troperville

tools

toys

Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
List Song
- Stravinsky!
- Gretchaninoff!
- Rumshinsky!
- Rachmaninoff!
- He'd better stop because we feel we all have undergone enough!

A List Song is a song whose lyrics lists a bunch of things that all tie together in some way.

Not quite the same thing as a Patter Song (though a List Song can also be a Patter Song). A patter song is a song which spits out a lot of words in very little time. Lots of sixteenth notes, a moderate-to-fast tempo, and more often than not, a very limited melody. The test of patter-songitute lies in the music. An example of a patter song that isn't a list song would be "The Worst Pies in London" from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, or "Trouble" from The Music Man, or "I've Just Seen a Face" by The Beatles.

A list song is made so by the lyrics. List songs that aren't patter songs include "I'm Still Here" from Follies, and "It Might as Well Be Spring," from State Fair. Admittedly, most list songs are going to be patter songs, but they aren't interchangeable terms.

The difficulty of memorizing the lyrics of List Songs is evident when actors in live performances sometimes forget what they're supposed to be singing.

Some particularly common examples are covered by subtropes:
Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • McDonald's had an ad back in the '80's - the McDonald's Menu Song that was Exactly What It Says on the Tin - it came as a 45 record in the Sunday edition of major newspapers, and if your copy had the class able to sing it all the way through, you won a million dollars.
    • "Big Mac, McDLT, a Quarter Pounder with some cheese, Filet-O-Fish, a hamburger, a cheeseburger, a Happy Meal, McNuggets, tasty golden french fries regular and larger sizes..." Set to the tune of "Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)" by Reunion, a great list song of golden oldie singers and groups.
    • This goes back before them all:
      Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.
    • "Homer? You're drooling on the mike again."
  • San Francisco Bay Area tropers of a certain age will undoubtedly remember the infectious jingle for Denevi Camera mentioning their store’s locations (“Dublin, Berkeley, San Lorenzo, Cupertino, San Jose”).
  • "Dumb Ways To Die", a PSA by Australian Metro that went viral.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Pokémon gives us the Pokerap and, in a more roundabout way, "What Kind of Pokemon are You?" which listed all of the Pokemon types from that era.

    Comedy 
  • Australian comic duo The Scary Little Weird Guys did a couple. One was about the (highly venomous) wildlife of Australia, and the other was (supposedly) every name in the telephone book.
  • A Brazilian radio does practically every day a parody of "Because I Got High" in which the lyrics are the streets on which the traffic will get jammed. And they change the names every time!
  • German comedian Otto Waalkes has Wir haben Grund zum Feiern (we have reason to celebrate), which consists of a list of alcoholic drinks to the melody of BillyJoel's 'We Didn't Start the Fire'.

    Film 
  • Mr. Ray, the schoolteacher in Finding Nemo, sings these to educate his students. ("Let's name the zones, the zones, the zones/Let's name the zones of the open seeeaaaaaaaaa!")
  • The "Galaxy Song" from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life is sort of a List Song, consisting as it does of a series of facts and figures about the universe strung together.
  • "A Whole Bunch of World" from the Teacher's Pet movie, which lists all the states in the US in alphabetical order.
  • All of the songs from Tangled except "The Healing Incantation" and "I See the Light" are like this: "When Will My Life Begin" is about Rapunzel singing about all the things she will do outside the tower she's in, "Mother Knows Best" is about Mother Gothel singing about all of the things that will "hurt" Rapunzel were she was to leave the tower, and "I've Got a Dream" is about all of the Snuggly Duckling thugs singing about all of the things they wanted to do besides acting like, um... ...thugs.
  • Mary Poppins At the penguin restaurant, Bert sings with the Penguins about Mary:
    Bert: (singing) It's true that Mavis and Sybil have ways that are winning, and Prudence and Gwendolyn set your heart spinning. Phoebe's delightful, Maude is disarming.
    Penguins: Janice, Felicia, and Lydia.
    Bert: (singing) Charming! Cynthia's dashing, Vivian's sweet, Stephanie's smashing, Priscilla a treat.
    Penguins: Veronica, Millicent, Agnes, and Jane.
    Bert: (singing) Convivial company, time and again. Dorcas and Phyllis and Glynis are sorts. I'll agree are three jolly good sports. But cream of the crop, tip of the top....
    Bert and the Penguins: It's Mary Poppins, and there we stop!
  • In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the 1971 adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Veruca Salt gets a Villain Song titled "I Want It Now", which consist of an incredibly long list of things she wants right now!
  • Doctor Terminus, the medicine-show villain of Pete's Dragon, has the song "Passamaquoddy" in which he fluidly rattles off the New England towns where his cures have worked miracles ... only for him to fumble helplessly when he tries to pronounce his current stop, to the irritation of the natives.
  • "I Before E Except After C," in A Boy Named Charlie Brown, consisted largely of exceptions to that rule and how these exceptions work.
  • "America, Fuck Yeah!" from Team America: World Police is a parody of these. It supposedly lists all these things that make the USA the best in the world, but is totally random and includes items that are morally wrong, not American at all or just plain weird. Slavery, fuck yeah! Sushi, fuck yeah! Fake tits, fuck yeah!

    Literature 
  • "These Are the Things That Make a Man" in Wintersmith is a song that lists the chemicals that make up a man ("Iron enough to make a nail, water enough to drown a dog...") concluding with three intangibles (strength, time and love). This went on to become "The Making of a Man", Terry Pratchett's favourite track on Steeleye Span's Concept Album based on the book.

