- The video for "Gloria" by Laura Branigan kind of becomes this, as the lyrics of "voices in your head" as she touches her head and spins her hand in a circular motion, after her death from an undiagnosed ventricular brain aneurysm in 2004.
- The video for "Don't Worry, Be Happy", Bobby McFerrin's anti-depression song stars Bill Irwin and... Robin Williams. Robin's forced smile in some of the scenes has a painful edge to them now. Williams's relationship with McFerrin makes it a little less painful.
- "Rehab" from Back to Black by Amy Winehouse is a wry song about Amy rejecting rehab as a useful path for her. Her public image also found itself centered on the "drugs" element of "sex, drugs and rock 'n roll" in the public eye, garnering many jokes about it. Both the song and the general jokes about her drug use became painful rather than funny due to the heavily apparent negative effects substance abuse had on Amy, leading soon to her untimely death of alcohol poisoning at 27.
- The music video for "Back to Black" hits even closer to home, as it's her attending a funeral procession. For her heart, culminating in a title card reading "R.I.P. the Heart of Amy Winehouse", that has tellingly been removed from the Youtube upload.
- Warren Zevon has a couple of these; most noticeably "My Shit's Fucked Up", and "Life'll Kill Ya." The former is about a patient finding out he's terminally ill (in a decidedly un-clinical way), and the latter includes the lyrics "Some get the awful, awful diseases." Warren died in 2003 of mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer.
- In his song "Play it All Night Long," Zevon mocked "country livin'." The chorus goes "'Sweet Home Alabama'/ Play that dead band's song," a jab at Lynyrd Skynyrd. Thing is, Lynyrd Skynyrd survived the deaths of most of its original members. Zevon has not outlived that band.
- The last song on the final Elliott Smith album released in his lifetime is titled "Bye." His first posthumously released album features "King's Crossing", which is basically a musical suicide note. Depressing when he used to perform it live, now it's just chilling.
- The song "Baby Britain" includes the line "Nothing's gonna drag me down to a death that's not worth cheating" just before the last chorus.
- Also the line "I don't feel afraid to die" from "In The Lost And Found".
- The Notorious B.I.G. named his first two albums Ready to Die and Life After Death. He was gunned down in Los Angeles just two weeks before the release of the latter, which ends with a song titled "You're Nobody ('Til Somebody Kills You)".
- The first song off his Ready to Die album is "Juicy" and it has the unfortunate line, "Time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade". Although the song was released in 1994note , it took on a whole new meaning in a post-9/11 world due to its Unfortunate Implications. "Juicy" is a victim of retroactive censorship because radio disk jockeys remove the now offensive line when they play the song on the radio.
- The video for the Johnny Cash cover of "Hurt" has a quick cut to his wife June Carter Cash as he sings "Everyone I know/Goes away in the end". Her death a few months later made the video even more depressing.
- Kelly Clarkson
- The song "My Life Would Suck Without You" is basically about ups and downs in a relationship, which becomes somewhat gut-wrenching after her split from Brandon Blackstock in June 2020.
- The last verse from "Piece By Piece" also counts.
- The Mamas & the Papas
- A couple lines from "Creeque Alley": And no one's gettin' fat except Mama Cass/And everybody's gettin' fat except Mama Cass. The first one was actually referring to Cass Elliot being wealthy, but takes on a whole new meaning on July 29, 1974 after her weight contributed to dying in her sleep from a heart attack; the second one talks about the success of The Journeymen, The Byrds, and The Lovin' Spoonful before The Mamas And The Papas were founded, but before Mama Cass joined the group; after her death, it wouldn't have the same meaning anymore.
- Kenny Rogers: A verse from the iconic song "The Gambler" is both this and Heartwarming in Hindsight: And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep. Eventually on March 20, 2020, he died in his sleep.
- A song from Elton John's Blue Moves album from 1976, "Idol", is a rumination on the rise and fall of a (possibly fictional) washed-up teen idol from The '50s, one whose "face has changed, he's not the same anymore". This song was inspired by Elton's meeting Elvis Presley for the first time, and being horrified at the distressed state Elvis was in. A year later, Elvis would be dead. This would serve as a wake-up call for Elton to slow down his own career lest he wind up like Elvis. Unfortunately, Elton's drug and alcohol habits, promiscuity, and bulimia were still taking over his life. After seeing himself in a video singing at Ryan White's funeral as sad, bloated, morbidly obese, and "look(ing) like a 75-year-old man", he finally took himself to rehab in 1990 and saved his life.
