Sarah's ringtone is very descriptive.
Joss, that song had no content. It wasn't even about the movie, it was about itself! That's like breaking the ninth wall!
A song that is, at least partially, about itself.
When Medium Awareness
meets music. There are quite a few songs in which the lyrics explicitly reference the fact that... well, it's a song. However, since listing every example that does this would be practically impossible, this trope limits the range to songs that don't just break the fourth wall
, but, in fact, are pretty much all about the fact that they're songs.
Generally Played for Laughs
. Closely related to The Something Song
. Compare Self Demonstrating Song
. Sometimes Breaking the Fourth Wall
. See also [Trope Name]
and Heavy Meta
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Anime and Manga
- Whenever Pokémon's Team Rocket decide to forgo their usual motto in favor of a song:
You know us as Team Rocket, and we fight for what is wrong.
We're tired of our motto, so we thought we'd try a song.
- The Title Theme Tune from Spy Hard. Of course, given the artist who wrote it and the type of film it is...
You're watching Spy Hard.
It's the theme from Spy Hard.
- "The Credits Song" from Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie:
This is the song that comes under the credits, These are the credits, so this is where it goes. Has nothing to do with the movie, so we'll say: Hey, hey, hey-hey hey hey hey hey!
There should be a rule that the song under the credits, remotely pertains to the movie's basic plot! That rule has not been made, so for now we'll have to say: Hey, hey, hey-hey hey hey hey hey!
- In The Sound of Music, the song "Do Re Mi" is about singing the song "Do Re Mi". The scene is a Training Montage as the characters learn how to sing.
- In A Colbert Christmas, the first song is "Another Christmas Song," which is about how he wrote a christmas song and intends to make lots of money off of it.
- Elf: Buddy improvises one to demonstrate how easy it is to sing in public.
I'm singing...I'm in a store, and I'm singing...
Live Action TV
- In Markoolio's song "Nostalgi", the verses are about nostalgia. The refrain, however, is an argument where Markoolio sings that he want the song to have a refrain - and the chorus sing a They Just Didn't Care message about how he shouldn't bother because they can just record one later.
- "Just a Song About Ping Pong" by Operator Please.
- Tim Minchin's "Dark Side".
- Also, his song "The Fence".
- Jon Lajoie's "Radio Friendly Song".
'Cause they market this song to young, impressionable, and insecure teenage girls
'Cause all you gotta say is "ooh baby, I love you" and "girl, I need you in my world"
Yes, they market this song to young, impressionable, and insecure teenage girls
'Cause all they gotta do is find a sexually attractive man that can sing all the words
- Leonard Cohen' "Hallelujah" spells its own chord progression.
- Molly and the Tinker's "The Anti-Singalong Song" is a song about the act of singing "The Anti-Singalong Song". Or rather, about refusing to sing it.
- "So Far, So Bad" by Five Iron Frenzy.
Don't worry what this song would say,
you'll never hear it anyway.
They won't play this song on the radio.
So far, so bad, that's how it goes.
- "Please Play This Song On The Radio" by NOFX.
- Britney Spears - "Everytime"
I may have made it rain
Please forgive me
My weakness caused you pain
And this song is my sorry
- "I Write the Songs" by Barry Manilow is the Trope Codifier.
- Microdisney's "Bullwhip Road" uses it twice, in a bitter and cynical way:
I am no good for you; I can do no wrong
I've written you this song
I hate the world
I hate my life and this song
Now run along
- From "I'm Lucky" by Jim's Big Ego:
Now here's the part of the song where you'd expect to find a little
About how I'd really much rather have you back
- "Chicken and Corn" by Annihilator:
This is a song,
The best darned food in the world,
- Naturally, "Your Song" by Elton John:
And you can tell everybody
This is your song.
- Lampshaded to hell and back in the self-explanatory "This Song's Just Six Words Long" by "Weird Al" Yankovic. It's a send-up of George Harrison's "I've Got My Mind Set On You."
