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Suspiciously Apropos Music
Whenever a show's characters include musicians, you can be sure you'll eventually hear them perform some original music. A lot of the time, these are pretty bad. Sometimes, they're pretty good. But even at their best, there's always going to be something slightly funny about them.

Specifically, they're always going to sound at least a little more relevant to the plot of the particular episode than you'd naturally expect. Sometimes, this will go so far as to put the song's message at odds with the established character and style of the singer.

This isn't about a purpose-written background song, or a scene where the action matches well with the background song - it only applies when the song is actually happening in story.

Contrast Soundtrack Dissonance and That Reminds Me of a Song, related to Mickey Mousing. Supertrope to Gospel Choirs Are Just Better.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 
  • The music of the Fake Band "Fire Bomber" actually becomes the main weapon used to fight the Big Bad in Macross 7.
  • The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya: In (chronological) episode 12, Haruhi sings the song "God Knows" at the School Festival, in what turns out to be a Pet the Dog moment. For bonus points, the lyrics are suspiciously similar to the events of the last episode (which happened chronologically before this episode - it isn't Time Travel, just Anachronic Order.)
  • Several of the songs from the Fake Band "C-Drive" from GEAR Fighter Dendoh were used as various theme songs of the show, such as "Brand New Mermaid". The characters themselves weren't important in the show, however - they were just the protagonist's favorite band.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, which becomes more of a Musical in the second season because of it.
  • Kiki's Delivery Service featured on its original soundtrack two songs that were pertinent to the plot, but not exaggeratedly so. On the English dub, these were replaced with two new songs — one called "I'm Gonna Fly", the other "Soaring"`(played on Kiki's radio as she flies off on her broomstick).
  • Detroit Metal City in all its forms (anime, manga and film) is pretty much built around this trope, what with the main character being a J-Pop fan with a love for acoustic guitars who's the star and songwriter of a death metal band whose songs are all about rape and murder.
  • Chaos;Head, Fake Band Phantasm's music is more than apropos, it's plot important. The songs they sing appear to be prophetic of the New-Gen murders that are happening.
  • In Porco Rosso, "Les Temps des Cerises" serves as something of a leitmotif, heard first in the very first scene on a radio, and then being sung by Gina. Though it's in French, the lyrics are actually very appropriate, and bonus points for actually being popular in that time period.
  • The InuYasha episode "Battle Against the Dried-Up Demons at the Cultural Festival!" featured, as one of the events at the titular cultural festival, a choir of students (including Kagome) singing the "Ode to Joy" theme from the fourth movement of Beethoven's ninth symphony — except that, instead of using the original words, they used words about the Shikon Jewel.
  • Brook in One Piece breaks out into song sometimes. This is fitting, as he is the crew's musician.
  • AKB0048 has this all over the place. Sometimes it's invoked, since the characters know they do best when performing and pick songs for the occasion.
    • The trainees fight their first battle to the tune of "Beginner."
    • In the second season, when Yuko refuses to retreat and makes her Heroic Sacrifice, she starts with the line "Giving up is like turning your back" and the rest of the song ("Korogaru Ishi Ni Nare") has a similar theme.

     Audio Drama 
  • The songs of the Common Men in the Big Finish Doctor Who audio play "1963: Fanfare for the Common Men" contain several lines that sound like plot references, including to aspects of the plot which the whole point is that they don't know. " Beneath this skin, there is another me" is the most blatant.

    Comic Books 
  • An issue of The Sandman starts with John Constantine hearing various sleep/sandman related songs and concludes 'something is trying to tell me somebody' before Morpheus shows up to ask for his help...
    • Though after meeting him he remarks that the songs description of the Sandman differs greatly from the real deal.
  • The song Envy sings after the Final Battle in Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour.

    Fan Fic 

    Film 
  • In Le Million, Michel and Beatrice are hiding behind the scenery at an opera. While they embrace, the opera's male and female leads sing a love duet that exactly matches their situation.
  • Played with in Baseketball. The protagonist hears Suspiciously Apropos Music on the radio as the song vaguely describes somebody in his exact position: Lost love, lost friends, etc. Then the music gets even more descriptive with the line "Just tell them that it was all part of some rich guy's evil plan!" Then the radio starts giving him driving directions, and remarking on his appearance and genital warts.
    • Seems to be a signature of Stone and Parker; Team America also brings us Pearl Harbor Sucks and I Miss You as a direct example, and every other song is at least thematically accurate to a suspiciously specific degree.
  • The original Highlander, with the majority of the soundtrack by Queen, is quite heavy on this. In one scene, the Kurgan puts in a tape of a song that could not possibly be mistaken for anything other than the theme music of an aggressive Immortal - even worse, the full version contains sound bites from the film. And on top of that, the name of the song includes the subtitle "Kurgan's Theme". Also, "One Year of Love" plays when Connor and Brenda meet, and "Don't Lose Your Head" plays on the radio as the Kurgan goes on a rampage in his car.
  • Also played with in Shaun of the Dead; Trapped in a bar with a zombie bartender, the characters beat on him with pool cues...to the rhythm of a jukebox playing Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" ('cause I'm having such a good time, I'm having a ball...).
    • Earlier on, Shaun is crying after being dumped by his girlfriend, when "If You Leave Me Now" comes onto the jukebox. "Who the hell put this on?" "It's on random."
  • Being There merges this with Crystal Ball Scheduling. The real shows and commercials excerpted on the TVs often serve to parallel and comment upon the events of the plot and/or the moods of the characters. This extends to their music on a few occasions - most provocatively, a happy song about friendship from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood plays as Eve puts the moves on Chance during breakfast.
