"Down at McDonellzzz" parodies old multi-language MTV videos with a woman doing sign language next to scrolling text in Esperanto.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The titular device from the song "Broken Machine." As the lyrics go, it doesn't care if it tears us apart. It also suffers from erectile dysfunction.
Album Title Drop: Fire was so named because the band noticed that the songs had an abundance of the word in them and decided to roll with it.
Likewise, KILL was named from the song "Egyptian Cowboy", as well as being the overall 'feel' of the record.
Angst: Examples include "Rubber Rocket" about the protagonist lamenting that he'd jerk off to internet porn rather than go back to a particular woman and "The Band in Hell" involving a failed artist lamenting his apparent one-way romance with someone... and is now forced to play at a seedy bar in Hell with a band that has Hitler in it to suck for all eternity. Yeah.
They make it all dance-able and non-serious, so fret not.
Anti-Love Song: Examples include "Lenny Kravitz", which is a rather curt lyrical dismissal of a one-night stand, "Infected Girls", which is extolling the singer's desire to mate with STD-infected women due to being infected himself, and "Kukuxumushu", which is about how much the singer got dumped repeatedly, was stalked by different women and pleads with his girlfriend to NOT make him write her a damn love song, they're only fuck buddies.
Burger Fool: In the lyrics of "Down at McDonnelzzz" a guy shows up to hold a parking lot party at a McDonald's McDonnelzzz because "his people need a place to go." The video plays the trope straight thematically: a Sunglasses at Night centaur with a Vanilla Ice haircut, a DeLorean and plastic toy katana and his clown-dressed friends hurl burgers at a Burger Fool, interrupting his training video, before breaking out the 40s of malt liquor.
"Boy or Girl" suddenly switches to the narrator welcoming someone to Big Burger. Can he take your order?
"Pleasing Interlude I" has the man walk down to Monty's Grille to get a burger. Things go awry.
"Telephone Conversation" deliberately averts this, which is why the song wasn't released on an album. It namechecks Koo Koo Roo, a Michigan restaurant chain. The band didn't want to change the lyrics, but didn't want the chain to sue them, so the track was eventually self-released on Sexy Trash.
Taken Up to Eleven in "Riding On a White Train", where he repeatedly announces the solo while it's playing.
The Conspiracy/Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: "Formula 409" features the band, circa the lineup of Flashy, being abducted by men wearing suits and T. rex masks and brainwashed with psychotropics into literally cleaning up Detroit with spray cleaner and rags.
For the former trope, "Germans in Mexico" qualifies, wherein American Fighter Jets snatch Mexican women for sale in Berlin (or are called upon to stop said sale) and German spies attempting to take over the world are in love with the president's daughter.
Hot-Blooded: Dick Valentine's style of singing is so over the top it probably never even knew a top existed.
He lets up a little bit on some songs: "Steal Yo Bones", "Chocolate Pope", "Jimmy Carter" and "Watching Evil Empires Fall Apart" are examples. However his distinctive wacky accent is impossible to disguise.
Zig Zagged: Given how alternately serious and non-serious the band comes off as.
I Am the Band: Dick Valentine is the only person left of the original Wildbunch since Fire. Eventually getting switched around, people have been hanging about since Switzerland and Señor Smoke. He also is the primary music and songwriter for the band, with only the most recent albums featuring songs penned and composed by other members.
It Came from Beverly Hills: In "I'm The Bomb" the subject of the singer's affections is cited as "a superstar living in the three-one-oh," which is the area code that dominates most of the upscale Los Angeles neighborhoods. The singer being thought of as "just another sucker perpetrator living in the two-one-three" is yet another Shout-Out to Detroit.
"I Buy The Drugs" says the drug dealer operates out of the PO Box of FOX Broadcasting's LA headquarters.
Special mention should be given to the word 'Devil'. Every time Dick says it he does it in a way that makes him sound like an over the top cartoon villain - "Deh Ville". As he loves saying the word, this happens a lot (especially in the Wildbunch period).
Last Note Nightmare: "It Ain't Punk Rock" goes from a regular E6 song and into some sort of nightmarish industrial-ambient thing for a good one minute."
"Taxi To Nowhere" is a fast-paced lounge piano song (complete with sounding like it was an amateur recording of a lounge singer in a hotel somewhere) about being stuck in a moving taxi without any money.
Subverted with "Infected Girls." At the end one can hear a girl reciting part of "Pleasing Interlude I" from Señor Smoke in Croatian. The only words understandable to an English speaker, however, are what sounds like "chocolate and a Coca-Cola" which makes it sound like she's just listing products.
The line about Druid Fluid from "Clusterfuck." May be unintentional.
The press releases they write up for new albums are completely ridiculous. The one for their latest album Zodiac has them deliberately name dropping Glenn Beck, Lady Gaga, and Robert Pattinson to increase its chances of getting Google hits. The press release for Flashy featured a several-paragraph-long Shaggy Dog Story about communism.
Relax-o-Vision: The "SIT-BACK-RELAX" in "Lucifer Airlines" attempts to be this. Whether it's successful in the context of the song is up for debate, considering where the airline goes.
Running Gag: In "Showtime", the repeated references to "putting a little mustard on it".
