before the show opened. The darkest reprise of all is when "Everything's coming up roses for you and for me" morphs into "Everything's coming up Rose... this time for me!" In the original version of the show, Rose also has a more traditional dark reprise a couple of scenes earlier. When Herbie walks out on her for the last time, she screams, "You go to hell!" then breaks down for a tearful half-chorus of the song she sang at their first meeting, "Small World."
  • Little Johnny Jones by George M. Cohen has the upbeat patriotic number "Yankee Doodle Dandy". Toward the end of the first act, when Johnny is framed for throwing the English Derby, he sings a slower, sadder version of the song as he deals with being disgraced. This scene is also enacted in James Cagney's Cohen Biopic Yankee Doodle Dandy.
  • Though not to be found in the Broadway soundtrack of the not-so-known musical Rags, the song "If We Never Meet Again" gets one of these - first sung by Rebecca Hershkowitz and Bella Cohen during the boat ride to America, then reprised by Rebecca after Bella dies in a sweatshop fire.
  • The Sera Myu has one: "Orleans No Sei senshi" is a song sung by Inner Senshi (Sans Mars) and Hotaru duing a mock battle. The first verse is later sung in a much darker form, Orleans no Sei Senshi ~ Uranus - Neptune no Uragiri (Holy Soldier's of Orleans ~ Uranus and Neptune's Betryal) The song title alone should tell you what's happening at this time. except it's all ploy to kill Galaxia. Like the similar scene in the anime it fails The song is reprised in an altered form by all the senshi as La Fatalité Sei Senshi which itself is a lighter reprise and (longer version of) Oitsumerarete. Confused yet?
  • Near the start of the trip, the characters in Cannibal! The Musical sing "That's All I'm Asking For," listing the things they're looking for in life. Near the end of the movie, they sing it again, but as they're all half-starved, all they want is some food, and they barely have the energy to sing at all.
  • In the beginning of Fiddler on the Roof, the citizens of Anatevka sing about their traditions and customs, explaining how they base their entire lives around them, and love doing so, in the upbeat "Tradition". Later in the musical, when Tevye disowns his own daughter, the main line of "Tradition" is sung by the ensemble in a much darker and more dramatic tone, showing that tradition is tearing the family apart.
  • In The Wedding Singer musical, this is done with the song "Someday". The original is about how Julia can't wait to be married and is hopelessly romantic. The reprise shows that, as her wedding to Glen approaches, she's beginning to have doubts if Glen is the right guy (because she's falling for Robbie). Also done with "If I Told You", where Robbie and Julia ask themselves what might happen if they share their true feelings (they can't hear each other, of course), and the reprise has them singing the same thing, except this time expressing their regret of not telling each other as Julia flies to Las Vegas to marry Glen.
  • Inverted in Avenue Q with There's a Fine, Fine Line. It appears first as a sad song sung by Kate Monster lamenting her breakup with Princeton and how "there's a fine, fine line between love and a waste a time". It is reprised later as a more optimistic song when he helps her fulfill her dream of building a school for monsters and they agree to take their relationship one day at a time.
  • Inverted in In the Heights. During the opening number, Usnavi has a solo where he compares himself to a streetlight, stuck in one place while the rest of the world moves around him. In the finale the melody and analogy is revisited in a more positive way, as Unsavi celebrates the important role he plays for his family and community.
  • In Chess, Florence and Anatoly's romantic duet "You and I" is at least cautiously optimistic about the future of their relationship. The reprise at the end of the show when Anatoly leaves Florence to go back to Russia is... less so.
  • Vanities: A (New) Musical reprises "I Can't Imagine" as "The Argument" in Scene 3, with a more frantic tempo and the lyrics changed to a drunken Counterpoint Duet between Joanne and Mary. Just prior to that, the second reprise of "An Organized Life" has a more somber tone than the previous versions, turning the previously peppy and optimistic tune into a BSOD Song.
  • The song "Mama, wo bist du?" from Elisabeth is already something of a Tear Jerker, until Der Tod (Death) comes to comfort Rudolf and tells him he will always be close by. Later in the play, after Rudolf has killed himself, Elisabeth sings a reprise that begins " Rudolf, wo bist du?" and only becomes sadder thereafter, ending in her begging for Death to release her. He does not oblige, but bitterly reprises a brief song of hers from earlier.
    • Special mention must go to "Boote in der Nacht", a full-length ballad in which the by now old and bitter Elisabeth and Franz Joseph conclude that they were never meant to be together, set to the same melody as the standard love song they sang to each other as starry-eyed teenagers.
  • In How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, J. Pierrepont Finch (F-I-N-C-H) sings "I Believe In You" to himself as a way to keep his confidence up on the eve of making it big. Later, after it all comes crashing down, his Love Interest, Rosemary, sings the same words to him in an attempt to reassure him although he's already been dragged away to face the music. The tone of the song is only slightly different (it's a touch more desperate), but the situation is worlds from what it was before.
  • Early in Annie, Annie sings "Maybe", dreaming of finding her loving parents who will take her away from the cruel orphanage. It is heartbreakingly reprised near the end, when Annie's "parents" have shown up to take her away from Daddy Warbucks, and she tries to convince herself that life with them will be better than it was with Warbucks, and Daddy Warbucks tries to convince himself that he'll forget about Annie in time. ("And maybe I'll forget/How much she meant to me/And how she was always my baby/Maybe.")

Animated Film Musicals

  • The Princess and the Frog has two.
    • First, Tiana sings her "I Want" Song "Almost There" a second time after she's outbid on the restaurant she wanted (or so the realtors claim).
      • Plus a related Ironic Echo, when Facilier whispers this as he offers to help her in exchange for his talisman.
    • For the second, the page image is from the Dark Reprise of the Villain Song, "Friends On The Other Side," when said "friends" drag Facilier to his hellish death, evilly chanting "are you ready?".
  • Jafar's reprise of "Prince Ali" in Aladdin. "Prince Ali, Yes, it is he, But not as you know him."
    • "One Jump Ahead" and its reprise also qualify: in the first Aladdin sings about what a great thief he is, in the second he wishes people saw that there was more to him than that.
    • "Why Me" was a rejected alternate reprise of "Prince Ali". In the stage adaptation, it was used as Jafar's introductory song.
  • "Gaston" in Disney's Beauty and the Beast starts out as an amusing but mostly harmless comedy piece, touting Gaston's "virtues" from the inane ("no-one's got a swell cleft in his chin like Gaston") to the unpleasant yet still funny ("in a wrestling match, nobody bites like Gaston!"). In the reprise, although the tune remains the same, all pretense is stripped away to openly trumpet Gaston's villainy. ("No-one persecutes harmless crackpots like Gaston!") Finally in the tower scene, there's a Dark Instrumental Reprise when he first encounters Beast.
    • "Death of the Beast" is a sad instrumental reprise of "Beauty and the Beast" and the Beast's leitmotif, and had a rejected alternate version that was considered too light.
  • Scar from The Lion King was originally going to have one.
  • The song "First Toymaker to the King" from the Christmas Special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town is reprised as "No More Toymakers to the King" by Burgermeister Meisterburger.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, the song "The Plagues" is partially a dark reprise of Moses' earlier "I Want" Song inversion, "All I Ever Wanted", turning from a celebration of his life as an Egyptian to a lament over having to destroy it to win freedom for the Jews. It also doubles as a Villain Song for the Pharaoh, showing his anger at his foster brother's betrayal.
    • Makes it even more dark and sadder if you remember that in-between "All I Ever Wanted" and "The Plagues", Moses' adoptive mother, the wife of the pharaoh, sings a reprise of this song, in a tender, motherly and comforting way, while trying to convince him to forget his true origin and embrace his Egyptian life and his adoptive family.
  • Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame features a lovesick Quasimodo singing about how he has finally found love after years of assuming he was unlovable (Heaven's Light). Not much later, these same lyrics are echoed with a new, bitter twist as he discovers this his newfound 'love' is more interested in her Knight in Shining Armor.