  • In one very memorable scene from Doomsday, the villain prances about onstage to "Good Thing," by the Fine Young Cannibals. Then he throws out all these plastic plates to the crowd, and a guy's wheeled in, set on fire, cut up and eaten.
  • Subverted in Jerry Maguire - after scoring a major success in re-signing a major successful client, Jerry tries to find some triumphant Suspiciously Apropos Music on the radio which he can sing along to - he goes through several stations which are playing completely unsuitable songs, before finally settling on Tom Petty's "Free Falling"... which isn't actually all that triumphant.
  • Weezer's would-be contribution to the film Angus, "Wanda", was rejected for it's potential to be entirely too suspiciously apropos: Not only was it from the point of view of the title character of the film, but it was a love song to the blow-up doll said character was slow-dancing with in the scene it was written for, described his position as a high school outcast, and even alluded to a plot point that was eventually cut from the film ("My mom drives a big rig, and my dad is gay"). So "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star was used for the scene, and Weezer's "You Gave Your Love To Me Softly" showed up later in the film.
  • In Shrek 2, the Fairy Godmother sings "Holding Out For a Hero" while Shrek and crew race to Fiona's side. Also a case of Dramatic Irony as the Godmother doesn't know Shrek is coming, and intends the piece to induce Fiona to kiss Prince Charming.
  • In the film of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Uncle Monty (being Scottish) sings and plays the Baudelaire orphans a childe ballad while entertaining them. Which one? "Bonnie George Campbell".
  • In Overboard, a band plays "I Just Can't Help Falling In Love With You", representing how Dean is falling in love with Joanna.
  • In Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Delysia sings a love song that suspiciously reflects her relationship with her pianist; justified because her pianist chose that song specifically to make her think about how her actions have hurt him (he was supposed to play something totally different).
  • Played with in Val Lewton's I Walked with a Zombie. Wesley and Betsy sit down at a cafe table and almost immediately hear a ballad being sung about the brothers' feud and the affliction of Mrs Holland, apparently by coincidence. The singer's reappearance in the next scene, however, implies that this was not such a coincidence after all...
  • In Disney's Enchanted the whole Central Park joins the female protagonist in song. Cue the very confused Straight Man going, "How does everyone know that song, I've never heard of it?!"
    • In the ballroom scene, the slow-dance love song is a bittersweet ballad — perfect for our protagonists, but just a little odd for the other (presumably happy) couples attending. That said, the song was for people dancing with someone who they didn't come with to the dance. A bittersweet love of something you could not have.
  • In 2001: A Space Odyssey, as he is being disconnected after going on a murder spree caused by terminally-conflicting orders HAL the computer sings "Daisy Bell": "I'm half-crazy, all for the love of you..."
  • In the original Halloween (1978), relevant songs and movies play for...well, most of the movie. For instance, "Don't Fear the Reaper" when Michael Myers is driving behind them, and The Thing from Another World and Forbidden Planet to play up the Paranoia Fuel in-story.
  • Pedro Almodóvar does this quite often in his movies, in most cases the songs are performed by the characters. The ending of Átame (Tie me up! Tie me down!) even basically turns into the ending of The Graduate when the female lead hears the lyrics of the song playing on the radio.
  • Smokey and the Bandit has "Eastbound and Down" playing at several points. Not only is it sung by Jerry Reed (who plays Cledus in the movie,) but it pretty specifically describes what is going on in the movie.
  • In Christine, slightly less so in the book, Christine communicates using classic songs played over the radio that have some relevancy to the action going on.
  • TRON: Legacy: In the middle of a barfight at the End of Line Club, the bar's DJs (played by soundtrack creators Daft Punk) look at each other for a second, then immediately start playing fitting fight music. Also, when Sam visits his father's arcade and turns the power back on, the jukebox is playing "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" by Journey (also a Mythology Gag as said band provided songs for the original TRON).
  • In Animal House, the establishing shot of the toga party has Sam Cooke's "Twistin' the Night Away" playing. Just as Flounder — incongruously dressed in a formal suit and tie while everyone else is wearing wild togas — enters the Delta house, we hear the lyrics "Here's a man in evening clothes, how he got here I don't know..."
  • In the first Back to the Future movie, on the morning after his time traveling, Marty McFly's clock radio wakes him to the song "Back in Time" by Huey Lewis and the News.
  • In Unknown, Martin and Gina hide in a dance club at one point, and New Order's "Blue Monday" is playing. Confusion over memory and identity is a major plot point, and there's a lull in the conversation so that the relevant portion of the lyrics ("So tell me how do I feel") can be heard loud and clear.
  • In Independence Day, guess what track is playing when the nerdy Asian astronomer first detects the transmission of the alien ships? R.E.M's It's the End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).
  • A Goofy Movie. Max's goal is to get to the Powerline concert in LA. Goofy's goal is to bond with his son. After quite a bit of turmoil, eventually their goals become one and the same and Goofy tries to help Max get on stage at the Powerline concert. Coincidentally, Powerline happens to be singing "I-2-I," a song about reconciling differences through The Power of Love.
  • Lampshaded in Star Trek: First Contact. Zefram Cochrane is finally ready to blast off on his historic flight to test the warp drive, but at the last second he panics, saying that he forgot something and they can't take off without it. He frantically searches his pockets and produces a little plastic device which he jams into a slot... and Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" starts playing on the radio.
  • In Apollo 13, when Jack Swigert, the backup CMP, is called up and informed that the main CMP is sick and can't go on the moon mission, so he's going instead, Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" is playing on his radio, specifically the lyrics "You don't don't know what we could find / Why don't you come with me little girl / On a magic carpet ride" Even more appropriate as he had been in the shower with a girl when the phone rang.