- Another song of Elton's, "All The Nasties", released on 1971's Madman Across The Water, is, according to lyricist Bernie Taupin, both a Take That! to Elton's critics and a rumination on whether the general public would reject Elton over his homosexuality. Elton would come out — albeit as bisexual — at the height of his career. The backlash he would receive over his sexuality would severely damage his career until the release of 1983's Too Low For Zero album, and even then he would not enjoy quite the level of success he had in the 1970s.
- The final song on Elton's 1986 Leather Jackets album, recorded at the height of his drug, alcohol, and bulimic issues, is a lugubrious ballad titled "I Fall Apart".
- David Bowie's last album Blackstar (★), full stop. Released a few days before his death, most of the songs end up this way since they are basically him saying goodbye and admitting he doesn't have much time left.
- "One Man's Fool" by Genesis, the closing track on their 1997 album Calling All Stations, opens with the absolutely haunting line "As the buildings crumble, tumble to the ground, and the dust-filled smoke rises in the air, you know that somebody somewhere looks with pride, they're satisfied." Then gets even more on the nose with lines like "And on the morning after do you realize, See the ruined faces and the ruined lives". At the time, it was referring to a destructive truck bombing that happened in Manchester, England a year prior. But in a modern context, you'd swear this song was written as a heartbroken reaction to 9/11.
- Gustav Mahler once composed the song cycle Kindertotenlieder, or "Songs on the Death of Children". On its own, it is a depressing composition, but four years after its completion, he lost his daughter Maria of scarlet fever; she was four years old. Mahler wrote to a Guido Adler saying: "I placed myself in the situation that a child of mine had died. When I really lost my daughter, I could not have written these songs any more."
- "Who Wants to Live Forever" is an incredibly morbid and sad song. In light of Mercury's later illness and early death, it's all the more chilling.
- Several moments toward the end of Freddie Mercury's life become this due to the fact that he was dying of AIDS but chose to keep it secret from the public, preferring to carry on as normally as possible until the end.
- A verse in the 1989 album The Miracle, called "Khashoggi's Ship", contains the lines "I'm in pretty good shape" and "No one stops my party".
- The Miracle was so called as it was "a miracle" it was finished as Freddie was so ill.
- "I'm Going Slightly Mad", from the 1991 album Innuendo, was described by Mercury as just a silly joke song he wrote in about 5 minutes. After he publicly acknowledged his illness, it became known that it was all his fears about dementia brought on by AIDS.
- Freddie on Queen's declining popularity in the United States: "Guess I'll have to fucking die before we're big there again." Sadly, he was right.
- On January 2002, Brazilian pop duo Claudinho & Buchecha released a song "Fico Assim sem Você" ("Without you, I stay like this"), which compares a missing loved one to various things, such as "football without a ball" or "Sylvester the Cat without Tweety". One of the lines has Buchecha comparing the loss to him without Claudinho... which had a completely different meaning after Claudinho died in a car crash five months after the song's release.
- Yoko Ono's "Walking on Thin Ice" is a song about the unpredictability of life and death and the last song John Lennon worked on. He was shot to death the day he finished recording it and died clutching the completed mix of the song in his hands.
- In August 2009, critically acclaimed indie-punk rocker Jay Reatard released his second solo album, Watch Me Fall. A little over five months later in January 2010, he died in his bed of cocaine toxicity, after a tumultuous year that culminated in the firing of his entire live band.
- One of Britney Spears's early singles, "Lucky" talks about an actress who has fame, beauty, awards...and soul-crushing loneliness. Given the singer's later breakdowns, the song takes on a creepy air of foretelling.
- The song Fiction from Avenged Sevenfold's Nightmare album, released after drummer Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan's death, is painful enough - but when you discover that the song was originally entitled Death and was the last song Jimmy worked on, only 3 days before his death, with lyrics such as "I know you'll find your own way when I'm not with you", the whole song becomes absolutely heartwrenching.
- In all fairness, most Avenged Sevenfold songs have become this trope since Jimmy's passing, mainly due to the band's dark subject matter.
- Kaiser Chiefs's song "I Predict A Riot" has the lines " A friend of a friend got beaten/He looked the wrong way at a policeman". Quite a few years later in America, a black man named George Floyd was murdered by a policeman. Widespread riots ensued. And before then there were the 2011 London Riots.
- Whitney Houston's sophomore album, Whitney, contained a song called "Love is a Contact Sport". While the lyrics were basic fluff, the title in particular is quite harsher considering the level of physical violence in her marriage to fellow singer Bobby Brown.