I knew I'd never know
That warm and loving glow
Though I might wish with all my might
No face as hideous as my face
Was ever meant for Heaven's Light...

    • And seconds after the first instance, Frollo sings his own version, the awesome Villain Song Hellfire, about his fury at and lust for Esmerelda. Here's the whole sequence.
      • In addition to the instant dark reprise, "Hellfire" doubles as Lyrical Dissonance. The Ominous Latin Chanting aka "Confiteor" is a general confession of sin recited at the beginning of Mass of the Roman Rite in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a strong contrast to Frollo's actual song.

Frollo: It's not my fault! (Choire: Mea culpa through my fault)
Frollo: I'm not to blame! (Choire: Mea culpa through my fault)
Frollo: It is the gypsy girl, the witch who sent this flame! (Choire: Mea maxima culpa through my most grievous fault)

  • Cats Don't Dance uses this trope with "Big and Loud". The first time through, Darla is giving advice to Danny about how to impress an audience. Once Danny is hustled out the door, the lyrics change as she declares her true intent—to destroy Danny's career and that of anyone else who gets in her way. The first time she tells Danny, "[Your act]'s gotta be big and loud!" but it shifts to, "They're gonna fall big and loud!" The song is used a third time as she puts her plan into action, with the same lyrics as the second time, as she revels in her victory.
  • The song "Let Me be Your Wings" from Thumbelina has a dark reprise halfway through the movie, called "Once There was the Sun". She sings this in lamenting Cornelius' apparent death.
    • When Thumbelina goes missing, her mother sings a sad reprise of Thumbelina's "I Want" Song "Soon".
  • "I Stand Alone" in Quest for Camelot is Garrett's "I Am" Song in which he embraces his solitude and declares that he works alone. He gives it a brief but passionate Dark Reprise towards the end of the film, bitterly repeating the chorus as he unhappily resigns himself to remaining alone.
  • "Who's Been Painting My Roses Red?" from Alice in Wonderland, an accusatory reprise of the cheerful "Painting the Roses Red".
  • Tangled has two examples: a cutting reprise of "Mother Knows Best" (which was already a villain song) as Gothel severely undercuts Rapunzel's hopes for her growing romance, and then the second reprise of "The Healing Incantation" as Rapunzel desperately tries to revive the mortally wounded Flynn after her hair has been robbed of its healing magic.
  • In All Dogs Go to Heaven: A Christmas Carol, it manages to have a normal song paired with a Dark Reprise at the same time with I Always Get Emotional At Christmas Time. On one hand, Killer is singing about how he loves Christmas and it makes him feel repentant for his evil deeds while Belladonna's version has her singing about how much she loves doing evil things to people on Christmas.
  • "Colors of the Wind (Reprise)" from Pocahontas. It's a somber, instrumental version of the song "Colors of the Wind" that plays at the end of the film where John Smith is actually sent back to England as a result of him being shot by accident by the villain while attempting to protect the Indian chief.
  • "The Bare Necessities (Reprise)" from The Jungle Book. It's sung by Baloo and Bagheera as the two both walk off into the sunset after Mowgli bids them both farewell and heads back to the Man-village.
  • "Friends to the End (reprise)" from Tom and Jerry: The Movie, which plays when Tom and Jerry start to chase each other again, all without any dialogue.
  • In Mulan there is a song called "Reflection" that is already a mild Tear Jerker when it is first played after a lighthearted scene involving Mulan messing up in front of the matchmaker. Another version of it is played in the end credits, and while it isn't necessarily "darker" in and of itself, (just gentler and slower) the film's most upsetting moments are between the original version of the song and its Dark Reprise, which gives the second version of the song a bit of a Harsher in Hindsight feel.

Other Animated Film

  • In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, let's not forget the Goofy Goober song. Sung at the beginning in a childish, sugary haze, it is later reprised in a slower, lower key as the two main characters are literally being killed. Definitely counts as a Crowning Moment of Tearful.
    • The song is once again revamped later on as a Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • In the South Park movie, "La Résistance" begins as a rousing anthem in the vein of "One Day More" from Les Misérables. "La Resistance (Reprise)" is a duet between the Mole and Kyle as the Mole dies.
    • "La Resistance" also provides a very short version of this for Satan's oddly poignant Villain Song, "Up There." The original has him sing "Up There there is so much room/Where babies burp and flowers bloom," while he adds in the reprise, "Tomorrow night Up There is doomed..."
      • Also in the song, the brief reprise of 'Uncle Fucker' where the lines have been changed to "Looks like we may be out of luck/Tomorrow night, we're pretty fucked!!"
    • Also in the episode where Butters sings about his new robot (really Cartman in disguise), "Hey there, let me tell you 'bout my robot friend" reprised when the robot gets taken away by the government: "Hey there, did you know I had a robot friend..."
  • WALL-E has an interestingly reversed version of this, with the 'dark' version coming before the 'light' one. In the first act, the titular robot watches a video of "It Only Takes A Moment" from Hello, Dolly!, with the sappy romantic lyrics serving only to accentuate the hopeless loneliness of his existence. The song is used throughout the film as a Leitmotif, until at the very end of the film it gets a full reprise, only this time played straight.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is this to the original Final Fantasy VII. Apart from the Darker and Edgier approach, even the soundtrack features Dark Reprises of well-known tunes from the game itself - the random battle theme (which reached Ear Worm status for obvious reasons) is now a chilling piano instrumental, and even the iconic One-Winged Angel has been amped up into a rock opera.
  • Coraline - When Coraline visits the Other Mother's parallel world, she meets the other world's version of Mister Bobinsky (her strange yet friendly house neighbor), who performs his the "Mice Circus" song. Later, when Coraline heads back to retrieve the souls of the Other Mother's victims, she finds the circus in disrepair and the Other Mr. Bobinsky reduced to a pile of talking rats. The song accompanying this scene presents the feeling of a circus falling apart.
  • Toy Story 3 begins with a montage of clips of Andy playing with his toys while 'You've Got a Friend in Me' plays, until suddenly the music stops and the line 'our friendship will never die' is the last line you hear.
  • "Breakout/It Comes With a Pool" from Dinosaur, which is a dark reprise of "Courtship." It's played during the scene where Aladar, the Lemurs, Eema, Baylene, and Url accidentally discover an alternate route to the Nesting Grounds while attempting to find their way out of a large cave. The reprise comes in when Zini the lemur starts to surf in the lake, and the dark part comes in when Eema actually tells Aladar that the old entrance to the Nesting Grounds has been blocked by a huge landslide, and that Kron is threatening all the other dinosaurs into taking that route.
    • Also "Across the Desert", which is a slow and somber version of "Raptors/Aladar Meets the Herd". It's played during the scene where Kron forces the Herd (as well as Aladar, the Lemurs, Eema, Baylene, and Url) to march across an endless desert reminiscent of the final act of The Rite of Spring. Fortunately, there's a lake ahead...
  • Inverted and played straight in How to Train Your Dragon. The music playing when Hiccup first encounters Toothless is a sinister version of the "Friendship Theme" played later in the movie. This does however get a true dark reprise during the scene where Hiccup accidentally betrays Toothless by telling Stoick that only a dragon can find the hidden island.
    • Also played straight with "Test Drive", originally heard when Hiccup is learning to ride Toothless. A sadder version comes later after Hiccup lost a leg during his fight with Red Death, and must learn to walk with a crude prosthetic limb.
  • Remember the Tastes Like Diabetes Lyrical Dissonance singing info booth in Shrek. In the Halloween special Scared Shrekless, it returns with a nightmare fueled rendition of "Duloc is a Creepy Place" with creepy lyrics and the aftermath of a Sugar Apocalypse.

