The lyrics formerly in the trope entry are a real song: "Komm, süsser Tod" (in German, "Come, Sweet Death"), from the Neon Genesis Evangelion soundtrack. And yes, it's every bit as disturbing as you'd think — appropriate, given the series, and when the song is played: during the Third Impact/Instrumentality sequence in Evangelion. Doubly ironic, the film synchs the line, "my world is ending" with apocalyptic imagery of the The End of the World as We Know It, in the literal sense of the words. At least the song begins to sound insidiously convoluted near the end, like an LSD trip or an exorcism...or both.
Evangelion also has another song by the same vocalist, "Everything You've Ever Dreamed," which was excluded from End of Evangelion and only appears on some albums. The tune is very airy and pleasant, but of course, the lyrics make some rather disturbing references to what happens in the film:
Did she promise you the world and did that girl just throw your love away? Leave you like a lonely solitaire with just despair for company? Do you think you'll find revenge so sweet? Make it so your hearts will never beat squeeze the very last dying breath from everything you've ever dreamed.
The lyric "I wish that I could turn back time" plays as the Rei/Lilith creature grows to the size of a small planet. It's quite disturbing to watch the first time, because it just doesn't seem like it should fit, but uncannily does.
And when Unit-01 enters the Giant Rei/Lilith in the song, random voices are heard, at first it doesn't make sense, but when you remember Lilith is supposed to hold the souls of all humanity, that part of the sound represents all the souls inside her.
On the note of Soundtrack Dissonance, how about Arael and Tabris/Kaworu's use of what is effectively the 'Hallelujah' chorus during some of their most horrifying scenes?
The lyrics of Ode to Joy (Kaworu's theme tune) are pretty much the plot of End of Evangelion:
We enter, fire-drunk, Heavenly one, your shrine. Your magics bind again What custom has strictly parted. All men become brothers. Where your tender wing lingers. Be embraced, millions! ... Whoever has succeeded in the great attempt To be a friend's friend; Whoever has won a lovely woman Add in his jubilation! Yes, who calls even one soul His own on the earth's sphere! And whoever never could achieve this, Let him steal away crying from this gathering! ... A friend, proven in death. Pleasure was given to the worm, And the cherub stands before God.
On Ryoko Asakura's character album from Haruhi Suzumiya, she has her own version of "Hare Hare Yukai", replacing all the happy lyrics from the original with depressing ones while keeping the exact same tune and instruments. This might lead to some confusion about the point of the song to people who don't know Japanese and haven't read the translated lyrics.
Even if we could map out all of Earth's mysteries, I still wouldn't be able to go anywhere. I spent my life with anticipations and hopes, But no one is there to grant them. With a warp, this looping feeling Swirls everything together and destroys them.
Ryoko also sings an upbeat, inspiring song called COOL EDITION.
My name isn't even in the ending credits (See, it's not there, I was never meant to stay)
The song "God Knows" also qualifies. The song is awesome, but the upbeat sound is overlayed with lyrics about a girl's love for/attempts to reach out to a man who's on the brink of despair.
In the same vein, "Lost My Music" is a fast-tempo, energetic song about a girl pining for her lost love.
Speaking about "Hare Hare Yukai" how about Kyon's version. Same lyrics as the original, much more slower paced and with snark in his lyrics.
The first hint that Dai Mahou Touge is not a normal Magical Girl series is when the opening Theme Tune, while remaining traditionally bubbly in harmony, suddenly mentions death and destruction halfway through the first verse — and goes on in that vein for the next forty seconds.
Sailor Venus' theme song Route Venus: a happy and cheerful tune until thirty seconds in with Minako's voice actress singing "Kiss me for the last time", about heartbrokenly leaving the true love in favor of duty.
Pick a Gundam SEED or Gundam Seed Destiny opening or ending. They all sound like poppy dance music. Almost all of them have incredibly depressing lyrics.
Except for some oddly haunting bits, the melody of "Uninstall", the OP to Bokurano, could pass for an upbeat, soaring mecha series theme. The lyrics discuss how all human life is insignificant, and the main characters' plight of being trapped in a meaningless battle where the only escape from the pointlessness of their efforts is self-delusion or their inevitable deaths.
