Suspiciously Apropos Music

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Whenever a show's characters include musicians, you can be sure you'll eventually hear them perform some original music. A lot of the time, these are pretty bad. Sometimes, they're pretty good. But even at their best, there's always going to be something slightly funny about them.

Specifically, they're always going to sound at least a little more relevant to the plot of the particular episode than you'd naturally expect. Sometimes, this will go so far as to put the song's message at odds with the established character and style of the singer.

This isn't about a purpose-written background song, or a scene where the action matches well with the background song - it only applies when the song is actually happening "in story".

Contrast Soundtrack Dissonance.

Examples of Suspiciously Apropos Music include:

Anime[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The music of the Fake Band "Fire Bomber" actually becomes the main weapon used to fight the Big Bad in Macross 7.
  • The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya: In (chronological) episode 12, Haruhi sings the song "God Knows" at the School Festival, in what turns out to be a Pet the Dog moment. For bonus points, the lyrics are suspiciously similar to the events of the last episode (which happened chronologically before this episode - it isn't Time Travel, just Anachronic Order.)
  • Several of the songs from the Fake Band "C-Drive" from GEAR Fighter Dendoh were used as various theme songs of the show, such as "Brand New Mermaid". The characters themselves weren't important in the show, however - they were just the protagonist's favorite band.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, which becomes more of a Musical in the second season because of it.
  • Kiki's Delivery Service featured on its original soundtrack two songs that were pertinent to the plot, but not exaggeratedly so. On the English dub, these were replaced with two new songs—one called "I'm Gonna Fly", the other "Soaring"`(played on Kiki's radio as she flies off on her broomstick).
  • Detroit Metal City in all its forms (anime, manga and film) is pretty much built around this trope, what with the main character being a J-Pop fan with a love for acoustic guitars who's the star and songwriter of a heavy metal band whose songs are all about rape and murder.
  • Chaos;Head, Fake Band Phantasm's music is more than apropos, it's plot important. The songs they sing appear to be prophetic of the New-Gen murders that are happening.
  • In Porco Rosso, "Les Temps des Cerises" serves as something of a Leitmotif, heard first in the very first scene on a radio, and then being sung by Gina. Though it's in French, the lyrics are actually very appropriate, and bonus points for actually being popular in that time period.
  • The Inuyasha episode "Battle Against the Dried-Up Demons at the Cultural Festival!" featured, as one of the events at the titular cultural festival, a choir of students (including Kagome) singing the "Ode to Joy" theme from the fourth movement of Beethoven's ninth symphony—except that, instead of using the original words, they used words about the Shikon Jewel.
  • Brook in One Piece breaks out into song sometimes. This is fitting, as he is the crew's musician.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • An issue of The Sandman starts with John Constantine hearing various sleep/sandman related songs and concludes 'something is trying to tell me somebody' before Morpheus shows up to ask for his help...
  • The song Envy sings after the Final Battle in Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour.

Fan Fic[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • In Some Like It Hot, Marilyn Monroe singing "I'm through with love" to the public right after being dumped.
    • In all fairness, as a performer she could have deliberately done that.
  • Similarly, Betty singing "Love, You Done Me Wrong" at the club in NY after her fight with Bob and her departure from the Inn in White Christmas. Played with in that when Betty sees Bob is in the club, she tries to get the bandleader to play a different song (he refuses); and it's entirely likely the song is in her act because she's angry at him.
  • Played with in Baseketball. The protagonist hears Suspiciously Apropos Music on the radio as the song vaguely describes somebody in his exact position: Lost love, lost friends, etc. Then the music gets even more descriptive with the line "Just tell them that it was all part of some rich guy's evil plan!" Then the radio starts giving him driving directions, and remarking on his appearance and genital warts.
    • Seems to be a signature of Stone and Parker; Team America also brings us Pearl Harbor Sucks and I Miss You as a direct example, and every other song is at least thematically accurate to a suspiciously specific degree.
  • The original Highlander, with the majority of the soundtrack by Queen, is quite heavy on this. In one scene, the Kurgan puts in a tape of a song that could not possibly be mistaken for anything other than the theme music of an aggressive Immortal - even worse, the full version contains sound bites from the film. And on top of that, the name of the song includes the subtitle "Kurgan's Theme". Also, "One Year of Love" plays when Connor and Brenda meet, and "Don't Lose Your Head" plays on the radio as the Kurgan goes on a rampage in his car.
