- The song is an instrumental with no subtext, therefore having no message.
- Is completely harmless, light and upbeat, and if anything, aims for an uplifting effect. It consists of sunshine and sugar. Life is beautiful and everyone's happy.
- Is silly at most, but all in good spirit. No one can be offended.
- Can poke fun at something. Friendly kisses is pretty much the limit of sexuality that can be included.
- Is where optimism starts to noticeably fade. Life may be not all that great and fun, but it isn't still too bad either. If sex gets mentioned, it's in a side role as part of a romantic relationship, expressed in poetic metaphors and gets about as raunchy as "we were lost in the waves of night".
- Is about the level of what an average adult experiences in their everyday life. There can be slight angst or sadness, or a little cussing on the milder side.
- Gets a bit heavier; angst is still light, and the song is more sad than angsty. Cussing stays at a moderate level. Violence can be alluded to or mentioned, but this level leaves out the details; direct mentions of sex, unless cleverly hidden, usually get a song at least this high on the list. Implied use of soft drugs, such as tobacco, caffeine and marijuana usually begins at this level.
- Can include straight out angst and/or heavy sadness. Swearing can get more frequent or heavy. Violence or self-harm might be mentioned in some detail; pretty typical for political and protest songs. Sex is completely usually devoid of romance or love at this level. Implied use of mid-level drugs, such as alcohol, LSD and magic mushrooms, also usually begins at this level.
- Is likely war-themed. There is heavy angst, or heartbreaking sadness, but avoids direct mentions of suicide. Swearing starts to get explicit or frequent. Violence, self-harm can get mentioned with some detail, but not glorified. Described sex acts are demeaning to one or more of the participants; may involve prostitution or rape. Implied use of hard drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin usually begins at this level, while mention of soft and mid-level drug use becomes more common.
- Is where the song less tells about things and more immerses the listener in a dark world of hopelessness and cruelty. Rap songs of this level tend to describe and perhaps glorify crime (see Gangsta Rap). Angst gets jarring, sadness is likely on guaranteed Tear Jerker level. Swearing is frequent, if not constant, and heavy. Violence gets into the realm of gore. Mention of drug use, especially harder drugs, is common. Self-harm or suicide might get romanticised, or the lyrics might express a serious wish to die.
- Is really ugly stuff. This is the level where the lyrics often carry Unfortunate Implications for listeners. Hate messages are made very explicit at this point. Angst approaches psychotic levels, and abuse of hard drugs is outright glorified. Language can be filthy; violence gets very detailed and/or gets specific on the pleasure of hurting others or oneself. Might include straight-played romantic depiction of self-harm or suicide.
- Is almost sure to be Stealth Parody or lyrical Mind Screw. At this point, the lyrics do everything they ever can to make the listener feel depressed, shocked, offended, or disgusted, or leave listeners wondering who in their right mind would write such lyrics. Lyric writing at this level will always transition from carrying Unfortunate Implications to straight-up Crossing the Line Twice.
Notes:Just as people provide YouTube links for examples of the aforementioned sister trope, for this trope people ought to provide examples of lyrics from the songs in question which illustrate the tone of the lyrics. The Mohs scales for musical hardness and lyrical hardness could be cross-referenced for extra value and impact. Note, of course, that lower levels of hardness are not necessarily bad. Playing songs with a lot of violence and swears is downright inappropriate in many settings. Higher levels aren't necessarily bad either, especially since there is potential for satire and lower levels are Tastes Like Diabetes to some. Also note that this scale applies to lyrical content, and not the content of a music video.
Suggestion for parental guidance level comparability:
- G: 1-4
- PG: 5-6
- PG13: 7
- R: 8-9
- NC17: 10-11
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- Pharrell's hit single "Happy" is an upbeat song about never giving up with being happy, and nothing can knock you down.
- Kool And The Gang's "Celebration" Is meant to be a happy song, since it's about celebrations.
- There is not a hint of depression or anger in New Edition's "Candy Girl", a happy, Jackson Five-styled song about finding love and comparing a girl to a sweet treat.
- "Hocus Pocus" by Dutch prog rockers Focus although the same song is a level 6 on the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness
- Almost any lullaby will rank 1-2 to get both the luller and the lullee in the proper mindset. But there are exceptions...
- The Beatles' "Good Day Sunshine" from Revolver is almost absurdly cheery.
- The Hamster Dance.
- Rebecca Black's "Friday".
- "Simple Gifts" by Aaron Copland.
- Most Christmas carols.
- "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus.
- Sitcom and children's show themes, usually.
- "Close To You" by The Carpenters.
- Essentially all of Pretty Cure's songs that have lyrics. The Image Songs from Smile Pretty Cure! stand out in this regard.
- The only lyrics to "Cliffs of Dover", if we call them lyrics, are the singer shouting stuff like "Yeah!"
- Lindsey Stirling sits solidly at Level 0 most of the time due to being an instrumental artist, but We Are Giants, one of her only two lyrical songs, goes no higher than Level 1. It's an upbeat, pick-me-up song with not much variance in lyrics - which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
- "Bailando" by Paradisio is all about a fun night of clubbing in the beach paradise of Ibiza.
- "Buenos Días señor Sol" by Mexican singer Juan Gabriel is a song about how awesome it is to wake up to the morning sunshine. The fact that it was written, of all people, by a Mexican from Ciudad Juárez, a place with so much goddamn sun that people there actually think gray, rainy and cold days are awesome, makes it even more idealistic.
- Cameo's "Word Up" perfectly fits this level.
- The Beatles: "All My Loving" from With the Beatles.
- Primal Scream: "Movin' On Up". Things were once bad, but the narrator has turned a new leaf and is now ecstatic about his life.
- Jefferson Airplane: "How Do You Feel" is very sweet and naive, but it implies that the admirer is shy.