- In fact, Weird Al does this all the time, throughout his repertoire. Another example would be "Don't Download This Song".
- "Achy Breaky Song" is a meta-example, as it's not about itself, but rather about the song it's parodying:
Don't play that song
That "Achy Breaky" song
You know I hate that song a bunch
And if you play that song
That nauseating song
It might just make me lose my lunch.
- Shel Silverstein's "26 Second Song", designed as a Take That to all who thought his usual songs were too long.
- Kenny Price had a novelty song that topped this. The lyrics, in their entirety:
This is the shortest song in the world.
- DaVinci's Notebook's song "Title of the Song" is made of this trope.
- Dave Soroka pushes this to another level in "Thief Of Hearts":
I've taken enough of your time with this stuff,
And all without a change of key.
The intention here was to try and help make it clear
Not to start crying pity for me.
- "The Last Song" by All American Rejects:
This may be the last thing
That I write for long.
Can you hear me smiling
When I sing this song,
For you and only you?
- Similarly, the earlier "Last Song" by Edward Bear:
It's the last song I'll ever write for you
It's the last time that I'll tell you
Just how much I really care
This is the last song I'll ever sing for you
You'll come looking for the light
And it won't be there
- Barenaked Ladies, "What A Good Boy":
I couldn't tell you that I was wrong,
Chickened out, grabbed a pen and a paper, sat down and I wrote this song.
- Tenacious D does this frequently, from advising all male listeners to pay close attention at the start of their song, "Fuck Her Gently", to making tributes to other songs.
- Lagwagon's "Falling Apart":
The same as the first.
I forgot the words again.
- Lemon Demon's "Holy Bison Breaks" is about songwriters block.
Well, I thought I'd write a little song,
So I wrote a little song.
Then I tried to write some lyrics,
But I didn't last too long.
So I figured: why not sing about me
Trying to write a song an' stuff,
And I decided to keep on singing 'till I had had enough.
- Tony Mason, author of Barney's on Fire, did an entire album of this, with tracks such as "Title Track", "Hit Single" and "The Song You Skip".
- Carly Simon presents a Logic Bomb in "You're So Vain".
You prob'ly think this song is about you.
- Bowling for Soup song "Almost" describes many events which 'almost' happened. The last one is:
I almost wrote a song about you today
But then I tore it all up and I threw it away
- Which makes you wonder how we're listening to it....
- Let's not forget their song "A Really Cool Dance Song".
This song sounds like a dance song
Because dance songs are cool now
So get up and shake what your mama gave you
It's our attempt at a dance song
A really cool dance song
It's gonna be a great big hit!
- Frank Sinatra, "I Sing the Songs"
- They Might Be Giants, "Number Three" (which is the third track on their debut album):
There's only two songs in me, and I just wrote the third.
Don't know where I got the inspiration or how I wrote the words.
Spent my whole life just diggin' up my music's shallow grave
For the two songs in me, and the third one I just made.
- Ringo Starr, "This Be Called a Song".
- Pet Shop Boys' "All Over The World":
This is a song about boys and girls
You hear it playing all over the world
- Pulp's "The Fear":
So now you know the words to our song,
Pretty soon you'll all be singing along.
When you're sad, when you're lonely & it all turns out wrong.
- "Kill The Director" by The Wombats
So with the angst of a teenage band
Here's another song about a gender I'll never understand
Here's another song about a gender I'll never understand
- "Track #10" by the Procussions. The lyrics consist solely of variations on "This is track number ten!"
- "The Song Of No-involvement" by Skyclad.
- Anything by Fall Out Boy.
- "Sad Songs and Waltzes" by Willie Nelson (or CAKE), although it's not necessarily talking about itself.
I'm writing a song all about you
A true song as real as my tears
But you've no need to fear it, 'cause no one will hear it
Sad songs and waltzes aren't selling this year
- Subverted by "This is Not a Song, It's a Sandwich" by Psychostick. Which is not a song, it's a sandwich.