  • "You Always Hurt The One You Love" was sung by the main character in Blue Valentine, which depicted a Destructive Romance.
  • The World's End: Starts with James' "Come Home" in The First Post and goes on from there, eventually reaching "Here's Where The Story Ends" by The Sundays.

    Literature 
  • In the series Fearless, a character genetically unable to experience fear keeps crossing paths with a band, also called Fearless, whose songs are entirely about fearlessness.
  • Wet Goddess Recollections Of A Dolphin Lover: "oh good, some nice, mind-numbing rolling stones music. "Goodbye, ruby tuesday, who could pin a name on you" Or not.
  • Done purposely in A Song of Ice and Fire whenever "The Rains of Castemere" is played — most notably, at Edmure Tully's wedding. The song is a famous sign within the universe itself that some major retribution is about to go down, so if it's ever played, every character knows...
  • In Night Watch, Anton's portable CD player usually plays songs that are quite apropos when set on shuffle (i.e. random order of play). Anton even ponders if he could use it as a divination device.
  • Similar to the Night Watch entry, one of the characters in Tom Dietz's "Soulsmith" trilogy actually DOES use his favorite FM classic rock station as a means of divination, basing the order of play on a Tarot reading.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians manages to pull this off in two different instances. The first one is subtle and comes in the first book of the series, where Grover the Satyr is practicing his reed pipes. However, the only song he knows is "So Yesterday" by Hilary Duff. It seems like a throwaway joke at first until you think about the meaning of the song, which is above moving on with your life, something Percy is unable to do because of his fatal flaw. The second comes in The Titan's Curse when a group of characters hitch a ride on a car truck, each one sitting a car that suits their personality. Thalia, one of the edgier characters is sitting in a sports car blaring rock music. Though it is never really specified what song, the genre itself goes hand in hand with the character, and the conversation she has with Percy which doesn't end on a good note.
  • The Dresden Files does this somewhat subtly in Cold Days. After a rather brutal fight at a Winter Court ball, Harry (who is now the Winter Knight) ends up dancing with Mab to an orchestral version of Shinedown's 45. If you're familiar with the song's lyrics, it's rather easy to see the parallel with the recent direction his life has taken.

    Live Action TV 
  • "Zack Attack", the kids' band from Saved by the Bell, did several of these.
    • Also the entire schtick of California Dreams, a series based entirely around the 'Zack Attack' concept.
  • The Monkees, Josie and the Pussycats, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Flight of the Conchords, and The Heights all built entire series around it.
    • And for today's tweens, Jonas.
  • So Weird's songs tended to carry a heavy supernatural theme, despite the fact that the singer was actively disinterested in the supernatural. Many of the Molly Phillips songs were specifically relevant to the episode in which they first appeared, especially "Rebecca" and "Love is Broken". The songs performed by Alexz Johnson were even worse, including "Push Me Pull You", which could not possibly have been written for any reason but to describe a bipolar character with magnetic superpowers.
    • Surprisingly, some of this is actually the result of Executive Meddling: the series theme, "In The Darkness" seems to be supernaturally-themed, but was actually intended to be about one character's struggle with alcoholism. Disney channel executives kiboshed any direct references to alcoholism.
    • When Jewel Staite guest starred, she sung a song called "Questions," which questioned whether anything in her life was real. Why is this surprisingly apropos? Well, start with the fact the episode was called "Siren"...
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the Terry Nation-written Hartnell serial "The Chase", a case can be made for the prominent use of the song "Ticket to Ride" by The Beatles - the previous Terry Nation serial, "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", had featured the Doctor letting Susan (with whom he had shared a loving but controlling relationship) go, on a future Earth. "She would never be free while I was around", anyone?
    • The Fourth Doctor's skipping rhyme in "Robot" is very appropriate for someone called the Doctor feeling unlike himself and disorientated - "I feel sick - send for the Doctor, quick, quick, quick!" - and has an ending altered to be about his own multiple deaths - "Shall I die? Yes, my darling, by and by". After he starts the counting portion of the rhyme, the scene presumably continues for some time in-universe, but noticeably cuts just after the Doctor counts "Four...", the number of his incarnation.
    • In the episode "The Runaway Bride", the Doctor listens to the song "Love Don't Roam" at a wedding reception while flashbacks of Rose appear onscreen.
    • This is an interesting example: the first four Christmas episodes of Doctor Who have specific songs written for them by Murray Gold. "The Christmas Invasion" had "Song for Ten" sung by Tim Phillips, "The Runaway Bride" had "Love Don't Roam" performed by Neil Hannon (of the Divine Comedy, who also sang the album version of "Song for Ten"), and "Voyage of the Damned" had "The Stowaway" sung by Yamit Mamo. Sadly, working a Christmassy pop song into the Victorian London setting of "The Next Doctor" doesn't seem to have been possible.
      • And the album version of "Song for Ten" includes a second verse describing his separation from Rose in "Doomsday".
    • In "Last Of The Time Lords" the Master apparently has his own soundtrack, including Scissor Sisters' "I Can't Decide".
    • The cracker poem Clara reads to the Eleventh Doctor in "Time of the Doctor" is supposed to be a real poem in-universe, but could only have been written about a person who has turned into eleven other people and is going to turn into number twelve.
  • Subverted in The Wire — in a second season episode, Ziggy enters the dockers' bar, morose because he's just been served with papers saying that he'll have to pay maintenance for a previously unknown illegitimate son. In the background, the juke box is playing "Lovechild" by Diana Ross and The Supremes. However, it turns out that the papers are a prank by the guys in the bar and the music is just supposed to wind him up.
