- Marina & the Diamonds' "Teen Idle" manages to do this with just one line:
(cheering) Feeling super! Super! Super... suicidal...
- Smokey Robinson:
Now if there's a smile on my face
It's only there trying to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey, that's quite a different subject
But don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Really I'm sad, oh I'm sadder than sad
You're gone and I'm hurtin' so bad
Like a clown I pretend to be glad
- The song "Happy Go Lucky" by Steps is made of this trope.
- "Facade" by Disturbed.
- In the planned music video for "Rhinestone Eyes" by Gorillaz, there's a sequence where Crazy Cyborg Noodle goes on a killing rampage while wearing a creepy ear-to-ear grin, which ends with a close up of her crying eye.
- The subject of "Everybody's Fool" by Evanescence is somewhere between Depressed and Empty. In the video, the dissonance between the facade and the emptiness inside results in some
Look, here she comes now
Bow down and stare in wonder
Oh, how we love you
No flaws when you're pretending
But now I know she never was, and never will be
You don't know how you've betrayed me
And somehow you've got everybody fooled
- Morrissey (in his solo career after The Smiths) has "When I Last Spoke To Carol" where she said:
I've hammered a smile across this pasty face of mine
since the day I was born in 1975.
- Everclear's "Wonderful" hints at this.
- The song "Ah, but Underneath" from Follies. The entire song sings about a woman who seemed to be something on the surface, but was something different underneath the top layer. But that layer, too, was "just a shell," and so it continues. The very last line is "Sometimes when the wrappings fall, there's nothing underneath at all!" making this Emptiness.
- The chorus of Taylor Swift's "Tied Together With A Smile" is about a depressed childhood friend of Taylor's who had anorexia.
And no one knows
That you cry, but you don't tell anyone
Might not be the golden one
And you're tied together with a smile
But you're comin' undone
- "Smiling Faces", sung by The Temptations, the Undisputed Truth, David Ruffin solo...
Smiling faces sometimes
Pretend to be your friend
Smiling faces show no traces
Of the evil that lurks within...
- "The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most" by Dashboard Confessional is about a Depressive:
Buried deep as you can dig inside yourself, hidden in the public eye
such a stellar monument to loneliness.
Laced with brilliant smiles and shining eyes,
perfect makeup, but you're barely scraping by.
- Lady Gaga:
- "Dance in the Dark": "Baby loves to dance in the dark / cuz when he's looking she falls apart".
- "So Happy I Could Die": "I do my hair / I gloss my eyes / I touch myself all through the night."
- "Lucky" by Britney Spears. The video shows it perfectly!
- The song "Eight Hundred" by Pinocchio-P.
- Skin's "Nothing But" rings as either Depressed or Empty. The entirety of the song has lyrics which insist that the narrator is happy ("I feel nothing just joy, and pride, and happiness.") but the tune denotes a sense of Lyrical Dissonance.
- The song "Gift from the Princess who Brought Sleep" by mothy. More specifically, the character who sings it, Margarita Blankenheim (played by Vocaloid Hatsune Miku).
- Emilie Autumn:
- Compared to her other, much deeper songs about sadness/depression, "Willow" can come off as this.
I'm not unique in this
Nor am I special, sweet or kind
I court a thousand smiles
Yet I keep my own to hide behind
But, oh, what beautiful things I'll wear
What beautiful dresses and hair
I'm lucky to share his bed
- Mr. Smiley from the Mustard Plug song of the same name is a variation of the classic smiley-face badge thing. He's Unstable- he goes nuts and kills his entire family.
- Nick Cave's "Good Son".
- Rage Against the Reflection:
- "Where Will You Go" counts as this.
I know who you really are
You're the one who cries when you're alone
- Insane Clown Posse's "Mr. Happy" details the day-to-day life of a friendly serial killer who is all smiles unless deprived of victims to strangle.
- Eduard Khil, to the point of Memetic Mutation.
- David Bowie's "D.J." is sung from the perspective of a Empty radio deejay who's "got believers" but is losing his mind and approaching Unstable status; the Concept Video contrasts his happy public facade with his increasingly violent, despairing nature in-studio. "I am a D.J., I am what I play/Can't turn around, no, can't turn around..."
- The Beatles' "I'm A Loser," mostly written by Lennon:
Although I laugh and I act like a clown
Beneath this mask I am wearing a frown
My tears are falling like rain from the sky
Is it for her or myself that I cry?
- Queen's "The Show Must Go On" describes Emptiness (it could also fit Depression):
Inside my heart is breaking
My make-up may be flaking
But my smile still stays on.
- For what it's worth, the Reality Subtext (the song was written and recorded as Freddy Mercury as entering the final stages of dying of an AIDS-related illness) heavily supports a Depressed interpretation of someone desperately trying to put a brave face on tremendous pain and unhappiness.