The dissonance is even stronger when you listen to the cover by Masaaki Endoh... which has VERY Hot-Blooded rhythm and voice work. Basically, he sings about futile life with the most upbeat melody ever.
The opening credits music from Rurouni Kenshin, entitled (in English) "Freckles," is frantically happy and bouncy, but features lyrics such as "all the memories that I have are beautiful in my mind, but they can't hide the sorrow deep inside my soul." Here's an excerpt:
I brush against the freckles that I hated so,
But life goes on and I heave a little sigh for you.
It's heavy, the love that I would share with you,
Then it dissolved like it was just a sugar cube.
Now the little pain sittin' in my heart,
Has shrunk in a bit, but it really does hurt me now.
Those silly horoscopes lie,
Guess I can't trust them after all.
The Dance Dance Revolution version of this song has different English lyrics but the exact same meaning, and ups the ante by removing the heavy guitar riffs in favor of a whimsical toy piano sound.
ALL of JUDY&MARY's songs are incredibly upbeat and catchy, their lyrics notwithstanding. But with Sobakasu it's little bit more complicated — it's typically shortened to just one stanza to fit into the opening credits. The full version has a second stanza with the exact opposite meaning, somewhat balancing it out.
As part of its overall Mind Screw, the AnimeParanoia Agent has an uptempo opening theme with these lyrics, accompanied by images of the characters laughing hysterically, often in devastated surroundings. (Suffice to say that it mentions "magnificent mushroom cloud in the sky".)
The theme song for Tenchi Muyo!! (Tenchi Universe to some) is a happy, hoppy, techno song about how someone (presumably Tenchi himself) isn't quite ready for love. The English version of the song even starts with the words "Get ready/love will leave you crying". The song ends with the lyrics, "You're a broken man, poor you". The ending theme for the show is also similar in that it's a high-energy rock song that ends up being a big "screw you" to either Ayeka or Ryoko (depending on the episode, it switched every other one). The English lyrics start with "When you go fishing/You catch a boot/or some other trash/When you play at cards/you lose all your cash/you're so pathetic/you never win/and you never will/not the kind of girl/who'd make any guy/feel a thrill".
Keroro Gunsou plays with this a great deal. What sounds like funeral marches and burning courage is really about failing to do the household chores and the joys of building Gundam models.
The ending of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei called Absolute Beauty is about lover's suicide — set to a catchy tune with jazz-like instrumentals. This is pretty much a requirement for a song from this series - one of the ending songs in ''Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei" is a very dark song about the "despair restaurant" with a strong implication that it doubles as a brothel!
In the Elfen Lied manga, Lucy/Nyu/Kaede starts singing "Elfenlied" in what is apparently a very sad voice. However, the lyrics are rather childish and innocent — a far cry from what's happening at that moment. The anime ending Be Your Girl goes the other way; the song is sung by Chieko Kawabe, better known for Sakura Kiss from Ouran High School Host Club, and the tune is very catchy, but the lyrics themselves are about being desperately in love with someone the singer knows doesn't love her back and begging to be told she is loved, even if its a lie.
A few of the character songs are like this, too. Have you ever heard the translation for "Futari no Birthday"?
The other songs are usually subversions of this though. Nano Desu stays very fitting for the tune (and especially the character) the whole way through, while Nii-Nii Suki does have Satako slip into depression that doesn't fit the tune in a few spots, only to have her forcefully pull herself out. One scene in particular has her say how much she misses Satoshi, at which point the background music stops until she turns cheerful again.
Higurashi No Koro Ni's Taishou A's first verse is translated as," I pile soil onto your corpse. Even if that was forbidden, in the bliss of your innocent gaze there was an incompletely hidden temptation." It's really peaceful until you know what it's about. Then it's merely creepy.
The first of Ludwig/Germany's two image songs in Axis Powers Hetalia has a song that sounds rather scary, but it's really just about sausages and beer.
German Anthem is the epitome of this trope: The first few lines are about how he fights for justice, faith and love. Most of the song is him trying to inspire Italy to act courageously on the battlefield. The Gratuitous German he's chanting so menacingly means "unity and justice and freedom", which is Real Life Germany's national motto. Granted, he's cutting the air with his right hand and calling the Rhine his birthright, but the song borders on Narm when you consider most of what he's saying and how he's saying it.