    Live Action TV 
  • "Alexei Sayle's Stuff" featured a couple of these, notably "7 Things I Wouldn't Much Like To Do", in which Alexei produces several seven-item lists of undesirable activities, including running for the European Parliament dressed as a frog, and being employed to set fire to his bottom on BBC television. The song stops dead during the third verse when he lists 'Carrying on singing this bloody stupid song.'
  • Monty Python's "The Philosopher's Song" is a List Song about various philosophers and their drinking habits. "There's nothing Neitzche couldn't teach ya 'bout the raising of the wrist... Socrates himself was permanently pissed..."
  • On the Sesame Street soundtrack, Oscar the Grouch sings "I Love Trash," a list of...well...types of trash.
  • On an episode of Happy Days, Potsie sings "Pumps Your Blood," a song that lists the steps in which blood circulates through the body. It was forgotten by all but devoted fans of the show until years later, when it resurfaced in an aspirin commercial.
  • Rockapella's song "Capital", in which they list the capitals of the 50 United States. They inadvertently left off the capital of South Dakota (Pierre), and GOT A CALL FROM THE STATE'S GOVERNOR. He left a voice mail, which they then included on subsequent releases of the "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?" soundtrack album immediately after the track in question.
  • The Ending Theme to Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, considered by fans to be Super Sentai's take on the Pokerap, lists all the previous 34 Super Sentai squadrons. Given how catchy the song is, it's quite an easy method to make one remember the names of every Super Sentai ever.
  • Prior to that, the various Kamen Rider crossovers often featured a special song listing all riders involved in the crossover. Black RX' crossover song is appropriately titled "11 Kamen Rider". Bonus points that the first two are Ichigô (one) and Nigô (two).
  • An episode of Hannah Montana has Miley having to learn a list of the human bones for a biology test. She realises that she has no trouble remembering the words to songs and the steps to dances so composes a list song which she ends up teaching to the entire class.
  • The ending theme of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger lists off all 24 Zyudenchi.
  • Several in Horrible Histories, including a list of phrases coined by Shakespeare, a list of books by Charles Dickens, a list of inventions from the Victorian period, and a list of ancient Greek inventions.