Live Action Film Musicals

  • In Mary Poppins, an already dark song gets an even darker reprise. "Feed the Birds" is first sung by Mary to the Children, and later played in an orchestral version as Mr. Banks heads off to be fired. The reprise continues relatively toned down as Banks walks alone through the London streets until he reaches St. Paul's... and its steps are completely barren, of birds and bird woman alike. At this point the orchestra swells to its full tearful majesty as Mr. Banks looks skyward, forlorn and desperate.
    • Earlier, after Mr. Banks sings a self-pitying song about said firing (itself a Dark Reprise of "The Life I Lead", Mr. Banks' theme), Bert (Bert!) gives him a Reason You Suck Song by both echoing "The Life I Lead" and reprising "A Spoonful of Sugar" into a song about Banks' neglect of his children for his work.
  • The Wizard of Oz, in a scene that was ultimately cut from the movie for being a little too long and depressing, had Dorothy doing a Dark Reprise of the famous "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" after being trapped by the Wicked Witch in her castle. The performance is said to have reduced the cast and crew to tears. It Got Worse: as Dorothy ends only a few lines to cry out to Auntie Em that she's scared, The witch appears as Auntie Em, before switching back and laughing at her, and the camera.
  • Jack's reprise of "Santa Fe" in Newsies is pretty damn bleak.
  • Pink Floyd's The Wall features a darker reprise of an already-dark song. "In The Flesh?" expresses Pink's disillusionment with life, or, alternately, an outsider's view as Pink starts to isolate himself. Later, "In The Flesh!" shows Pink's graduation into a full-blown fascist after a psychotic breakdown.
  • In The Sound of Music, the song Edelweiss comes up twice: First as a straightforward sign that Captain von Trapp is finally opening up to his family, and later as a defiant but bittersweet statement of patriotism in the face of a Nazi takeover that will do away with the country he loves. It's a subtler version in that the song is performed in the same key, performed by the same person, and does not differ until the Captain falters in his singing. (This is only a Dark Reprise in the movie version; on stage, the song is sung in the later scene only.)
  • While not exactly a reprise A Muppet Christmas Carol had a sad little echo of 'Bless Us All', sung by Tiny Tim about how he and his family have so much to be grateful for, played as it pans over his crutch after his death with his family in mourning.
    • It also contains a Light Reprise of 'When Love Is Gone' sung while Scrooge is left by his fiance sung at the end as 'The Love We Found' after he changes his ways. Sadly, the first song was cut from the theatrical release (and only reinstated on some video releases), meaning that the finale is less poignant.
  • The beginning of the graveyard scene in A Christmas Carol: The Musical has a brief dark reprise of "A Place Called Home". * High School Musical 3's We're All in This Together (Graduation Version).

Other Live Action Film

  • Titanic: Near the middle of the movie, Jack is singing 'Come Josephine' to Rose as they stand near the front of the ship because it feels like they're flying. Later, singing the song is the only thing keeping Rose alive.
  • In the soundtrack to the Kenneth Branagh movie of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, the melody of the wedding march at Hero's first, doomed wedding reappears (in minor key) as her dirge when she is believed dead. By contrast, no music is played at the second wedding (during which the audience knows that the bride is Hero, alive and well, but her groom believes her dead and thinks he is marrying her cousin) until the moment she lifts her veil. This is very effective in setting the mood for all three scenes.
  • A few times in Will Ferrell movies:
    • In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the day after he goes out with his attractive co host, Ron Burgundy and his crew sing "Afternoon Delight." Later, he has lost his job and all respect, and is now sitting drunk at the bar, singing the same song in a drunken, sad way.
    • In Blades of Glory, the song for the pairs first performance is "Don't Want To Miss A Thing." After his partner refuses to speak to him, he leaves many messages on his phone, one of which is a sad, drunken version of that song.
    • And Semi-Pro: Jackie Moon earned all his money that he bought the Tropics with using royalties from his song "Love Me Sexy." He later goes through a Heroic BSOD of sorts, and sings a variation of that song while lying in a dumpster. Yes, it's sad and drunken.
  • Parodied in Team America: World Police: the upbeat, ultra-patriotic song "America, Fuck Yeah" is played again later on in the movie, when Gary has left the team and the rest of them go to fight Kim Jong Il alone. The soundtrack actually labels this song as the "Bummer Mix".
    • This may count as a mild subversion: the musical tone is sad and subdued in the reprise, but the lyrics are exactly the same, which is to say, relentlessly boosterish and ultra-patriotic.
  • "Gong Jin'ou", the national anthem of the Qing Dynasty, is sung formally in The Last Emperor, then gets sadly reprised one last time before the Qing abdicate in a real Tear Jerker.
  • Parodied (or played straight, or...who the hell knows?) in The Brothers Solomon, in which the power ballad "St. Elmo's Fire" (from the film of the same name) is used first as a general triumphant anthem for the titular brothers. During their (extremely brief) falling out, a more sombre, acoustic version of the song is played.
  • Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen has a Dark Reprise of the iconic 'landing of the Autobots' scene from the first movie, with landing Decepticons causing widespread damage.
    • Many of the musical themes from the first film are gone, and Optimus's theme becomes the backbone of the score. However, it's never in the same tone of the previous film, which was performed on a woodwind and with minimal percussion to make Optimus's theme sound more organic. The two main treatments are a minor-key variation with dark brass, and a more "spiritual" take (generally used for scenes involving the mythology and taking place after Optimus's death) utilizing a One-Woman Wail. To hear the effect in full, listen to the track titled "Optimus" from the first film, then the one titled "Prime" from the second.
    • In Dark of the Moon, the scene in which the Autobots are exiled and forced to leave Earth is accompanied by a heartbreakingly sad reprise of the "Arrival on Earth" theme from the first movie.
    • A non-musical example would be Waspinator's Catch Phrase, "Waspinator has plans..." In the show Beast Wars, it's said in a comical tone of voice, but in Transformers Animated, it more creepy-sounding.
  • Inverted at the end of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, where the celebration music is a childrens' choir doing a "light" version of the Emperor's exceptionally dark Leitmotif (far grimmer than, if not as immediately imposing as, the Imperial March), foreshadowing the coming darkness. Similarly, at the end of Attack of the Clones, a more triumphant version of the Imperial March is played, underscoring that while the clones appear to be a good thing at the time, evil will come of them later.
    • The prequels are just full of this. Anakin's Theme from Episode I repeatedly utilizes six notes from the Imperial March in a soft, light piece. Also, it doesn't quite count, but at the end of Episode II, the love theme that plays over Anakin and Padme's wedding morphs into something that calls to mind the Imperial March. Most of the end credits music for Attack of the Clones is the love theme, with a different ending—it segues into the main thrust of the March, as played slowly on a double bass.
    • In the Shadows of the Empire soundtrack, "Leia's Nightmare" is a dark version of the "Han and the Princess" love theme mixed with the Imperial March.
    • Yoda's death music in Return of the Jedi is a sad reprise of his theme and the Force theme.
    • Star Wars is basically made of this trope. Most of the consequential music pieces are basically darker versions of earlier pieces of the trilogies.
  • The opening theme to the first Harry Potter movies, is dramatically skewed for the Deathly Hallows part 2 trailer.
  • Inverted in 102 Dalmatians when we get a light reprise of the Villian Sucks Song from the first movie talking about the confusion of why Cruella is being nice and is now an animal lover.


