Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Mindless Self Indulgence frequently insult themselves. If you see anyone in a shirt that says "MSI sucks", they're probably a fan.
They Might Be Giants' fifth album John Henry included pictures in the liner notes of children waving signs that said "We hate They Might Be Giants." Seeing as this was the first album where the Johns were accompanied by a full band, quite a few fans did.
KMFDM's albums usually contain one song in this vein. The straightest example would be "Sucks" from Angst.
Other rock stars brag about the size of their respective members, but not Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray. He brags about his smallness, and is reportedly the least endowed man in the business.
"Reportedly?" Is there a chart somewhere comparing musicians' penises?
Yes. It's on the Metal Sludge website. I wish I was joking.
Flight of the Conchords typically open their live performances by describing themselves as New Zealand's "second/third most popular novelty music band". The most popular New Zealand novelty music band is a Flight of the Conchords tribute band.
For one of the biggest acts in pop history, The Beatles were remarkably prone to this. One 1963 interview has John saying they'll be lucky to last three months, Paul extremely certain they won't still be performing these songs at 40, George hoping he owns his own business "by the time we do flop," and Ringo speculating that he'll end up owning a hair salon.
In a 1982 interview George was asked to describe himself, and freely answered "a middle-aged ex-pop star." There's a picture in the book The Beatles' Recording Sessions of George in the studio c. 1967 wearing a "Stamp Out The Beatles" sweatshirt.
The Replacements on occasion, as evidenced by the fact that their discography includes titles like Stink and Don't Sell Or Buy, It's Crap. Even their name itself was chosen to suggest being second-rate: As member Chris Mars put it, "Like maybe the main act doesn't show, and instead the crowd has to settle for an earful of us dirtbags".
Elton John's 1976 world tour was self-dubbed "Louder Than Concorde (But Not Quite As Pretty)".
Many of Elton's own wardrobe selections and costumes exaggerated (or covered up) Elton's less-than-conventionally-pop-star-like looks and qualities (eyeglasses, overweight build, gapped front teeth, receding hairline, sexuality (even when few people knew about it)) for laughs.
Not sure if this was an official release, but a 1977 compilation EP of his was titled Four From Four Eyes.
Green Jelly/o's Theme Song contains the chant-along chorus of "Green Jello Sucks!" along with some lyrics touting themselves as the worst in the land.
They were also fond of touting themselves as "the world's first video-only band," until they released "Cereal Killer Soundtrack" on CD/cassette and proclaimed in the liner notes that "now we're liars as well as jerks with no talent."
GWAR is fond of pointing out in their movies that they aren't particularly good, and the band characters are often depicted as fairly dim-witted.
Henry Rollins has said numerous times he thought Black Flag's best work was before he joined the band.
His spoken word albums occasionally include digs at his own solo career: one bit has an airport security worker asking him if he's a singer, to which he responds "Not to anyone who has good taste in music!". In another he claims to be one of rock and roll's ninjas because "I put out records... no one hears them! I make videos... no one sees! I go on tour... no one knows! NINJA! I was never here!"
He's also made comments to the effect that he's not an actor, but he takes roles whenever anybody's stupid enough to offer him one.
Five Iron Frenzy was all over this. In the hidden track on their first live album, Reese Roper thanks the listener "for buying another one of our stupid albums!" In the Cheeses liner notes, he writes "Thank goodness [our 1995 demo was never released]. This song suffers from suction." Their 2003 farewell tour was titled The Winners Never Quit Tour, and on this tour they sold t-shirts proclaiming "We were the future of rock and roll... in 1995." At the band's final show, Reese told fans how hospitals were using old FIF albums as an alternative to stomach pumping.
"Five Iron is stupid and you are if you like them also."
Starflyer 59 writes lyrics like "It's not the same when I try, it's just a bad lullaby" ("When I Learn to Sing") and "My ideas, they outweigh all the talent I own" ("Ideas for the Talented").
Limp Bizkit album Significant Other actually opens with the line, "You wanted the worst... you got the worst. The one... the only... Limp Bizkit."
An article by metal group Harvey Milk has band members savaging their musical catalog.
After The Who started doing radio commercials, fans complained that they had "sold out". The title of their next album? The Who Sell Out.
Dos Gringos engaged in this as well, with their song I'm A Pilot. It's based on the perceptions and stereotypes that crew chiefs have of fighter pilots.