His version of the ending song as well. Especially scary after hearing the original version by Italy.
'Ai Senshi' from Mobile Suit Gundam does this very intentionally. It sounds like an uplifting, inspiring song, but the 'Ai' means 'Sorrowful', and the uplifting music is accompanied about lyrics about a soldier's fear of the 'blazing God of Death', and his survivor's guilt, and finally, asking about if those left behind by the dead will give up their lives too...
In Gundam SEED Destiny, we also have Fields of Hope, song by Lacus Clyne, while some ZAFT-pilots are busy executing a Colony Drop, while the rest of ZAFT's forces are trying to prevent it.
Gundam 00 has Tomorrow, a very beautiful song by Ayumi Tsunematsu, who voices Marina Ismail, who in turn is shown to write and sing the song, along with some kids. Both in episode 14 and in the final battle between Exia and 0 Gundam, piloted by Setsuna and Ribbons respectively, the song plays in the background. Episode 14 even uses it as its ending, while Setsuna and Ali fight. Both times, it also makes the battles that much more awesome, thus turning them into Crowning Moments of Awesome Heartwarming.
That's true. Just try watching the final battle between Exia and 0 Gundam without sound, and then with sound, and you will notice that it becomes a hundred times more epic with Tomorrow playing. The sound effects don't even make that much of an impact, considering that most viewers can make the sound effects in their heads.
Not to mention the fact that it even plays on the radio in 2314, while the ELS are busy attacking the Earth Sphere Federation.
After All from ∀ Gundam, sung by Donna Burke sounds like something out of a Don Bluth or Disney film. The lyrics on the other hand come across as melancholic and a tad apocalyptic for an otherwise wistful song.
The song "Inori" ("prayer"), a character song from the anime Hunter × Hunter, sounds cheerful and even triumphant...but if you read the translation of the lyrics—well, it starts with "A smile stolen from the eyes I watched / That distant night when blood was shed...". And the refrain's mention of "bringing home the flame-colored eyes" is a lot squickier if you know from the anime that said eyes are entirely literal. Oh, and the the prayer from the the title? That he'd never stop being angry.
From Digimon Tamers: Beelzebumon's theme — super funky with a slight island flavor, the perfect rhythm for a song about a howling storm, betrayal, and tearing opponents apart (and he literally can). Go figure. It's a Villain Song, after all. The title, by the way, is "Black Intruder."
In Digimon Frontier, Kouichi's image song, "With Broken Wings". Upbeat rock song? Check. Depressing lyrics about crippling metaphorical inabilities and stray dogs laughing at him? Check.
To an extent, his Villain Song as Duskmon, "Blader." It's similarly catchy and upbeat, but among what's mentioned in the lyrics is doing nothing but fighting and not forgiving anyone.
From You're Under Arrest!: the second ED Sora Wo Miagete ("Looking at the Sky") is very upbeat and catchy (and sounds somewhat similar to Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven is a Place on Earth"), but the lyrics describe someone mourning a lost love.
Mikako's character song from Heaven's Lost Property's first season set of songs. It can be translated as "Princess Kill Them All", which describes the song well. It's a lighthearted J-Pop tune with a guitar backing that has Mikako earnestly singing about what she wants. Massacring everyone and ruling the Earth.
"Moonflower", sung by Tomokazu Seki, is a cheerful little number about being soul-crushingly isolated and hiding it.
Gurren Lagann has Libera Me From Hell. While the background of the song is a soft, vaugely sad melody, backing tearful opera singing, this is interspersed, and later on blended, with the triumphant and badass rap lyrics of Row Row Fight The Power.
Yoko's image song trust is this, its peppy and upbeat, until you realize that she is singing about carrying on after the one she loved died.
The relentlessly cheery opening to Narutaru, "Nichiyoubi no Taiyou" (the Sun of Sunday) has lyrics about someone sitting in a park waiting for someone who will never show up, with the implication that the other person is dead and the singer is deluding himself into thinking otherwise. This, of course, means that the lyrics fit the actual content of the series much closer than the music.