  • Neon Genesis Evangelion gets one. The ending theme, "Fly me to the Moon" always seemed a tad out of place, even in the beginning, but by the end in the middle of all the Mind Rape, Heroic Sacrifices, Heroic BSOD's and other assorted wrongness, that damn song just keeps on playing. And it freaks you out. Especially in the Arael, Armisael and Tabris/Kaworu episodes. WITHOUT CHANGING A DAMNED NOTE!!
  • Gainax seems to like this. In the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, most of the soundtracks have been changed to now HAVE OMINOUS CHANTING ON TOP OF THE MUSIC! It does add to the mood of the scenes, but it sure does freak you out when you know that the voices are chanting.
    • And another Gainax-example: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has Libera Me From Hell, a remix between the classic, Latin song "Libera Me", and the up-beat rap-song "Rap is a Man's Soul". And that's not the only time they took a classic song and used it in an anime. Just watch the Rebuild of Evangelion version of Shinji versus Zeruel. THEY'RE PLAYING A CHILDREN'S SONG WHILE SHINJI IS CAUSING THE END OF THE WORLD, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!
    • Yet another Gainax example: in the penultimate episode of Mahoromatic Something more Beautiful, the music track at the end of the episode gives way to a sad piano remix of the generally-happy opening song, So Re I Yu.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch reverses this with Return to the Sea. In its first uses, it's a dark, angry song in which Sara expresses her rage and hatred. However, when Hanon's assertion that Tarou really did love Sara gets to her, she reprises the song with a happier, more optimistic tone ("The inevitable distrust/Is only harmful weakness/Love cannot be defined, but/I want to believe in it again").
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the instrumental "Romantic" is played—you guessed it—in romantic moments in the first few instances. It is reprised numerous times later in the series, e.g. when Miaka tries to kill herself to save her friends and when Mitsukake dies.
  • Appears in Soul Eater with the songs "soul-eater (so scandalous)" and "soul-eater (reprise)." The first is a hip-hop tune with Word Salad Lyrics used over some title cards and at other light-hearted moments. The second keeps the Word Salad Lyrics, but the catchy refrain is gone, some of the lyrics are warped, it sounds a lot creepier in general, and it's generally played when people are going crazy.
    • It also has "Black Star (never lose myself)" and "Black Star (lost myself)". The first is a stirring hip-hop song that serves as Black Star's leitmotiv, the second one is a complete jumbled mess with the voice turned incomprehensible and the entire musical arrangement sounding like a carnival on acid.
  • Macross Frontier has the song Aimo, a love song/lullaby taught to Ranka Lee by her mother. Later in the series, Ranka sings a version created by her manager, Aimo O.C., which changes the song into a battle hymmn.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has a weird version where the darker version shows up first... in the very first scene. It's a creepy song and fits the dark atmosphere of the scene. It turns out to be a slowed down, distorted version of the ending theme, "Magia", which the show deliberately avoided using until Episode 3. The ending version is... only slightly less creepy than the one used in the opening scene.
    • Another weird variation comes up late in the series. Homura's theme, "Puella in somnio" (Girl in the Dream) tends to follow her arrival onto a scene without fail, and is a mysterious and airy. A reprise comes in the form of "Inevitabilis" (Inevitable), a heavy and melancholic piano reprise that plays during Episode 11 when she breaks down in front of Madoka and explains everything before resolving to fight Walpurgis Night by herself. While the reprise came up much earlier in the series, it's particularly more poignant in the context of this scene and sets a much bleaker tone from thereon in (which, for Madoka Magica, is saying something).
    • Signum Malum is a darker and more melancholic revision of Sis Puella Magi.
  • From Umineko no Naku Koro ni: goldenslaughterer is already a pretty dark BGM to begin with, since it plays during the more cruel deaths, but it gets a darker and more intense remix as the executioner in EP7, which plays during the fight between Will and Bernkastel.
  • The happy tune that Saya sings various songs to early on in Blood C gets played in a slower, darker manner in the final moments of the last episode.


  • In The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo and Frodo sing almost the same song as they leave the Shire. A single adjective is the difference between Bilbo's song of adventure and Frodo's complaint the arduousness of his task.

(Bilbo's version) Now far ahead the Road has gone
And I must follow, if I can
Pursuing it with eager feet...
(Frodo's version)
Pursuing it with weary feet...

  • In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie is horrified to hear her father come home singing the last verse of "Molly Malone" ("She died of a fever, and no one could save her..."), a verse he otherwise never sang. He dies a few weeks later.

Live Action TV

  • In the Fringe episode Brown Betty, the story version of Walter is introduced amongst the cheerful sound of corpses singing The Candyman. Later, he sings it to himself as his son abandons him and he is left to die alone.
  • One episode of The Wonder Years opens with Kevin extolling the virtues of his sweetheart Winnie as the Beach Boys' classic "God Only Knows" plays. The song is used again at the end of the episode when Winnie dumps Kevin.
  • During the Doctor Who episode "Last of the Time Lords", at various points remixed versions of "All The Strange Strange Creatures" appear, with added instrumentation, in order to evoke a more desperate, partially tribal feel.
    • The awesomely dark music that plays as we see the ruined Gallifrey in "The End of Time Part 2" is a twisted version of season three's "This is Gallifrey".
    • The music in the final scene of "The Pandorica Opens" is a dark reprise of Amy's theme.
    • The Eleventh Doctor's secondary theme, "The Mad Man With A Box" is given a dark reprisal towards the end of "The Big Bang", entitled "The Sad Man With A Box".
  • The background music during the final scene of the Firefly episode "Jaynestown" is a sad, subdued, instrumental version of the earlier "Ballad of Jayne".
  • In the BBC adaptation of Gormenghast, Lady Fuschia sings a childish (and rather stupid) rhyme to announce herself in the first episode ('I am Fuschia, I am me...') and in the final episode, Steerpike sings a seriously twisted version gloating about his utter madness and the fact that he has mudered several members of Fuchsia's family, including her two aunts, whose corpses he is dancing around at the time. And it's all downhill from there...
  • NCIS does this in several episodes with their theme song, both with 'darker' versions as well as several sad versions. Interestingly, they often only change the speed of the song.
  • Now it's time to say goodbye to all our company.../M-I-C (...you real soon!)/K-E-Y (Why? because we like you!)/M-O-U-S-E...
  • "Under Your Spell," from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the first version, an upbeat love song, Tara uses the title phrase metaphorically; later Tara discovers she is literally under a spell to prevent her breaking up with Willow, and the Dark Reprise uses the phrase literally. The second version is actually a double version of this, seeing as it's a duet with an (even) Darker Reprise of Giles' earlier "Standing In The Way".
  • In the first minute or so of episode 44 of Kamen Rider OOO, Doctor Maki gets a less booming version of Kougami's music.
  • The episode preceding Lost's fourth season finale introduces the show's home theme as a happy, sentimental motif. The episode's final moment's transform it into a song of doom.
  • A sinister cello version of Jenna's Turkish pop song "Muffin Top" plays during Thirty Rock episodes when she or Tracy are up to something.
  • In Robin Hood, when Isabella first shows up, she's accompanied by a very dark, off-key remix of Marian's theme, indicating that her betrayal was planned from the start.
  • In Game of Thrones, the first appearance of King Robert is heralded by a grand song called "The King's Arrival". In the second season premiere, a more dark version of the theme plays when guardsmen hunt down and systematically kill Robert's bastard children throughout the capital.
    • In the final episode of the second season, "Valar Morghulis", a very grim, foreboding version of the series' main theme is played when an army of dead led by the White Walkers approaches the Fist of the First Men. In the same episode, a mournful version of the main theme is played on the Violin of Sadness as the Stark kids, Hodor and Osha survey the burnt wreck of Winterfell.


  • Nena's hit "99 Red Balloons" is a song about 99 red balloons being mistaken for a threat on radar and the nuclear holocaust starting. It's not exactly a sunshine song, but it's rather upbeat. Then the melody and lyrics turn soft and wistful for the final verse:

99 dreams I have had
And every one a red balloon.
It's all over and I'm standing pretty
In this dust that was a city.
If I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here...
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go...