    Music 
  • Probably the most famous example...1974's "Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)" by Reunion.
  • "That's a Woman" by Celtic Thunder.
  • Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire", along with its innumerable parodies, is one of the most widely-known List Songs.
  • "Paren de Venir", from Argentinian group "The Sacados". As in "We Didn't Start The Fire", the lyrics are also a list of famous people's names. The chorus asks them to stop coming to visit the country.
  • Aterciopelados' Baracunátana, which lists strange and offensive words for a cheater woman.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic does this once an album. Sometimes more than once. Examples include "White & Nerdy" (nerdy things he does), "One More Minute" (things he'd rather do than spend time with his ex) and its converse "You Make Me" (things his love makes him do), and "Hardware Store" (things he plans to do and buy when the eponymous store opens).
    • "Dare To Be Stupid" (various phrases and stupid acts), "One Of Those Days" (bad things that happened in the singer's day), "Fat" (things that happen due to massive obesity), "Good Old Days" (things that happened in the titular days)...
    • "Albuquerque" (donut types that the donut shop is out of).
    • Weird Al's song "Virus Alert" lists all of the awful things that will happen to you if the titular virus is downloaded onto your computer.
      It's gonna melt your face right off of your skull
      And make your iPod only play Jethro Tull
      And tell you knock-knock jokes while you're tryin' to sleep
      And make you physically attracted to sheep
      Steal your identity and your credit cards
      Buy you a warehouse full of pink leotards
      Then cause a major rift in time and space
      And leave a bunch of Twinkie wrappers all over the place
    • The bridge from "Hardware Store", which is somehow said in one breath:
      They've got Allen wrenches, gerbil feeders, toilet seats, electric heaters, trash compactors, juice extractors, shower rods and water heaters, walkie-talkies, copper wires, safety goggles, radial tires, BB pellets, rubber mallets, fans and dehumidifiers, picture hangers, paper cutters, waffle irons, window shutters, paint removers, window louvers, masking tape and plastic gutters, kitchen faucets, folding tables, weather stripping, jumper cables, hooks and tackle, grout and spackle, power foggers, spoons and ladles, pesticides for fumigation, high-performance lubrication, metal roofing, water proofing, multi-purpose insulation, air compressors, brass connectors, wrecking chisels, smoke detectors, tire gauges, hamster cages, thermostats and bug deflectors, trailer hitch demagnetizers, automatic circumcisers, tennis rackets, angle brackets, Duracells and Energizers, soffit panels, circuit breakers, vacuum cleaners, coffee makers, calculators, generators, matching salt and pepper shakers.
    • "Bob" is a list of palindromes sung in the style of Bob Dylan.
    • From Al's new CD, Alpocalypse: "CNR" is a list of Charles Nelson Reilly facts. "Craigslist" is mostly a list of things one could find or do on said site. "Ringtone" has a verse listing all the sorts of people around the world who hate the titular ringtone. "If That Isn't Love" is a list of things the singing character considers to be love. "Whatever You Like" (similar to the song it's based on) is a list of things the singing character will purchase or steal for his girlfriend. "Stop Forwarding that Crap to Me" is a list of stupid e-mails the singing character has been forwarded.
  • "What's Your Fantasy?" is an excuse for Ludacris to list all the places where he'd like to have sex. Doing it onstage whilst performing is one of the tamer examples.
  • Tom Lehrer's "The Elements", which is a listing of all the known elements at the time. (Its tune is taken from "I am the very model of a modern Major-General" by Gilbert and Sullivan.)
    • "Lobachevsky" also includes a short list segment where he describes the course news takes across Russia, listing a bunch of cities in the USSR.
  • Amateur Transplants, best known for "London Underground", have done a number of list songs:
  • Extreme's "Play With Me" is a big list of children's games.
  • Cat Stevens, "Moonshadow" (a list of all the body parts X that if he ever loses he won't have to Y)
  • Barenaked Ladies: "If I Had A Million Dollars". The narrator, apparently, is willing to buy such things as a house, furniture for the house, a tree fort, a miniature fridge to go into the tree fort, a fur coat (but not a real fur coat, that's cruel), a green dress (but not a real green dress, that's cruel), the remains of John Merrick, an exotic pet (like a llama or an emu), art (maybe a Garfunkel), and his girlfriend's love.
    • Don't forget the pre-wrapped bacon, or the dijon ketchup for the piles of KD he'd be buying.
    • Or the monkey!! Haven't you always wanted a monkey!!!
  • Roger Waters is quite fond of making lists. A few examples off the top of my head:
    • "Eclipse"
    • "What Shall We Do Now?"
    • "Every Stranger's Eyes"
    • "What God Wants"
    • "Nobody Home"
    • "Dogs"
  • Pink Floyd in the Syd Barrett era had "Astronomy Domine", which lists some bodies in the Solar System:
    Jupiter and Saturn, Oberon, Miranda and Titania
    Neptune, Titan, stars can frighten
  • "Pokerap" is a list of all 150 original Pokémon, as is the Japanese song "Pokémon Ieru Ka Na?" ("Can You Say 'Pokémon'?").
    • Weird Al's parody, "Polkamon", seems to attempt listing all the Pokémon but wimps out part of the way through, merely saying there's "at least 127 more". Also he used Ditto twice, thought that may be part of the joke.
    • The second ED of the Best Wishes series is basically a faster version showcasing the Unova Pokémon.
  • "Let the Drummer Kick" by Citizen Cope is a list of words that sound the same. ("Relations, creation, incarceration, determination, equation, humiliation, reincarnation, situation, elation, identification, retaliation, education, inspiration, substitution, non-inclusion, solution, conclusion.")
  • Radiohead's "Fitter Happier" is apparently some kind of disturbed checklist ("Fitter. Happier. More productive...").
  • King Crimson's "Elephant Talk" is a list of ways to say talking, with each verse featuring words beginning with the same letter ("Arguments, agreements, advice, answers...").
  • Reverend Bizarre's "The Goddess of Doom" lists various doom metal bands.
  • R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)".
  • Reunion's "Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)."
  • Café Tacvba and Calle 13's song No hay Nadie como Tú consists of a list of different kinds of people.
  • The title track to Journey's "Raised on Radio" LP.
  • Paul Simon's "Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover", although he only does 6 or 7...
    • Which is parodied in Rob Balder's Filk Song "Fifty Ways To Leave Your Planet".
    • And now Train has "Fifty Ways To Say Goodbye", consisting of about a dozen ways for his ex-girlfriend to get killed.
  • Notorious B.I.G.'s "The Ten Crack Commandments"
  • Tom Waits' Cemetary Polka lists the bizarre activities of all his 'uncles'.
  • The Rant Song from Scrubs' Musical Episode.
  • The Nails, "88 Lines About 44 Women".