  • Also played with in Shaun of the Dead; Trapped in a bar with a zombie bartender, the characters beat on him with pool cues...to the rhythm of a jukebox playing Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" ('cause I'm having such a good time, I'm having a ball...).
    • Earlier on, Shaun is crying after being dumped by his girlfriend, when "If You Leave Me Now" comes onto the jukebox. "Who the hell put this on?" "It's on random."
  • Being There merges this with Crystal Ball Scheduling. The real shows and commercials excerpted on the TVs often serve to parallel and comment upon the events of the plot and/or the moods of the characters. This extends to their music on a few occasions - most provocatively, a happy song about friendship from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood plays as Eve puts the moves on Chance during breakfast.
  • In one very memorable scene from Doomsday, the villain prances about onstage to "Good Thing," by the Fine Young Cannibals. Then he throws out all these plastic plates to the crowd, and a guy's wheeled in, set on fire, cut up and eaten.
  • Subverted in Jerry Maguire - after scoring a major success in re-signing a major successful client, Jerry tries to find some triumphant Suspiciously Apropos Music on the radio which he can sing along to - he goes through several stations which are playing completely unsuitable songs, before finally settling on Tom Petty's "Free Falling"... which isn't actually all that triumphant.
  • Weezer's would-be contribution to the film Angus, "Wanda", was rejected for it's potential to be entirely too suspiciously apropos: Not only was it from the point of view of the title character of the film, but it was a love song to the blow-up doll said character was slow-dancing with in the scene it was written for, described his position as a high school outcast, and even alluded to a plot point that was eventually cut from the film ("My mom drives a big rig, and my dad is gay"). So "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star was used for the scene, and Weezer's "You Gave Your Love To Me Softly" showed up later in the film.
  • In Shrek 2, the Fairy Godmother sings "Holding Out For a Hero" while Shrek and crew race to Fiona's side. Also a case of Dramatic Irony as the Godmother doesn't know Shrek is coming, and intends the piece to induce Fiona to kiss Prince Charming. The song itself is utterly awesome, though.
  • In the film of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Uncle Monty (being Scottish) sings and plays the Baudelaire orphans a childe ballad while entertaining them. Which one? "Bonnie George Campbell".
  • In Overboard, a band plays "I Just Can't Help Falling In Love With You", representing how Dean is falling in love with Joanna.
  • In Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Delysia sings a love song that suspiciously reflects her relationship with her pianist; Justified because her pianist chose that song specifically to make her think about how her actions have hurt him (he was supposed to play something totally different).
  • Played with in Val Lewton's I Walked with a Zombie. Wesley and Betsy sit down at a cafe table and almost immediately hear a ballad being sung about the brothers' feud and the affliction of Mrs Holland, apparently by coincidence. The singer's reappearance in the next scene, however, implies that this was not such a coincidence after all...
  • In Disney's Enchanted the whole Central Park joins the female protagonist in song. Cue the very confused Straight Man going, "How does everyone know that song, I've never heard of it?!"
    • In the ballroom scene, the slow-dance love song is a bittersweet ballad—perfect for our protagonists, but just a little odd for the other (presumably happy) couples attending.
  • In 2001: A Space Odyssey, as he is being disconnected after going on a murder spree caused by terminally-conflicting orders HAL the computer sings "Daisy Bell": "I'm half-crazy, all for the love of you..."
  • In the original Halloween, relevant songs and movies play for...well, most of the movie. For instance, "Don't Fear the Reaper" when Michael Myers is driving behind them, and The Thing from Another World and Forbidden Planet to play up the Paranoia Fuel in-story.
  • Pedro Almodóvar does this quite often in his movies, in most cases the songs are performed by the characters. The ending of Átame (Tie me up! Tie me down!) even basically turns into the ending of The Graduate when the female lead hears the lyrics of the song playing on the radio.
  • Smokey and the Bandit has "Eastbound and Down" playing at several points. Not only is it sung by Jerry Reed (who plays Cledus in the movie,) but it pretty specifically describes what is going on in the movie.
  • In Christine, slightly less so in the book, Christine communicates using classic songs played over the radio that have some relevancy to the action going on.
  • Tron: Legacy: In the middle of a barfight at the End of Line Club, the bar's DJs (played by soundtrack creators Daft Punk) look at each other for a second, then immediately start playing fitting fight music. Also, when Sam visits his father's arcade and turns the power back on, the jukebox is playing "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" by Journey (also a Mythology Gag as said band provided songs for the original Tron).
