Breaking The Fourth Wall: Music

  • Lou Bega pulled this off in his CD A Little Bit Of Mambo. With the prelude of him improvising a song from a non-song conversation he has on the 12th track, he explains on the song he's "improvising" that DJs can play this {the song) since it's on their play list.
  • Many folk songs directly address the audience in the last verse. "The Creggan White Hare", for example, is a tale about a crafty hare largely told in third person, but the narrator takes charge at the end:
    And now to conclude and to finish my rhyme

    I hope you'll excuse me for wasting your time
    If there's any amongst you in Carrickmore Fair
    Drink a jolly good health to the Creggan white hare
  • Britpop/Shoegaze band Lush uses this in their song Hypocrite. "... and maybe you're right, but this is my song"
  • On Jimmy Buffett's album Banana Wind, after the last credited song, "False Echoes (Havana 1921)" ends, there's a silent beat, after which you can hear Buffet asking "Ramos, where's the hidden track?" followed by the sounds of an intense search and a lot more comments about not being able to find the "hidden track". After which the song "Tree Top Flyer", the hidden track in question, begins.
  • "I'm a cartoon, mate. You'll have a hard time getting anything to stick on me. I don't even have fingerprints."
  • The "Too Drunk to Fish" by Ray Stevens ends with Ray catching a piece of the boat that sank halfway through the song and turning abound to look directly at the camera.
  • Thenardier seems to do this in Les Misérables when he justifies his scavenging of the dead, singing, "Well, someone's gotta clean 'em up my friends" in "Dog Eats Dog".
  • Shadow Gallery does this in their concept album Room V. The main character helps a US Special Forces agent develop the vaccine to a weaponized virus that the New World Order intends to release upon the world, and then forms a six man group to inform the world that an attack is imminent.
    Here we are, we are the band, we've got your marching orders
    It's in the music and the words that we sing
    Sing along, sing out loud, and you'll join the answer
    We will rock with the thunder of a thousand mighty horses
  • Karmin duo Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan actively use this trope in their performances, and will do so on IN:DEMAND with Alex James on Bauer, and David Heane on Real Radio
  • Pink Floyd's The Wall is a rock opera that combines a mostly regular narrative with fourth-wall-breaking songs addressing the audience directly. In particular, the songs "In the Flesh?" and "In the Flesh" double as parts of the story (Pink's birth and "dark rebirth", respectively) and as comments on following act (ITF? is the first song, ITF introduces the final act). Note that in the original tour, both songs were performed by a backing band wearing Pink Floyd masks. ITF? goes: "So ya thought ya/might like to go to the show [...] tell me is something eluding you sunshine/is this not what you expected to see [...]." ITF again reminds the audience that they are watching a "surrogate band" and that "Pink isn't well, he stayed back at the hotel".


    On a lighter note, there is also a backwards message (very popular in those days) embedded in the song "Empty Spaces" stating "[...] Congratulations. You have just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the Funny Farm, Chalfont... [...]."
  • Frank Zappa did this a few times:
    Watch the Nazis run your town
    Then go home and check yourself
    You think we're singing about someone else?
    'Cause your plastic people, oh baby, now you're such a drag
    The child will grow and enter a world of liars, and cheaters and people like you
    Who smile and think they know what this is about
    You think you know everything, maybe so
    The song we sing, do you know?
    We're listening...
    • Fillmore East, June 1971: Happens a few times during "Do You Like My New Car?", especially when the girlfriends of the groupie have to have all male names and not only that they are all names of Zappa's band members.
    • Zappa In New York: During "Titties & Beer" the believability of the sketch is briefly interrupted when Zappa receives a note with the question he could call somebody from the audience. He fulfills the request and continues without the background musicians ever skipping a beat. But Zappa then takes the opportunity to crack up his drummer (who plays the Devil in the sketch and wears a mask).
    Zappa: Wait, is that a note for me? Is somebody passing me a note? What does this say ... ? "Frank, please do me a favour, I can't find a brother of mine, I could dig it if you could call him from stage. His name is Dirty Tom Nomads M.C.," signed "Thanks, Bear" or "Bean," I can't tell ... Well, if he's out there ... Dirty Tony De La Nomads M.C. get in touch with Bean or Bear ... ) And as I was sayin'(...)
    • Joe's Garage: During "Cy Borg" Joe complains he cannot pay for the damaged robot because "I gave away all my money to some groovy religious guy two songs ago." Indeed the track where this situation occured on the record is "A Token Of My Extreme", two tracks before "Cyborg".
  • Eminem has sketches like these on all his albums. On The Marshall Matters LP he whispers in Dr Dre's ear, while Dre says it to the audience:
    Slim Shady does not care what you think
    Upon purchasing this album you've just kissed his ass
  • The Beatles: "Good Night" on The White Album has Ringo say "goodnight, everybody, everybody everywhere", as if he talks to all the listeners worldwide.
  • The White Stripes on Elephant: Jack White and Holly Golightly sing a duet in "Well, It's True That We Love One Another" and bicker how they love or don't love one another, when which Meg sings: "Will the two of you cut it out/ and tell 'em [the audience] what it's really all about?"
  • The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis: In the synopsis of the album included in the liner notes, Rael tells readers to "Keep your fingers out of my eye."
  • Spike Jones loved this trope too. In his parody of "Ghost Riders In The Sky" one of the vocalists asks: "When do I come in, partner?", whereupon the other replies: "In this song it don't matter, partner, go ahead!"
  • Happens a few times during Jean Michel Jarre concert videos, whether it's Charlotte Rampling smiling right into the camera while taking photographs of her husband on stage in Paris La Défense (you might think that an actress like her should know better) or a camera lens being wiped dry due to the rainfall of Destination Docklands.
  • Mungo Jerry does this in their hit "In the Summertime." Most of what they want you to "sing along with us" is just a bunch of scatting, but still.