  • The Who's The Kids Are Alright: The middle two sentences ("I know, if I go, things will be a lot better for her. I had things planned, but her folks wouldn't let her.") change the meaning of repeated verse.
  • In The Protomen, Mega Man declares "As I live, there is no evil that will stand, and I will finish what was started - the fight of Protoman", when he first decides to avenge his brother. He repeats the line near the end of the opera, only this time, he's referring to trying to force humanity to fight for itself by allowing Dr. Wily to slaughter it.
  • Arcade Fire's album The Suburbs, about the appeal and drean-crushing nature of the aforementioned place, ends with a dark reprise of the titular song, representing (in one interpretation) the overwhelming nature of the suburbs. It ends with a slow fadeout of the words "Sometimes I can't believe it/I'm moving past the feeling", implying that while the protagonist once railed against the suburbs vociferously, he has given up his fight as futile.
  • Skinny Puppy's Remission has "Glass Houses", and its more sinister reprise, "Glass Out".
  • Cord Lund's I Wanna Be in the Cavalry and its reprise: The first song is an upbeat country song about a young recruit, full of eagerness and enthusiasm who wants to join the cavalry. The reprise? A song about the hardships of being of a cavalryman in the 19th century, disease, starvation, and the elements and all. To add to the bleakness, the narrator is a soldier in an army fighting a losing war.
  • In Joanna Newsom's album Have One On Me, the final song, Does Not Suffice, is a Dark Reprise of the central In California. Whilst In California is about the evaluation of a relationship, which is threatened by distance, homesickness and a fear of commitment, Does Not Suffice is a definite break-up, as the voice describes packing her belongings and leaving her lover, stating that "everywhere I tried to love you is yours again and only yours". The "chorus" of In California, which focused entirely on a sense of indecision, is echoed in Does Not Suffice by a series of resigned, defeated lalala's, which fade away as they are overwhelmed by strings and a burgeoning, crashing electronic drone (a stark mechanical presence in an album full of pastoral imagery). Definitely darker.
  • In "Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf" by The Killers, it's the line, "And I love you endlessly, darling, don't you see, I'm not satisfied." The line isn't as noticeable at first, because it goes by quickly and the music is still playing, but when the music fades out and the song puts special emphasis on it by making it the last line in the entire song, it seems like they are trying to tell you something. And they are: The next song in the trilogy, "Midnight Show", has the narrator killing his ex-girlfriend, whom the first song was also for.
  • In "Daughter of Evil", sung by Rin Kagamine (and featuring her brother Len), in the beginning we get the line, "There was, once upon a time, an evil kingdom that no one dared to face, and the ruler was a girl so mean, a little princess of only age fourteen". This line is repeated at the end, right before the princess is to be killed. Oh, and by the way, that's not her. Guess who took her place.
    • Also by Vocaloid, in "Kagome, Kagome" (Circle You, Circle You), Miku and Luka singing the words to the game (which is a real game, by the way) starts out already being extremely creepy. But when you find out their reasons for being in the abandoned orphanage and the things that happened in the orphanage before it was deserted, you realize that they are very likely murderous ghosts. The line gets even darker when they sing it a second time.
  • Ne-Yo's album Libra Scale opens with "Champagne Life", which is an easygoing, upbeat party tune, full of vitality and celebratory swagger. The album closes with "What Have I Done", a regretful look back at past mistakes and broken love whose backing track echoes the carefree tune of "Champagne Life" with piercing guilt.
  • Lit's "Miserable" has this happen all within the chorus: "You make me cum/You make me complete/You make me completely miserable."
  • Green Day's "¿Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl)" from their Rock Opera 21st Century Breakdown is a Dark Reprise of one of the earlier songs, "¡Viva La Gloria!" While the latter is that of one of the main characters, Christian, praising and encouraging Gloria to "start a war", the former is that of Christian accusing her of being a useless "dirty liar".
  • In the Domain concept album The Last Days of Utopia, this song is played when the main character is washed up on the shores of the titular city, and is breathtaken at its majesty. Later on, after the destruction of the island and with the main character floating alone lost at sea, we get this.
  • Happens within a single song for The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets' concept album The Shadow Out of Tim. The song is called "Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here," and the chorus goes "Take your time, take your toll, everything's under control/Execute Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here" until after the last verse of the song, where the protagonists accidentally unleash an Eldritch Abomination, it's changed to "Take your life, take your soul, everything's out of control/Execute Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here".
  • The last song of Caamora's opera based on the novel She, The Fire of Life, is full of these.
    • Partway through the song, Leo reprises part of a much earlier song, Covenant of Faith. But instead of hopeful and optimistic, it's now full of despair. The line "But I won't turn back from this journey that I take" in Covenant refers to his exploration of the lost island they've washed up on, whereas in Fire he's referring to his decision to bathe in the Fire of Life and rule the island as its immortal king.
    • Shortly after, Ayesha's "Wait for me" chorus has the same melody as the instrumental introduction to the song, but with a quiet, almost ethereal quality to it.
    • Finally, the ending chant of "She Ayesha, She Immortal" is the same as the one in the prologue of the entire opera, except now it sounds hectic and desparate as the volcano erupts around the protagonists.
  • "The Princess Who Sleeps In A Glass Coffin" from Sound Horizon's Märchen, Snow White sings a darker, more vindictive version of the song's first verse once she's revived.

With skin white as sorcery, hair black as obsidian,
And lips red as the flame, I have been reborn.
If your burning envy has made you sin, then with burning shoes,
You shall dance until you die!

  • Front242's Front By Front reprises "Until Death (Do Us Part)" as "Agony (Until Death)".


  • The reprise of La donna e mobile near the end of Rigoletto; it's the moment when Rigoletto realizes the prince is alive...
  • Echoes of the Toreador song in a darker tone while Don José kills Carmen.
  • Wagner's Ring: where to begin? The whole thing is an embodiment of this trope.
    • A lot of Siegfried's and the Wälsung's motifs have a dark reprise in the Funeral March.
    • The whole Immolation Scene does this to a lot of main motifs.
  • Tristan: the Liebestod tune was already heard in the love duet.
  • Turandot: the Executioner Chorus' motif has a reprise in Liu's torture scene.
  • Billy Budd: almost as tricky as the Ring...
    • A sea shanty is repeatedly heard as a work song, but the tune returns in a threatening, wordless chorus at the end.
  • This is more a homage, but in one scene, Claggart has a motif very similar to that of the Grand Inquisitor.
    • Vere sings a motif that Claggart had first.
    • Billy has a foreshadowing of his big solo in an earlier duet.
    • Not to mention the Epilogue is a maybe even darker counterpart of the Prologue.

