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Sanity Slippage Song
"See what's going on inside my mind."
Disturbed, "Perfect Insanity"

Some songs are about being in love. Some songs are about being insane. They may be incoherent, psychedelic messes or intricate folk songs, but they're about going insane. Common themes are what drove the singer crazy and what it feels like in the depths of madness.

The music may rise and fall erratically or use other tricks to indicate the singer's fractured mental state, but just as often the tune sounds perfectly normal.

Note that if the singer is mentally ill but the song is about something else, it doesn't count.

When these songs aren't part of a musical, listeners may ask What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?

A Sub-Trope of Sanity Slippage.

Compare BSOD Song, Disney Acid Sequence.

Examples:

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    Anime 

    Film 

    Live Action TV 
  • An episode of Today's Special has a sketch featuring three people singing I Am Slowly Going Crazy, mentioned below.
  • In one episode of The Muppet Show a monster (with windmill legs) invites us into his mind, where he is running and running, singing 'Windmills of your mind'.... ten times faster than it should ever be sung...
    Monster: And on the outside... I'm very calm....(Beat)AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Music 
  • Quite a few Cannibal Corpse songs, the one most well known being "Hammer Smashed Face".
    Something's inside me, it's coming out
    I feel like killing you
    Let loose of the anger, held back too long, my blood runs cold
    Through my anatomy dwells another being
    Rooted in my cortex, a servant to its bidding
  • "Mama's Broken Heart" by Miranda Lambert may primarily be a breakup song, but it's made quite clear that the singer has descended into insanity, and it's strongly implied that she now wishes to murder her ex.
  • The Ramones do this a lot. For example, "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" and "I Wanna Be Sedated," among others.
  • "Something to Live For" by Shannon Wright and Yann Tiersen. What kind of relationship does this woman actually have?! Arguably Yann Tiersen's "A Secret Place" as well.
  • Fireaxe's four hour Rock Opera Food For The Gods has several: Hatred Revenge and Death, Tapestry of Pain and River of Madness come to mind.
  • Bodies by Drowning Pool - as the name suggests. Either this or a Murder Ballad depending on how you interpret the lyrics. Not to mention Tear Away.
  • "The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Prong Crown)" by Fleetwood Mac, written by Peter Green about his Real Life Sanity Slippage. He left the band not long afterwards.
  • Pick a Foetus song. Any Foetus song.
  • The Mountain Goats' "Wild Sage."
    • 'Lovecraft in Brooklyn' is a good example as well.
  • "Psycho Killer" from Talking Heads
    • Arguably "Cities" as well. The music is very frantic, a lot of the lyrics don't make much sense, and at one point the singer actually says "But it all works out — you know, I'm a little freaked out!"
    • "Memories Can't Wait" as well. Creepy music with weird droning and electronic wailing sounds in the background, and the lyrics are like this:
      There's a party in my mind and I hope it never stops / There's a party up there all the time / They'll party 'til they drop / Other people can go home / Other people they can split / I'm stuck here all the time / I can never quit...
    • Y'know, we could probably just classify Fear of Music as a Sanity Slippage Album. The other songs are about things like how air can hurt you, distrust of animals, complete nonsense, and drugs.
  • "They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!" by Napoleon XIV. Apparently, his mind broke when his wife left him. We get her side of the story in another song.
    • Bonus points as the B-side of the single is "aaaaah-aah yawa em ekat ot gnimoc eryeht"
      • That was about his wife? The way it was written, it could just as easily have been his dog at the reveal ("Well you just wait, they'll find you yet, and when they do they'll put you in the ASPCA you mangy mutt!"). Or still could have been a reflection of the beast he saw her as, a disloyal pet who he treated so nicely and then ran away from him. If you listen to his 24-year-later response song where he gets out and goes mad again, it goes From Bad to Worse.
      • All but one of Napoleon XIV's songs qualify for this trope. Of course, it's quite fitting, given the name.
  • A number of of Montreal songs.
  • "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" by Morrissey
  • "I'm Going Slightly Mad" by Queen.
    • Also "Stone Cold Crazy".
  • "Flagpole Sitta" by Harvey Danger
  • "Unwell" by Matchbox Twenty. It denies being one of these ("I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell"), but it's increasingly obvious that the narrator is lying to himself. Unusually, the overall intention seems to be to humanize mental illness and make the listener feel that the narrator is just a normal person who happens to be going through a horrible thing.