  • In Animal House, the establishing shot of the toga party has Sam Cooke's "Twistin' the Night Away" playing. Just as Flounder—incongruously dressed in a formal suit and tie while everyone else is wearing wild togas—enters the Delta house, we hear the lyrics "Here's a man in evening clothes, how he got here I don't know..."
  • In the first Back to The Future movie, on the morning after his time traveling, Marty McFly's clock radio wakes him to the song "Back in Time" by Huey Lewis and the News.
  • In Unknown, Martin and Gina hide in a dance club at one point, and New Order's "Blue Monday" is playing. Confusion over memory and identity is a major plot point, and there's a lull in the conversation so that the relevant portion of the lyrics ("So tell me how do I feel") can be heard loud and clear.
  • In Independence Day, guess what track is playing when the nerdy Asian astronomer first detects the transmission of the alien ships? R.E.M's It's the End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In the series Fearless, a character genetically unable to experience fear keeps crossing paths with a band, also called Fearless, whose songs are entirely about fearlessness.
  • Wet Goddess: Recollections of a Dolphin Lover: "oh good, some nice, mind-numbing rolling stones music. "Goodbye, ruby tuesday, who could pin a name on you" Or not.
  • Done purposely in A Song of Ice and Fire whenever "The Rains of Castemere" is played—most notably, at Edmure Tully's wedding. The song is a famous sign within the universe itself that some major retribution is about to go down, so if it's ever played, every character knows...
  • In Night Watch, Anton's portable CD player usually plays songs that are quite apropos when set on shuffle (i.e. random order of play). Anton even ponders if he could use it as a divination device.
  • Similar to the Night Watch entry, one of the characters in Tom Dietz's "Soulsmith" trilogy actually DOES use his favorite FM classic rock station as a means of divination, basing the order of play on a Tarot reading.
  • Percy Jackson and The Olympians manages to pull this off in two different instances. The first one is subtle and comes in the first book of the series, where Grover the Satyr is practicing his reed pipes. However, the only song he knows is "So Yesterday" by Hilary Duff. It seems like a throwaway joke at first until you think about the meaning of the song, which is above moving on with your life, something Percy is unable to do because of his fatal flaw. The second comes in The Titan's Curse when a group of characters hitch a ride on a car truck, each one sitting a car that suits their personality. Thalia, one of the edgier characters is sitting in a sports car blaring rock music. Though it is never really specified what song, the genre itself goes hand in hand with the character, and the conversation she has with Percy which doesn't end on a good note.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • "Zack Attack", the kids' band from Saved by the Bell, did several of these.
    • Also the entire schtick of California Dreams, a series based entirely around the 'Zack Attack' concept.
  • The Monkees, Josie and the Pussy Cats, Alvin and The Chipmunks, Flight of the Conchords, and The Heights all built entire series around it.
    • And for today's tweens, Jonas.
  • So Weird's songs tended to carry a heavy supernatural theme, despite the fact that the singer was actively disinterested in the supernatural. Many of the Molly Phillips songs were specifically relevant to the episode in which they first appeared, especially "Rebecca" and "Love is Broken". The songs performed by Alexz Johnson were even worse, including "Push Me Pull You", which could not possibly have been written for any reason but to describe a bipolar character with magnetic superpowers.
    • Surprisingly, some of this is actually the result of Executive Meddling: the series theme, "In The Darkness" seems to be supernaturally-themed, but was actually intended to be about one character's struggle with alcoholism. Disney channel executives kiboshed any direct references to alcoholism.
    • When Jewel Staite guest starred, she sung a song called "Questions," which questioned whether anything in her life was real. Why is this surprisingly apropos? Well, start with the fact the episode was called "Siren"...
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Runaway Bride", The Doctor listens to the song "Love Don't Roam" at a wedding reception while flashbacks of Rose appear onscreen.
    • This is an interesting example: all the first four Christmas episodes of Doctor Who have specific songs written for them by Murray Gold. "The Christmas Invasion" had "Song for Ten" sung by Tim Phillips, "The Runaway Bride" had "Love Don't Roam" performed by Neil Hannon (of the Divine Comedy, who also sang the album version of "Song for Ten"), and "Voyage of the Damned" had "The Stowaway" sung by Yamit Mamo. Sadly, working a Christmassy pop song into the Victorian London setting of "The Next Doctor" doesn't seem to have been possible.
      • And the album version of "Song for Ten" includes a second verse describing his separation from Rose in "Doomsday".