Emilie Autumn called herself "Drama Queen" in her 'Opheliac' era track "Shalott"
Matthew Shultz of Cage The Elephant came up with the lyrics to their hit "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" while on the job at a construction site, and wrote them down on an unfinished drywall. He's subsequently joked that "one day, someone will find those lyrics on the wall and say 'who wrote these crappy words?'".
Show me a grunge band from the late 80's/early 90's that didn't do this and I'll show you a bunch of posers.
One of the more visible/notable examples of this is when the members of Pearl Jam appeared in the 1994 movie Singles as the other members of Matt Dillon's character's band. Their appearance was nothing but one giant pisstake at their (Pearl Jam's) expense.
Another notable example of this was Mudhoney's Performance Video for "Suck You Dry", which has them playing a "10 Years Of Grunge" event at a dive bar in 1998 (the song came out in 1992) - they're mainly playing to a handful of incredibly bored looking people sitting at the bar... and one really enthusiastic fan in front of the stage who is effectively slam-dancing with himself.
Bloc Party's vocalist has said that he wrote "Helicopter" as a jab at himself. He's not nearly as much of a Small Name, Big Ego as the song makes him sound.
Micky Dolenz of The Monkees put out an album of lullabyes in the early 1990's titled, Micky Dolenz Puts You To Sleep.
The inner fold of Deep Purple's Who Do We Think We Are LP consisted of a collection of print reviews from around the world, panning the band. Uriah Heep also did this, in the gatefold of their double-live album. In the early 1970s, most critics' attitudes toward any Heavy Metal band not named Blue Oyster Cult ranged from indifference to contempt, so the two bands probably couldn't have scraped together enough positive press between them to fill an album cover.
Luke Seinkowski, A K A "The Great Luke Ski" of Dr. Demento fame, named one of his albums "Worst Album Ever", and interspersed its tracks with verbal tirades in which he lambasts the album as a ripoff and himself as a shameless hack. Tirades, self-delivered in a Gilbert Gottfreid voice.
One blink-and-you-miss-it example occurs in the music video for Jessie J's "Price Tag". The song is about anti-consumerism and Doing It for the Art, for context. Around the time the line "We need to take it back in time/when music made us all unite/and it wasn't low blows and video hoes/am I the only one getting tired?" is sung, you can see briefly Jessie wearing the same outfit and doing similar dance moves she is using in "Do It Like A Dude", which is a song about being a The Lad-ette.
He relased a live album entitled An Evening (Wasted) With Tom Lehrer, including negative reviews in the liner notes, such as "plays the piano acceptably".
His songbook is titled Too Many Songs By Tom Lehrer.
One of his album covers is a photograph of him on stage playing a piano in front of a theater of empty chairs.
The song Runaway by Kanye West takes jabs at how rubbish he is at romancing a woman, even admitting that the relationship failing was his fault.
The Spinto Band promoted their shows at the SXSW festival with a take-off on the "Shit (insert group of people here) Say" YouTube meme called "Shit People At SXSW DON'T Say" - one such line is "Man, the line for the Spinto Band showcase is four blocks long!".
The a cappella band Instant Sunshine's members all carry personas of being failures desperate for fame. Their first LP is called "Funny Name For A Band...", positioned directly over their name.
Former Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters does this on his current The Wall Live tour. For the song "Mother", he sings in harmony with a video clip of himself singing the same song back in 1980, which he refers to as "miserable, fucked-up Roger". (By many accounts, he really wasn't a very nice person back then, and really has mellowed considerably since.)
Paul and Storm have a song entitled Opening Band which is mostly made of this. Slightly subverted, since they also poke fun at the sound guy ("he's probably out behind the building rolling up a fattie"), the venue ("we're wondering if this was worth the drive here"), and the headline act ("they're probably getting wasted in the green room").
We're probably not the band you came to see tonight
The Insane Clown Posse has often been called "the world's most hated band" by the media (and non-fans), and relishes it - their The Howard Stern Show appearances often end in hateful phone calls from listeners, which they joyfully respond to, often making the caller seem like an absolute ass by loving their criticism.
During her 19th birthday, Cyrus made a speech (similarly filmed on a smartphone and leaked on TMZ) sarcastically describing herself as a "stoner" and referring to herself by the nickname her close friends have given her as "Bob Miley", all as a reference to an incident where Miley inhaled from a salvia bottle in New Orleans.
Relatedly, one of her adopted dogs is named "Mary Jane". She tweeted this post in December 2012.
Miley's frequent appearances and cameos on Saturday Night Live are filled with self-deprecation, and she has embraced the series' Miley Cyrus Show sketches with open arms; she's good friends with Vanessa Bayer, who plays Miley.