  • 99 Words For Boobs, another Filk Song, performed by Robert Lund to the tune of "99 Luftballons". (Not Safe for Work)
  • The KMFDM song "Inane" manages to list the titles of every album and single they had produced up to that point, which works well as many of those titles are single common words.
    • "Me and My Gun" lists the names of various firearms.
  • The song "7 Things" by Miley Cyrus.
  • "Drop That Name" from Bells Are Ringing.
  • Mylo's "Destroy Rock & Roll" is basically a list of various artists from the history of music.
    • Mostly based on a sample of some hellfire preacher from the Church Universal And Triumphant.
  • "The Begat" from Finian's Rainbow.
  • While the chorus of "Bicycle Race" by Queen is just a man describing his urge to ride bikes, the verses list all of the popular things he is escaping by going on his bike rides.
  • Neil Diamond's "Done Too Soon" is a seemingly random list of names of celebrities and historical figures, the common thread being that they all supposedly died before their time. (Most of the people in the list did indeed die quite young, but a few of the people mentioned, such as Buster Keaton, managed to reach old age.)
  • Noël Coward was very famous for these.
  • The Divine Comedy did a couple - the best is "Gin Soaked Boy". They also covered Noël Coward ("I've Been To A Marvellous Party").
    • See also; The Booklovers and A Seafood Song
  • Jonathan Coulton has at least two of these: "The Presidents" and "Washy Ad Jeffy" (both of which are about the Presidents of the United States).
  • "Up My Ass" by King Missile is a list of things (and sometimes people) that are literally, well... Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Funnier than it sounds due to the intense vocals and how specific the list gets ("Encyclopedia Britannica! The Louisiana Purchase!").
    • Their Take Stuff From Work is mostly a list of things the "singer" recommends you steal from your office, and/or things he's stolen himself.
    • Don't forget "I Wish..." (a long list of increasingly less plausible wishes the narrator makes).
  • "On the first day of Christmas..."
    • Two other Christmas Songs that qualify, "Come And I Will Sing You" and "Children Go Where I Send Thee".
  • Jay Foreman played one of these at his 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Show "20 Songs For Free" which listed all the countries of the world.
  • Insane Clown Posse's "Fuck The World" is a Cluster F-Bomb, ending with the line "Fuck Violent J!" (spoken by himself).
  • "Feel Good Hit Of The Summer" by Queens of the Stone Age. It's a short list, but potent.
  • The '40s novelty song "I'm My Own Grandpa".
  • The song from the Discovery Channel's "The World Is Just Awesome" commercials. "Boom de ya da, boom de ya da, boom de ya da, boom de ya da..."
  • Jim Carroll Band's "People Who Died".
  • In the 1960s, Lucky Starr performed a song written by George Mack called "I've Been Everywhere". It's basically several lists of Australian towns sung at lightning-fast speed. The song has since been performed by others and adapted to other geographical areas.
    • The best-known version in the U.S. was by Johnny Cash.
  • Plenty in country music:
    • "I Love the Way You Love Me" by John Michael Montgomery and "Love Your Love the Most" by Eric Church both feature the male narrator listing off things that he loves, obviously topping it off with what he loves the most — his woman.
    • "Things That Never Cross a Man's Mind" by Kellie Pickler is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a list of things that never cross a man's mind.
    • "Good Time" by Alan Jackson is mostly a list of things that comprise a "good time".
    • "The World" and "She's Everything", both by Brad Paisley, both feature lists of what the singer thinks of his lover.
    • Rascal Flatts song "Backwards". A long list of people and possessions that a person gets back when they play a country song backwards.
    • "All My Ex's Live In Texas", by George Strait.
    • "What I Wouldn't Give for your Love" by Kevin Fowler; notably, it exclude the moon and the sun.
    • "1,000 Faces" by Randy Montana, is a list of various types of women ("There's brunettes, blonde girls, blue jeans, string of pearls / Take you on a trip around the world girls…")
    • Completely justified by Toby Keith's "My List". It's about how he looks at his list of things to do today, but decides that what he should really do today is on a different list: play with his kids, call his parents, etc.
    • Another example from Keith is "I Love This Bar", where he lists off the various characters seen in a bar (e.g. "We got winners, we got losers / Chain smokers and boozers / And we got yuppies, we got bikers / We got thirsty hitchhikers…").
  • "Like a Boss" by The Lonely Island lists everything a boss does on a daily basis, including sexually harassing an employee, promoting synergy, attempting suicide, auto-fellatio, having sex with a fish, and bombing the Russians.
    • Don't forget flying into the sun and dying.
    • Similarly, there's "Flags Of The World", which purports to list the flags of different nations, but of course very quickly turns into something much more ridiculous ("Yahtzee flag, ROTC flag, Neo-Nazi Potsie flag!")
    • Their "Threw It On the Ground",as it sounds like, is basically a list of things the titular character threw on the ground.
  • One segment of Dream Theater's Octavarium is a homage to The Who, Yes, The Beatles, and a bunch of other bands that influenced them in List Song form.
  • Die Ärzte have a song consisting of philosophers' names: Schopenhauer, Hegel, Kant, Wittgenstein, Platon, Popper, Cicero... It has other lyrics though.
  • John Lennon's "God" is a list of things Lennon doesn't believe in (one of which is The Beatles).
    • Then there is "Give Peace A Chance," which isn't so much sung as shouted, interspersed with the chorus.
    • Similarly U2's "God Part II" a quasi sequel to Lennon's song also has the singer list the things he does not believe in.
  • The Beatles themselves also had a couple: "Come Together" is a list of things old flattop be and got, "I am the Walrus" is partly a list of things the singer is (including, yes, the walrus), and "Penny Lane" is a list of things found in Penny Lane
  • Bazooka Girl's "Cantare Ballare (Happy Eurobeat)" lists the titles of other Eurobeat songs in its lyrics.
    • Similarly, Time Allstars - 150 uses parts of the lyrics from various older TIME eurobeat songs, including Ding-a-Ling, Dark in the Night, and Music Fever.
  • Daft Punk has two list songs: "Teachers", where all of their influences and favourite musicians are listed as being "in the house", and "Technologic", describing all of the things one can do with technology.
  • Sabaton's "Metal Crüe" is more or less a list of all the rock and metal bands the songwriter could come fit into the lyrics.
  • Land of 1000 Dances by Cannibal and the Headhunters, Wilson Pickett, and various others (originally by Chris Kenner, although the "Na nana na na" part was added by Cannibal) is simply a list of dances, starting with "You've got to know how to pony".
  • Part of M.I.A.'s song "XR2" consists of her listing a long series of initialisms related to pop culture:
    "XR2, 808, MP3, MC8, XOX the MC5, MTV has ADD, NBC and BET, BBC is OAP, REM, KLF, IQ up the ICQ, CB4, CPT, BBD in ATL, PDD had BIG, NYC had R&B, OPP, YRB, TLC, SWV, JO, DC, XXX, I heart you SL2"