    • In "Last Of The Time Lords" the Master apparently has his own soundtrack, including Scissor Sisters' "I Can't Decide".
  • Subverted in The Wire—in a second season episode, Ziggy enters the dockers' bar, morose because he's just been served with papers saying that he'll have to pay maintenance for a previously unknown illegitimate son. In the background, the juke box is playing "Lovechild" by Diana Ross and The Supremes. However, it turns out that the papers are a prank by the guys in the bar and the music is just supposed to wind him up.
  • Also subverted in Friends, where Ross hass to make a choice between Julie and Rachel, and Phoebe writes a song about it.
    • "He must decide. He must decide. Even though I made him up, he must decide!"
  • The School Play (a musical written by the teachers) in the third season of Waterloo Road is a long exercise in this trope.
  • The second season of Skins featured a musical written by a staff member and performed by students. The show was recognised to be terrible by all and sundry, except the writer/director who was using it as an excuse to grope his female lead. In the following episode, the insensitivity of the script was revealed to have caused a fatwa to be issued on the school.
    • Emily and Naomi kisses for the first time during a party. The music playing? "I kissed a girl"
  • Scrubs has Ted's a cappella vocal band, "The Worthless Peons". Whenever they performed, it was sure to be related to the episode. (Except for when celebrating Carla's pregnancy: Babyback Ribs was the only song they knew with the word "baby" in it.)
  • In the pilot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy is trying to decide between accepting her destiny as the Slayer, or trying to live a normal life. She walks into the Bronze, where Sprung Monkey are playing "Believe", which includes the line, "If my life can have a purpose / Help me to believe".
    • Buffy frequently had real bands playing at the Bronze. Sometimes the songs were linked to the scene, sometimes they weren't. The bands themselves were usually small, often unsigned (at the time) - exactly the kind that would be playing at a nightclub in Sunnydale. One odd quasi-example: In School Hard, Nickel's Stupid Thing is being performed in the Bronze during Buffy and Spike's first scene together. Non-diagetic music cuts in after the singer gets to the lines "I'm one step away from crashing to my knees/One step away from spilling my guts to you," so it was probably meant to reference the fact that Spike has an elaborate plan, the next step of which is to kill Buffy. However, the song as a whole depicts an unhealthy relationship from which the singer wants to escape, but lacks the willpower, which accidentally foreshadows much later developments. Then there's the use of Virgin State of Mind, which accidentally sounds like a description of Season 4.
      • The accidental foreshadowing in Nickel's Stupid Thing doesn't stop there - the song contains the stanza "You see, there's this huge chunk of me missing / It's gone / And I can't feel it, I can't feel it, I can't feel it"
      • Changed up later in the sixth season when curiously well-known Michelle Branch shows up to sing her single "Goodbye to You" in the episode "Tabula Rasa" wherein Tara breaks up with Willow and moves out, and Giles gets on a plane and leaves Sunnydale, quitting his job as Watcher. Probably the most appropriate song ever for the series.
      • Another very appropriate use of music is in the ending sequence of season 6 episode Smashed, which cuts back and forth between the scene of Spike and Buffy fighting in the abandoned house which ends with them having sex for the first time, and Willow and Amy doing magic for fun at the Bronze. An all-male band called Virgil is playing their song Here, with the chorus: "What is wrong here?/What is wrong with you?/What is wrong here?/Where is your head?" Willow and Amy decide they dislike the music, so they turn them into the all-female band Halo Friendlies, performing their song Run Away: "I don't wanna be, I don't wanna be alone/I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go it alone/Every time I see you/I just can't find words to say/I just want to turn and run away/I can't find the time and place to say what I need to say..." Eventually Willow and Amy decide that they've had their fun and turn everything back as it was, including turning the band back into Virgil performing Here.
    • In a Season 4 episode, Giles is at home singing "Freebird" before he's interrupted by Spike. At this point, Giles is feeling useless and is preparing to leave: "I must be traveling on soon".
    • In Angel, there is an episode where they go to Karitas and find Lindsey playing his guitar. He's playing LA Song (Pretty as a Picture), which was written by actor Christian Kane. The song's lyrics fit his character (and Angel's) perfectly. "Pretty girls on every corner. Sunshine turns the sky to gold. Warm, warm, it's always warm here. And I can't take the cold."