Video Games

  • Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories has a dark reprise (fully instrumental) of its main theme Sinful Rose play during the credits of the worst ending. Post credits, horror ensues.
  • Silent Hill 2's (instrumental) theme tune is strangely light and optimistic for a horror game - until a scene near the end, where a much more melancholy version plays on piano and violin, making the moment (Angela's decision to commit suicide) that much more heartbreaking.
    • In the same game, "Fermata in Mistic Air", played when Maria dies for the second time, is a dark reprise of "Null Moon", the music when you first meet her.
    • "Promise Reprise", played during the second cutscene with Angela, is a Lonely Piano Piece version of the Maria Ending credits theme, making it a kind of inversion.
    • Also, the first game has "Not Tomorrow", played when Lisa dies, which is a dark reprise of its title theme.
  • Yoko Shimomura loves this trope:
    • Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2 has one with Xion, and then at the end of the game... her battle theme.
      • ' 'The Other Promise is a mournful reprise of Roxas's theme, played during your battle with him.
      • Vanitas's battle theme is remixed with Ventus, Roxas, and Sora's leitmotifs during their final battle.
      • Aqua's battle music with Ventus/Vantias is a dark version of Dearly Beloved.
      • Xion's leitmotif contains a riff of Kairi's theme.
      • Memories in Pieces is a remix of the upbeat "Hand in Hand" battle theme.
      • In Kingdom Hearts 3D, the Possessed Sora uses a darker version of Destati as a boss theme.
      • And many more...
    • An inverse example: in the first game Hollow Bastion's theme is eerie and mysterious, but in the second game where said location serves as the Hub Level, the music is a more happy upbeat version of the same song.
  • Although non-lyrical, in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire versions, the Victory Road theme is essentially a Dark Reprise of the main Pokemon theme.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Zelos' happy-go-lucky samba theme song is replaced by a much darker, slower arrangement during his Face Heel Turn, showing his inner darkness.
    • Similarly, Raine's theme has two versions: the speedy, silly version that plays when she is in the throes of her ruin mania, and a slower, solemn one used for more serious scenes. This second one is what plays when Raine meets her Missing Mom, who has gone insane with guilt(?) and doesn't even recognize her own children.
  • The ending sequence of Final Fantasy VIII makes good use of this with Eyes On Me, which at first is turned into a Nightmare Fuel psychedelic acid trip and later serves as a true Tear Jerker. This is the first time we hear the song in full - although the melody is played often as background music in the game, canonically the versions we hear during gameplay are muzak covers of the real thing.
  • Hunting~Betrayal from Digital Devil Saga 2 is a reprise of the first game's battle theme, which plays during the Optional Boss fights and when you take on Heat
  • The theme "Otherworld" is played during the intro to Final Fantasy X, and it's later used as the theme for the final boss.
    • The Hymn of the Fayth is normally sung to inspire hope in the listener. However, an eerie, distorted version plays during the conversation with Yunalesca, where the utter futility of the pilgrimage is revealed.
  • Final Fantasy VII; The final boss fight in Disc 1, Jenova Life, has Aerith's theme playing in the background. This is appropriate because the fight takes place after Sephiroth kills Aerith.
  • The Aria sung by Celes in Final Fantasy VI is played again when Celes attempts suicide after Cid's death.
    • Additionally, Locke and Setzer's themes are reprised in "Forever Rachel" and "Epitaph."
  • Merlina's theme, played on piano in Sonic and The Black Knight gets reprised into the three minute long vocal rock used for the final battle.
  • Persona 3 has the Aria of the Soul - well, more specifically, the entire Persona series has Aria of the Soul, which plays in the Velvet Room, and nowhere else. However, only in Persona 3 does it go further - the final boss, the Nyx Avatar reprises it as the Battle Hymn of the Soul. While completely and totally awesome, it turns the normally calm and peaceful Aria of the Soul into a theme that definitely seems to embody the state of the situation your party is in: While the main guitar segment seems to be optimistic and gung-ho, the corresponding piano and vocal-oriented segments are almost pessimistic.
    • In Persona 2, we had Kashihara which is a darker version of Philemon's Theme. Also the EX battle which is actually a lighter version of the final battle.
  • In Tekken 2, Devil's theme is a darker rendition of Kazuya's theme.
    • That theme was already dark to begin with.
  • The final mission of Halo 3 features an Ethereal Choir music piece, "Halo Reborn", which itself is a reprise of "Under Cover of Night". A sad reprise of this, "Greatest Journey", with "violins of woe", is played when Sgt. Johnson dies.
    • Inverted with the second part of "High Charity Suite", which is a bright reprise of the Covenant's theme. The same piece is reused with Soundtrack Dissonance in Halo 3's ending, what with the apparent loss of Master Chief.
    • Similarly, when Miranda is killed, a sad reprise of the beginning of "High Charity Suite" is played, which itself was a darker arrangement of "In Amber Clad".
    • The credits music starts with a Triumphant Reprise of the Halo theme, but ends with a Lonely Piano Piece.
  • "Spartans Never Die" from Halo: Reach is a Lonely Piano Piece reprise of "Return", the first movement of "The Package"; and by extension, the first half of "Ghosts and Glass" . Likewise, "Ashes" is a remix of "Wing and a Prayer" with a One-Woman Wail added to the first part.
  • In World of Warcraft, the creatures known as the Naaru play a soothing melodic chime as you approach them. However, when one of them becomes corrupted and is reintroduced as a boss, a twisted, chaotic version of the same chime can be heard during the fight.
  • The music for first part of the final boss in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a very dark reprise of Zelda's Lullaby since the fight is against Zelda's body being possessed by Ganon.
    • And "Midna's Desperate Hour" is a Lonely Piano Piece version of her theme / the Hyrule Field theme.
    • In The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, the "Great Sea Cursed" music is a dark reprise of the main overworld theme combined with Ganondorf's theme.
      • Wind Waker also does this to each of the boss themes in Ganondorf's Castle during what borders on being a Boss Rush.
      • Much like the graphic style, a lot of Wind Waker's songs are deceptively cheerful, and get twisted into something darker or more downtrodden by the end of the game. Some of the tracks that haven't been listed yet are Aryll's Theme ('Aryll's Kidnapping'), 'Hyrule King Appears' ( 'Farewell Hyrule King'), 'Hyrule Castle' (which actually debuts as 'Sealed Hyrule Castle') and even the series' main theme in the ever-popular 'The Legendary Hero'.
    • Links Awakening has several dark reprises of the main Zelda theme for exploration.
    • Used with great effect in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. For each day (the game spreads through three), Clock Town plays a different song: the first day plays a joyful and upbeat song fitting for a happy town and stuff; the second day has a bit faster and quieter version, but largely the same; but the third one... Reflecting the impending doom the town is about to face, the song gets its rhythm section swapped by a ominous, dark one, and the fact that the main melody is maintained (even the instrument) makes it even creepier. Ah, and it's faster too.
  • If you fail an event in the original Pilotwings, a sad piano version of the "Event Clear" music plays.
  • Xenogears first has the song "The Wounded Shall Advance Into the Light" play in the Nisan Cathedral, a solemn, calm environment. Later, the dark reprise "Pray for the People's Joy" is played during moments of crushing hopelessness.
  • Shadow Forger Ihlakhizan's theme in RuneScape is a darker take on Born To Do This, a heroic theme of Daemonheim.
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs The World The Game has a dark reprise of the Scott Pilgrim anthem when fighting Nega Scott.
  • The Final Boss Music of each scenario of SaGa Frontier is a darker rearrangement of the Main Character's theme of that scenario.
  • Sonic 3 and Knuckles has Angel Island Zone, which starts out as standard island-music fare then turns slightly darker once the jungle is set on fire.
  • The World 1 background music from Super Mario Galaxy 2 is actually a somber version of the "Good Egg Galaxy" music from the first Super Mario Galaxy game.
    • Also, the ending music of the first Galaxy game, which is a dark reprise of the "Comet Observatory" theme, which is played when Rosalina says goodbye to Mario/Luigi after helping her save the universe (and Peach, which Mario/Luigi is concerned) from Bowser and flying away to another part of the galaxy.
  • The opening theme of Castlevania 64 is a Playing the Heart Strings version of "Opposing Bloodlines" from Castlevania Dracula X: Rondo of Blood.
  • You know that little jingle that plays whenever you win a battle in most of the Final Fantasy games? Well, it, naturally, features in the Dissidia Final Fantasy games whenever the character you're playing as wins a fight. However, if you're playing as one of the Warriors of Chaos, a different variation plays, with a real 'evil has prevailed' feel to it.
    • There's a similar-sounding "Tango of Tears" remix of the victory fanfare in Final Fantasy VII, for when you lose a chocobo race.
  • "Mine Cart Madness" from Donkey Kong Country is an ominous, dark remix of the main DKC motif first heard in "Jungle Groove", the first level's very lively theme.
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, the music for your house and Spiral Mountain are both upbeat and bouncy. In the sequel, however, Spiral Mountain's theme has a more mournful melody, and the music for Banjo's house sounds sort of empty, considering it's just been demolished. Within the same game, the sequel has King Jingaling's Palace, which has a melody that tells how you're in the presence of royalty. Once Grunty and her sisters zap his life energy and zombifies him, though, that same song seems to have less life in it. Put simply, this series has a lot of dark reprises.
  • Inverted in Tales of Monkey Island with a major version of Lechuck's theme.
  • Axelay has this for the boss themes, basically much darker versions of their respective stage themes.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni manages to make an already dark theme darker, not just one time but twice, turning goldenslaughterer (which usually plays when a murder scene is discovered) into resurrected replayer, and then to the executioner.
  • In the Ace Attorney series, the Steel Samurai is an exciting children's action show. Appropriately, it has an upbeat theme song. The protagonist of the first three games even uses it as his ringtone. The show's popularity leads to a spinoff show called the Nickel Samurai with the same theme. However, the star of the Nickel Samurai is accused of murdering the star of a rival show. At a certain point during this case, when something sad is being explained, a slowed-down and sad version of the song called the Steel Samurai's Ballad plays. The same Ballad also plays during the game's bad ending.
  • Medal of Honor: Frontline uses a minor-key version of its title theme at certain points, such as at the end of the OST track "After the Drop".
  • The song "I AM NOT A MORON" from Portal 2 becomes a dark reprise of itself as the scene it plays during switches from being about Robot Buddy Wheatley taking control of the Enrichment Center from Big Bad GLaDOS and allowing you to escape to him going Drunk with Power and becoming the new Big Bad. A more standard case of this trope occurs with the song, too, as an even Darker Reprise of it plays as the final boss music.
  • If Harry dies in Pitfall II, a minor version of the Theme Music Power-Up plays.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, Family is a slower, more wistful version of the theme from Earth.
  • Homeworld starts -after a much needed tutorial- with the epic scene of launching the Mothership. Meanwhile, the vocal version of Adagio for Strings, Agnus Dei, plays during the launch sequence. Cue two missions later after a small trip to the edge of the solar system: your fleet returns home only to find your homeworld burning. The same bloody song, which filled you with triumph, will reduce you to tears.
    • And then there is the twist at the end, you arrive at your long lost homeworld and here the same song is again, but this time it once again fills you with triump and a glorious feeling.
  • Final Fantasy XII's final boss theme, "The Battle For Freedom" contains both a Dark Reprise of the "Theme of the Empire" as well as a Triumphant Reprise of the "Theme of Final Fantasy XII" (the theme of the Resistance), battling against each other for dominance.
  • In Sonic Colors for the Wii, the final boss uses a dark, vocal-less remix of the games theme song Reach for the Stars.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge (the video game sequel to the movie), "Oh No!" is a minor-key reprise of Jack Skellington's cheerfully macabre "What's This?", after he finds Christmas Town in ruins. Most of Oogie's Revenge is composed of reprises of the original songs, but this is the biggest Mood Whiplash from the original.
    • There is also "Take Our Town Back" to the tune of "Making Christmas" about the townspeople banding together to defeat Oogie, and "Sally's Song" a darker, up-tempo version of the same song from the original film which is now a duet between Sally and Jack about Oogie's deception.
  • The final boss theme in Dragon Quest IX contains a minor key variation of the series main theme.
  • In Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Evil Ryu's theme is this trope to his original, classic theme, even mixed with some of Akuma's theme. Furthermore, Oni, Akuma's even more superpowered Super-Powered Evil Side, is an even darker reprise of his regular theme.
  • The title theme of Mass Effect 3 is a much slower and more somber version of the Victory theme that plays at the climax of the original Mass Effect.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles final boss music has remixed segments of the opening theme mixed in with it.