    • "Disease" is also a confused admirer's/Obsession Song with some very depressive lyrics..
      "Keep you're disance from me, don't pay no attention to me, I gotta disease"
      "I can't live without you, tell me what I'm supposed to do about it"
  • "Art of Life," "Week End," and "Drain" by X Japan. "Art of Life" is an aversion here, since it's a song that starts out as a Sanity Slippage Song, but is actually the story of recovery from a mental and physical breakdown....
    • "Doubt," "Hurry Go Round," "Genkai Haretsu," "Breeding" (oh god yes "Breeding"), "Lemoned I Scream," "Drink or Die," and "Sold Some Attitude" by hide are ALL Sanity Slippage Song s.
  • "Brain Damage" by Pink Floyd.
    • The Wall is a Sanity Slippage Concept Album.
    • "One of My Turns".
    • "Jugband Blues" by Floyd's original front man Syd Barrett. Who actually did have mental issues, likely brought on or at least exacerbated by drug use.
  • Angry Chair by Alice in Chains.
  • The Garden by Guns N' Roses.
  • "Am I Going Insane" by Black Sabbath. And while we're on the subject, how can we possibly forget "Paranoid"?
    • Heck, most of Ozzy Osbourne's stuff in general might qualify. "Crazy Train" is the best example.
  • "All So Nice in the Nuthouse" by Chad Morgan
  • "Inmate's Lullaby" - Gentle Giant
  • "Absolutely Bill's Mood" - They Might Be Giants
  • "Mr. Psycho" and "Drop Dead" - Space
  • Oingo Boingo was built on this trope.
    • "Insanity". If the lyrics aren't any indication, go watch the music video.
    • "What You See" seems to be about a record company executive who growing more and more insane over the course of the song.
  • In hip-hop, Eminem's "Stan" and "Kim".
  • Most of the back catalogue of Roky Erikson, often fairly explicitly, but also expressed through mildly or entirely raving lyrics about aliens, demons, zombies, mutants, and his time spent working in the Kremlin with a two-headed dog.
  • Also used to great effect in Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King, a contemporary musical setting of some of King George the Third's ravings.
  • "A Man Could go Quite Mad" and "Both Sides of the Coin" from The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  • "A Real Indication" by Angelo Badalamenti & The Thought Gang on the Twin Peaks:Fire walk with me Soundtrack. Oh, so very much...
  • Rockwell's "(I always feel like) Somebody's Watching Me". See the video.
  • Disturbed's "Down with the Sickness" tells of child abuse as a metaphor for society punishing the "freaks," but the main point is that the narrator has just snapped...
    • "Voices".
    • "Perfect Insanity"
  • David Bowie's "All the Madmen" is about somebody who's afraid to leave the asylum and go back to drab normality. According to Bowie the world outside the asylum is the one that's insane.
    • Another example is "Breaking Glass," in which the protagonist tells a girl "you're such a wonderful person/but you've got problems"...while psychotically trashing her entire bedroom.
    • There's also "Janine" and "Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed." And possibly "Space Oddity" (if you interpret the lyrics to mean Space Madness).
  • Tom Lehrer's "I Hold Your Hand In Mine": starts out sounding romantic, quickly goes quite wrong. And more so with each succeeding verse....
  • "Girl Anachronism" by the Dresden Dolls. Please excuse her for the day, it's just the way the medication makes her...
    "Me, well I'm well, well I mean I'm in hell, well I still have my health, at least that's what they tell me, if wellness is this what in hell's name is sickness?
  • Alice Cooper's "From the Inside" is a whole album of insanity songs. We're all crazy... Also "Ballad of Dwight Fry" from Love it to Death. Heck, let's just say 80% of Cooper's output...
    • "Steven" seems to be about someone whose episodes are triggered by a baby's crying.
    You've only lived a minute
    of your life
    I must be dreaming
    please stop screaming
    Is someone calling me
    I hear my name!
    STEVEN! (X3)
  • "The Doctor's Wife" by The Clockwork Quartet. A Steam Punk song about a doctor, trying and failing to cure his wife's deadly illness, over the course of several months. The ending is amazing.
  • "Basket Case" by Green Day.
  • "I Think I Lost My Headache", by Queens of the Stone Age, is about (possibly drug-induced) paranoia and derails into sing-song trumpet noodling at the end.
    It's all my head, I know, or so they tell me so...
  • "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" by Metallica, about the trials and tribulations of a crazyhouse inmate.
    • "Harvester of Sorrow" is about a man snapping out and possibly killing his family.
    • Also, The Frayed Ends of Sanity
    • Metallica ain't the only one with a sanity slippage song called "Welcome Home"- there's also Coheed and Cambria. "Please make up your mind girl, before I hope you die..."
  • Throwing Muses' Mania. Who left me alone?! What do you mean, you're alone...
    • Or "Vicky's Box", from the Muses' first LP:
    He won't ride in cars anymore/It reminds him of blowjobs/That he's a queer