- Pre - "Pet Sounds" The Beach Boys, plus "Good Vibrations".
- Wall of Voodoo's "Mexican Radio" is a silly song that the very PC might find culturally insensitive, but it harmless to most everyone.
- ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" would probably be a Level-1 were it not for the lines that acknowledge that the sky is not ALWAYS blue...
in the cityon the streets where once was pity
But soon comes Mister NightCreepin' over, now his hand is on your shoulderNever mind
- ...And this kinda out-of-nowhere bit:
- But other than that, the song's so happy that it will probably force you to be happy as well if you listen to it. Yes, it's that happy.
- "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley And His Comets.
- "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley.
- "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin is a warm shot of encouragement, and quite a popular choice for Soundtrack Dissonance.
- Until you actually listen to the lyrics and realize that Mc Ferrin is consoling someone whose life is completely falling apart by telling him to stop whining. YMMV, indeed.
- "The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA" by Donna Fargo. The only thing stopping it from being a 1 is the fact the singer implies that she used to be depressed before the events in the song took place. Other than that, it's one of the most happy and innocent songs out there.
- "I Love My Life" by the Justice Crew is here (other than the references to drugs and alcohol which kept it from being a level 1).
- Most of Rick James' music is classified as this.
- ABBA (Waterloo)
- The Beatles: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
- The Doors' "Hello, I Love You" is ever-so-slightly suggestive, but mostly harmless.
- Pink Floyd's "See Emily Play" from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
- Lost Horizon's sophomore album "A Flame To The Ground Beneath" ranges between 3~5; all songs praise the power of the will of man, and encourages triumph over pain and hardship. The band isn't called Xanax for nothing.
- The Cure's happy songs, such as "Just Like Heaven" and "Friday I'm In Love".
- anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day's opening Aoi Shiori (Blue Bookmark). Lyrics here.
- "Allstar" by Smash Mouth.
- Smash Mouth is this level, except for some of their songs on their debut album Fush Yu Mang ("Flo" and "Walking on the Sun" which are both at a 5, being surprisingly political songs for a band best known for making songs for Shrek.)
- "YMCA" by The Village People would rank lower, if it wasn't for the third verse. (Though for anyone who understands the Double Entendre of the song being about seeking sex, it becomes around a 6.)
Young man, I was once in your shoes.I said I was, I was out with the blues.I felt no man cared if I were alive.I felt the whole world was so jive.That's when someone walked up to meAnd said, young man, take a walk up the street.There's a place there, called the YMCAThey can start you back on your way.
- "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift
- Bleach's first ending theme, Life is Like a Boat, by Rie Fu. Lyrics here. note
- Emilie Autumn's first album, mostly.
- Kamelot: Serenade
- My Chemical Romance: Their straighter love songs ('The Only Hope For Me Is You', 'Summertime') hover around this level.
- The songs on The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds range from here through 5 for the most part. The whole album has a yearning quality to its lyrics.
- David Bowie, in his lighter moods, is usually at this level. Examples include "Let's Dance" and "Modern Love" from Let's Dance, which were two of his biggest hits.
- Lindsey Stirling's Shatter Me. It's angsty, and was written about the darkest time in Stirling's life, but the lyrics are clean.
- Most of Taylor Swift's discography, especially all the songs about love gone wrong.
- Nightwish usually ranges from 3-6 with their romantic, more or less vaguely melancholic themes; when they top that it's due to hopeless themes.
- Liverpool Lullaby (or The Mucky Kid) is 5-6, as it talks pretty straight about poverty, Dad's alcoholism and how the kid's going to "gerra belt from your Dad". Lyrics
- Laula kukko ("Sing my rooster") is a Finnish children's song — the narrator of the song asks farm animals to perform their duties, such as the rooster to sing, the hen to lay eggs, and the cow to yield milk. He also threats the animals with consequences if they don't; the hen will be put in a hot oven, the rooster will lose his head, and the cow will lose her bell.
- Black Sabbath's "N.I.B." is a song about the Devil falling in love and giving up his evil ways. It'd be a few levels lower if not for the Devil part, which makes it somewhat controversial.
- "Cardboard Castles" by Watsky is difficult to place. Some could argue that the swearing would bring this up to a 6, but the edited version could very easily be a 4. The video, which is not always happy but ends on a very optimistic note, seems to support the lighter interpretation.
- "How You Like Me Now?" by The Heavy talks about a man who was recently struck from a break-up and tries to win back his ex-girlfriend, who got recently engaged with another man.
- Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five's song "The Message" is well, a message about the realities of ghetto life, although no swearing is involved.
- ABBA (The Winner Takes It All).
- The Birthday Massacre falls squarely in the 6-9 range. Their lighter songs are about loneliness and break ups.
- The Beatles: "Eleanor Rigby" from Revolver.
- Blue Öyster Cult: "Don't Fear The Reaper" makes for a light 6.
- Fall Out Boy: Most of their discography, usually set to upbeat music.
- "Forever Young" by Alphaville. It contains no swearing or drug references, but violence is alluded to in the form of fears about a nuclear bombing and being okay with dying young. And it has an incredibly haunting tune.
Heaven can wait, we're only watching the skiesHoping for the best but expecting the worstAre you going to drop the bomb or not?So let us die young, or let us live forever...
- Joy Division comes in between a 6-8. The lyrics are hardly ever profane and quite cryptic, but they are depressing, angsty, and very bleak. Some of their more uptempo (but not upbeat) songs like "Transmission" qualify as 6, while the dirges off Closer are a solid 8 (the cryptic lyrics and lack of profanity keep their darker songs out of 9).
How does it feel to treat me like you doWhen you've laid your hands upon me and told me who you are?