Web Comic

  • Homestuck uses this multiple times over the course of the soundtracks; for example, the lighthearted song "Harlequin" from early in the story gets a pretty effective Dark Reprise called "The Carnival" to represent Gamzee's descent into insanity.
    • Another song, "Chorale for Jaspers", is used in Volume 1 as a sort of silly, self-parodying epitaph for Rose's childhood cat. The same melody appears hundreds of pages later in a dramatic scene where Rose faces Jack to avenge the mother and friend he murdered.

Web Original

  • Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog has one with "Slipping." The song's melody is first heard as background music as Horrible is attempting to steal the Wonderflonium. When we actually hear it as a song in its own right, it's significantly darker...not that it doesn't have totally random humorous moments (such as the Doctor interrupting his own song to give a reporter the correct spelling of his name.) This is Dr. Horrible, the king of Mood Whiplash, we're talking about.
    • Also, the theme song. Also a mild subversion in Brand new day / the music at the party after Hammer's defeat. The subversion is that BOTH usages are dark, but in different ways.
    • My Eyes, the opening number of Act II, probably counts as a sarcastic (ironic?) echo, with Billy and Penny singing completely different songs in the same space. Billy/Dr. Horrible's is a angsty, dark song about his descent into supervillainy because Penny is boinking Captain Hammer, while Penny's is an inspirational song about Hammer superficially supporting the homeless shelter to get into Penny's pants but still being a jerk to the bums. "So They Say" continues along these lines.
    • The background singers, and the title of the "Everything You Ever" are a reprise of a line in Slipping where Horrible declares he'll get "Everything he ever". The word "wanted" is implied in both cases. The latter half of the song, "The Nightmare's Real" contains a dark, techno version of Brand New Day as well as a darker version of the theme music.
  • Used in Gantz Abridged, of all places. In the final episode, when Kurono realizes that everyone else has died, a sad-sounding rendition of the Rickroll (Gantz's theme) plays in the background.
  • Horrible Turn has a dark reprise of "No Place on Earth like Austrailia" for the dark finale song of webmovie.
  • Arguably, for Red vs. Blue, Blood Gulch Blues, which is basically the theme with lyrics added, although the lyrics aren't too morbid, and the song is mainly about how the teams fight among themselves more than with the other team. However, especially because it was played after Tex's (apparent) death, some of the parts seem borderline depressing (It's Blue Versus Blue/And Red Versus Red/Living like this, we were already dead).
    • It also helped that the snippet played ended before getting to the outright sillier lyrics ("My car's like a puma, it drives on all fours").
  • Draco's solo in "Back To Hogwarts" from A Very Potter Musical. It switches from the happy major of everyone else's solos to a high minor, and it's about his dream of leaving Hogwarts, taking over the world, forcing everyone to submit to him, and getting Harry out of his way. Of course, since it's a parody musical, it's played for comedy:

...and then I'll be the one who is totally awesome!



  • Doctor Who And The Pirates (one of the audio stories) has Evelyn Smythe and Red Jasper claiming to be a Pirate Queen and King respectively, filking a Gilbert and Sullivan song while Evelyn (a sixty-something history lecturer) attempted to intimidate a pirate crew. Red Jasper sings it again shortly afterwards, celebrating his absolute authority after forcing a crewman to eat his own tongue. The enthusiastic pirate chorus is... somewhat less enthusiastic.
  • The old entrance music of Colin & Jimmy Olsen in 06-07 was Britney Spears' 'Toxic', along with the intro from Full House. After Colin left for greener pastures, came back, and subsequently had a Face Heel Turn, he used A Static Lullaby's cover of Toxic - the alternative metal/screamo music emphasising that he'd changed about as much as his brother had.
  • If you've ever rode on the Disneyland ride, Splash Mountain (based on the movie, Song of the South) the annoyingly addictive song "Laughing Place" becomes more sinister when the ride passes by the two sinister, animatronic crows anxiously waiting for Brer Rabbit's death (and, in the Disneyland Anaheim version, before that scene, the dark reprise starts earlier with two Mother characters exclusive to that version of the ride singing mournfully about Brer Rabbit being caught facing certain death warning their children to not go to the laughing place). and when it climb up the last and highest hill in the cave before descending below. 4:54 in this soundtrack - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIEvJfKSex4&feature=related