  • Also subverted in Friends, where Ross hass to make a choice between Julie and Rachel, and Phoebe writes a song about it.
    • "He must decide. He must decide. Even though I made him up, he must decide!"
  • The School Play (a musical written by the teachers) in the third season of Waterloo Road is a long exercise in this trope.
  • The second season of Skins featured a musical written by a staff member and performed by students. The show was recognised to be terrible by all and sundry, except the writer/director who was using it as an excuse to grope his female lead. In the following episode, the insensitivity of the script was revealed to have caused a fatwa to be issued on the school.
    • Emily and Naomi kisses for the first time during a party. The music playing? "I kissed a girl"
  • Scrubs has Ted's a cappella vocal band, "The Worthless Peons". Whenever they performed, it was sure to be related to the episode. (Except for when celebrating Carla's pregnancy: Babyback Ribs was the only song they knew with the word "baby" in it.)
    • "My Lunch" has The Fray's "How to save a life" during one tearjerker of a scene.
  • In the pilot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy is trying to decide between accepting her destiny as the Slayer, or trying to live a normal life. She walks into the Bronze, where Sprung Monkey are playing "Believe", which includes the line, "If my life can have a purpose / Help me to believe".
    • Buffy frequently had real bands playing at the Bronze. Sometimes the songs were linked to the scene, sometimes they weren't. The bands themselves were usually small, often unsigned (at the time) - exactly the kind that would be playing at a nightclub in Sunnydale. One odd quasi-example: In School Hard, Nickel's Stupid Thing is being performed in the Bronze during Buffy and Spike's first scene together. Non-diagetic music cuts in after the singer gets to the lines "I'm one step away from crashing to my knees/One step away from spilling my guts to you," so it was probably meant to reference the fact that Spike has an elaborate plan, the next step of which is to kill Buffy. However, the song as a whole depicts an unhealthy relationship from which the singer wants to escape, but lacks the willpower, which accidentally foreshadows much later developments. Then there's the use of Virgin State of Mind, which accidentally sounds like a description of Season 4.
    • The accidental foreshadowing in Nickel's Stupid Thing doesn't stop there - the song contains the stanza "You see, there's this huge chunk of me missing / It's gone / And I can't feel it, I can't feel it, I can't feel it"
    • Changed up later in the sixth season when curiously well-known Michelle Branch shows up to sing her single "Goodbye to You" in the episode "Tabula Rasa" wherein Tara breaks up with Willow and moves out, and Giles gets on a plane and leaves Sunnydale, quitting his job as Watcher. Probably the most appropriate song ever for the series.
    • Another very appropriate use of music is in the ending sequence of season 6 episode Smashed, which cuts back and forth between the scene of Spike and Buffy fighting in the abandoned house which ends with them having sex for the first time, and Willow and Amy doing magic for fun at the Bronze. An all-male band called Virgil is playing their song "Here", with the chorus: "What is wrong here?/What is wrong with you?/What is wrong here?/Where is your head?" Willow and Amy decide they dislike the music, so they turn them into the all-female band Halo Friendlies, performing their song "Run Away": "I don't wanna be, I don't wanna be alone/I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go it alone/Every time I see you/I just can't find words to say/I just want to turn and run away/I can't find the time and place to say what I need to say..." Eventually Willow and Amy decide that they've had their fun and turn everything back as it was, including turning the band back into Virgil performing "Here".
    • In a Season 4 episode, Giles is at home singing "Freebird" before he's interrupted by Spike. At this point, Giles is feeling useless and is preparing to leave: "I must be traveling on soon".
    • Aimee Mann is in the Bronze playing "Pavlov's Bell" in an episode where Spike is revealed to be a Manchurian Agent.
  • Angel. There is an episode where they go to Caritas and find Lindsey playing his guitar, singing LA Song (Pretty as a Picture), which was written by actor Christian Kane. The song's lyrics fit his character (and Angel's) perfectly. "Pretty girls on every corner. Sunshine turns the sky to gold. Warm, warm, it's always warm here. And I can't take the cold."
    • And considering what happens in later episodes, the lyrics "The sky's gonna open/People gonna pray and crawl/It's gonna rain down fire/Gonna burn us all," seem like Suspiciously Apropos Foreshadowing as well.
    • In "Billy", the title character has been freed from a Tailor-Made Prison to do his evil thing. When he turns up at a party, "Clint Eastwood" by Gorillaz is playing on the stereo, specifically the lyrics Finally someone let me outa' my cage.
  • In the episode of That '70s Show called "Eric's Depression", Eric has recently dumped Donna. When he is on his bed, feeling lonely, he turns on the radio. All FM stations play the same song: Eric Carmen's "All By Myself". Fed up, he switches to AM, but it's even worse: the song he hears is Ritchie Valens' "Oh Donna".
  • In an episode of Heroes, "Building 26", Sylar has just saved Luke and killed the government agents who were taking him away. Later, in the car Luke puts on the radio, and the song on air is Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer".
  • Utterly averted by DriveShaft's "You All Everybody" on LOST, Charlie's One-Hit Wonder. The song isn't really about anything.
    • However, the flashback in "Fire + Water" shows Charlie writing a song with the repeated line, "We can be saved," which ties into that episode's theme of salvation.
    • In the episode "Flashes Before Your Eyes", Desmond hears Charlie singing the Oasis song "Wonderwall"; 'Maybe, you're gonna be the one that saves me.' Desmond then saves Charlie's life at least four times.