Many people are familiar with the song Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari from Bakemonogatari, especially with the Heartwarming moment where Senjougahara points out Altair, Vega and Deneve to Araragi, seemingly taken from the song. However, the whole song is about the singer lamenting their lost chance at love in the past, in spite of the upbeat and catchy tune.
The title means "The Story You Don't Know", as in the voice never confessed to her love interest.
In the 2005 version of Glass Mask, the upbeat credits song from Episode 14 onward is about the "warmth of our love," "the warmth of our skin," and how "Excitement is burning brightly like the sun." Okay, that's vague enough to be all right for shojo. Then the Gratuitous Engrish refrain takes the song straight from passionately romantic to just plain perverted: "Make it make it naked! Make it make it naked!" The characters that appear in the ending credits (among sparkling pink stars, sparkling shojo bubbles, and glittering confetti and/or flower petals) are a pair of fourteen year-old girls.
One could include "We", Squad 11's Image Song from Bleach. It's this adorably cute, happy tune, which has an entire section sung by a little girl in sing-song, and is, as one would expect from Kenpachi Squad, about killing people and battle.
Nisemonogatari has for it's ending a song set to a peppy tune that is easy to get into, however the lyrics are about a girl who wants her crush to notice her when she has been with him for a long time and he only considers her a friend. That's right, and ClariS, the singers who gave us the Tsundere anthem in Ore Imo, have teamed up with supercell to give us the ballad of the Unlucky Childhood Friend.
The opening for Puella Magi Madoka Magica has a very upbeat tune, but the lyrics are incredibly sad. Especially when it's played at the end of episode ten, and it becomes clear that it's about Homura.
The DVD/Blu-ray ending of the first two episodes (sung by Madoka's seiyuu) has an even more cheerful melody with a very sweet singing voice, but the lyrics are even sadder than the opening's.
And then there's Madoka's image song, which sounds perfectly happy and cheery, but is actually about how Madoka smiles outwardly but feels miserable and alone inside.
Your Silver Garden (Kimi no Gin no Niwa), an ending theme for Rebellion Story, easily counts as one, if you have watched this movie.
ABC Starting With C from Kaiji, in all its hard rock cheerfulness, laments how a young man's life in the modern world is wasted away meaninglessly.
Guilty Crown's two openings while seemingly very sad are about the singer's unwavering belief in the protagonist and how she will support him through Hell and back.
The Little Busters! OP sounds at first hearing like perfectly upbeat, happy song about seizing the day. And then lines like 'until you can move on past the day we'll have died' and 'these legs will keep on moving forward / even in the face of the oncoming grief' catch your attention and you realise that it's actually about learning to pick yourself up again and move on after something terrible has happened. Not necessarily unhappy, but definitely a very different feeling than you'd first think.
The second OP, Boys Be Smile, is much much worse: despite its happy, sweet-sounding tune, it's actually about Riki learning the secret of the world and having to leave his friends behind as he exits the dream and they all die. Wow.
Just like the night after a festival,
Only loneliness awaits
Deadman Wonderland: the cheerful sounding song Shiro sings in the first and last episodes. Cheerful, until you realize what the lyrics are.
In Mai-HiME, Nao's character song is slightly upbeat, but in it Nao sings about her loneliness and despair after her father was killed and her mother was left in a coma, a part of her character that isn't touched on until late in the series.
Episode 2's Insert Song, Kisaragi Attention sounds very upbeat, but then you see a subtitled version and find out it's actually about a downbeat Idol Singer (the eponymous Momo Kisaragi) begging for her fans to leave her alone, and how horrible being famous is. If you listen to the whole song, the final verse averts this, as by this pointshe's met the Mekakushi-Dan, and resolves to give her next performance all she's got.
Episode 10's Insert Song, Imagination Forest goes similarly; upbeat tune, depressing lyrics about a 140-year-oldHikikomori who wants to see the world, but is too scared of her own powers to try. Again, the final verse ends up being hopeful, averting this, when Seto arrives and gives Mary hope that the outside world isn't so bad. The song ends as she leaves for the city with him.