- New Order fits here as well, in contrast to their uptempo sound, which hovers around a 3, and in some cases, a 4 in the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness. "Blue Monday" is a great example, as in spite of its status as a classic dance track, the lyrics are indeed quite cryptic and bleak:
- Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon. Same goes for Wish You Were Here.
- Animals: "House of the Rising Sun". Dark story.
- The Offspring's "Gone Away" would be a high 6 or low 7—it's about grieving after a loved one's untimely death, but it leaves off the details.
- "The Kids Aren't Right" ranks on the same level. Composed by Dexter Holland to cope with the shock of seeing his childhood friends having fallen into tragic fates such as car accidents or nervous breakdowns while he was riding the wave of academic and commercial success, the song tells the tragic story of four children who looked like shining promises of success but ended up unemployed, pregnant or dead from suicide or drug overdose.
- The Doors's lyrics average out at six, due to the angst and surrealism of their lyrics. For instance, "Break On Through" is an angsty, angry song that references drug use with "she gets high". But it's ultimately a song about breaking free of one's limitations and arriving at a better place.
- Most of The Cure's and The Smiths' oeuvre stands here - or up to 8 (see their material in Pornography).
- Hard-Fi's "Cash Machine" resides around this level, as it talks about frontman Richard Archer's broke life before hitting it big with his band. What prevents it from scoring higher is because the lyrics, despite being surely Tear Jerker, don't cross into straight-up Wangst territory. Oh, and the song scores a 3 in the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness. This is the chorus:
I scratch a livin', it ain't easy, you know it's a drag
I'm always paying, never make it, but you can't look back
I wonder If I'll ever get to where I want to be
Better believe it, I'm working for a cash machine!
- Lords Of Acid will mostly stay around this level, as their lyrics are of unabashed sex, although they definitely have some love trappings. They however can go Up to Eleven in their squickier material.
- Quite a bit of Regina Spektor 's work, with "Oedipus," "Braille," and "Long Brown Hair" coming to mind. The actual music is slightly cheerier, however.
- Weezer's "Say it Ain't So". It's about a kid who has to deal with his parents' divorce and alcoholism.
- Midnight Oil's "Forgotten Years"
- "Nemesis", by Arch Enemy, ranks very high on the rock and metal hardness scale (around a 9) but is ultimately a song about teaming up.
- "Bat Country" by Avenged Sevenfold
- Anberlin tends to average about a 6. They have everything from nice, upbeat 3's ("City Electric") to songs about sex without love in the 6-7 range ("Feel Good Drag" and "Self-Starter") to Reclusion, which is a solid 8 and would likely be higher had the band not avoided cursing.
- Depeche Mode averages at this level. While their lyrics are occasionally very bleak and some songs definitely reach a 7, or perhaps an 8 at the very highest (such as "Blasphemous Rumours" and "The Sweetest Perfection," which are fairly detailed in their depictions of suicide and drug abuse, respectively), there's actually not a whole lot of explicit content in their music aside from the air of hopelessness, love is a very common theme, and the worst vulgarity that comes to memory is a mention of "pissing out the wrong energy" in "Wrong." Indeed, their more recent albums (Exciter and Delta Machine in particular) even have far more optimistic themes.
- In general, any of the Visual Shock era (The '80s to the middle of The '90s) Visual Kei bands, if they are not an 8, will land here lyrically, with only a few songs as exceptions. X Japan is pretty much firmly here, though several of their songs ping higher (Orgasm is either here or an 8, depending on how you interpret it, Stab Me In The Back is an 8, Standing Sex an 8/9, Sadistic Desire a 9) and two lower (Endless Rain is a 4 solely for its "make love to you" line, and would be around a 1-2 otherwise, and Forever Love is a 2-3, somewhat sad but not really sexual or violent or upsetting without the subtext of it's having been played at a band member's funeral), as is Buck Tick (with its well-earned Fan Nickname of Fuck-Tick and its love for Intercourse with You)
- Nightwish: Poet And The Pendulum is one of their darkest songs, a strong 7 if not an 8.
- Their second "long" song, Song of Myself, sits comfortably here as well, although it's mostly the poem at the last third of the song that really does it.
- System of a Down.
- Black Sabbath: "War Pigs" from Paranoid and most of their more famous songs.
- "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" from Abbey Road by The Beatles (creepy considering the melody which is more indicative of a 2 or 3 song)
- Green Day during their American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown eras.
- My Chemical Romance typically sticks to a 6-8 range in their first three albums, most lyrical content referencing death and violence, and arguably glorifying it according to their Hate Dumb. Some content may even warrant a 9, but the usual lack of language (minus the occasional Precision F-Strike) knocks them down a peg. Their Lighter and Softer fourth album changes things.
- Kamelot varies, but generally hovers around a 6 or 7.
- Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs" from The Velvet Underground & Nico presents S&M in a creepy, somewhat depressing light.
- Rage Against the Machine is typically at either 7 or 8 on the scale. May push higher during songs with more profanity.
- Pink Floyd: Pretty much anything off Animals, The Wall, or The Final Cut. Depressing, highly cynical stuff.
- Silverchair: Rarely includes bad language, but wrote a lot of songs about mental illness, unrequited love and extreme loneliness. The epitome of poignant.
- Simon & Garfunkel: Mostly sits around here. Lots of Lyrical Dissonance. Beautiful melodies and vocals. Exceedingly angsty / depressing lyrics.
- Nirvana usually sits around here.
- The National lie somewhere between 5-9, but I'm just putting it here.
- Marilyn Manson's Eat Me, Drink Me and Mechanical Animals albums sit here, giving them extremely large base-breaking reputations. Of course, for the rest of the fandom, everyone knows that the next album will piss off fans of the previously album. It's an acknowledged, intentional homage to David Bowie.