  • Any soap opera ever. As they can't really use soundtrack they have to rely on the music actually IN the show, therefore you get Suspiciously Apropos Music playing over radios or being played by live bands ...
  • In Sons of Anarchy, one episode ends with a kid and his band giving a concert at a local community event, playing a song '18 and I like it' which glorifies youth rebellion and anarchy. Meanwhile, the kid's father who is a former member of the titular motorcycle club is at their clubhouse... having his So A tattoo burned off his back with a blowtorch for chickening out during a robbery and getting a fellow member sent to jail.
    • Except it was because he hadn't blacked out the tattoo himself. His involvement in the incident was done when he was excommunicated, but him keeping it was like saying he had never really been kicked out, as if he hadn't really done anything wrong.
  • Parodied in Strangers with Candy in the mock-Very Special Episode about anorexia, in which Jerri is dogged throughout by a ridiculous song with lyrics that include (in both English and Spanish), "You are large and fat and quite obese, fat fat fat fat fat fat fat oink oink oink..." At one point she shuts off the radio and says to no one in particular, "I can't believe that's the number-one song."
  • An episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine includes Vic Fontaine singing "I've Got the World on a String," while Nog tries to recover from losing his leg in battle. (This doesn't seem to fit, but as Nog learns to face his life again and deal with what happens, it starts to apply. Later, Vic and Sisko sing "The Best is Yet to Come," relating to the optimism in Sisko's relationship with Cassidy, and the upcoming series finale. (Of course, both of these can be considered subversions, depending on how you look at them.
  • Every episode of Glee includes at least one instance, though they're covers of songs rather than originals.
    • Ironically Subverted most of the time. The songs on Glee are more often chosen because they're Top 40, rather than for any plot relevant reasons.
  • Supernatural had "Don't Fear the Reaper" - guess which character showed up when that was playing.
    • In the pilot episode, "Ramblin' Man" by the Allman Brothers Band plays as Sam and Dean set off to look for John. And when you think about how they grew up...
    • "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" plays at the end of an episode which focused on whether or not angels existed.
    • "Carry on My Wayward Son" plays during the finale's recap of all the terrible things that have happened up to that point.
    • Played with in "Bad Day at Black Rock", when a bullet ricochet triggers a stereo to play music that suspiciously synchs up with the course of the fight. Justified because the fight is happening over a magical rabbit's foot that induces wild coincidences.
    • In Malleus Maleficarum, a guy listens to "I Put a Spell on You". Guess what happens to him!
    • An episode that ends with Sam and Dean in trouble with the FBI appropriately ends with "Renegade" by Styx. The effect provided by the sudden kick-up corresponds nicely to the action as well.
    • In the finale of the third season, Sam and Dean drive shortly before his soul is due to be collected, because of a Deal with the Devil, what song plays? "Wanted: Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi, which also contains the line "I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride". The show is meant to be a "modern day western", with the horse being the car.
  • In Kyle XY Kyle's sister, Lori, is an aspiring musician. At one point she plays a song she's written herself for the group in a local coffee house. Having recently broken up with her boyfriend, the song includes lyrics like 'Being alone has given me hope' and 'It killed me when you left...what once felt like theft is making me whole'. It's a surprisingly cheerful song.
  • In the The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "The Nightmare Man", Luke is leaving for university, and having nightmares that Sarah and the gang don't care and will be glad to get rid of him. When Rani throws him a farewell party, the song playing has the line "In my dreams I know that we will never be apart". It's ironic at the time, but becomes appropriate when they defeat the Nightmare Man with The Power of Friendship.
  • The season 3 finale of The West Wing combines this with Soundtrack Dissonance to create gut-wrenching irony in the form of a musical being performed during the action. As President Bartlet is informed that the terrorist-sponsoring, American-killing foreign defense minister whose assassination Bartlet finally ordered, after failing to find any alternative course of action, is dead, the "Patriotic Chorus" from The Wars of the Roses plays joyfully and triumphantly in the background: "Upon this country God will pour His rich increase / And victorious in war shall be made glorious in peace."
  • Partly played straight, partly averted in the House episode "Control". House is playing "Baba O'Reilly" by The Who on his iPod before Vogler, who is trying to make him admit to a moral but technically unethical decision House made, turns it off. The song comes back in the background after the scene, with the lyrics ''I don't need to fight / To prove I'm right / I don't need to be forgiven" ending the episode.
  • Babylon 5 arranges this by overlapping two distant scenes. A choir visits the titular station, and as they perform the hymn "No Hiding Place Down Here," we hear that audio as we see Lord Refa get chased down and beaten to death.
  • In The Agatha Christie Hour adaptation of "The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife", all the songs sung at the nightclub or heard on the radio at various points in the story are suspiciously apropos.
  • In one Monk episode, Lt. Disher quits the police force and tries to start a rock band. We only hear one song by his band: it's basically Disher venting his anger at Stottlemeyer and barely even trying to hide it. The lyrics boiled down to "You can't boss me around any more, neener neener!"
  • In the miniseries of Stephen King's book The Stand, the second episode involves the characters in a post-apocalyptic world playing a Crowded House record. The tune? Don't Dream It's Over. Which it wasn't.
    • In the same mini-series, one of the characters sits on the back of a car playing "Eve of Destruction" on his guitar while 99.7% of New York (and the rest of the world) lies dead around him.
  • On Fringe Walter after an episode of coming to terms with his past as a Mad Scientist Omnicidal Maniac listens to "The Man Who Sold The World" by David Bowie.