Serious Business: Inverted. The band has a very light-hearted and casual attitude towards their music. As a result the group has often been written off as a novelty joke band by critics at home and abroad. Valentine's response: "Some people take music very seriously, and then they see us, and they want to take it seriously but they're too afraid the joke is going to be on them."
Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Subverted. The members establish an image of being party-crazed rock star barflies but then, when interviewed, admit they're doing it simply because it's a fun change of pace from their normal lives.
Sexophone: Used in a number of tracks. "Dirty Looks" is a good example, as is "Formula 409."
Silly Love Songs: If they're not vaguely angsty songs or songs about sex metaphors, they're this. Pumped to eleven.
Shout-Out: Enough to probably deserve their own page.
"Gay Bar, Part Two" references a lot of Fire, Senor Smoke, and Switzerland, and in turn is a jab at people's claims that they only ever wrote a handful of songs worth listening to and people who never bothered to check anything past Fire.
From their Wildbunch days, "I Am Detroit, you are Mars. You've got red sand, I've got cars."
"American Cheese" reuses "Vengeance and Fashion"'s end beat. Either a Shout-Out or the musical equivalent of Lazy Artist.
"Synthesizer" from Fire is remarkably softer than the rest of the album, and yet still manages to both rock and hold a dance beat. "I Invented The Night" does both, it is a ballad for the verses and goes into rock for the bridge and chorus.
"Jimmy Carter" off of Señor Smoke is an oddly beautiful acoustic ballad stuck right in the middle of an otherwise dance-heavy album and features some of the most bizarre Word Salad Lyrics they've ever written. "Pleasing Interlude I" and "II" and parodies of this.
"Taxi To Nowhere" is piano jazz on Senor Smoke, although the original Wildbunch version of the song has a rock guitar arrangement.
"There's Something Very Wrong With Us, So Let's Go Out Tonight", although "Surprisingly Sinister Song" would be more accurate, on Switzerland, as well as "Germans in Mexico". "Chocolate Pope" is much more gentle and light-hearted for the album, as well.
"Watchin' Evil Empires Fall Apart" from Flashy.
"Immolate Me", "One More Time", "People Like You (Don't Like People Like Me)", "The World's Smallest Human Being" and "Cold Future" from Sexy Trash.
Many of their Wildbunch songs ("Jimmy Carter" is a remake of one such song from those years).
"Steal Your Bones" from KILL.
"Doom and Gloom and Doom and Gloom" and "Table and Chairs"/"Talking Turkey" from Zodiac.
"I Go Through Phases" and "The Intergalactic Version" from Heartbeats and Brainwaves, though the entire album is gentle, compared to some of their others.
Surreal Music Video: Videos not mentioned elsewhere on this page that qualify include "Mr. Woman" which features a giant couch stalking Dick Valentine, "Infected Girls" with Dick dressed as a cowboy in hell, dancing men in hazmat suits and fellatio on the steps of a Buddhist temple, and "Synthesizer" in which Guy Perry waltzes through a number of completely unrelated scenes naked and sporting a keytar sent from the gods.
"Rock And Roll Evacuation" from Señor Smoke was recorded in the middle of president George W. Bush's second term, hence the line "Mr. President, make a little money sending people you don't know to Iraq. \ Mr. President, I don't like you, you don't know how to rock."
Averted in the "Radio GaGa" music video, though Dick knew exactly he was doing when he was dressed as Freddie Mercury dancing on his own grave.
A lighthearted one at the Electric Six Wiki founder:
"Somebody in Newcastle has taken the time to research the catalog of Electric Six and provide a compendium of lyrics to our songs. While we are grateful and honoured, we are also very worried about this person."
" Except for GBV and Devo / Nothing seems to redeem Ohio / It is the state that killed my love.
One of the songs on Absolute Pleasure is introduced with the phrase, "This goes out to some of the ladies". The song? "Infected Girls"
"Adam Levine", which seems to be a jab at pop idols in general. The chorus literally tells him to rot/burn in Hell.
"And I never understood why anybody likes Lenny Kravitz."
The Eighties: "Jam it in the Hole". STOP! THEY ARE GOOD TIMES!
Heartbeats and Brainwaves is a deliberate throwback to '80s synthpop.
This Is a Song: "I am a song! And though my words don't often rhyme! I am a song! With a refreshing twist of lime!"
Un Entendre: Not uncommon for the band. A prime example would be this line from I'm The Bomb - "Hey, girl... when I'm fuckin' you... it's like nothin' else matters. Maybe we'll reach down, between my legs... AND EASE THE SEAT BACK!"
"Formula 409" is either about a government conspiracy and what disinfectant you should use to clean your kitchen, or more sex. Possibly both.
Visual Pun - In the "Formula 409" video, Dick Valentine's disembodied head. Dick head?
Word Salad Lyrics: While the lyrics themselves aren't especially tangled up, the band has admitted that no less than 90% of their songs are about absolutely nothing. The topics of their songs also ping-pong back and forth between the initial subject matter and any number of nonsensical witticisms: exactly how the fire in the Taco Bell is relevant to the fire in the disco need not be over-thought.
Of special note is "She's White"'s opening line "I was born a prisoner in your dungeon of flesh", which is this trope embodied.
"Kukuxumushu" (which means 'flea's kiss' in Basque) appears on the surface to be an Anti-Love Song about a girl with the titular name, but Valentine admitted he just saw the word in a clothing store in Spain and wanted to use it in a song.