Sometimes, someone is singing or playing a musical instrument or a drum
— not to be malicious or anything — and he just WILL. NOT. SHUT. UP, until it finally makes another character yell for him to stop or just start screaming insanely, or lash out in some way. It doesn't necessarily have to be bad
music (though it often is), it's just that it's incessant (or sometimes just in a style the hearer just can't stand to hear) and goes beyond the hearer's point of enduring, and to him it becomes like Nails on a Blackboard
and he just wants it to end. The "madness" is usually figurative and temporary, but can occasionally be literal and permanent.
Related to Big "Shut Up!"
, which is often the outcome. Also related to Dreadful Musician
. Can be related to It Won't Turn Off
. Could be a case of The Thing That Would Not Leave
if this happens inside a person's house. Compare Brown Note
, which is a related trope. (The difference? This trope is when the music is not harmful itself but irritates you to madness; Brown Note is when the music is inherently
harmful.) Also compare Loud of War
, which is this trope done maliciously. Also
compare Hell Is That Noise
. Not to be confused with Ear Worm
, although it could be caused by one. Make it so only one character (or a few) can hear the music, and it becomes a form of Terrible Ticking
Anime and Manga
- In the Cheetos commercial "Piano", a girl and Chester the Cheetos cheetah are repeatedly playing just the beginning of the tune "Chopsticks" over and over. Finally, a guy in the foreground has had enough and says, "Don't you two know anything else?" The girl and Chester look annoyed, then start playing it again — one octave higher.
- In Darker Than Black, Hei's downstairs neighbors practice for their band into the wee hours of nonstop. Averted, in that this never bothered him, either due to his zen-like calm, or the fact that he's generally never home. Un-averted, when he has Kenji Sakurai as a guest, and he complains about the noise.
- This is how Welcome to the NHK starts.
- Cacofonix, the Bard from Astérix qualifies, so much so that this talent is often weaponized.
- The Donald comic Drie Konigen has Donald chased by a The March of the Three Kings, wherever he goes.
- A National Lampoon comic strip had a guy with a downstairs neighbor who had the worst taste in music, who left for a couple of weeks with his phonograph playing Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons" - the record started skipping, repeating "owe my soul to" over and over. Nobody could get in and shut it off, and eventually the guy ended up on the street, blank-eyed and chanting "Owe my soul to Tennessee Ernie...Owe my soul to Tennessee Ernie..."
- A tourist visiting deepest Africa becomes ever more maddened by the incessant sound of native drums, about which the natives will only ever say, "Very bad when drumming stops!" About to completely lose it, he finally forces one of them to tell him what happens when the drumming stops. The native replies: "Bass solo."
- Not playing an instrument exactly, but in Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult, one of the main characters is a scientist who studies, well, whale songs. For a while he plays recordings of them at home all the time, until he catches his wife attacking the stereo with a knife because she can't stand to listen to them anymore.
- "Hail Carpathia" becomes musical torture for Chloe Williams when she is held in custody by the Global Community in the Left Behind book Armageddon. She counters this somewhat by singing "Fail Carpathia".
- In The Order of the Stick, Elan often drives his teammates to this.
- S.S.D.D has a strip with a Maytec security officer making a log entry about an increasing number of incidents where base personnel suddenly went berserk and attacked others or Maytec property, while Christmas muzak is playing in the background. Then...
- During ProtonJon's Let's Play of Super Kaizo World, he hears the "Time's Running Out" alarm so many times after reloading save states at the very beginning of the level that he eventually pleads for it to stop. He later adds, "I'm not sleeping tonight, guys. This is my nightmare sound."
- In "The Tiki Room", The League of S.T.E.A.M. deals with a tiki idol that emits a drumming sound and Will. Not. Shut. Up. Fortunately no one actually goes mad, but it does make it difficult to conduct an interrogation.
- Bagpipes, for many. (They were used by armies for just that reason, another example of this trope being weaponized.)
- Yodeling, for many. (Also weaponized in Mars Attacks!, but for the Martians it was more of a Brown Note.)
- The Most Unwanted Song combines elements that were revealed in a survey to be the least desirable elements in a song. Answers included extremely high or low voices, child singers, lyrics about cowboys, lyrics about holidays and commercial jingle lyrics; the song therefore includes a soprano rapping about cowboys and children singing holiday-themed jingles advertising Wal-Mart. Extremely length was another turnoff, so it ended up being 22 minutes long.
- There have been several instances where radio stations have a "stop the music" donation for charity, where they'll play a song that is considered annoying on repeat until their goal has been met.