  • Similar to that, German rap band Die Fantastischen Vier has a song called "MFG" which lists common acronyms and abbreviations of the German language. Lyrics here.
  • Surfin' U.S.A. by the Beach Boys is a list of good surf spots in the USA, mostly in California.
    • "Kokomo" counts as this as well, though only in the chorus ("Aruba, Jamaica..."). The rest of the song has actual lyrics.
  • The obscure (but fun) "Apple Song" from Melody Time.
  • Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3 by Ian Dury and the Blockheads lists Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • The Kinks' "Village Green Preservation Society" lists things they think are worth preserving, including Donald Duck, strawberry jam, and virginity.
  • "Time to Think" by Kimya Dawson is entirely a List Song, first listing things she needs, then listing things she's seen. Under the 'seen' category, she pays homage to two other famous list songs:
    "Close calls and infinity, little kids who look up to me, It's the End of the World as we Know It" and "We Didn't Start the Fire" and Adam Green. I need more time to think, don't you think? I need more time to think."
  • The Pittsburgh-based band The Clarks have "Born Too Late," a list of historical figures that they were born too late to have known.
  • Wizard Rock band Riddle TM has "Beans", which lists different kinds of 'Bertie Bott's Every-Flavor Beans'. Lyrics are here.
  • Lemon Demon's song Ode To Crayola:
    Outrageous Orange, Laser Lemon, Jungle Green
    That's what I said — Wild Watermelon, Midnight Blue, Atomic Tangerine
    Radical Red, Sky Blue, Shamrock too, Gold so true it glows
    I love the Razzmatazz, Purple Pizzazz, Razzle Dazzle Rose..
    ** Word Disassociation, from the same album, is literally just a 4 minute list of totally random words with no links to each other, connected by a chorus of just the song title.
  • Near the end of "I'm In Love With The Girl On A Certain Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk" (by The Freshies) it turns into a list of record labels that the band were (or at least purport to have been) rejected by.
  • "Heartsongs" by Weezer is a list of Rivers Cuomo's musical influences.
  • Brazilian singer Tim Maia has two lists in a row in "Do Leme ao Pontal": Rio de Janeiro beaches, and what he'll eat ("I drink guaraná, cashew juice, Goiabada for dessert!")
  • The Alphabet Song, which lists the letters of the alphabet.
  • Jazz musician and baseball fan David Frishberg's "Van Lingle Mungo".
  • "These Foolish Things" is a song listing foolish things which remind the singer of his lost love. More entertaining is Mitch Benn's "These Ghoulish Things", a parody which does the same but with a bunch of truly disgusting or downright evil things.
    A fallen crow with a broken back;
    The smell of blood by a railroad track;
    A mushroom cloud in a sky of blue;
    These ghoulish things remind me of you.
  • Alanis Morissette loves these.
    • Many of her songs have verses where nearly every line begins with the same words, completing the phrase a different way each time. "Are You Still Mad?", "Eight Easy Steps" and "Still" fit the format particularly well.
    • "Joining You" inverts this format with an ever-changing chorus: "If we were our ______, I'd be joining you."
    • "Thank U" has two sets of lists - the "How about"s in the verses, and the "Thank you"s in the chorus.
    • "Hand in My Pocket" is well-known for listing pairs of contradictory statements about Alanis's identity and state of mind.
    • "Unsent" is a list of letters never sent to ex-lovers.
    • "Versions of Violence" rattles off more forms of emotional abuse than you were probably aware existed.
    • "21 Things I Want in a Lover" is probably her best example. By the time the final chorus winds down, she has only listed 20 of the desired characteristics, and then she crams in the 21st at literally the last second.
  • Pearl Jam's appropriately titled "Wish List".
  • Played with on Sublime's "40 oz to Freedom" album. They had their producer read their album 'thank you's' set to music.
  • The Swedish comedy group Galenskaparna & After Shave have a number of these:
    • De Fyra Klädesplaggen (The Four Garments) from En himla mĺnga fina program is a list of articles of clothing set to the music of Puttin' on the Ritz. (The B part is instead a list of things that come in fours.)
    • Piff puff paff! from En himla mĺnga fina program is a list of things you can do to perplex people.
    • S:t Sigfridsplan (Saint Sigfrid's Place) from En himla mĺnga fina program is a list of things that can be found in a particular busy Gothenburg intersection.note 
    • Bragdmamma from Stinsen brinner contains long lists of the supplies that the Doting Mother is sending to her numerous sons, daughters, and exhusbands as well as the places around the world where they live.
  • I'm proud of the BBC, by Mitch Benn, listing everything awesome about The BBC between choruses.
  • The B-52s, on their first album, have the song "52 Girls", singing of "the principal girls of the USA" but only list 23. In "Dance this Mess Around" they sing about how "they do all sixteen dances" but only list eight.
  • The song Rodeo from Garth Brooks has a chorus that is nothing but a list of things one would see at a rodeo.
    • Also from the same artist: "Right Now" from In The Life Of Chris Gaines, based on Cheryl Wheeler's "If It Were Up To Me" (a list of things that may be the contribution of what's wrong in this world) and combining it with the chorus of the Youngbloods' "Get Together".
  • Globus' Europa lists battles in Europe.
  • A good chunk of the lyrics to "The Girls Of Porn" by Mr. Bungle (essentially a glorified ode to A Date with Rosie Palms) is dedicated to listing ultra-Squicky kinks and fetishes.
  • Born This Way by Lady Gaga. Check em out.
  • Nanowar Of Steel's "Intrue" lists metals (probably parodying Lehrer's "The Elements" among other things).
  • The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band's "The Intro and the Outro," best known for having John Wayne on the saxophone and Adolf Hitler on vibes (not really).
  • The verses of Don Williams' "I Believe In You" list the things he doesn't believe in and the chorus list the things he does believe in.
  • Savage Garden's Affirmation is a list of the things the singer believes in.
  • U2's "Numb", where The Edge sings what's basically a list of "Don't"s.
  • The Protomen's song Due Vendetta is basically a listing of Mega Man characters.
  • Serbian artist Djordje Belasevic has the song Namcor about all the things he doesn't like (aside from the woman he loves and he doesn't really like that he loves her)
  • Steven Wilson's Index lists... ways to list things.
    Hoard – Collect – File – Index
    Catalog – Preserve – Amass – INDEX
  • The refrain to "Johnny Saucep'n" by Moxy Fruvous. Bonus points for being sung very, very fast.
  • Swedish rock group Sator has the song "World" which lists things that... well, the chorus goes "How can we fail?/It's such a wonderful world/What could go wrong?/It's such a wonderful world". The first verse includes:
    UFO's - Donald Duck - Buddha - Jesus - Michael Jackson
    Santa Claus - USA - Challenger and science fiction
    King Kong - Bud Light - Old McDonald's got a farm