- Watsky's Sarajevo is about a real-life couple that died trying to escape the Christian-Muslim conflict in Bosnia. The song's a Tear Jerker, lamenting over how religion all too often turns people against each other rather than bringing them together, but ultimately it's all about The Power of Love and how it's stronger than war and conflicting beliefs.
- "PDA" by Interpol is here, being about a psychopathic hotel owner going to jail after murdering/raping one of his tenants. The only reason it's not higher is because it's hidden under thick Word Salad Lyrics.
- Garbage usually ranks about 6-8, depending on how much snark and\or Self-Deprecation are being employed. The peaks mostly concern Tsunderes with violent intentions ("Vow", "#1 Crush").
- The Strokes usually hovers around this level, especially when the song is about romance. Sex, prostitution references, politics, occasional f-bombs. The lyrics can get pretty nihilistic at times.
- Music/Meshuggah tends to fall towards the higher end of the scale; not as high as the similarly heavy bands who tend to write outright Gorn, but still fairly high. New Millenium Cyanide Christ is an example of a song of theirs residing at this level due to it being a song about a man giving up his humanity to become a messiah of sorts, with the painful process of transformation being described in some detail.
- Music/In The Aeroplane Over The Sea averages around here. There's no gory imagery or swearing, but the sexual imagery and themes of the holocaust push it up here.
- Some songs would be a 4, such as "King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1" or "In the Aeroplane Over The Sea" if the lyrics weren't so unsettling and strange.
- Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" is a dark and disturbing song about lynched, rotting dead bodies hanging from trees in the American South.
- Many songs by Music/Apulanta come off as vaguely to moderately angsty and somewhat confusing, around scale point 6 for most people. The band has a reputation of being the favourite of teenagers going through their dark phases. But if you have personal history with psychological problems, you start to understand. The rabbit hole goes to an easy 8 for those who both know what certain conditions feel like, and get the multitude of tangled metaphors.
- hide is generally here. Almost all of his songs are angsty or ruminations on sadness and depression and suicide (the only thing keeping him from being a 9 on average and from people thinking his own suicide was intentional was that many of them turn around to Talking Down the Suicidal or to lashing out at the thing that is inducing Driven to Suicide, or to Black Comedy - so while there is the subtext of suicide, it's also the subtext of "don't do it, it's not worth it") and the few that aren't are Protest Song or Intercourse with You.
- "Gloomy Sunday" a.k.a. the "Hungarian Suicide Song": angst 6-8 depending on translation, the original being on this level
- Emilie Autumn straddles eight and nine (romanticising self-harm, angst songs about mental illness, rape, and death)
- Vander Graaf Generator is usually somewhere around here, occasionally sinking to a 6 or hard 5 and occassionally going up to a 9 (notably on 'A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers', where it's made quite clear that the protagonist goes insane and jumps off the lighthouse to drown himself).
- "The Real Slim Shady" by Eminem, for the language
- Sabaton usually ranks around this level.
- Loudness was a 5-7 in its Hair Metal days with the exceptions of Crazy Doctor, S.D.I., and a few others, but after 1991 parked itself here with almost all of its songs being anti-war song, Protest Song of other varieties, or Intercourse with You.
- The Beatles: "Happiness is a Warm Gun" from The White Album. Arguably the darkest Beatles song, it's either about a man's obsession with shooting a gun, or a heroin addiction.
- Manipulate by Tribe 8
I just wanna slap around my girlfriend, I just wanna make her scream and yellI just wanna tie her to the bedposts and call her nasty names like you evil bitch from hellIt's such a sin, I don't give a fuck what you think,She loves me so when i do it, gets me high so I dont have to drink
- "The Mariner's Revenge Song" by the Decemberists
- "You Know You're Right" by Nirvana. May also go as high as a 9 when you consider that this was the last song the band recorded before the lead singer Ate His Gun.
Things have never been so swellI have never failed to failPain
- The 2 Live Crew often resides here, due to its extremely heavy sexual imagery. Their album As Nasty As They Wanna Be, however, sometimes climbs up to 11 as it takes their explicitness and RUNS with it.
- "X.Y.U." and "Tales of a Scorched Earth" by The Smashing Pumpkins. "X.Y.U." has been speculated to be about a number of things, including an abusive relationship, forced abortion, rape and murder. "Tales of a Scorched Earth" has a lot of swears and is outright nihilistic.
- "Bodies" by The Sex Pistols from Nevermind The Bollocks Heres The Sex Pistols deals with a highly illegal and messy abortion. Alternately harsh and desperate. The point of view seems to switch around.
- Due to extremely high amounts of despair and an obvious—if not explicit—suicide theme, Metallica's "Fade To Black" belongs here. Same goes for "One".
- Pearl Jam: "Jeremy" from Ten is about a boy who shoots himself in front of his classroom, "Alive" is about a mother trying to seduce her son so she can vicariously make love to her dead husband, and "Once" is about a damaged guy who shoots people with a 16 gauge for no apparent reason.
- Iron Maiden and Metallica are usually here (even down to the war-themed songs mentioned atop the page).
- Keane's "Black Rain" easily reaches this level, with a heavy war theme and wall-to-wall desolate, grim imagery. The soft, ambient tone and piano and string accompaniment and the lyrical softness of every other track on the album make it seem even harsher.
Red sky turning 'round, black rain falling downIf you've got love, you better hope that that's enoughSandstorm cuts your skin, black kites circlingIf you've got love, you better hope that that's enough
- Steely Dan's Do It Again. The lyrics are in the video's description. note
- "Such A Shame" by Black Stone Cherry, with its lyrics about a young girl becoming a prostitute leading to her death.
She takes off her clothes, And closes her eyesTears start to fall as she looks at her life.It wasn't her fault, That you weren't aroundTo keep her away from the things that she foundGod only knows, what else could go wrongSomebody come take this little girl homeThey found her body face down dead in the rain. Such a shame.