    And his hair stuck to the roof/Like a pigeon on a tire
    ...Home is where the heart lies/The heart lies/The hard lies/Welcome home
    WelCOME HOME!
    ...I only love pieces of things that I hate
    ...You may be dreaming/You may be bleeding/You may be in this box
    A kitchen is a place where you prePARE...and clean up.
  • Roughly half the songs on Eels' 1998 masterpiece Electro-Shock Blues, such as "My Descent Into Madness", the title track, and "The Medication Is Wearing Off". The rest of the songs are mostly about death and grief. E's sanity really was slipping, but yours would too if you'd just gone through your schizophrenic sister committing suicide, your mother dying of cancer and your father dying of a heart attack in the space of two years.
    • Several of the tracks are from the perspective of E's sister. Also notable on that front is the title track, which is taken from the diary she kept in the hospital.
  • Anberlin's "Reclusion"
    • "Hello Alone" doesn't paint a great picture of mental health, either.
  • From First to Last's "Note to Self"
  • Mötley Crüe has several, notably "Just another Psycho" and the unreleased track "Mood Ring".
  • "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy is Rose's climactic nervous breakdown on stage.
    • "Everything's Coming Up Roses" is another one for Rose. She's obviously not a very emotionally healthy person.
  • Emilie Autumn's "Opheliac".
    • "God Help Me" with that Madness Mantra too.
    • Pretty much everything from the Opheliac CD. Which makes sense, given certain circumstances.
    • Unlaced is a sanity slippage instrumental album (Clearly about her time in a psych ward.)
  • Iron Maiden's "The Clairvoyant".
    I wonder why, I wonder how
    That it seems that my power's getting stronger every day
    I feel a strength, an inner fire
    But I'm scared I won't be able to control it anymore...
    • Said lack of control power ends up causing a catastrophe in the album's storyline and "Only the Good Die Young" detailing how he's lost his sanity completely... sung by Lucifer himself.
  • "Becoming Insane" by Infected Mushroom.
  • Half the songs on the Otep album House of Secrets, where Otep adds to the distressing lyrics by alternating between Metal Scream and the voice of a terrified little girl.
  • Nox Arcana's Blackthorn Asylum is essentially a 21-track trope codifier. As the album's focus is on an insane asylum, loss of sanity and outright insanity are the big focus here. Bonus points for Nox Arcana being almost purely instrumental (there's a touch of narration), and still pulling it off.
    • Also, the thirteenth track is titled Sanity Slipping. No joke.
  • Arguably, "Echoplex" by Nine Inch Nails.
    In the back, off the side and far away
    Is a place where I hide, where I stay
    Tried to say, tried to ask, I needed to
    All alone, by myself, where were you?
    How could I ever think it funny how
    Everything they swore it wouldn't change, is different now
    Just like you would always say, we'll make it through
    Then my head fell apart, and where were you?
    How could I ever think it funny how
    Everything you swore would never change, is different now
    Like you said, you and me, make it through
    Didn't quite, fell apart, WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU?
  • Sugar by System of a Down, especially at the end.
  • "Binge And Purge" by Clutch
  • "I Am Slowly Going Crazy," a children's song of uncertain origin.
  • Several of Happy Rhodes' songs; it's a theme throughout her very diverse musical omnibus.
  • "The Painter" by Chris de Burgh, which is sung from the perspective of an unhinged and insanely jealous man murdering his wife for what appears to be an imaginary fling with the titular painter, and for plus points is also sung in a manner similar to Psycho Strings.
  • "Climbing Up the Walls" by Radiohead. "Do not cry out or hit the alarm, we are friends til we die."
    • That track sounds scary. "No Surprises" however is so pretty and inoffensive, it could be played in supermarkets. Well...so long as no one pays attention to what Thom's singing:
    A heart that's full up like a landfill
    A job that slowly kills you
    Bruises that won't heal
    ...A handshake of carbon monoxide
    • Not to mention that over the crescendo, the chorus is imperceptibly singing "get me out of here" over and over again.
    • "Paranoid Android" too, at least in part.
      • Climbing up the Walls is possibly a Most Triumphant Example, even without understanding the lyrics.
    • "Everything in its Right Place" and "How to Disappear Completely" are this, bordering on BSOD Song. The lyrics of both consist almost entirely of Madness Mantra.
  • "Madhouse" by Anthrax.
  • Many songs of ''Agatha Christie'', a russian gothic rock group.
  • In Ruddigore, Despard and Margaret sing a song ("I once was a very abandoned person") all about how crazy and evil they used to be, before they got better. But as soon as the song's over, Margaret goes right back to being mad. So it's sort of a Sanity Immediately-Pre-Slippage Song.