Sarcastic Echo

Stage Musicals

  • "The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring" from The Mikado.
    • Another Gilbert and Sullivan example is "Happily Coupled are We" from Ruddigore, though Rose's verse was cut in several of the D'Oyly Carte revivals, thus adding the Second Verse Curse to the curse upon the Murgatroyds.
    • The second act of The Yeomen of the Guard is full of this kind of song (as well as the other kind of Dark Reprise, for which see below).
  • "America" from West Side Story.
  • "Master of the House" from Les Misérables. Two verses of a character glorifying his own wicked ways, and in the last verse his wife comes in and insists that he's just a petty crook.
  • The character of Che is a constant sarcastic echo to the title character in Evita. It's never certain whether he's adding his own acerbic commentary... or voicing the cynical and darker subtext that Evita herself hides behind her upbeat words. "Goodnight and Thank You" showcases this best. "High Flying, Adored," reverses this sequence, with Che's grim assessment of Eva's fortunes making the main part of the song, while being undermined by Eva's euphoric attitude.
    • His opening act, "Oh What a Circus", manages to be an ahead-of-time sarcastic echo of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina". One wonders whether first-time audiences (before the latter song became famous by itself) quite got the nuances of that ...
      • Don't Cry For Me Argentina gets a more traditional Dark reprise, when Eva sings the melody during her last broacast with the wrods 'Don't cry for me, Argentina/The truth is i shall not leave you/ Though it may get harder/for you to see me/ I'm Argentina/ and always will be.'
  • "You Must Meet My Wife" from A Little Night Music.
  • "Baby, Dream Your Dream" from Sweet Charity. Starts out with Nikki and Helene mocking Charity's optimism, but then they reveal that they would love to have someon to love them.
  • The Act II version "Not a Day Goes By" from Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, in which Frank and Beth sing of their love for each other while their words are echoed by Mary, who is secretly in love with Frank. Of course, the Act I version of the song - which Beth sings bitterly to Frank after their divorce - is also a Dark Reprise despite coming first, since the action of the play moves backwards.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has this in the first major duet after the opening number. "There's No Place Like London" opens with Anthony singing the praises of the city in tones of romantic idealism. His fellow passenger, Sweeney Todd, who lived in London all his life before being sent overseas on a false charge fifteen years ago, has nothing but contempt for the city, and his darkly cynical lyrics contrast Anthony's opening in a big way.
  • "O Happy We" from Candide, may be an unintentional invocation of this trope, as Candide and Cunegonde talk past each other obliviously as they discuss their radically different images of married life. (Some versions of this show gave this song an actual Dark Reprise.)
  • In Chicago, Roxie's song "Funny Honey" suddenly turns spiteful when her husband Amos fails to maintain an alibi for the murder she committed.
  • "All for the Best" in Godspell has Jesus sing the first verse to say that the suffering one goes through in life is "all for the best" in heaven. Judas then says that anything of any value is "all for the best" people.
  • "Alma Mater" in Grease.
  • "I Can See It" from The Fantasticks is both a Sarcastic Echo and a Dark Reprise: Matt sings a straightforward "I Want" Song about seeing the world while El Gallo sings asides about what a dreadful place the world can be. Later, as El Gallo seduces Matt's sweetheart Luisa, the two men switch parts.

Animated Film Musicals

  • "I won't say I'm in love" from Hercules is one of the lighter forms of the sarcastic echo, with the Muses commenting on Meg saying she's not in love
  • Similar to the above is the song "On the Open Road" from A Goofy Movie. Goofy is excited and happy about his road trip with his son, who is inversely angry and depressed about leaving his new girlfriend behind.

Live Action Film Musicals

  • In The Producers, the song "We Can Do It" has Bialystock and Bloom alternately singing about how their plan cannot and is sure to fail, respectively.
    • Also, Max's song "Betrayed" is practically the entire show abridged, and includes mocking Leo.

Anime and Manga

  • Two versions of the song "Aura" in .hack//SIGN. One showing the majesty of The World, and the other the horror.

Film - Animated

  • Frosty Returns has one called "Let There Be Snow", but it's unique in that it gets two sarcastic echoes. In the first time the song was sung, the school children are playing and singing about how much they love the snow, while the snow-shovelling adults voice their complaints through song. Later in the special, the song is reprised as the protagonists explore a landscape filled with snow, singing about the benefits of snow. At one point, it cuts to the Big Bad Corrupt Corporate Executive sitting in his limousine elsewhere, and the music takes on an industrial arrangement as he extolls his plans on becoming king now that his patented method of getting rid of snow has gone mainstream.

Live Action TV

  • During the climactic "Walk Through The Fire" in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode "Once More, With Feeling", quotes from the earlier, more positive "If we're together" appear as sarcastic echoes.
  • The theme song of the show Green Acres is similar to, but lighter than the Candide example, where husband and wife protagonists give radically different versions of the perfect life to the same melody.
  • Kamen Rider Kiva - The promotional band for the series, TETRA-FANG, did a cover for Nago Keisuke a.k.a Kamen Rider IXA called Individual System. He then does his own version of it with the lyrics changed to support his twisted Black and White view of the world called Fight For Justice. He then does it again with his more lighter mindset called Don't Lose Yourself


  • Used in Lupe Fiasco's already somewhat dark song 'The Die.' The second verse consists of the character's friend trying to convince him that he's safe, while the killer repeats the laundry-list of 'hidden' guns, and the two's plans for the evening and replaces the last line ('Go and get some grub') with 'Catch a few slugs'
    • A lot of Fiasco's songs have a darker meaning in them. He can be extremely dark when he wants to be. For example, his smash hit Superstar can sounds cool, smooth and joyful at first, but if you know Lu's music, and know how he sometimes calls out other rappers for the content of their music and all that, the chorus will sound a little scary. If you are what you say you are, a superstar, have no fear.


  • Used often in opera, making it Older Than Radio.
    • A good example is when we hear "Non piu andrai" from Figaro, reprised in Don Giovanni.

Professional Wrestling

  • During a famous angle in which his career was almost ended by Earthquake, a video shown on WWE TV (and later in home video) about Hulk Hogan started by playing his famous entrance theme "Real American", but cut to footage of Hogan being massacred by Earthquake on "The Brother Love Show" set to a sad, melancholy, string version of "Real American" which ended with a shot of Hogan's locker being slammed shut.
    • Another WWE video detailed the history of the company set to Kid Rock’s Lonely Road of Faith. [1] As the New World Order were set to debut, they made their own version. [2]

Web Original

  • "On The Rise" from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog—inverted, as it starts with Dr. Horrible's negative verse and follows up with Penny's optimistic variation. The overall effect, however, is the same.

Western Animation

  • The Batman - Joker has his own version of gear up sequence when he decides to become Batman for an episode.
  • In Adventure Time Simon sings the cheers theme song twice. The first time is to cheer up Marceline, the second time he sings it as Survival Mantra to hold onto his sanity while he uses his crown
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Tale of Iroh once has Iroh singing a fairly happy song to cheer up a crying child. He later sings it while breaking into tears as he sets up a memorial for his dead son.
    • Only made worse in that the song is about a soldier coming home. Iroh's son was a soldier who died in battle.
      • Not to mention that the whole mini-episode doubles as a memorial for the actor voicing Iroh up to that point
    • Even more interesting since the first time the song sends the message that War Is Glorious. The Dark Reprise instead sends the opposite message that War Is Hell.
    • Done to comic effect in another episode, where the leitmotif of the imitation Avatars is the normally awe-inspiring Avatar music played on an off-key tuba.
  • The song Apu sings in The Simpsons episode after losing his job; "Who needs the Quickie Mart?... I dooooooooo!"
  • One episode of My Little Pony Tales has Starlight sing about her crush on Ace while picturing the two of them as a "Perfect Pair". She then joins the soccer team, only to discover Ace is a Jerk Jock who goes out of his way to humiliate her just because he can. Cue a weepy reprise where she admits "We're... not a perfect pair."
    • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic had an absolute bombshell of one of these. The Season 2 Finale, A Canterlot Wedding, introduces Twilight Sparkle's brother Shining Armor as the groom. However, his bride who is actually a fake and the real Princess Cadence engage in a Distant Duet entitled "This Day Aria." A few scenes later, the villain, who reveals herself as the fake Cadence, reprises the song, and the scenes of carnage and war play while she sings.
  • The TV Special of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax has a whole bunch of these as everyone leaves the land.
  • Underdog, in "Riffraffville", when he's running out of energy: (Spaghetti Western style) "Once he was lightning, once he was thunder, now this could end him, if he should blunder. Without his super energy pill, he get weaker and weaker and weaker still ".
  • In Total Drama World Tour's first song, Noah's only line has him sarcastically echoing the song itself.
    • "Come fly with us, come DIE with us."
  • In Power Rangers Wild Force, the standard music for the combination of the Wild Force Megazord begins with a jungle drumbeat, symbolic of the show's theme. When Zen-Aku combines the Predazord for the first time on screen, it's personal theme begins with an off-key version of the Wild Force Megazord's theme.
  1. Alternatively, the Dark Reprise can turn out to be bad news for the villain, when it's a reprise of the Villain Song. Whether or not the villain's demise makes things better for everyone else tends to vary.