    Elvis Presley - Son of Sam - alcohol and bubblegum
  • Most of Luniz' seminal "I Got 5 On It" is a list of synonyms for marijuana.
  • Todd Snider has "Vinyl Records," a list of artists that the narrator has on vinyl:
    I got Willie, Waylon, and Woody Guthrie,
    Jimmy Buffett, Lyle Lovett, and Bobby Gentry,
    Jerry Jeff, Bob Dylan, Donnie Fritts, The Dead and The Doors,
    Patsy Cline, John Prine, and more...
    • He also has "I Believe You", which lists all the things he believes in, between choruses of "I believe in everything"
  • "Dumpsite" by the Filipino band Pan, which lists off stuff you can find in piles of trash that are stinking up rivers — even corpses of insects, rats, dogs, cats, and humans!
  • "King of Pain" by The Police is primarily a list of people, animals, and objects caught in dangerous situations, each followed by "That's my soul up there":
    There's a fossil that's trapped in a high cliff wall (that's my soul up there)
    There's a dead salmon frozen in a waterfall (that's my soul up there)
    There's a blue whale beached by a springtime's ebb (that's my soul up there)
    There's a butterfly trapped in a spider's web (that's my soul up there)
  • The new version of Blue Man Group's finale, "Shake It"'', mostly consists of (largely made-up) synonyms for the human rear end.
  • MC Lars' "Hot Topic Is Not Punk Rock" consists mostly of a list of things Hot Topic sells that are not punk rock.
  • Let's not forget the traditional hymn "All Things Bright and Beautiful"...
    • ...brilliantly parodied by Monty Python's "All Things Dull and Ugly".
  • Martyn Joseph's Everything in heaven comes apart. Poet Stewart Henderson, his co-writer on that song, specialises in this sort of thing.
  • The Church's Welcome. These are the lyrics to the song. And here is a breakdown of who all the people mentioned in the song actually are.
  • The White Stripes have done a couple. "Lafayette Blues" is entirely composed of a long list of all the French street names in the band's native Detroit. On their final album, the song "Rag and Bone" includes a list of locations that the song's subjects intend to buy secondhand items at.
  • The Bloodhound Gang's "Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo" makes a list song out of a bunch of Unusual Euphemisms.
  • "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits has a List Chorus ("We got to move these refrigerators..."), rattling off the working-class schlub's electronics-store inventory.
    • It's a short list: there are only four items on it (the actual lyrics are "we gotta install microwave ovens, custom kitchen deliveries, we got to move these refrigerators, we got to move these color TVs").
  • The Pogues' "Transmetropolitan," which lists a bunch of neighborhoods and streets in London.
  • "BAD" by Big Audio Dynamite (long, rhyming, semi-rapped lists of things that annoy the singer, tied together by the chorus "These are the things that drive me crazy/make me BAD").
  • Allan Sherman had a few of these. "Holiday for States" was a version of "Holiday for Strings" in which he listed all fifty states plus DC. Many of his other songs were lists of things he or other people did. "Harvey and Sheila" is a short biography of the title couple. "Hungarian Goulash no.5" is a list of national cuisines (Borscht is what they're serving in the Soviet/Wait! I think I've got some on the stove yet"). "One Hippopotami" is a catalogue of irregular plural words (When Ben Casey meets Kildare you have a paradox"). Both versions of "Hello Muddah Hello Fadduh" is a list of stuff going on at camp. "Pills" is about....well, you get the idea.
  • Perry Como's "A You're Adorable:"
    'A', you're adorable
    'B', you're so beautiful
    'C', you're a cutie full of charms
  • "Nell Flaherty's Drake" is a list of curses called down upon the person who killed the animal in question:
    May his spade never dig, may his sow never pig
    May each hair in his wig be well trashed with the flail
    My his door never latch, may his roof have no thatch
    May his turkeys not hatch, may the rats eat his meal
  • "Fifty Nifty United States" lists the states in alphabetical order.
  • Robert Goulet's "Summer Sounds" listed things like "the sizzle of the hot dogs at a barbecue" and "whistles on the beach when a peach goes by."
  • The Statler Brothers had a couple of these. "Pictures" was a list of photos of friends and family and "The Class of '57" was a list of high school graduates and what became of them. "Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott?" listed a number of cowboy actors the singer would have preferred to movies of the time, while "Do You Remember These?" was a list of childhood and teenage nostalgia:
    Dancin' close, little moron jokes, and cooties in her hair
    Captain Midnight, Ovaltine and the Whip at the county fair
    Charles Atlas course, Roy Rogers' horse, and only the Shadow knows
    Ah do you remember those
  • The counting part in the Violent Femmes' "Kiss Off" ("Okay, that's one, one, one cause you left me...")
  • "Roman Nvmerals" by Fergus & Geronimo initially seems to have Word Salad Lyrics, but is actually a list of places in modern life where you're likely to encounter roman numerals:
    Superbowl sweatshirts
    Star Wars prequels
    Textbook diagrams
    Rambo sequels
    Roman numerals!
  • A couple Southern Rock bands have songs that list other Southern Rock bands or artists:
  • The Robert Fripp song (featuring David Byrne) "Under Heavy Manners" consists almost entirely of a list of apparently random -isms.
  • Woven Hand's song "Coup Stick" is a somewhat less obvious example. The liner notes for the album just lists the kings of Israel from the Old Testament, but this doesn't match up to what David Eugene Edwards sings in the song itself—because he sings the literal meanings of their names, translated into English.
  • Spiritualized's song "I Think I'm In Love" includes a long list of the singer's thoughts, followed by the probable unpleasant realities (Example: "I think my name is on your lips, probably complainin'") . The list ends with "I think I'm in love".
  • Madonna's "Vogue" has a list of celebrities from The Golden Age of Hollywood near the end of the song.
  • Michael Jackson's "Why You Wanna Trip On Me" is a list of things Michael thinks people should worry about more than his personal life.
    • "Earth Song" has a similar list near the end of the song of things Michael thinks we should worry about involving the Earth's ecology.
  • Robin Mark's "Revival" from Revival In Belfast has a list of various types of people starting in the second verse who are waiting for a revival.
  • Bloated Monkey's "Playin' My Atari" has a list of Atari 2600 games recited in Motor Mouth fashion near the end of the song, with sound effects from Pac-Man, Frogger, and Donkey Kong overlaid.
  • Kraftwerk has a song called "Vitamin". The lyrics are basically Ralf Hütter reciting the names of things you can find in the nutritional-supplements aisle at the grocery store.
  • "Do You Love Me" from KISS, with Paul Stanley listing off the things that the person he's singing about likes of him, while asking the title question.
  • Darren Hayes' song "Boy" consists of a list of orders given by a parent to their son.
    "Get a job
    Turn it down
    Find a girl
    Rule the world"