  • In the Warehouse Thirteen episode "A Faire to Remember", when Claudia wakes up her sister Claire, who has been in an induced coma for fifteen years because of being a teenaged telekinetic rage monster, it turns out Claire's favourite song is "When I Grow Up" by Garbage. "When I grow up, I'll be stable..."
  • This is used to excellent effect in the Magnum, P.I. episode "The Look", about a popular and charismatic radio announcer. She specifically says she doesn't make program choices; the music's all on tape, but the tracks are all suspiciously appropriate for the various situations.
  • Most episodes of Kids Incorporated have one or two (cover versions of then-popular hit) songs that are somehow relevant to the plot.

    Video Games 
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music was the big gimmick of Shivers 2, where music videos included in the game were packed with hints to the game's various puzzles.
    • I want to hear how that works. "Give the dog the bone to get the key, and rock out by the sea, YEAH!"
  • Inverted in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. The mostly nonsensical sequence of images and metaphors in the song Klavier and Lamiroir wrote together becomes the template for a complicated murder scheme, meaning the situation was tailored to the song, rather than vice-versa. However, it turns out that the similarities were initially coincidental, but the killer, upon discovering that he had inadvertently committed his crimes in a way that brought the lyrics to mind, then went on to add one more detail that was in the song, in order to make everyone fixate on the music and not think too hard about the real reasons he did all those things. You could almost call it a deconstruction.
  • Prey plays Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" during an alien abduction. At first, this seems the ironic sort, since the aliens are literally reaping the planet in a method that inspires quite a bit of terror. Eventually played even straighter, as the plot of the entire game parallels that particular tune. Probably Lampshaded: the jukebox playing said tune doesn't have it as an option before or after the abduction.
  • "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is also the theme song to the FMV game Ripper...and, considering how scary the game isn't, this also turns out to be good advice until it becomes important in the last puzzle, that is.
  • Arguably used in Killer7: in "Alter Ego", there is a street musician that plays a song ("Find your soul / find your place / then you'll find your way") that hints at the solution to one of the level's puzzles ( only one persona, Con, is able to navigate his way through a maze). On the other hand, just about everything in Killer7 is suspiciously apropos, even if you don't know why.
  • The soundtrack of The World Ends with You is mostly consisting of those. 70% of the songs can be assigned to one of the game's scenarios or characters without any problems. Most of them fit Neku in some way.
  • If we're going to include soundtracks, the ending theme of Wild AR Ms 3 (which could practically have been sung by Virginia) or the one from Final Fantasy IX (which could have been sung by Garnet) would fit as well.
  • "Burn My Dread" the intro song from Persona 3 which actually foreshadowed most, if not all, of the plot (and the version that comes with the game is only half of the entire song, they would've probably had to put spoiler tags on the other half).
    • In Persona 4, the main battle song "Reach Out To The Truth" is a spoiler to the later parts. "Don't waste your time hating flirty guys..." Namatame is the flirty guy, a businessman who cheated on his girlfriend. He isn't the real villain- therefore don't waste your time hating him.
      • It could also have been referring to Adachi (hence the "guys" plural), since both the murders he commited were against women who had caught his eye but who weren't interested in him, but, again, you can't just accept him as the real villain if you want to solve the entire mystery.
  • Several songs in BioShock. Within the context of the game they're not meant to have significance, since they come from speakers and record players wherever you happen to be. But some, such as "God Bless the Child" and, of course, "Beyond the Sea", certainly were chosen for a reason.
    • "Danny Boy" playing in Fontaine's apartment is too good to not be a coincedence.
  • The guitarist from MOTHER sings a song which is made of hints as to where all the melody tunes can be found.
    • Then blatantly Lampshaded in Chapter 2 of Mother 3 where a ghost pianist outright tells you what item to use in a certain room. In the English translation, a ghost in the room comments that the song is "very catchy...and hinty!"
    Even if you forget the small moles
    On my back and inner thigh,
    I'll never forget you.
    In my lonely room, your wig weeps,
    Baby, believe me when I say,
    Don't attach anything to the walls of this room,
    Like moles or wigs or wall staples.
    Ooh~ ooh~ oooooh~
    No~ wall~ staples~
  • Fallout 3 starts with the Ink Spots' 'I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire' before revealing the landscape where someone has done just that. The rest of the soundtrack follow similar themes. For example, 'Civilization' is about the downsides of living in a big city, which is a subtle hint that post-apocalypse Washington D.C. might not be any better.
    • And "Mighty, Mighty Man" always seems to pop up when killing raiders for good karma...
    • Step 1) Obtain melee weapon. Step 2) Max out Melee Weapons/Strength. Step 3) HEY EVERYBODY DID THE NEWS GET AROUND ABOUT A GUY NAMED BUTCHER PETE!?!
    • Also "Let's Go Sunning," a song about the benefits of getting some sunlight. Well, one form of radiation's as good as the next, right?
    • The Fallout series in general has a reputation for using very apropos music for their intros/endings. "Maybe" by the Ink Spots is a melancholic tune about a guy wishing for his lover back was used during the ending when the Vault Dweller was cast out of the vault. Louis Armstrong's "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" is an optimistic, upbeat tune used in the beginning of Fallout 2 during the film reel "Leaving the Vault".
      • Since when was "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" optimistic? The singer's lover is leaving, and he's basing an entire imaginary romantic life off of the final kiss. I mean, it works amazingly well with the Fallout universe (building a world upon a foundation that was never there to begin with?), but upbeat and optimistic it ain't.
    • I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire was so apropos to the series that the original plan was for it to be used in the intro to the first Fallout. Licensing complications stopped that, which led to another Ink Spots song, with a theme slightly more specific to that game (Maybe), being used instead.