- Foster The People's "Pumped Up Kicks" ranks around here, being a Columbine-inspired song about kids shooting other kids, although it's an easy 2 or 3 on the musical hardness scale. While the violence itself isn't graphically described, the narrator's also implied to be mentally ill, parentally abused, entirely neglected, or some combination thereof.
- Aerosmith's "Janie's Got A Gun", about a girl who decides to kill her father for abusing her.
- David Bowie's darkest work is here, namely 1. Outside (and these lyrics don't even touch on the gruesome world-building in the accompanying short story/liner notes, which is even worse) and several tracks on The Next Day, such as the title track and "Valentine's Day". Sure, that last one sounds sweet, but it's about a possibly-underaged mass murderer. The Tin Machine track "Shopping for Girls" (about sex tourism/child prostitution) also qualifies.
- Most music by Bullet for My Valentine ranks here, especially "Scream Aim Fire".
- "Nothing to Fear (But Fear Itself)" by Oingo Boingo is either this or a hard 7.
- Being a band frequently delving into themes of Horrible History Metal, Adult Fear and being Driven to Suicide most of the lyrics of Cormorant tends to veer around this area, sometimes even going higher. Very few songs go lower than 7.
- The Offspring's "Bad Habit", about a crazy driver about to go Ax-Crazy.
- Most Soundgarden songs, as demonstrated by titles such as "Rusty Cage", "Fell on Black Days" and "Worse Dreams".
- Melanie Martinez's album Crybaby is usually in the 7-9 area, depending on the song and how it affects you. It has numerous references to alcohol abuse, lots of swearing, and just generally high levels of depressing. A few songs, most notably Training Wheels, are exceptions to this (Training Wheels is a 3 or a 4 thematically but has quite a bit of language).
- Children of Bodom comes to 8 or 9 with its murder promises, raining gore and general angry swearing — it isn't nearly detailed enough to score 10 in any case.
- "Ilona" by Apulanta, if you get the suicide theme. In any case, it remains in the metaphor level.
- X Japan 's theme for Saint Seiya: Legend Of Sanctuary, "Hero," actually lands here, despite being a 3 on the hardness scale in the Violet UK / Yoshiki solo version, and barely a 6 on the hardness scale in the X Japan band version, due to an explicit, almost indulgent focus on Self-Harm that would put anything by My Chemical Romance or any other "emo" band to shame, though the song has An Aesop of finding one's strength within to overcome...
I was such a mess the other day I hurt myself to seeAhhh, if you care, if you bleedLike cracks in the mirrorAhhh, I slit my skin, 'Till I felt something real'Cause I was losing, losing my reflection
- The Birthday Massacre. We have songs about extreme alienation and despair ("Broken", "Play Dead"), meaningless sex ("Promise Me", "Video Kid"), dysfunctional and possibly abusive relationships ("Falling Down", "Violet", "Two Hearts"), psychotic obsession ("Midnight", "Blue"), suicide and self-harm ("Under The Stairs") and outright murder ("Lover's End" and, of course "Happy Birthday", which is where their name comes from).
- Kamelot: the Elizabeth trilogy, sometimes
- The Blue Öyster Cult's Golden Age of Leather uses The Beach Boys style vocal harmonies and West Coast surfer rhythm (scale two or three for musical hardness? Evokes sunny California beach days where everyone has a good time and all re alive at sunset?) But its lyrics are about old Hell's Angels getting together for a last battle to the death, with a bit of gang-rape thrown in as an appetizer. The dissonance between the two creates something entirely other and shocking...
- Laibach (the musical wing of a Slovene art collective which appropriates totalitarian imagery and themes for artistic purposes) appears not to be a 7, but to range from 8 to 11.
- My Chemical Romance have some songs around this level...often set to a rather happy tune.
Stand up fuckin' tall, don't let them see your back!And take my fuckin' hand, and never be afraid again. (This is the CHORUS.)—Well, let's go back to the middle of the day that started it all,I can't begin to let you know just what I'm feeling,And now the red ones make me fly, and the blue ones make me fall,And I think I'll blow my brains against the ceiling.—Na na na na na na na, you run the company,Na na na na na na na, fuck like a Kennedy,Na na na na na na na, I think we'd rather beBurning your information.
- The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers. Lyrical content includes prostitution, a cynical view of American Politics, the Holocaust and references to Self-Harm. But that's just the beginning. The album contains songs that glorify Anorexia Nervosa, Suicide, and jokes that atrocities are okay as long as everything is politically correct. A prime example of Creator Breakdown.
I want to walk in the snowAnd not leave a footprintI want to walk in the snowAnd not soil its purity...My vision's getting blurredBut I can see my ribs and I feel fine—4st 7lbThe hole in my life even stains the soilMy heart shrinks to barely a pulseA tiny animal curled into a quarter circleIf you really care wash the feet of a beggarI have crawled so far sidewaysI recognise dim traces of creationI wanna die, die in the summertime, I wanna die— Die In The Summertimein these plagued streets of pity you can buy anythingfor 200 anyone can conceive a God on videohe's a boy, you want a girl so tear off his cocktie his hair in bunches, fuck him, call him Rita if you want, if you want— Yes
- "Teenage Whore" by Hole
- Liz Phair's "Flower" isn't hateful, but it's pretty deliberately sexually explicit and not at all romantic. In it, she expresses her desire to "fuck you 'till your dick is blue." Ouch.
- The infamous "Frankie Teardrop" by Suicide. It's a straightforward tale about a young man who murders his wife and baby before committing suicide. Also, bloodcurdling screams. Set to minimalist, oppressive electronic music.
- Speaking of multiple murder, how about Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska"?