- But played straight later in the same album with "#1 Radio $ingle", which actually IS a song about itself.
This is the part of the song where I talk about emotions
And this is the part of the song where I sing about how I feel so cold inside
And this is where my producer told me
To say "Yeah!" (yeah!)
- "Only A Northern Song" by The Beatles, which is actually more about the dissonance in the song than the song itself.
- George Harrison, who wrote "Only a Northern Song" (see above), used this trope again as a solo artist. He wrote "This Song" while legal action was underway regarding "My Sweet Lord/He's So Fine", saying in part:
This song ain't bad or good and as far as I know
Don't infringe on anyone's copyright so
This song we'll let be
- Radiohead's "My Iron Lung", which was about Fan Dumb audiences who wanted to hear "Creep" and only "Creep". It's up to interpretation whether the song is talking about itself or a hypothetical song, though, in the relevant part:
This, this is our new song
Just like the last one
A total waste of time
My iron lung...
- Simon & Garfunkel's "Song for the Asking"
Here is my song for the asking
Ask me and I will play
So sweetly I'll make you smile
This is my tune for the taking
Take it, don't turn away
- Also the first two lines of "Leaves That Are Green," which were reused by Billy Bragg for his hit "A New England":
I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song
I'm twenty-two now, but I won't be long
- "This is the Hook" by Deadmau5, which sounds something like an electronica-backed DJing lesson.
Now it is time for the breakdown.
The breakdown allows the track to really break the repetition.
Let's filter the hi-hat, let's filter the chords, let's filter the bass.
I like the filters. I like the grooves, but I digress.
- "When Did You Fall" by Chris Rice:
And I can tell now by the way that you’re looking at me
I’d better finish this song so my lips will be free.
- "This Song for You" by Chris de Burgh, although it's not entirely self-referential.
- "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi:
This ain't a song for the broken-hearted
- Trace Adkins' "This Ain't No Love Song" is somewhere between this and Suspiciously Specific Denial:
This ain't no love song
I just felt like gettin' my guitar on
And singing a tune, singing about you
Yeah feeling good and tapping my shoes
And all this stuff I’m making up
Well, you probably wont be hearing it on the radio
But then you never know
So baby, if you want, you can sing along
But this ain’t no love song
- Darryl Rhoades and the Hahavishnu Orchestra's "This Song is Boring" lampshades itself with not only the words repeated ad infinitum but the same guitar riff over and over.
- "This Is My Song," written by Sir Charles Chaplin for his 1966 movie A Countess From Hong Kong and performed by Petula Clark.
- This portion of the last verse from The Beatles' "I Will":
And when at last I find you,
This song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you, make it easy to be near you
- Chicago's "25 Or 6 To 4" was about the song writer's bout with writer's block.
- "West End Musical" by Mitch Benn is three of these put together.
This is a great big opening song...
''This is a very simple tune...'
This is the song you've already heard...
- And in The Now Show Pantomime (2010), he completed things with "The Very Happy Ending Song"
This iiisss - the Very Happy Ending Song !
It's a happy, clappy ending song, it's a bit too long,
But it has to go right here !
- "Song About Nothing" by <3
So this is a song about nothing (Nothing!)
This is a song about nothing at all
Some other bands try to write serious songs
But we'll just have a ball
- The completely unrelated "Song About Nothing", by Andy Corwin, which even goes so far as to say that "the very idea for this song isn't even original".
- Meanwhile, "Nothing to Say", written a couple years earlier by Carla Ulbrich, has most of the same thoughts as Corwin's song, up to and including hoping that, despite saying nothing, it'll become a hit due to its catchiness.
- Dragon Road song — not Akira Kushida's, Dungeons & Dragons-themed filk one ("It was on the first of August...").