    Theater 
  • "The Seven Deadly Virtues" from Camelot.
  • "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music.
    • Name-checked by Red Hot Chili Peppers in another list song, "Mellowship Slinky in B-Minus," where Anthony Kiedis concludes, "These are just a few of my favorite things."
  • Cole Porter loved this genre:
    • "You're The Top" from Anything Goes, whose title song also qualifies as a List Song in its original version.
    • Most of Kiss Me, Kate: "I Hate Men," "Were Thine That Special Face," "Always True to You (In My Fashion)," "Brush Up Your Shakespeare," "Where is The Life That Late I Led," "We Open in Venice"...and that's off the top of my head.
    • "But In The Morning, No" from DuBarry Was A Lady is one Double Entendre after another.
    • With "You're The Top," Cole Porter started a series of comparison-based love songs, including "A Picture Of Me Without You" (from Jubilee), "From Alpha To Omega" (from You'll Never Know), and the duet "Cherry Pies Ought To Be You" (from Out Of This World).
    • Then there are the List Songs with animal-related Double Entendres: "Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)," "Where Would You Get Your Coat?", "Nobody's Chasing Me."
  • Stephen Sondheim also loves this genre:
  • "Mix Tape" from Avenue Q
  • Gilbert and Sullivan made extensive use of this trope:
    • "If you want a receipt for that popular mystery" from Patience, which is filled with literary references.
    • "Silvered is the raven hair," also from Patience, which listed things Lady Jane was losing to advancing age in the first verse and things she was gaining too much of in the second.
    • One of their most famous is the "Little List" song from The Mikado, about all the useless people the Lord High Executioner can kill, because they surely won't be missed!
    • Most famous of all, and frequently parodied: "I am the very model of a modern Major-General" from The Pirates of Penzance.
  • "They All Laughed" from Shall We Dance has a refrain that starts as a List Song and ends as a love song.
  • The song "Joseph's Coat" from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
    "It was red and yellow and green and brown
    And scarlet and black and ochre and peach
    And ruby and olive and violet and fawn
    And lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve
    And cream and crimson and silver and rose
    And azure and lemon and russet and gray
    And purple and white and pink and orange and BLUE!"
    He is bad and evil and mean and snide
    And snarky and dank and snaky and base
    And rotten and awful and violent and rude
    And wicked and foul and crooked and rank
    And vile and vicious and slimy and gross
    And hateful and hostile and hurtful and harsh
    And wretched and damned and cold and cruel!
  • "Down With Everything That's Up" from Let 'Em Eat Cake.
  • The Catalogue Aria from Mozart's Don Giovanni, which outlines Don Giovanni's sexual history.
  • "La Vie Boheme" from Rent is pretty much a celebration of (and thereby list of) everything that the main characters consider bohemian.
  • In the musical Wicked, Galinda lists all the ways Elphaba can become more "Popular".
  • "Rainbow High" from Evita, which is a list of things the stylists help Eva with, including eyes, hair, lips, figure, face, voice and so on.
  • From Hair:
    • "Sodomy / Hashish" — a list of unmentionable acts and drugs, respectively.
    • "Colored Spade" — "Iiiiii'm aaaaaa...." list of pernicious African-American stereotypes.
    • "Ain't Got No" — the end of the song is an insanely fast recitation of things the hippies don't need or can't afford.
    • "I Got Life" — a recitation of body parts (sung on top of a table in the film)
  • Carmina Burana actually contains music other than "O Fortuna!" One of them, "In Taberna Quando Sumus", contains a lengthy list of everyone currently drinking: the cleric, the soldier, the quick, the slow, whites, blacks, fools, scholars, the sister, brother, mother, that guy over there, and so on. All sung in an appropriately ludicrous tempo.
  • "Mystery" from Vanities (5th Avenue Theater/ACT version), sung at the beginning of each act while the cast is putting on their makeup and costumes. The first act's version lists the various makeup implements, the second lists makeup brands, the third lists clothes designers, and the fourth lists signs of aging. The "I Want" Song "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" lists the things the girls want in adulthood.
  • "Tchaikowsky (And Other Russians)" from Lady in the Dark, a list of four dozen Russian composers Danny Kaye could rattle off in well under a minute. It was the inspiration for "The Elements."
  • In the musical Barnum, the "Museum Song" is essentially a one-verse list song; the verse is repeated a second time at increased speed.
  • "The Begat" from Finian's Rainbow listed a variety of people who engaged in the title activity, from the Garden of Eden to modern times.
  • In Bells Are Ringing, "It's A Simple Little System" lists composers' names with the racetracks they stand for.
  • Children Of Eden has "The Naming" of the animals, which Stephen Schwartz has some fun with by including many extremely obscure animals, and "Generations" which is one of those big long "begetting" lists from The Bible done as a fun production number.
  • Wonderful Town has "100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man" - essentially, Ruth listing the ways she's managed to scare off her potential suitors over the years, including correcting someone's grammar and demonstrating a superior knowledge of baseball. Thankfully, it doesn't go through all 100.