  • Garbage's "Bleed Like Me". The song alone might qualify, but the music video is about a nurse tending to the mentally ill and swiftly slipping into insanity as she does so.
    • "Medication".
    • "I Think I'm Paranoid" is not really an example, but could be mistaken for one, given the title and refrain. For the most part, it's a love song, although perhaps a love song from the perspective of someone who's mentally ill given lines like "prop me up with with another pill".
  • Avenged Sevenfold's "Almost Easy"
  • A large amount of Tool songs can be interpreted this way. "Prison Sex" is perhaps the most overt (and by a large margin the squickiest) example.
    • "Rosetta Stoned" is another notable example, if you're able to actually distinguish what the lyrics are in the first place.
  • "Dieter Meyers Inst." and "På ditt skift" by Kaizers Orchestra. Both involve mental institutions— the first is the character losing his mind in one, the second is about the character killing the director of the institution.
  • "Headfirst for Halos" by My Chemical Romance is a perky one.
  • Several songs by The Used qualify— "Lunacy Fringe", "Take It Away", "The Bird and the Worm", "Come Undone", "Paralyzed", etc, etc...
  • Another "whole album" case: Quadrophenia, by The Who. Features such songs as "Is It In My Head?" and "Doctor Jimmy."
  • "The Mind Electric" by Joe Hawley. See how the brain plays around...
    • Not an obvious choice but a good one. The first track with vocals, "The Real Me", sets the tone: "I'm crazy Ma, help me/'I know how it feels, son/'Cause it runs in the family.'" "Helpless Dancer" extends the implication of insanity to include not only the narrator, but the entire world.
    • The Who did this long before Quadrophenia with the John-Entwistle-penned "Whiskey Man." It's all about a guy who has an imaginary friend and ends up locked in a mental hospital for it.
  • Rihanna's "Disturbia" probably qualifies.
  • "Where's Gerrold?", which is the final song from Orgy's Concept Album Vapor Transmission. "Cover my eyes / I'm feeling sick / I'm getting paranoid."
  • Juliet by Sonata Arctica. The mood and sound of the song changes every thirty-ish seconds as well as there being all sorts of strange noises and utter mindfuckery going on in the background. It's subtle but it's possible to hear stuff like high pitched screeches, lalala's, weird twinkly noises and possibly a train whistle. It's not exactly a song about going insane, since it's part of a series of four songs and the character went insane in the first and pretty much went more insane in the other three. This is the last song, and fittingly the most insane. The other three songs are Caleb), The End of This Chapter and Don't Say A Word.
  • Quite a bit of Korn's early production was about this, with the breaking point usually identifiable by the point where Jonathan Davis switches to a sing-song voice, and switches back to his normal when it's time to go Ax-Crazy. One of the interlude tracks is even named "Am I Going Crazy".
    • The most epic example of this is "Daddy," off their self-titled album, where Jonathan Davis get through the song, starts getting really emotional, and then breaks down and sobs for ten minutes while the rest of the band self-consciously improvises music around him, ending only when someone walks ut of the studio and slams the door.
  • "Flowers on the Wall", by the Statler Brothers.
  • "Lighten Up McGraw" by Crack The Sky seems to be this trope, but it's a little hard to tell whether some of the weirder lyrics are meant to represent insanity or if they're just regular old Word Salad Lyrics. But considering that it has lines like "Well, I eat what I am and I'm not overdressed / I just can't understand why I'm sometimes depressed" and "I haven't giggled in thirty-five months", it probably counts anyways.
  • "Leica" by Havalina could be interpreted as this in light of the final lines:
    And nothing ever seems strange
    when you're finally insane.
    I could sure use a little help.
  • "Insane in the Brain" by Cypress Hill is definitely this trope; the only question is whether it's being Played for Laughs or played straight. Its refrain is "Insane in the membrane / Insane in the brain!"
  • "Isolated" by Chiasm
    The monsters make me hide
    Perhaps i'll eat myself alive
    Internally there's nothing left for me to be
    • For that matter, pretty much anything by Chiasm.
  • "Undone (The Sweater Song)" by Weezer.
  • Oddly enough, Elvis had one in the rather trippy "Edge of Reality" from Live a Little, Love a Little.
    I can hear strange voices echo
    Laughing with mockery
    The border line of doom I'm facing
    The edge of reality
  • Pet Shop Boys' "I Want To Wake Up". The verses cover the narrator simply having bad dreams about his unrequited love, then progress to him suddenly crying whenever "Tainted Love" comes on the radio, declaring single-minded obsession for the love interest, and finally the ominous line "Play with fire, play with guns/It's easy to impress someone"note . At the end, a breakdown is implied as he desperately shouts, "I want to wake up, wake up, wake up with you!" All this to some creepy Lyrical Dissonance.