- The Simon and Garfunkel song "Richard Cory," based on the Edward Arlington Robinson poem. The song's chorus, an Everyman wishing he could be Richard Cory, becomes ironic when repeated one final time after we learn about Cory's suicidal depression.
- The protagonist in Jonathan Coulton's song "Good Morning Tucson", a morning news anchor who keeps his trademark smile going even as he's trying to get through his day's work, interviewing guests he doesn't particularly care about, and literally setting the studio on fire, watching it burn down around him.
- Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Happy House".
- The song "The Great Pretender" describes this kind of person, who puts on a happy facade to hide their sadness about losing a lover.
- The song "Shallow" by Poets of the Fall could be the Empty Smiler's Anthem.
More in my face
Than is my taste
I grow so weary I'll surrender.
- The Rise Against song "The Approaching Curve" is about a relationship built around this trope by both sides; the relationship is falling apart, but according to the lyrics "They'll remember, only our smiles 'cause that's all they've seen. Long since dried, when we are found, are the tears in which we had drowned..." Overall, it makes the song about a tough breakup even sadder than it was before.
- "Go Away" by Delain is a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to a Depressed person who puts all their effort into putting on an act instead of solving their problems.
- "On the outside they would smile, laughing, joking all the while; On the inside, they would cry, painful truth they try to hide."
- Go relisten to "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin. That bouncy, happy a cappella track hides one grim song.
- Paramore's "Brick by boring brick" has shades of this:
Well you built up a world of magic/because your real life is tragic.
- Charlie Chaplin's "Smile":
Smile, though your heart is aching...Smile, even though it's breaking...
- The Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everybody Else":
And make out I smile though I wear a frown
- "Don't Let It Show" by The Alan Parsons Project.
- "Leave a Scar" by Marilyn Manson describes an Unstable person:
I'm well aware I'm a danger to my self
Are you aware I'm a danger to others?
There's a crack in my soul
You thought was a smile
My smile is a chainlink fence / that I have put up
- Sting's "I'm So Happy That I Can't Stop Crying", about a man who keeps a happy facade while going through a divorce.
- "Apple Pie" by the Bastard Fairies is very unsympathetic look at one of these.
- The Supernaturals' appropriately named song "Smile":
You'd better smile, smile, smile
Cause that's all that you've got left
Your life's a mess, you've been cut adrift
- Sia's "Chandelier" is about a depressed Hard-Drinking Party Girl who turns to a night of drunken debauchery to try and push down a gnawing sense of fear and distress.
Help me, I'm holding on for dear life
Won't look down, won't open my eyes
Keep my glass full 'til morning light
'Cause I'm just holding out for tonight
- "Dollhouse" by Melanie Martinez is sung from the POV of a girl discussing her family. Despite her dad's infidelity, mom's alcoholism, the Domestic Abuse between them, and her brother's drug use they maintain a normal, happy family image to others.
Places, places, get in your places.
Throw on your dress and put on your doll faces.
Everyone thinks that we're perfect.
Please don't let them look through the curtains.
- The video for Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop" opens with teenagers walking along as mindless zombies entering a burger joint and walking out with burgers and shakes eerily grinning and nodding their heads.
- The narrator of Kelly Clarkson's "Cry" seems to be convincing themselves to become one of these.
- priscilla ahn's "Fine on the outside" (used as the ending theme to When Marnie Was There). The title explains it all.
So I left home
I packed up and I moved far away
From my past one day
And I laughed
I sound fine on the outside
- "Imitation of Life" by R.E.M. is about how people try to hide their insecurities while trying to be happy. The song's music video shows this by being a 20-second clip played backwards and forwards taking place at an outdoor party with all kinds of little mishaps going on throughout.
This sugarcane, this lemonade,
This hurricane, I'm not afraid.
Come on, come on,
No one can see me cry...
- Vienna Teng's "The Tower" is about a woman trying to seem stronger than she really feels.
She carries the act
So convincingly the fact is sometimes she believes it
That she can be happy the way things are
Be happy with the things she's done
- "These Are The Lies" by The Cab is a Suspiciously Specific Denial laden song about a man lying to himself and others about not having feelings for his ex-girlfriend.
I've got a new girl and she's my whole world/And I don't care if you're not sleeping alone
'Cause life is so good, I'm doing so good/Don't spend hours sitting here by the phone
'Cause I don't think about you every single night/I'll be fine without you
I can be fine when I'm not beside you/I'm moving on
No, I don't cry about you/No, these ain't tears in my eyes about you
Gonna be fine if I die without you/Baby I'm gone
These are the lies that I tell myself at night/These are the lies that are keeping me alive
- The Script's "Six Degrees Of Separation" is about someone who is depressed after a breakup but tries to act like they're happy.
Fake a smile
Yeah, lie and say, "I'm better now than ever"
And your life's okay
Well it's not, no
You're doing all these things out of desperation
You're going through six degrees of separation