      • And considering what happens in later episodes, the lyrics "The sky's gonna open/People gonna pray and crawl/It's gonna rain down fire/Gonna burn us all," seem like Suspiciously Apropos Foreshadowing as well
  • In the episode of That '70s Show called "Eric's Depression", Eric has recently dumped Donna. When he is on his bed, feeling lonely, he turns on the radio. All FM stations play the same song: Eric Carmen's "All By Myself". Fed up, he switches to AM, but it's even worse: the song he hears is Ritchie Valens' "Oh Donna".
  • In an episode of Heroes, "Building 26", Sylar has just saved Luke and killed the government agents who were taking him away. Later, in the car Luke puts on the radio, and the song on air is Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer".
  • Utterly averted by DriveShaft's "You All Everybody" on Lost, Charlie's One-Hit Wonder. The song isn't really about anything.
    • However, the flashback in "Fire + Water" shows Charlie writing a song with the repeated line, "We can be saved," which ties into that episode's theme of salvation.
    • In the episode "Flashes Before Your Eyes", Desmond hears Charlie singing the Oasis song "Wonderwall"; 'Maybe, you're gonna be the one that saves me.' Desmond then saves Charlie's life at least four times.
  • Any soap opera ever. As they can't really use soundtrack they have to rely on the music actually IN the show, therefore you get Suspiciously Apropos Music playing over radios or being played by live bands ...
  • In Sons of Anarchy, one episode ends with a kid and his band giving a concert at a local community event, playing a song '18 and I like it' which glorifies youth rebellion and anarchy. Meanwhile, the kid's father who is a former member of the titular motorcycle club is at their clubhouse... having his SoA tattoo burned off his back with a blowtorch for chickening out during a robbery and getting a fellow member sent to jail.
    • Except it was because he hadn't blacked out the tattoo himself. His involvement in the incident was done when he was excommunicated, but him keeping it was like saying he had never really been kicked out, as if he hadn't really done anything wrong.
  • Parodied in Strangers with Candy in the mock-Very Special Episode about anorexia, in which Jerri is dogged throughout by a ridiculous song with lyrics that include (in both English and Spanish), "You are large and fat and quite obese, fat fat fat fat fat fat fat oink oink oink..." At one point she shuts off the radio and says to no one in particular, "I can't believe that's the number-one song."
  • An episode of Deep Space Nine includes Vic Fontaine singing "I've Got the World on a String," while Nog tries to recover from losing his leg in battle. (This doesn't seem to fit, but as Nog learns to face his life again and deal with what happens, it starts to apply. Later, Vic and Sisko sing "The Best is Yet to Come," relating to the optimism in Sisko's relationship with Cassidy, and the upcoming series finale. (Of course, both of these can be considered subversions, depending on how you look at them.
  • Every episode of Glee includes at least one instance, though they're covers of songs rather than originals.
  • Supernatural had "Don't Fear the Reaper" - guess which character showed up when that was playing.
    • In the pilot episode, "Ramblin' Man" by the Allman Brothers Band plays as Sam and Dean set off to look for John. And when you think about how they grew up...
    • "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" plays at the end of an episode which focused on whether or not angels existed.
    • "Carry on My Wayward Son" plays during the finale's recap of all the terrible things that have happened up to that point.
    • Played with in "Bad Day at Black Rock", when a bullet ricochet triggers a stereo to play music that suspiciously synchs up with the course of the fight. Justified because the fight is happening over a magical rabbit's foot that induces wild coincidences.
    • In Malleus Maleficarum, a guy listens to "I Put a Spell on You". Guess what happens to him!
    • An episode that ends with Sam and Dean in trouble with the FBI appropriately ends with "Renegade" by Styx. The effect provided by the sudden kick-up corresponds nicely to the action as well.
  • In Kyle XY Kyle's sister, Lori, is an aspiring musician. At one point she plays a song she's written herself for the group in a local coffee house. Having recently broken up with her boyfriend, the song includes lyrics like 'Being alone has given me hope' and 'It killed me when you left...what once felt like theft is making me whole'. It's a surprisingly cheerful song.
  • In the The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "The Nightmare Man", Luke is leaving for university, and having nightmares that Sarah and the gang don't care and will be glad to get rid of him. When Rani throws him a farewell party, the song playing has the line "In my dreams I know that we will never be apart". It's ironic at the time, but becomes appropriate when they defeat the Nightmare Man with The Power of Friendship.