  • "I'm So Sick" by Flyleaf. This is the chorus:
    I'm so sick, in-fected-with
    Where I live, let me live without this
    Empty bliss, selfishness
    I'm so sick
  • "Mad World" by Tears For Fears. Opening to the chorus:
    I find it kind of funny and I find it kind of sad
    The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
    • Only the Tears For Fears version though. The Gary Jules version is more of a Spiral Into Depression song.
  • Surprisingly enough, Slipknot has quite a few. "Eyeless" comes to mind: the first word sang (er, screamed) in the song is "INSANE!"
  • "See You All In Hell", by Jonathan Coulton begins with a list of things needed to film a scene for a movie, and ends with "And now my left arm is not working. I fear nothing anymore. See you all in hell." The weird part is that this is apparently made from a text message a friend of Coulton's actually received.
  • Frou Frou's "Psychobabble". Mixed stalker, stalkee, a hostage situation that may or may not exist only in the mind of one, and by the end, you can't tell who's who, or even if there were two to begin with.
  • Tourniquet, Haunted, The Other Side, Lose Control, Even In Death- Evanescence
  • The song "Mathilde" by Jacques Brel shows the singer slowly losing his grip until he's willing to accept back a woman he knows will make him miserable.
  • "Don't arrange to have me sent to no asylum. I'm just as sane as anyone. It's just a game I play for fun..."
  • Midnight Syndicate's "Gates Of Delirium" tells the story of an asylum. Wanna guess how many of the songs fit this trope?
  • Waffle King by "Weird Al" Yankovic tells the story of a man that makes an usually good waffle recipe, then becomes convinced that he has become a celebrity, before going A God Am I.
  • "Seasons In The Abyss" by Slayer.
  • The Pogues love to do this, often combining it with Lyrical Dissonance.
  • Most Doors songs can be interpreted as Sanity Slippage Songs. It's quite explicit in "Celebration Of The Lizard King":
    Once I had a little game
    I liked to crawl back in my brain
    I think you know the game I mean
    I mean the game called "go insane"
  • The Crystalline Effect's songs "Blue Sea" and (possibly) "Hypothermia".
  • Showbread's "I Think I'm Going to See You". Also overlaps with Love Makes You Crazy.
    There's a hole in the fabric of my sanity
    and it's getting big enough to see through
    and on the other side of losing my mind
    I think I'm going to see you.
  • Linkin Park's songs "One Step Closer", "Papercut", and "Crawling".
  • Three Days Grace's "Animal I Have Become"
  • Bob Dylan's "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues", a satire of someone buying too much into the Red Scare and going paranoid bonkers as a result. Played for Laughs all the way.
  • Foster The People's "Pumped Up Kicks". Once you realise the lyrics are about a boy getting ready to go on a shooting...
    All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
    You'd better run, better run, outrun my gun
    All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
    You'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet
  • The Lonely Island's "Like A Boss" sounds like a Sanity Slippage Song Played for Laughs. A day in the life of The Boss seems normal enough at first ("Talk to Corporate LIKE A BOSS! Approve memos LIKE A BOSS! Lead a workshop LIKE A BOSS! Remember birthdays LIKE A BOSS!") but then The Boss gets rejected by Deborah, and things go downhill fast.
  • "Pull Me Under" and "Panic Attack" by Dream Theater both seem to be about this.
  • The Veronicas have done this many many times, Hook Me Up, When It All Falls Apart, Heavily Broken, Hollywood, Insomnia and How Long, Thus far.
  • Delta Goodrem, Nobody Listened:
    Like a train, off the rails, to you
  • I Fight Dragons has a song called cRaZie$, although the lyrics may also be interpreted as a sort of "visionaries are seen as crazy" song, depending on how you look at it.
    "Woah-oh-oh, there's a body on the floor, and the crazies, the crazies are coming to life. Woah-oh-oh, I can't take it any more, 'cuz they're crazy, they're crazy, but maybe they're right!"
  • "Personal Demons" by Rufus Rex, a side project of Creature Feature, is chock full of crazy, complete with an allusion to Radiohead's "Climbing Up the Walls" ("It's just a matter of time / Till I lose my mind / And start crawling up the walls"). Heck, the opening verse goes:
    Psychosis must be setting in,
    Clouding my perception,
    Social interaction null and void.
    Contact with reality
    Is something I no longer need.
    Now I have insanity on my side!
  • Unexpect's songs from the album "In A Flesh Aquarium" and "Fables Of The Sleepless Empire" are ALL about madness and hallucinations and illusions and wonders incomprehensible. Just read any of these song's lyrics.
  • "He Used To Cut The Grass" from Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage
    Wait! I've got it!
    I'll be sullen and withdrawn