    Web Original 
  • "Things That Don't Exist" by Jason Eppink, Matt Hannon, & Alex Taite (concept based on this strip from Dinosaur Comics).
  • Charlie The Unicorn: Lungfish, blackfish, alligator, icefish...
    • Also from Film Cow, Ferrets, in which Harold the Ferret lists all the things that make him happy.
  • Casey and Andy has a fan-created one with all the characters (plus "the conquistador") that the author put up on the website
  • The Bedroom Philosopher enjoys these, most famously in the song "I'm So Postmodern". (I'm so postmodern that I stole everyone's mail, and cut them up into a ransom note and hid it in a thermos...I'm so postmodern I take all my Lego to the supermarket, and build my own shopping trolley, and only buy one nut...etc.)
  • Brawl in the Family had its 200th comic, "The History of Nintendo", which near the end includes a list of many well-known games that have appeared on Nintendo systems.
  • Comedy band Your Favorite Martian had plenty of songs that would namedrop several characters or things that relate to the theme of the song, such as Robot Bar Fight naming a lot of famous robot characters, Club Villain listing off as many popular culture villains as possible, Fight To Win being full of fighting game characters, etc. Not QUITE list songs, but close enough to be considered.

    Western Animation 
  • Pinky and the Brain had a song listing all the parts of the brain. (It's set to the tune of "Camptown Races".)
    "Brain stem! Brain stem!"
  • Animaniacs had one for the nations of the world, one for the states of the US and their capitals and one for all the US presidents.
    • They also parodied themselves by purporting to have Yakko singing every word in the dictionary.
    • Yakko also sang a song listing all the planets in the Solar System, except Uranus.
    • There's a song about all the senses, including horse sense, common sense, and fashion sense.
    • One starts out as a quasi-list song of movies, but punning on them the whole way (The Princess Bride got married to the handsome Prince of Tides / which makes her dad The Fisher King, the Father Of The Bride). It then goes into a straighter version where the Warners rattle off the names of as many movie stars as they can think of.
  • There's the Family Guy version where Stewie sings about the people he hates and wants to kill.
  • "Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day" by Bowling for Soup (the extended version of the theme song from Phineas and Ferb) is a list of crazy things to do during summer vacation:
    Crossing a tundra, or building a roller coaster
    Skiing down a mountain of beans
    Devising a system for remembering everything
    Or synchronizing submarines
    "They built a submarine, a time machine, a haunted house that made me scream
    Drove cattle through the mall, built a giant bowling ball
    Blew me up to fifty feet, a chariot dragged me down the street
    Made their stupid clothes a fashion craze, shoelace tips a household phrase
    Shot me through a circus tent, always asked where Perry went
    A lava flow destroyed my face, a giant roller-derby race
    Thawed a caveman out of ice, built a roller coaster TWICE!"
  • 'Before We Die' from Total Drama Island was a song in which 12 teenagers were all saying what they wanted to do before they die, almost all at once. Then at the end of the song, they even more rapidly ask for something to save their lives as they fall out of a plane.
    Some wings! A jetpack! A rift in time! Parachute?
    Waterbed! A trampoline! Springy shoes! Rocket boots!
    A flying squirrel! Bubble bath! I change to bubbles, too! Mama! Pizza-no! Chips and some dip will do!!
    • You can also count 'This Is How We Will End It,' where at the begining Alejandro is listing all the girls he used during the course of the show, and the final song 'Verses,' where the final two are listing body parts they need to get, while mocking the others. (Get me two knobby knees, and arms like logs of cheese!)
    • Total Drama loves this trope, huh? 'Her Real Name Isn't Blaineley' is Geoff listing all the bad things about Blaineley, including things like she buys her jeans large on purpose so you think she's lost weight, her hair is dyed, and, or course, her real name isn't Blaineley. It's Mildred!
  • In an episode of House of Mouse, Ludwig von Drake demonstrates his knowledge by naming every character present in the club that evening... in song, no less.
    So, there's Dumbo to the left
    And Bambi to the right
    Cinderella and Cruella
    And Prince Charming and Snow White...
  • Veggie Tales featured the song "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" which lists things that the titular pirates don't do.
  • Trumpton loves this trope
  • Used in an episode of Recess where the Ashleys give everyone "ratings", and Vince gets a nine, therefore, he has to hang out with the rest of the nines. Singer Kid, who as his name implies, always sings instead of speaks, and he starts singing one of these songs listing all the "champions" in the nines.
  • Cartoon Network had a promo in the 90's that listed off as many characters from the channel as possible titled, "Boo Boo Baba Dee Dee".
    • And now they have one listing all the aliens in Ben10.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Spongebob's Last Stand" had the song "Give Jellyfish Fields a Chance", in which the majority of the lyrics is a list of random objects that rhyme. The objects don't really relate to anything or each other.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic features one in the song "Glass of Water" from the episode "Three's A Crowd", sung by none other than John de Lancie as Discord.
  • Earthworm Jim featured "The Inert Gases Song" in a Show Within a Show:
    I know which gases are inert
    Helium, neon and argon
    I'll sing this song until it hurts
    Krypton, xenon and radon!


Solo DuetMusical Number IndexTenor Boy
Limited Lyrics SongMusic TropesListing Cities

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
110081
1