Jon Anderson takes a poke at his own rather obtuse lyrics in Yes's "Going for the One."
Now the verses I've sang
Don't add much weight to the story in my head
So I'm thinking I should go and write a punch line.
But they're so hard to find
In my cosmic mind
So I think I'll take a look out of the window
Referring to their notorious status as a Revolving Door Band, one instance of which occurred when Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman departed from the group prior to the album's recording to be replaced by The Buggles, they named their 1980 album Drama.
Ex-Supertramp singer Roger Hodgson reportedly asked his son Andrew (who was in his backing band in the mid-1990s what a stereotypical Hodgson lyric would be be, and then wrote a song with that phrase as the title. The song, "Don't You Want To Get High?", was released on Hodgson's live 1997 Rites Of Passage album.
Torche's Songs For Singles EP has a sticker on the packaging with the following quote:
"It's a bunch of radio rock bullshit" - Rick Smith (Torche Drummer)
It doesn't take long to find a Twitter post by pop star / ex- Hannah Montana actress Emily Osment that doesn't poke fun at her 5'2'' frame (her profile contains the description "2 foot 38 inches. Dorm life." as of December 2012), indie-rock-leaning tastes in music (she's fond of ironically referencing to "hipsters") or her love of panda bears (her fans label her as a "Panda Queen").
When her brother Haley Joel Osment joined Twitter in 2014, he commented to her on how he can barely keep up with the "nearly five thousand tweets" his sister has already posted (she joined the social media site in 2009). Emily joked back, "And only about 4 of them make any sense".
Hardcore Punk band Poison Idea released an EP titled Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes, with the cover depicting a large pile of various records messily strewn about the floor. This was actually a joke at the expense of their guitarist, Pig Champion - the record collection in question was in fact his.
Johnny Mercer's Hooray for Hollywood. If you think it's a paean to Tinsel Town you haven't paid close attention to the lyrics. It's mostly about how shallow the place is. Of course, "Tinsel Town" is itself a self deprecating moniker.
Type O Negative's singer/bassist Peter Steele was an embodiment of this trope. Reportedly, many fans who met him were intimidated by his appearance and voice at first, so he would help them relax by being as self-ironic as possible. It also shows up a lot in his interviews.
Also, one of TON's "best of" albums (the one they named themselves, not the one their ex-label produced without their consent) is appropriately titled The Least Worst Of.
One of their albums, kept in a "live show" style (although it's anything but) has the virtual audience cuss the band, throw trash on the stage and call in a false bomb alarm. The album's form was a sarcastic reply to how poorly TON was received during their first tour in Europe, including accusations of playing Music to Invade Poland to.
In homage to this, it's become a TON fan custom to chant YOU SUCK!!! during some TON shows, and it carried over to tribute shows after Steele's death and TON's subsequent disbandment.
Sonata Arctica's The Days Of Grays contains the following line in the booklet (translated from Finnish): "Wrong phrase and in the wrong key, but otherwise pretty good".
Garbage took their name from a comment made about their sound.
Before writing the music for Disney's Mary Poppins, Richard Sherman teamed up with Milt Larsen to make an album called "Smash Flops." The record label was Lemon. It included songs such as "Columbus, You Big Bag Of Steam" and "Watch World War Three on Pay TV."
Bright Eyes' A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997 features a negative review in the liner notes that describes the collection as a "20 song torture hour".
Yellow Magic Orchestra have always been extremely fond of insulting themselves. One TV special included them portraying "YMO 20 Years Later" as a bunch of hard-drinking, washed-up old farts (in intentionally bad old-age makeup). Their concert film Propaganda made fun of the critical accusations of Synthesizeritis and creative sterility (which most electronic artists had been getting ever since the early years of Kraftwerk) by "embracing" a rigid and formalistic aesthetic — by which I mean that they played on top of giant, intimidating podiums, on a stage covered in red flags, while wearing Soviet-looking uniforms with red armbands. Appropriately, the film was released in 1984.
In Eurovision Song Contest 2013, where which Sweden was the host, they had an interval act in the grand finale describing the country's cultures. They made fun of their own close-minded demeanor, antisocial behavior, and a good chunk of internal self-criticizing jokes the rest of the Europe had trouble understanding.
William Shatner, on his album Has Been includes this line in the song/spoken word piece "I Can't Get Behind That":
I can't get behind so-called singers who can't carry a tune. Get paid for talking, how easy is that? (pause) Well, maybe I can get behind that...