  • The season 3 finale of The West Wing combines this with Soundtrack Dissonance to create gut-wrenching irony in the form of a musical being performed during the action. As President Bartlet is informed that the terrorist-sponsoring, American-killing foreign defense minister whose assassination Bartlet finally ordered, after failing to find any alternative course of action, is dead, the "Patriotic Chorus" from The Wars of the Roses plays joyfully and triumphantly in the background: "Upon this country God will pour His rich increase / And victorious in war shall be made glorious in peace."
  • Partly played straight, partly averted in the House episode "Control". House is playing "Baba O'Reilly" by The Who on his iPod before Vogler, who is trying to make him admit to a moral but technically unethical decision House made, turns it off. The song comes back in the background after the scene, with the lyrics I don't need to fight / To prove I'm right / I don't need to be forgiven" ending the episode.
  • Babylon 5 arranges this by overlapping two distant scenes. A choir visits the titular station, and as they perform the hymn "No Hiding Place Down Here," we hear that audio as we see Lord Refa get chased down and beaten to death.
  • In The Agatha Christie Hour adaptation of "The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife", all the songs sung at the nightclub or heard on the radio at various points in the story are suspiciously apropos.
  • In one Monk episode, Lt. Disher quits the police force and tries to start a rock band. We only hear one song by his band: it's basically Disher venting his anger at Stottlemeyer and barely even trying to hide it. The lyrics boiled down to "You can't boss me around any more, neener neener!"
  • In the miniseries of Stephen King's book The Stand, the second episode involves the characters in a post-apocalyptic world playing a Crowded House record. The tune? Don't Dream It's Over. Which it wasn't.
    • In the same mini-series, one of the characters sits on the back of a car playing "Eve of Destruction" on his guitar while 99.7% of New York (and the rest of the world) lies dead around him.
  • In Apollo 13, when Jack Swigert, the backup CMP, is called up and informed that the main CMP is sick and can't go on the moon mission, so he's going instead, Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" is playing on his radio, specifically the lyrics "You don't don't know what we could find / Why don't you come with me little girl / On a magic carpet ride"


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Suspiciously Apropos Music was the big gimmick of Shivers 2, where music videos included in the game were packed with hints to the game's various puzzles.
    • I want to hear how that works. "Give the dog the bone to get the key, and rock out by the sea, YEAH!"
  • Inverted in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. The mostly nonsensical sequence of images and metaphors in the song Klavier and Lamiroir wrote together becomes the template for a complicated murder scheme, meaning the situation was tailored to the song, rather than vice-versa.
    • However, it turns out that the similarities were initially coincidental, but the killer, upon discovering that he had inadvertently committed his crimes in a way that brought the lyrics to mind, then went on to add one more detail that was in the song, in order to make everyone fixate on the music and not think too hard about the real reasons he did all those things. You could almost call it a deconstruction.
  • Prey plays Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" during an alien abduction. At first, this seems the ironic sort, since the aliens are literally reaping the planet in a method that inspires quite a bit of terror. Eventually played even straighter, as the plot of the entire game parallels that particular tune. Probably Lampshaded: the jukebox playing said tune doesn't have it as an option before or after the abduction.
  • "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is also the theme song to the FMV game Ripper...and, considering how scary the game isn't, this also turns out to be good advice until it becomes important in the last puzzle, that is.
  • Arguably used in Killer7: in "Alter Ego", there is a street musician that plays a song ("Find your soul / find your place / then you'll find your way") that hints at the solution to one of the level's puzzles ( only one persona, Con, is able to navigate his way through a maze). On the other hand, just about everything in Killer7 is suspiciously apropos, even if you don't know why.
  • The soundtrack of The World Ends With You is mostly consisting of those. 70% of the songs can be assigned to one of the game's scenarios or characters without any problems. Most of them fit Neku in some way.
  • If we're going to include soundtracks, the ending theme of Wild ARMs 3 (which could practically have been sung by Virginia) or the one from Final Fantasy IX (which could have been sung by Garnet) would fit as well.
  • "Burn My Dread" the intro song from Persona 3 which actually foreshadowed most, if not all, of the plot (and the version that comes with the game is only half of the entire song, they would've probably had to put spoiler tags on the other half).
    • In Persona 4, the main battle song "Reach Out To The Truth" is a spoiler to the later parts. "Don't waste your time hating flirty guys..." Namatame is the flirty guy, a businessman who cheated on his girlfriend. He isn't the real villain- therefore don't waste your time hating him.
      • It could also have been referring to Adachi (hence the "guys" plural), since both the murders he commited were against women who had caught his eye but who weren't interested in him, but, again, you can't just accept him as the real villain if you want to solve the entire mystery.