    I'll dwindle off into the twilight realm of my own secret thoughts
    I'll walk through the parking lot in a semi-catatonic state
    And dream of Guitar notes to go with the loading-zone announcements...
  • "Disturbance" and "Cherry Blossom Clinic" by The Move. The former more or less describing an individual's growing psychosis as he grows older; the latter having another person describing various hallucinations he sees as he goes mad in the mental hospital.
  • "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies subverts this trope, because while other characters in the song think the protagonist is going insane, the protagonist doesn't.
  • Many, many songs by Van Der Graaf Generator and its frontman Peter Hammill qualify as this, but the finest example is the twenty-three minute epic "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers." It seems to be about a lighthouse keeper who inadvertently allows a ship to crash, then slowly drives himself mad with guilt, grief, and loneliness.
  • Sweating Bullets by Megadeth. The video further proves the fact.
  • Vanessa Amorosi: "I Thought We'd Stay Together" discusses her Heroic RROD and shutting down creativity after a long term boyfriend left her, because of differing opinions, she then proceeds to mention how much she wants to burn her house down because he used to love her there...and how it makes her very very angry.
  • "As Madness Took Me" and "Calling My Name" by Dragonland, the latter of which contains audio clips from Charles Manson.
  • "Last Resort" by Papa Roach is a song about someone slowly giving into depression.
  • "Spies" by Coldplay is about a paranoid schizophrenic. It's creepy for a Coldplay song once you know that.
  • Assemblage 23's Collapse:
    I'm on the verge of collapse
    I'm on the brink of disaster
    And I'm far more lost than I would like to admit
    I'm at the end of my rope
    I'm on the edge of a breakdown
    And no matter how tightly I hold on, I still slip
  • "Complicated Machine" by Future Perfect. "You gave a gift to me, a fragment of insanity... I want to thank you for the neurosis that plagues me".
  • "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" by Blue Oyster Cult.
  • The entire album "A Shipwreck in the Sand" by Silverstein, with a little bit of unreliable narration in the first song. In the second, once the protagonist of the album finds out his wife has been cheating on him, he begins to slip. At first he merely hides that he knows, and tries to keep going with it... then he finds out it was his best friend who she was cheating on him with. Throw in a song that tells its own story about betrayal, and by the 9th song "I Am the Arsonist", he decides to burn down his house with his wife and daughter in it. He regrets it, goes into save them, his wife (rightly) accuses him of setting the house on fire and they go to court. He's let off because of a lack of evidence, but loses his daughter, and decides to leave the town, driving to a motel where he decides to kill himself. The final song is him reminiscing and realizing that he never could have truly loved her in the first place.
  • "Madman Across the Water" by Elton John.
    It's quite peculiar in a funny sort of way
    They think it's very funny everything I say
    Get a load of him, he's so insane
  • "Metal Health" by Quiet Riot (you may know it as "Bang Your Head") is an inversion. It's about curing your insanity with The Power of Rock.
  • Mental Warp by Insane Clown Posse. It is a very disturbing and surreal song which seems to be told from the point of view of a person who has slipped into a deep psychosis and just descends further and further into incoherence.
    Violent J: "Staring at the ceiling/The roof has a face/It's telling me I don't belong with the human race/He's asking me to join him in eternal sleep/I give him my soul/My body I can keep."
  • Axe Murder Boyz' "God Only Knows", about a man who murders a woman, keeps her corpse in his home, has sex with her corpse and consumes her heart.
  • Men At Work's "Who Can It Be Now?" could be interpreted as this.
  • Kasabian's Butcher Blues.
  • Sodom's "Persecution Mania", which is about a Vietnam vet suffering from PTSD.
  • "Terminal Eyes" by Al Stewart.
  • mothy gives us Gift From The Princess Who Brought Sleep, where we actually see the narrarator's sanity slowly erode. She starts out talking about how terrible her life is, but says 'that doesn't matter to me'. She says she's giving everyone 'a medicine that will help them sleep' as a gift. Halfway through the song, the video reveals that she's using the German definition-poison. The rest of the song is her singing about killing everyone in her town, then killing herself.
  • "Meltdown!" by The Aquabats!.
  • "Hey There, Cthulhu" by Eben Brooks interweaves descriptions the apparent singer's sanity slippage with the praise for the eponymous Great Old One.
  • Ratt's "I'm Insane."
  • Anna Russell traces the "gradual mental breakdown of the popular singer" through elated, depressive and schizophrenic stages, until sanity ultimately bottoms out in a song called "Mad."