From the town of Lincoln, Nebraska with a sawed-off .410 on my lapThrough the badlands of Wyoming I killed everything in my pathI can't say that I'm sorry for the things that we doneAt least for a little while sir me and her we had us some fun
- "Klapp Klapp" by Little Dragon resides at this level, as the lyrics depict suicide, though in a rather ambiguous manner. This becomes especially jarring if you consider that it's a quite bouncy trip-hop song.
Somebody found us dancingYou can turn off and feel betterWhen everything’s clear like cold weatherGo feel better, feel betterSomebody from my heart sangI could turn off and never wake upAnd everything’s clear, my breath made like-steam fakeFeel better
- Monochromatic Stains by Dark Tranquillity. Depicts scene of murder, denial of murder, and possible psychosis.
This pile of ashes of a soulInformant pokes aboundThese sickly little fingersGet away from meTread not the path of least restraintEach piece of evidence a lie, a lieThe body, the face all items in placeI don't remember a thing
- Sound Horizon's Elysion album, in stark contrast to the light tone of the music itself. Subjects include decapitation, revenge killings, murder and implied suicide, incest, crucifixion, rape, yanderes, opening the gates of Abyss, waking up in Abyss, and a creepy masked man.
- Alice in Chains often gets up here on sheer hopelessness. Take the song Am I Inside. Its a clear 1 on the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness , and yet the lyrics are so self hating and dark that it makes it up to a borderline 9. Most songs on Dirt and Alice In Chains are at this level.
- "Teen Idle" by Marina & the Diamonds :
Yeah I wish I'd been, wish I'd been a teen, teen idleWish I'd been a prom queen, fighting for the titleInstead of being sixteen and burning up a bibleFeeling super-super-super-suicidal...The wasted years, the wasted youthThe pretty lies, the ugly truthThe day has come where I have died...Only to find I've come alive!
- "Rapp Dirty" by Blowfly. The only reason it's not higher is it's extreme vulgarity is played entirely for comedy. For example:
While I was going around the corner, doing about 80Looking between the thighs of some big pussy ladyWhile checking out the thighs of this fine hoI could tell she had a lotta ass belowBut stopped up ahead for a bite to eatI said, "Hey bitch, give me some of this fine meat"She said, "I got it here, so come on with itBut just make sure you got enough meat to get it"I said, "My hands are large, and my prick is biggerJust open up your eyes while I pull my trigger, yeah"I grabbed the bitch by the hair and then headed for the roomShe had a fine body, but a face like a coonShe sat on the bed and pulled off her clothesAs the funk from her pussy started fuckin' with my noseSuddenly I find that it all was a wasteI kicked it with my feet and hit it with my handWhat I thought was a bitch was nothing but a man
- Nu-style gabber techno usually ranks around this level. One of the most famous songs of this genre, "You're a Hardcore Hooligan" by DJ Paul Elstak, talks precisely about bare-fisted street brawls between football hooligans, with some phrases about hooliganism being better than "sitting on your armchair wanking to pop idols". Then there's "Don't Fuck with Me" by Angerfist, which instead of lyrics has samples from Scarface.
- Almost the entire oevure of Dir en grey. They have a few songs that ping lower (e.g. their instrumentals at 0, Ain't Afraid To Die could be a 7 if the protagonist is just dying naturally as opposed to a suicide) but for the most part they are here or 11.
- GG Allin, if not 11.
- Most of Jack Off Jill's lyrics fit here, although it's difficutlt to tell what they're about; unlike traditional Murder Ballads, the lyrics of Jack Off Jill songs seem more like random assortments of violent imagery and profanity. "Boygrinder" is an example, but not even the most extreme case of JOJ's lyrical hardness:
We all…like it more…when we…get raped
Can't kill yourself when you whine about it
Can't kill yourself when you wanna fuck
Can't kill yourself when you're one of us
You can't kill your…
Put me in the corner, blot me in the powder
Take me like a poison, then kill your self
See yourself through my eyes, and you get fucked
Everybody's crazy, they're simply fucked
- Nine Inch Nails' song The Downward Spiral fits nicely here. It seems to present suicide as a reasonable solution, albeit with a hint of sarcasm. Still, it's troubling. "Burn" from the deluxe edition of the same album also paints quite a bleak picture.
Something inside of me, has opened up it's eyesWhy did you put it there? Did you not realizeThis thing inside of me, it screams the loudest soundSometimes I think I couldI'm gonna burn this whole world down!
I wanna f**k you like an animalI wanna feel you from the inside
- "Closer" as well. It can be considered a straightforward lust song, with these infamous lines:
- Marilyn Manson's heavier songs typically hover here, especially on Antichrist Superstar and Golden Age of Grotesque. Some of Born Villain, especially "Pistol Whipped" and "Overneath The Path of Misery". Holy Wood, due to it's extremely sarcastic and parodic nature, hovers between this and 11, starting at 11, going to 10, and ending at 11. The High End of Low mostly sits here, with it being inspired by Manson's (first) breakup with Evan Rachel-Wood, which was followed by a downward spiral of drugs, absinthe and self-mutilation (all those wrinkles on his face are not wrinkles, they're scars). The album was written on the walls of his mansion. All of the walls. And the doors. Some of the next album, Born Villain, even was taken from those writings. Manson was quoted as saying that he didn't even recognize the person who wrote it.
- Most of N.W.A.'s output is this, including Straight Outta Compton, which lead to radio stations at the time outright refusing to play their songs due to how hard they are.
- Electric Wizard's "We Hate You". Told from the point of view of a youth who's off to murder as many people as he can find with his father's gun. Plenty of songs are about this sort of thing, but the thing about "We Hate You" is that it's never made all that clear if having homicidal hatred towards everyone is necessarily a bad thing.
- Tool's "Prison Sex" is about the child abuse cycle. And we're not talking about verbal abuse, either...