  • Several songs in BioShock (series). Within the context of the game they're not meant to have significance, since they come from speakers and record players wherever you happen to be. But some, such as "God Bless the Child" and, of course, "Beyond the Sea", certainly were chosen for a reason.
    • "Danny Boy" playing in Fontaine's apartment is too good to not be a coincedence.
  • The guitarist from MOTHER sings a song which is made of hints as to where all the melody tunes can be found.
    • Then blatantly Lampshaded in Chapter 2 of Mother3 where a ghost pianist outright tells you what item to use in a certain room. In the English translation, a ghost in the room comments that the song is "very catchy...and hinty!"

Even if you forget the small moles
On my back and inner thigh,
I'll never forget you.
In my lonely room, your wig weeps,
Baby, believe me when I say,
Don't attach anything to the walls of this room,
Like moles or wigs or wall staples.
Ooh ooh oooooh~
No wall staples~

  • Fallout 3 starts with the Ink Spots' 'I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire' before revealing the landscape where someone has done just that. The rest of the soundtrack follow similar themes. For example, 'Civilization' is about the downsides of living in a big city, which is a subtle hint that post-apocalypse Washington D.C. might not be any better.
    • And "Mighty, Mighty Man" always seems to pop up when killing raiders for good karma...
    • Step 1) Obtain melee weapon. Step 2) Max out Melee Weapons/Strength. Step 3) HEY EVERYBODY DID THE NEWS GET AROUND ABOUT A GUY NAMED BUTCHER PETE!?!
    • Also "Let's Go Sunning," a song about the benefits of getting some sunlight. Well, one form of radiation's as good as the next, right?
    • The Fallout series in general has a reputation for using very apropos music for their intros/endings. "Maybe" by the Ink Spots is a melancholic tune about a guy wishing for his lover back was used during the ending when the Vault Dweller was cast out of the vault. Louis Armstrong's "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" is an optimistic, upbeat tune used in the beginning of Fallout 2 during the film reel "Leaving the Vault".
      • Since when was "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" optimistic? The singer's lover is leaving, and he's basing an entire imaginary romantic life off of the final kiss. I mean, it works amazingly well with the Fallout universe (building a world upon a foundation that was never there to begin with?), but upbeat and optimistic it ain't.
  • Most of the soundtrack to Reservoir Dogs (from K-Billy's "Super Sounds of the Seventies") is straight Soundtrack Dissonance, but in the video game adaptation, Bedlam's "Harvest Moon" comes on the radio during the car chase sequence where Mr. Brown is slowly bleeding to death.
  • At one point in Alan Wake, you end up fighting a seemingly endless army of Taken while on a stage, complete with pyrotechnics and music playing through the sound system. Standard video game setpiece, also used in Left 4 Dead 2... except that if you pay attention to the lyrics, it's quite literally about fighting a seemingly endless army of Taken. Justified in that by this point, the player should realize that not only is the song literally about the battle, but the battle most likely only happened because the song was written about it -- Rewriting Reality applies to works created in the area around Cauldron Lake.
  • With a little luck, and the right MP3s in your user track folder, it can happen quite frequently in the GTA 3D games. You can even drive in The Truth's hippie van, with CJ being high, while Iron Butterfly's "In A Gadda Da Vida" was plays.
    • If you don't have access to custom soundtracks, you can always find yourself in an intense police chase while A Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran" plays in GTA Vice City.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Todd in the Shadows is fond of ending his videos like this. In one example, his review of Alejandro, whose music video is filled with Catholic imagery, ends with "Only The Good Die Young." In particular, the line "Come out Virginia, don't let me wait!/You Catholic girls start much too late!"
  • Ben Croshaw (AKA Yahtzee) used to begin his Zero Punctuation videos with these before abandoning it for a standardized opening. CMOF comes in his No More Heroes review, when he starts playing the Stranglers song of the same name before stopping it, saying, "No, too obvious."

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Susie Carmichael's songs in All Grown Up!! probably fall under this category as well.
  • Each episode of Metalocalypse typically features Dethklok performing a song relevant to the plot of that episode. In some cases, the song itself is the plot of the episode, as on the occasion where their song about an apocalyptic troll accidentally broke the curse that had kept a mountain-sized troll asleep for centuries. The bulk of the episode showed the band being mildly inconvenienced by it and eventually trying to stop its destructive rampage.