- Sparks' "Strange Animal" is about someone escaping the police by somehow walking into a song, although it's never quite specified that it's the song you're now hearing. At one point he begins to criticize the very song he's now part of ("But this song lacks a heart \ comes off overly smart"), and in the end it seems that he murders everyone else in the song and tries to change it into something more to his liking ("You're in need of a fix \ of a total remix \ so I must kill you all").
- The lyrics to King Crimson's song "Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With" from their album "The Power to Believe" is filled with this trope. Here is a sample:
And when I have some words
This is the way I'll sing -
Through a distortion box
To make them menacing
Yeah, then I'm gonna have to write a chorus
We're gonna need to have a chorus
And this seems to be as good as any other place to sing it till I'm blue in the face
- "Hook" by Blues Traveler is entirely about itself, describing how the hook brings you back, confessing that he doesn't mean any of what he is singing, and how the lyrics affect the listener, among other things.
- "Wild Swimming" by Martha Tilston contains a verse in which she tells the person to whom the song is directed, that she plans to write a song about him, in which she will compare him to wild swimming. That song is, presumably, the one being sung.
- Vanessa Amorosi: "Heres your fucking song" on "I Thought We'd Stay Together".
- Taylor Swift has done this at least a couple of times. "Dear John" and "Our Song" are the ones that spring immediately to mind.
- Charlie McDonnell has a few:
Welcome to this song, which I wrote all myself
It's all about this song, which I did write
This is a song that I wrote you for your birthday
This is a song about love!
- Alice Cooper plays with this trope in "School's Out":
Well we got no class
And we got no principles
And we got no innocence
We can't even think of a word that rhymes
- Monty Python's "I Bet You They Won't Play This Song on the Radio". Which is only kind of about itself, as it actually could be played on the radio due to all the self-censorship.
You can't say [airhorn] on the radio/Or [gunshot] or [twang] or [splat] ...
- fun.'s "Some Nights"
When I hear songs, they sound like this one...
- When this trope is applied to a whole genre, we get the Gaita Zuliana. There is a lot of songs about how itself is a traditional gaita song, how the song is more authentic and in a traditional style than others, and so on. Not that they doesn't hit other themes, but still a good third of all Gaita songs are or have some form of this trope.
- The Shins' "Simple Song"
This is a simple song/To say what you'd done
- "Julia" by The Beatles states that it's a song of love. It's not a "Love Song" per se, as it's about John Lennon's late mother.
- "Silly Love Songs" by Wings. It's basically Paul McCartney going "there's a lot of silly love songs, I got no problem with that, I'm gonna sing one right now... IIIIII looooooove yooooooou..."
- "This is Just a Modern Rock Song" by Belle and Sebastian.
- As you might anticipate from the title, "A Song For Worm Quartet To Sing With TV's Kyle" by Worm Quartet featuring TV's Kyle. Which breaks the fourth wall even more than you might expect, since it also has Kyle singing about how he refuses to appear on the song because it's repetitive and lazily written... And pointing out that Shoebox must have realized he'd feel that way to begin with, because he was the one who wrote all of the lyrics.
- Jonathan Coulton uses this trope in "Not About You":
- Paul Williams wrote "An Old Fashioned Love Song" along these lines. You might know the Three Dog Night version best.
Just an old fashioned love song / Comin' down in three part harmony
Just an old fashioned love song / One I'm sure they wrote for you and me
- Pixies gave us "Tony's Theme:"
This is a song about a superhero named Tony! It's called Tony's Theme!
- "One Of Those Songs" (also called "One of Those Wonderful Songs"), by Jimmy Durante
Well, this is one of those songs that you hear now and then...
- Several songs in Spamalot fall under this, most notably "The Song That Goes Like This".
- "Poppa's Blues" from Starlight Express.
The first line of the blues is always sung a second time
First line of the blues is always sung a second time
So by the time you get to the third line you've had time to think up a rhyme.
- "Untitled Opening Number" from [title of show] is mostly one of these.
It's the opening song
It doesn't have a title, no
And it's not very long
But it's the starting point for our musical