    Professional Wrestling 

    Theatre 
  • Stephen Sondheim really seems to like these:
  • Les Misérables features Inspector Javert's stunning closer:
    And must I now begin to doubt,
    Who never doubted all these years?
    My heart is stone and still it trembles
    The world I have known is lost in shadow.
  • "The Madness of King Scar" from the stage version of The Lion King. If you thought Scar was a Large Ham in the movie...
  • "No Good Deed" from Wicked could be a prime example as it is a song about Elphaba rocketing through the 7 stages of grief before her sanity shatters like glass around 3/4 of the way through, ending with her succumbing to the title and guise of "Wicked Witch of the West."
  • "Can't Keep Out The Night" from Moby-Dick! The Musical. Also known as Ahab's sleep-deprived rock-solo freakout.
  • "The World Has Gone Insane" from Jekyll & Hyde.
  • In classical music this is a stock convention of Bel Canto opera — the heroine is so overcome with grief at the tragic circumstances that she finds herself in that she goes temporarily or permanently insane, and has a "mad scene." Basically just an excuse for the composer to write amazing vocal pyrotechnics. One of the most famous and possibly the Trope Codifier for opera is the mad scene from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. Outside of bel canto, probably the most notable one (and definitely the most famous male mad scene in opera) is the titular character's final aria in Peter Grimes.
  • "Ez a kez utoler" ("This Is The Hand That Will Strike") from the Hungarian version of Romeo et Juliette: De La Haine a l'Amour . While its French counterpart, "C'est le jour", appeared in Act II and served mainly to exposit on Tybalt's obsession with Juliet, the Hungarian version puts it midway through Act I, right after Tybalt has had a major epileptic fit, and the song becomes the frightening yet pity-inducing rant of a clearly unwell man. The way the actor on the DVD performance drops into just screaming is seriously terrifying.
  • Moritz in Spring Awakening starts to sound rather crazy in "Don't Do Sadness" as he is driven to suicide, and accuses the world around him to be a cold, uncaring one. It seems like a combination of this and a normal BSOD Song.
    Awful sweet to be a little butterfly
    Just wingin' over things, and nothin' deep inside.
    Nothing going, going wild in you, you know.
    You're slowing by the riverside, or floatin' high and blue!
  • Judas' final song in Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • "Down With Love" from Hooray For What! is sometimes this. Barbra Streisand and Audra McDonald have both done it this way, and it's awesome.
  • Arguably half the songs in Next To Normal, although for a few of them this only becomes apparent later on.
  • "Lot's Wife" in 'Caroline, Or Change', in which a broken Caroline screams at God, losing (then regaining) her sanity as she comes to terms with the fact that she'll never escape her circumstances. Also qualifies as {{The Eleven O'Clock Number}} and, to a lesser extent, a Grief Song.
  • "Mr. Andrews' Vision" from 'Titanic: The Musical', where the ship's builder, Mr. Andrews, suffers a nervous breakdown as he realizes that the compromises he made in his design to accommodate the first class are the reason the 'Titanic' is doomed. As the ship sinks, he frantically redesigns his blueprints until he breaks off, visualizing the final moments of those who are left aboard the ship. As the song ends, he is crushed to death by a piece of heavy furniture.
  • "The Destruction" in both versions of Carrie the Musical, which depicts the title character's mental breakdown after being humiliated at the prom.