    • "SEWN... back together WRONG... back together SEWN... back together WRONG... back together..."
  • In the Danny Phantom episode "Fanning the Flames", a ghost rocker named Ember McLain, though supposedly renowned for her amazing music, sings only one song, and even throughout the episode only the chorus is heard. It has absolutely nothing to do with the episode's plot, but probably is somehow connected with Ember's rather ambiguous human life. The song is sung by Robin Kirmissel, who after this single voice acting role was apparently never heard from again.
    • Strangely, the song is sung by a character voiced by Tara Strong, who would've been perfectly capable of doing her own singing anyway.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Homer Loves Flanders", Homer just misses out on winning two tickets to a football game in a radio phone-in. In rage, he wallops the radio, which starts playing "Two Tickets To Paradise". Most people would find that bitterly ironic; Homer doesn't even notice, and likes the song so much he calms down.
    • And starts singing along. "... got, two tickets to paradise, I've got, two tickets to paradiiiise. Doo dew, doo dew, doo dew, doo deeewwww... aah. Excellent guitar riff."
  • The ending of the Kim Possible movie "So The Drama" ends on a musical number played at the school prom which just happens to be absolutely perfectly 100% about the two leads and their discovery that actually, they could be more than friends. It's so absurdly apropos it's unreal, but somehow it works. (Of course, it was written specifically for the movie, and sung by the actress who plays Kim, but that just makes it even more suspicious.)
    • Monique arranged it. She suspected something like that might happen, and either informed the DJ, or just did it herself, probably tipped off by Wade. Or Wade hacked it somehow.
  • Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids could be a mild inversion. Since the songs the the junkyard gang played at the end of an episode were intended to drive home the plot/moral of the episode, there wasn't much suspicious about it. It was as obvious as the title character's considerable girth.
  • In Barbie and the Diamond Castle, the main characters Alexa and Liana ask Melody to teach them her favorite song, which turns out to be the key to the Diamond Castle.
    • They also sing for their supper in an inn, with lyrics that match their current situation ("We're Gonna Find It"). At that same inn, two brothers improvise a song to hit on the girls.
  • Singapore's Mediacorp broadcasting outfit sometimes takes liberties in selecting background music for the trailers of its acquired programmes - the trailer for the latest season of Totally Spies!, that Fanservicey Korean-animated show, features the song "Nobody" by the equally Fanservicey and Korean Wondergirls.
    • The trailer for an upcoming rerun of Resident Evil Apocalypse begins with the familiar opening bars of... Michael Jackson's Thriller.
  • Parodied in an early episode of Family Guy where the main characters come across Randy Newman providing a running musical commentary on every tiny detail of what is happening around him.
  • Parodied in an episode of Arthur where Buster comes back from his trip around the world and finds that he and Arthur have slightly different interests now. A singing moose, played by Art Garfunkel, follows them around and sings about what's happening.

"Mom, there's a singing moose outside our house!"

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • In his memoir, Lt. Col. Robert Morgan (Best known as the pilot of the legendary B-17 The Memphis Belle) relates how, while flying a mission to firebomb Tokyo in 1945, the radio operator on his B-29 picked up a Japanese radio station. The first track the DJ played was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, followed by My Old Flame and I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire. Morgan writes that his crew started to get uncomfortable and they switched off the radio because they didn't know if they could stand it if the next track the DJ played was There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.
  • Subversion: During the controversy over Penny Arcade's "Dickwolves" comic, which was accused of endorsing rape by from some feminist quarters (let's leave it at that), the artist, Gabe, did a Livestream during which a song from rape survivor Tori Amos was played, along with one about a woman who is a Nazi. Two songa, in two hours of music. It was accused of being this trope, and Gabe replied, with irritation, that he simply had a his music collection set on shuffle, instead of deliberately burying two songs a good way into a playlist specifically to piss off his critics in a passive-aggressive manner.
  • John Oliver started laughing when his, at the time, girlfriend broke up with him. The reason he was laughing was because how perfect the music that came on in the background was for getting broken up with. His girlfriend then said something along the lines of "This is exactly why I am breaking up with you".
  1. Could cover this, as well as the backhanded compliments tossed around during fights.
  2. The only trope that could POSSIBLY cover this is Only Sane Man. Kariya is the only one who gets that the fighting is supposed to be fun, and enjoys the smaller details in life, like the lollipop he always carries around. Lollipop doesn't rhyme with "cane" or "keen", and "candy cane" does.