    • Fallout 3 also features "Way Back Home" by Bob Crosby & The Bobcats, a song in which the protagonist longs for home and describes themselves as a "weary exile, singing (their) song of loneliness". Certainly apropos as far as The Lone Wanderer is concerned.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has the sort-of main theme in Blue Moon, which is about a man who had no purpose finding something worth fighting for. It plays in the intro, which is mostly just a summary of what's happening of New Vegas... But the Courier was a nobody before being shot in the head, and now he has questions to answer, and something to fight for.
      • In another way, nearly EVERY mission title is the name of an actual song, all of which fit the situation. For example, one quest is about Veronica, your Genius Bruiser idealist, trying to get the Brotherhood to help the Wasteland. The mission title? "I Could Make You Care" by the Ink Spots.
      • And for the occasional coincidence with the Radio, grab a nice ol' Hunting Revolver and suddenly find yourself in shoot-outs while "Big Iron" plays.
      • The New Vegas DLC pack "Dead Money" introduces the song "Begin Again," the lyrics of which prove incredibly appropriate to both Dead Money's storyline and all the subsequent DLC.
  • Most of the soundtrack to Reservoir Dogs (from K-Billy's "Super Sounds of the Seventies") is straight Soundtrack Dissonance, but in the video game adaptation, Bedlam's "Harvest Moon" comes on the radio during the car chase sequence where Mr. Brown is slowly bleeding to death.
  • At one point in Alan Wake, you end up fighting a seemingly endless army of Taken while on a stage, complete with pyrotechnics and music playing through the sound system. Standard video game setpiece, also used in Left 4 Dead 2... except that if you pay attention to the lyrics, it's quite literally about fighting a seemingly endless army of Taken. Justified in that by this point, the player should realize that not only is the song literally about the battle, but the battle most likely only happened because the song was written about it — Rewriting Reality applies to works created in the area around Cauldron Lake.
  • With a little luck, and the right MP3s in your user track folder, it can happen quite frequently in the GTA 3D games. You can even drive in The Truth's hippie van, with CJ being high, while Iron Butterfly's "In A Gadda Da Vida" was playing.
    • If you don't have access to custom soundtracks, you can always find yourself in an intense police chase while A Flock Of Seagulls' "I Ran" plays in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. And then sometimes, it may end up being a very good day in this department.
    • Grand Theft Auto V has several scripted instances where a particular song appropriate to the situation will play on the radio. Perhaps the most notable is The Alan Parsons Project's "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You" playing in the final mission, when Trevor has the main villain locked in the trunk of his car.
  • Driver: San Francisco also has its music ostensibly coming from the car radio, but the song selection process seems to be heavily weighted, routinely choosing faster songs during race challenges and the like. "Don't Give Up" in particular seems to play during the last few checkpoints of tight races far too often to be coincidence.
  • In Parappa The Rapper, Parappa puts on the radio in his car to distract Sunny from how desperately he needs the bathroom. The song, "Love You", is cosmetically the kind of rap love song a hip hop fan would play for a girl he likes, but the lyrics are full of Double Entendre relating to Parappa's more pressing issues:
    I must always be ready for any action, precaution, or junction, revolution, or constipation...
    Diggin' it out, diggin' it out...
    I need you, I want you
    Where in the world are you?
    ...I wanna let you know of my desire, let it let it go! I'm almost on fire...

    Web Original 
  • Todd in the Shadows is fond of ending his videos like this. In one example, his review of Alejandro, whose music video is filled with Catholic imagery, ends with "Only The Good Die Young." In particular, the line "Come out Virginia, don't let me wait!/You Catholic girls start much too late!"
    • His ringtone for The Nostalgia Chick is the fitting "Maneater" by Hall & Oates, specifically the "Oh oh here she comes, watch out boy, she'll chew you up" part.
  • Ben Croshaw (AKA Yahtzee) used to begin his Zero Punctuation videos with these before abandoning it for a standardized opening. A CMOF comes in his No More Heroes review, when he starts playing the Stranglers song of the same name before stopping it, saying, "No, too obvious."
  • In To Boldly Flee, General Zod requests that Ursa and Non, actually The Nostalgia Chick and Oancitizen trying to distract him, sing the number one song on Krypton from 1983. The song's title? We're a Distraction.
    • This also applies doubly due to the fact that said song is about finding happiness in and taking your mind off of the end of the world, it was very popular on Krypton, and Krypton is usually presented as not knowing what was about to happen to it until an hour or two before the bang.
      • It also ends up being suspiciously appropriate for the situation directly at hand, which also turns out to be the end of the world and of The Nostalgia Critic.
  • In the first episode of RWBY, a gang leader holds up a store and Ruby takes this opportunity to jump at the call and attack him, earning herself an invitation to the local Extranormal Institute in the process. The music she's listening to on her headphones is "This Will Be The Day," the series' theme song, which has lyrics about a child becoming a warrior, "a world of bloody evolution", a Coming of Age Story...you get the picture.
  • Sure, that one song in Dusk's Dawn provides pretty much all of the Exposition there is in the entire episode, but it lasts a whopping 3 minutes and 50 seconds and is completely forgettable, with the exception of the part where the villain sings in gibberish. Basically, it's mostly there to just kill time.

    Western Animation 
  • Susie Carmichael's songs in All Grown Up!! probably fall under this category as well.