    Web Original 
  • "Slipping"(!) from Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. "My Eyes" conveys an increasingly depressed, cynical mindset, but "Slipping" is flat-out out mad.
    • I contend that "Brand New Day" and "Everything You Ever" are the two Sanity Slippage Songs of Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
      • Really, the whole damn musical is a sanity slippage song. Everything from "My Eyes" onwards is a slow downward spiral. Who knows how the planned sequel can possibly make things worse for him **shudders**
      • It's a Joss Whedon production. He'll find a way.
    • Also in Commentary! The Musical, Dr. Horrible's musical commentary, "All About the Art" and to an even greater extent, "Neil's Song" are perfect examples of this trope.
      "What was his name?
      What should I say?
      The choices are endless...
      And here I am, at last alone, and friendless...
      No I'm not friendless.
      I've got some friends!
      They'll be here when this ends...
      If this ends...
      "
  • To show off her snobbery, The Nostalgia Chick plays the Barber Of Seville overture whenever she's driven to madness by Fridge Logic.
  • Linkara resorts to "Combine Harvesters" by The Wurzels during his freak-outs.
  • The Nostalgia Critic has the chorus of "Flagpole Sitta" by Harvey Danger play whenever he loses his mind.

    Western Animation 
  • John Weldon’s 1996 short film “Scant Sanity” is essentially a multi-part, animated Sanity Slippage Song.
  • Played with in the Futurama episode "The Sting" in that Leela does not sing, but she's imagining the others singing (and participating in a Disney Acid Sequence).
    Leela: I'm cracking up. In my dreams I'm happy because Fry is alive. But when I'm awake, my mind plays tricks on me.
    Hermes: Oh, take it easy, Leela.
    Amy: In every life we have some trouble.
    Bender: But when you worry, you make it double.
    Amy: And (suddenly starts singing) don't worry, be happy!
    (The song goes on until it concludes and the scene returns to normal.)
    Leela: Uh, were you just singing?
    Bender: No, I was telling you not to worry. I'm not allowed to sing. Court order.
  • The Ice King gets one in the episode "I Remember You" of Adventure Time, with bonus Tear Jerker points as it's addressed to and sung by Marceline, who is reading the notes that her old friend Simon scribbled down trying to explain why he was slipping away just when she, a little girl, needed him most. Yikes.

    Other 
  • According to one of her routines, Maria Bamford, on advice from her therapist, has come up with an "anxiety song" that she sings to reassure herself and fight off all her various neuroses.
    If I keep the kitchen floor clean, no one will die
    As long as I clench my fists at odd intervals, then the darkness within me won't force me to do anything inappropriately viiii-lent or sexual at dinner parties...
    As long as I keep humming the tune, I won't "turn gay"
    It can't getcha if you're singin' a song! Yeah!


Sanity SlippageMadness TropesSanity Strengthening
Rock Opera PlotMusical Number IndexSetting Introduction Song
Rock Opera PlotMusic TropesSidekick Song
Sanity SlippageAdded Alliterative AppealSanity Strengthening

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