I've come round full circleMy lamb and martyr, this will be over soonYou look so precious
- even more fucked up that the lyrics more than strongly imply that the narrator will continue the vicious abuse cycle
- Slipknot has songs like Iowa (a Serial Killer's ode to his victim) and Disasterpiece:
I wanna slit your throat and fuck the woundI wanna push my face in and feel the swoonI wanna dig inside, find a little bit of meCuz the line gets crossed when you don't come clean
- Though most of The Offspring's tracks don't score very high on this scale, Beheaded is a high 10 or possibly a low 11, being a Murder Ballad about an Ax-Crazy murderer who gleefully decapitates his victims:
Watch my girlfriend come to the doorChop off her head, she falls to the floorWatching my baby's jugular flowReally makes my motor go
- Although the lyrical hardness of their latest album, Book Burner, was a 7 or an 8, Pig Destroyer has a lot of songs with this level of lyrical hardness, mostly from their 2001 album "Prowler in the Yard". Special mention goes to "Jennifer":
Jennifer wrestled her friend playfully to the groundin front of the snowcone standand began licking at the girl's eyeballs, as if they were sugar cubes.
- Limp Bizkit's "Hot Dog", with its legendary forty-eight uses of the word "fuck".
- Guns N' Roses lived here in their early days, from actual sex noises in "Rocket Queen" from Appetite for Destruction, to naming an EP "Live Like a Suicide", to starting "My Michelle" with
Your daddy works in pornoNow that mommy's not aroundShe used to love her heroinNow she's underground
- Rammstein is usually here, like Spieluhr which is about a childs apparent death which leads to it getting buried alive
Bumpety bump, riderAnd no angel descentsMy heart does not beat anymoreOnly the rain weeps at the graveBumpety bump, riderA melody in the windMy heart does not beat anymoreAnd from the ground the child sings
- N.W.A's "Appitite For Destruction" is a Horrorcore-esque song and can be considered a low 11.
- "The sound of the nine went bang, and all over the wall was his motherfuckin' brain."
- "I like it when the pussy goes snap, crackle, and pop."
- Most Horrorcore, Grindcore and Pornogrind Is at this level
- Anal Cunt's entire musical output.
- Similar to the above, this is pretty much the raison d'etre of Dethklok.
- Another similar case, all of the output by Cannibal Corpse. Their Gorn thematics are so nauseating, so line-crossing and so nightmare-inducing they couldn't be ranked any lower than a hard 11.
- Agitated Screams of Maggots by Dir en grey, especially so with the everlasting I'LL RAPE YOUR DAUGHTER!!!! ON YOUR GRAVE!!!!.note
- "Obscure" is also at this level; the lyrics are just plain wrong, and it gets worse — the line "BLOODY BABY SACRIFICE!" is shouted repeatedly during the bridge of the song.
- Mindless Self Indulgence occasionally lapses into this territory, especially the song "Backmask Warning"
Hey! All the people you loveIn a river of bloodAnd don't forget the guns!(You're gonna need 'em to go kill yourself)
All the problems make me wanna goLike a bad girl straight to videoLittle darling, welcome to the showYou're a failure played in stereo!!!
- Also, "Straight To Video".
- Frank Zappa arguably ranks here - from the merry pornofests such as "Dinah-Moe Hum" (six minutes dedicated to squicky describing sex with a prostitute and her sister) from Over-Nite Sensation, "Stick it out" (guy begs a robot to fuck him really hard… in German, no less) from Joe's Garage or "Keep it Greasey" (well…) to the jolly squickfests of "Magdalena" (father very vividly drools over his teenage daughter's tits, dreams of smearing her with mayo and caopectate… includes such gems as "I thought - oh my God, I gave my sperm to this thing!") from Just Another Band From L.A. or "Jewish Princess" ("who squeaks when she cums", among other things... and he demands her in a song stuffed with sounds that just might have been picked up from a Turkish porno) from Sheik Yerbouti. Even the parental guidance level comparability fits - nobody in his right mind would (or should) hand out albums like Joe's Garage or Sheik Yerbouti to a minor. Actually, many (most?) of his songs indeed are humorous/satirical/PC-fighting in nature.
- Nine Inch Nails' "Big Man With a Gun" is a satirical ditty about how great it feels to be a well-endowed rapist: "Held against your forehead, I'll make ya suck it! Maybe I'll put a hole in your head, y'know, just for the fuck of it!" Trent Reznor meant it as a social critique of misogynist, dominant masculinity (and partly as a Take That! towards Gangsta Rap, about which he said "I enjoy it, but I could do without the degree of misogyny and hatred of women and abuse." in a 1996 Spin interview), but he still got crap for it, even though it was satire.
- Interestingly, for all the controversy over The Downward Spiral's lyrics, it was a different song called "Just Do It" (a short song urging the listener to commit suicide, with the entire lyrics being "Just do it, nobody cares at all") that actually scared co-producer Mark "Flood" Ellis into demanding that it be removed from the album, even though on the surface its lyrics are nowhere near as line-crossing as "Big Man with a Gun".
- Marilyn Manson's Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) album starts here, with songs like "The Fight Song" and "Disposable Teens" having a more sarcastic nature (especially the latter). It then slams into 10, only to make a return back here near the end, but no longer sarcastically, as the protagonist, Adam Kadmon, has given up all hope and is about to kill himself (and then does). This, of course, leads into the previous album. The "Cake and Sodomy" remix/cover by Tony Wiggins, known as "White Trash", flies so far up here that they were required to bleep parts of it, a feat later repeated in "Blank and White". Also, "Pretty As A Swastika" and "Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon", also from The High End of Low. Golden Age of Grotesque floats around here sometimes, especially "Para-noir"
Fuck you because I loved youFuck you for loving it tooI don't need a reason to hate you the way that I do
- Additionally, the Marilyn Manson and The Spooky Kids discography is here mostly for it's intentional over-the-topness, from sampling Charles Manson in "My Monkey" to "Red (In My) Head" being from the viewpoint of a child molester to "Son of Man"; a song about the Son of Sam set to "Iron Man". But, when one of your founding principles is to offend people, that's to be taken for granted.