  • Each episode of Metalocalypse typically features Dethklok performing a song relevant to the plot of that episode. In some cases, the song itself is the plot of the episode, as on the occasion where their song about an apocalyptic troll accidentally broke the curse that had kept a mountain-sized troll asleep for centuries. The bulk of the episode showed the band being mildly inconvenienced by it and eventually trying to stop its destructive rampage.
    • In the pilot, the "SEWN. BACK TOGETHER WRONG. BACK TOGETHER" song was inspired by the plot (Nathan got the idea from Toki's offhanded remark)
    • Probably the straightest example is "Comet Song," given that Dethklok was too naive to ever figure out that they were performing for a comet cult (even going so far as to complain that no one offered them any of the "Grape Drink" all the cultists were getting). The lyrics are about spending money for a better afterlife and being killed at the speed of light.
  • In the Danny Phantom episode "Fanning the Flames", a ghost rocker named Ember McLain, though supposedly renowned for her amazing music, sings only one song, and even throughout the episode only the chorus is heard. It has absolutely nothing to do with the episode's plot, but probably is somehow connected with Ember's rather ambiguous human life. The song is sung by Robin Kirmissel, who after this single voice acting role was apparently never heard from again.
    • Strangely, the song is sung by a character voiced by Tara Strong, who would've been perfectly capable of doing her own singing anyway.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Homer Loves Flanders", Homer just misses out on winning two tickets to a football game in a radio phone-in. In rage, he wallops the radio, which starts playing "Two Tickets To Paradise". Most people would find that bitterly ironic; Homer doesn't even notice, and likes the song so much he calms down.
    • And starts singing along. "... got, two tickets to paradise, I've got, two tickets to paradiiiise. Doo dew, doo dew, doo dew, doo deeewwww... aah. Excellent guitar riff."
  • The ending of the Kim Possible movie "So The Drama" ends on a musical number played at the school prom which just happens to be absolutely perfectly 100% about the two leads and their discovery that actually, they could be more than friends. It's so absurdly apropos it's unreal, but somehow it works. (Of course, it was written specifically for the movie, and sung by the actress who plays Kim, but that just makes it even more suspicious.)
    • Monique arranged it. She suspected something like that might happen, and either informed the DJ, or just did it herself, probably tipped off by Wade. Or Wade hacked it somehow.
  • Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids could be a mild inversion. Since the songs the the junkyard gang played at the end of an episode were intended to drive home the plot/moral of the episode, there wasn't much suspicious about it. It was as obvious as the title character's considerable girth.
  • In Barbie & The Diamond Castle, the main characters Alexa and Liana ask Melody to teach them her favorite song, which turns out to be the key to the Diamond Castle.
    • They also sing for their supper in an inn, with lyrics that match their current situation ("We're Gonna Find It"). At that same inn, two brothers improvise a song to hit on the girls.
  • Singapore's Mediacorp broadcasting outfit sometimes takes liberties in selecting background music for the trailers of its acquired programmes - the trailer for the latest season of Totally Spies!, that Fanservicey Korean-animated show, features the song "Nobody" by the equally Fanservicey and Korean Wondergirls.
    • The trailer for an upcoming rerun of Resident Evil: Apocalypse begins with the familiar opening bars of... Michael Jackson's Thriller.
  • Parodied in an early episode of Family Guy where the main characters come across Randy Newman providing a running musical commentary on every tiny detail of what is happening around him.
    • Which is itself sort of a Take That at Newman himself, who seems to have a tendency to write songs with very obvious lyrics describing whatever situation the song is to be used for.
  • Parodied in an episode of Arthur where Buster comes back from his trip around the world and finds that he and Arthur have slightly different interests now. A singing moose, played by Art Garfunkel, follows them around and sings about what's happening.
    "Mom, there's a singing moose outside our house!"
  • In The Boondocks animated series, Rapper Thugnificent writes a song called "Stomp 'em in the nutz!" In the Season Finale, they finally get the opportunity to play it while someone is getting stomped in the nuts.
  • Sons Of Butcher tends to do this whenever the titular band does a performance.
  • In Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Gromit turns on the car radio to try and ease his nerves. It of course begins playing "Bright Eyes", which was used in the film adaptation of Watership Down. Gromit appears to know this, as he quickly shuts it off, startled.
  • In A Goofy Movie, near the end of the movie Max and Goofy end up crashing Powerline's concert, ending up onstage during Powerline's song. What is Powerline singing? "I 2 I" a.k.a. "Eye 2 Eye", a song about resolving differences through love, and thus "seeing eye to eye". And when does this happen? Right after Max and Goofy have finally patched up their father-son relationship problems, thus having themselves learned to "see eye to eye".
  • The fourth Futurama movie foreshadows part of the plot in the opning song by mentioning "The psychic worms from Rigel 9 who control everything we do."

    Real Life 
  • In his memoir, Lt. Col. Robert Morgan (Best known as the pilot of the legendary B-17 The Memphis Belle) relates how, while flying a mission to firebomb Tokyo in 1945, the radio operator on his B-29 picked up a Japanese radio station. The first track the DJ played was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, followed by My Old Flame and I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire. Morgan writes that his crew started to get uncomfortable and they switched off the radio because they didn't know if they could stand it if the next track the DJ played was There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.
  • Subversion: During the controversy over Penny Arcade's "Dickwolves" comic, which got accusations of endorsing rape (let's leave it at that), the artist, Gabe, did a Livestream during which a song from rape survivor Tori Amos was played, along with one about a woman who is a Nazi. Two songs, in two hours of music. It was accused of being this trope, and Gabe replied, with irritation, that he simply had his music collection set on shuffle and didn't deliberately bury two songs a good way into a playlist specifically to piss off his critics in a passive-aggressive manner.

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