- The title track of the album "My Love is Your Love" begins with the lyric "If tomorrow is judgment day I'm standing on the front line and the Lord asks me what I did with my life I will say I spent it with you.", the words now take on a harsher meaning seeing as Whitney Houston died at age 48 on February 11, 2012, of a drug overdose, even more harsher is that Whitney's then five-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown sang backup on the song and she died in similar circumstances to Whitney's two years later.
- The first Jack's Mannequin album, Everything In Transit's references to being sick was due to Andrew McMahon's recovery from tour burnout. Those lyrics would then turn eerily ironic when he visits his doctor for a case of laryngitis only to discover he had leukemia. Even eerier? He was diagnosed with leukemia the day he was finished with mixing the album and the day he was admitted to the hospital for leukemia was the day the album was released.
- The Dio track "End of the World" off of the "Master of the Moon" album contains the line "They say you never hear the bullet that kills, and I don't hear a sound...". After Ronnie James Dio died of cancer, it was revealed that the cancer wasn't caught until a very late stage, due to his stubborn reluctance to ever see a doctor (not even once he was having obvious symptoms, so certainly not for routine screenings). In contrast to the image the line originally evoked, it now calls to mind the idea that if he had been listening for the bullet, he might have heard it in time to dodge.
- Italian rapper Caparezza set up a Viral Marketing fake blog to promote his latest album. The blog is written from the perspective of a Conspiracy Theorist, in reference to one of the songs that mock conspiracy nuts, and its second entry is about natural catastrophes. The album came out on March 1, 2011, and on March 11 a massive earthquake hit Japan, triggering a colossal tsunami and a nuclear meltdown.
- The music video for McFly's 19th single "That's the Truth" featured bassist Dougie reacting badly to a breakup. Shortly after the video's release, Dougie was admitted to rehab, the reason rumoured to be depression over breaking up with his girlfriend.
- John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy" from "Double Fantasy" (1980), written for his son Sean, features the line "I can hardly wait until you come of age, but I guess we'll both just have to be patient". He was murdered later when his son was five (even his older son, Julian, was only a teenager).
- Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" is eerie enough in a post-Columbine world:
All the other kids with the pumped-up kicks better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped-up kicks better run, better run, faster than my bullet
- And it is downright scary after the Oslo/Utoya attacks where 69 teenagers were murdered by a lone gunman.
- According to Wikipedia, the bassist of the band has a cousin that survived the Columbine shooting.
- Even worse yet, this song came out before the Sandy Hook shooting. Just try to listen to it now...
- In 1994, Weezer released the song "Mykel and Carli", a cute, bittersweet tribute to two girls who ran the Weezer fan club. Actually, it's something of a tuckerization as the Mykel and Carli in the song are a pair of friends in high school, who the narrator still misses. The song, which was released as a B-side to "Undone (The Sweater Song)" from Weezer (The Blue Album), takes a more poignant tone when you learn that, a few years after the song was released, both Mykel and Carli died in a tragic car accident on their way to a Weezer show. Perhaps the most "harsher in hindsight" lyric in this context is "Till the school bus came / and took my friends away". The song can be found on the Deluxe Edition of the Blue Album.
- Wind of Change, a famous ballad celebrating perestroika, often seems like an example of this trope to many Russians, since the fall of the Union resulted in many tragic events in Russia (and most other post-Soviet countries too). The line about an "August summer night, soldiers passing by" is perhaps the most jarring, since the most dramatic events of the GKChP coup unfolded exactly at August summer nights just one year later after the song was recorded, and yes, it did involve soldiers.
- The fact that Germans consider this song a symbol of one of the most joyous events in their history may seem like pure schadenfreude if you think about it.
- MCA's entire first verse on "Too Many Rappers" from Hot Sauce Committee, Part 2 — the last album recorded before his cancer diagnosis — has become this, in light of his untimely death at 47:
"Yo, I been in the game since before you was born
I might still be MCin' even after you're gone
Strange thought, I know, but my skills still grow
The '80s, the '90s, 2000s, and so
On and on until the crack of dawn
Until the year 3000 and beyond
Stay up all night, and I MC and never die
Cause death is the cousin of sleep"
- Speaking of the year 3000, MCA's death puts a sad tint on his appearance on Futurama.
- After Ted Gardestad jumped in front of a train, neither of his song lyrics "Can't stop the train from a-rollin' / or make the wheels turn slow / you know I had to go" and "I believe that life has a happy ending" were quite the same again.
