Are you ready?
So prepare for the coup of the century, Be prepared for the murkiest scam! Meticulous planning, tenacity spanning, Decades of denial, is simply why I'll, Be king undisputed, respected, saluted, And seen for the wonder I am! Yes, my teeth and ambitions are bared; Be prepared!
The Villain Song is an over-the-top
, gloating cackle
about their Evil Plan
, philosophy of life, or why they do what they do (their leitmotive?)
. Said philosophy is usually that the world is there for the taking
, or that the world has wronged them and they will take revenge
, or that they just like hurting people
and nobody is going to stop them
. The villain usually gets lots of eye candy to go with their song — live performers will dance up a storm, while animated villains will get pyrotechnics all around them. If they don't get huge visuals, it better damn
well be because the song itself steals the show, and trying to distract from that with a lot of flashy visuals is just asking
for a chandelier to fall on someone.
This song is usually delivered in a minor key and typically features dramatic evidence of the villain's evil nature, such as playful abuse of loyal minions, taunting of prisoners, or random destruction of incidental locations of the villain's secret lair, usually for the purpose of abusing minions or taunting prisoners.
The nuttier the villain is, the better the song is. The Barnum
and the Straw Nihilist
get particularly good ones.
This song is almost always a measure of how important the villain is. If the villain has one, they'll get equal billing with the hero, and will probably steal the show. If they don't (e.g. Dr. Corrasco in Man of La Mancha
, Charlie Cowell in The Music Man
), they're not very important to the plot, and nobody qualifies as the Big Bad
. Villains can get other songs where they pretend to be nice, but if they don't get at least one song to strut their villainy, they're (usually) not important.
Occasionally followed up by an Evil Laugh
immediately, and a Dark Reprise
Compare Villain Love Song
(which can overlap), The Villain Sucks Song
(which is sung about
the villain by someone else), and Rock Me, Asmodeus!
(the devil directly involved in rock & roll).
Contrast No Song for the Wicked
Please note that just because a song is sung by a villain, it is not necessarily a Villain Song. The Phantom of the Opera may have a showstopper in the form of "The Music of the Night", but he doesn't use it to gloat over his villainy. Villain Songs don't have to be personally sung by the villain either, though exceptions are fairly rare. Real-life examples are allowed, but they'll be very controversial if the people singing them don't see themselves as evil.
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- The Villain sequence at the 2012 Olympics opener was pretty epic.
- The march song of Waffen-SS, SS marschiert im Feindesland ("The SS march into enemy territory"), is as close as it can be in the Real Life, as its lyrics are indeed pretty villainous.
- Another example is Sieg Heil Viktoria ("Hail Victory, Victory"), which has the rather sinister lyrics;
Gunsight and target are all lined up,
Adieu, adieu, adieu!
To Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt:
Adieu, adieu, adieu!
- Another is I'm a Good Old Rebel, sung by Confederate veterans about how much they hate the Union.