- The early material of Australian deathcore band Thy Art Is Murder mostly resides at this level, as the lyrics seem to be from the point of view of rapacious, homicidal, woman-hating psychopath. Songs include "Whore to a Chainsaw" (serial murder), "I'll Show You God" (murder-rape) and "Infinite Death" (serial murder-rape)("Lock up your daughters! Lock up your sluts!"). They rival Anal Cunt in lyrical horribleness. And to think they're one of deathcore's biggest Ensemble Darkhorses...note
- The British band Ingested. Their early stuff nearly breaks 11. All you really have to do to realize what I mean is take a look at some of the song titles, which includes "Anal Evisceration", "Pre-Released Foetal Mush", "Condemned To Rape", and many more. If you want to actually read the lyrics, go ahead! Just make sure to prepare some Brain Bleach.
- Anthems from The French Revolution like Ah Ça Ira (below) or La Marseillaise (which calls for quenching the soil with blood). Basically death threats against counter-revolutionaries. Would have been a 10 if not sung by sans culotte that in many cases where armed.note
Ah! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be finearistocrats to the lamp-postAh! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be finethe aristocrats, we'll hang them!If we don't hang themWe'll break themIf we don't break themWe'll burn themAh! It'll be fine, It'll be fine, It'll be fine
- All Pigs Must Die by Death In June has explicitly hateful, if cryptic, lyrics, despite having very soft and mellow instrumentation. Also true for many other Neofolk songs.
All pigs must dieThis ain't August '69All pigs must die7 & 7 - Sieg Heil - sublime!
- OFWGKTA frequently ranks here, especially their older material. Examples include the entirety of Earl Sweatshirt's mixtape Earl (which includes gratuitously articulate lyrics about murder, dismemberment, rape, necrophilia and blasphemy, along with homophobic slurs and references to Nazism and the KKK) and Tyler, the Creator songs like "French" and "Tron Cat" (which talk about sodomizing the Virgin Mary and raping a pregnant woman, respectively). Jasper Dolphin and Taco are also notable examples, who often rap about "punching bitches," kidnap, rape and treating girlfriends like sex slaves ("Real Bitch" and Tyler's "Bitch Suck Dick"). Thanks to Tyler you can add bestiality ("Tron Cat") and even implied pedophilia (the bridge section of "Fish") to Odd Future's arsenal of lyrical taboos.
- Passenger of Shit pretty much lives here—one only needs to look so far as their track titles, which include "Nail My Dick To Your Face," "Staple Tapeworms On My Penis," and "Slicing Up Ya Prick."
- Visual Kei artist Maria Cross is here, thanks to a combination of Intercourse with You and Indecipherable Lyrics taken Up to Eleven. Yes, really...check out the header quote on zis page.
- Lords Of Acid, get up to this level in their more squick-driven songs, such as "Paranormal Energy" and "ABC's of Kinky Sex".
- Rammstein's "Wiener Blut" talks about a bone-chilling event that actually happened in real life, that is, the Fritzl case. Here are the first few lyrics translated in English.
Come with me, come into my castle
Fun waits for us in the basement there
Gentle, gentle we want to be
Liberate the moment from time
Yes, paradise lies under the house
The door falls closed, the lights go out
...Are you ready
...Are you ready to go?
Welcome... TO THE DARKNESS!!!!!!
- Lisa Gemano, "A Psychopath"
I hear a scream, I see me scream,Is it from memoryAm I awake, am I alone,When it is sunriseA baseball bat, a thing of maceThat thing of mace, the thing of mace,Where did I leave itA psychopath, a psychopath,He says he loves meAnd I'm alone, and I am coldAnd paralyzed,I can't move
- Velvet Underground and their chief songwriter Lou Reed tell a madly narrated murder story during an orgy on drugs with drag queens in their demented 17-minutes-long Sister Ray from White Light/White Heat.
Don't you know, you'll stain the carpet?Oh it, it just, just all over the floor, the floorToo busy sucking on a ding-dong
- Geto Boys' infamous "Mind of a Lunatic," which more than lives up to its title, describing pretty much every major crime one could think of in graphic detail. The song's lyrics were so explicit, the distributor of their self-titled album placed two warning stickers on it.
- Music/Throbbing Gristle's Slug Bait, which is basically a home invasion nightmare that ends with a pregnant woman's child getting cut out and mutilated, among other things.
- Many songs in Eminem's discography easily fit in here. Songs such as Kim, which describes him, in vivid detail, killing his ex-wife (The song's namesake, Kim). Another example would be Guilty Conscience which involves Eminem and Dr. Dre acting out as the conscience of various characters. The consciences argue over different things such as whether not characters should commit murder, rape, and other crimes.
- Aborted Hitler Cock. The name should be enough of a warning. Their lyrics, (if you can understand them), tend to be so obscene they become funny instead of offensive, depicting rape and murder in a positive light. For example, here are the lyrics from "Using Rapebabies as Riotshields"
Apocalyptic battlefieldRapebabies as riotshieldsFrom the gaping maw they bringMakeshift weapons made from limbsPathology of human warNow the streets are paved with goreSkies turn black, seas turn redWon't stop till every human's dead
- Everything by the British Harsh Noise project Whitehouse.
- The so-called "unhinged corridos" (corridos alterados), a subgenre of the traditional Mexican narcocorridosnote , usually rank somewhere between 10 and 11, with the most extreme examples being basically songs about how awesome it is to behead random civilians and start random shootings in the busiest intersection during rush hour just for fun and without ever getting punished because you're absurdly rich and you closest business partners include El Z-40, the President and the CEO of Televisa.