- "Superman's Song" by Crash Test Dummies is a mournful dirge that tells the story of Superman who had the power to commit great evil and bring himself unfathomable riches, but instead chose to use his powers for good, while expecting no payment for his deeds (the song also compares him to Tarzan of the Apes, who is considered to be a crude, rogue, and uncivilized Anti-Hero). The song focuses on the death of the superhero, and its chorus says it all: "Superman never made any money / For saving the world from Solomon Grundy / And sometimes I despair the world will never see / Another man like him". As if that wasn't chilling enough, there is even a music video that shows his funeral! And this was over a year before the Death of Superman Story Arc!
- "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)" by Merle Travis and Tex Williams, while not exactly a celebration of a smoker's lifestyle, includes the lyrics "...And I don't reckon that it'll harm your health/Smoked all my life and I ain't dead yet", spoken by Williams. Well, now he is dead. Cause of death? Pancreatic cancer, one of the diseases linked to cigarette smoking.
- The Funker Vogt song "Body Count", about a terrorist attack "much worse than Oklahoma" with bodies "burnt beyond recognition", was released just a year before the September 11th attacks. The song was omitted from their US tour that year.
- The skit "Lodi Dodi Intro" on Snoop Doggy Dogg's debut album Doggystyle, which was released on September 7, 1993, features Daz Dillinger of Tha Dogg Pound referring to rappers who were dissing Snoop, Dr. Dre and Tha Dogg Pound as " Busta ass, HIV pussy-ass motherfuckers," with Dre ending with the words, "Yo yo yo Daz, easy come, easy *blam*" Just short of 1 1/2 years later, on March 26, 1995, Eazy-E, who had been involved in a long lyrical feud with his ex-N.W.A bandmate Dre since the group's collapse in 1991, died of AIDS.
- Front 242's "Circling Overland" is about a cyberpunk police state monitored by aerial surveillance drones, which the US Department of Homeland Security is currently using or testing.
- Two years after leaving The Temptations, Paul Williams recorded the song "Feel Like Givin' Up", Produced by friend and fellow Temptation Eddie Kendricks, in hopes of launching a solo career. Sadly, Williams was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound before the song's scheduled release. Motown subsequently shelved the recordings to avoid this trope.
- The Red House Painters video for "All Mixed Up" had a good portion of it shot in the courtyard of the World Trade Center... with a panicked sad fairy running around. There's even a shot of her crying with the twin towers looming RIGHT in the background.
- Also of note is the cover of ''Old Ramon''◊. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't released just a few months before 9/11.
- There's a damn hard-to-find picture of Jeff Buckley taken underwater looking like he's drowning.
- "I couldn't awake from the nightmare, it sucked me in and pulled me under" from "So Real" on Grace.
- Famous singer Sinéad O'Connor's controversial Saturday Night Live poem about world injustice and child rape ended with her ripping a picture of Vatican Pope John Paul II. The corrupt stories about the Vatican were unknown to the large majority of people at the time. Years after she was vilified and temporarily ran out of the music business, stories about child abuse and child rape by Roman Catholic priests - and the cover-up afterwards - got exposed to the mainstream public.
- Let's take a look at the lyrics from this song by the British band Tank:
A war is raging that we don't understand
And I doubt that we can
There's no mistaking the mad sons of Islam
As they spill blood on the sand
A strange religion, that destroys through the Koran
Freedom's lost in this land
Hades or heaven. they're under its command
Whatever rights had a man
We'll hear the bomb blasts 'round the world
With two world wars passed they want to start the third
As they argue 'bout the planes they shot down
And count the dead they have found
An unholy war that's raising hell to the ground
The war drags ever on
The war drags ever on
The war drags ever on
An arm is severed with a gun still in its hand
And it's just left to be damned
Their main endeavor has not gone as it was planned
Shoot the boys where they stand
War is forever but as if we had the time
To change their thoughts in their minds
This war will never reflect on all their kind
They should be glad just to die
- Makes you think a lot of the war on terror, right? Well, this song was written all the way back in 1984, but it is Justified in the sense that many people saw the war on terror coming.
- Chad Gilbert and Hayley Williams' guest appearances on Say Anything...'s In Defense of the Genre is a little more awkward once you learn that Chad was rumored to have divorced his wife for Hayley. Said ex-wife is Sherri Dupree... who is now frontman Max Bemis's wife.
- The chorus for Mindy McCready's "Oh Romeo" - "Oh Romeo/Who would lay down her life?/Swallow the poison, pick up the knife/Maybe I cried/Just a teardrop or two/I would not die for you/I would not die for you..." - is, like the whole song, a lot harder to take considering that in 2013, not long after her boyfriend died of suicide, she died of suicide as well.
- Courtney Love (controversial wife of Kurt Cobain) was in a band called Hole, which released an album called Live Through This on April 12, 1994 - only four days after Kurt Cobain was found dead in his home. To make matters worse, one of the songs (entitled "Rock Star", a thing Kurt was never comfortable with being) has a line "Barrel of laughs to be Nirvana, hope you'd rather die". Even if you're aware that the album was completed before Kurt died, it's still pretty creepy (especially with the conspiracy theory accusing Courtney of having murdered Kurt). And to add insult to injury, Hole's bassist, Kristen Pfaff, died of a heroin overdose two months later.
- The album took its title from a line of the song "Asking For It", which at some point was a duet between Courtney and Kurt (the recording still exists in bootleg form). The full line goes "if you live through this with me I'll die for you". Yes, they both sing it. It's damn creepy.
- The music video for Suicide Silence's song "You Only Live Once" features the band playing in a shooting gallery and taking bullets (obviously they were fake bullets for recording, but there was blood involved). It becomes harsh when you consider Mitch Lucker, the band's former lead singer, dying on November 1, 2012, in a motorcycle crash while drunk.
- ABBA had a song "I'm a Marionette", which is about a singer's Creator Breakdown. Just a few years later, ABBA collapsed due to collective Creator Breakdown.
- "Under Attack", the last song ABBA released as a single before they disbanded, is written from the perspective of a woman being menaced by a stalker. The lead vocal is sung by Agnetha Faltskog, who later had this happen to her in Real Life.
- Edguy's first live album is entitled Burning Down The Opera. The Paris venue where the album was recorded later burned down. It was something like a decade or more after the record was released, but is nonetheless chilling.
- Sonic Youth had a song called "Sleepin' Around", which was written and sung by Thurston Moore, and had lyrics chastising someone for cheating on their partner. Five years later, the Creator Couple of Moore and Kim Gordon separated, leaving the future of the band uncertain... And a couple of years after that, Gordon revealed in an interview that the separation was because of Moore having an affair. Given the timing, it's at least somewhat in the realm of possibility that the song was actually Reality Subtext.
- An incredibly creepy example from the Pet Shop Boys: their second album Actually, included a track called "Kings Cross", about the general decay and injustice in the UK at the time, climaxing with the narrator finding himself at Kings Cross station in London, with "dead and wounded on either side". Two months after the album was released, thirty-one people were killed in a massive fire at the adjacent London Underground station, which many people blamed on the government's underinvestment in the transportation system. As a result, many people who hear the song and aren't aware of the short gap in time assume that it's a protest about the fire.
- The name of the band "Katrina and the Waves" was chosen in 1982; it is best known for its 1985 hit "Walking on Sunshine". In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, giving the band's name some rather unfortunate associations and inspiring many tasteless jokes.
- The opening line of Soul Coughing's 1994 album Ruby Vroom is "A man drives a plane into the Chrysler Building." Seven years later, terrorists drove two planes into two other New York City buildings, the Twin Towers.
- One of the first smash hits by Mexican singer Juan Gabriel is named "El Noa Noa", after a famous nightclub where he started his career. Bad thing, the (apparently now closed) "Noa Noa" club was located in... Ciudad Juárez.
- One of John Denver's most well-known songs is "Leaving on a Jet Plane." He died in a plane crash.
- Harlem rapper Big L's line in "Street Struck": "Stay off them corners, that might be your best plan/before you catch a bullet that was meant for the next man." Guess what happens to him four years later?
- "Goodbye Blue Sky" from The Wall is about The Battle of Britain and its effects on the warbabies, but listening to it now, it's eerie how many parallels you can draw to 9/11, what with lines like "Look mummy, there's an aeroplane up in the sky" (the plane about to crash into the tower) and "Did you ever wonder why we had to run for shelter when the promise of a brave new world unfurled beneath a clear blue sky?" (The towers coming down).
- Some of the imagery in "The Tower" by NoMeansNo has grown harsher on American ears since its initial release. Specifically, the line, "From a burning building a man leaps to his death."
- The Brutal Death Metal band Skinless has a song called "Tampon Lollipops". The song's lyrics involve a janitor eating used tampons. Fast-forward to Giovanna Plowman ACTUALLY EATING a tampon, and the Squick-worthy lyrics become even more so.
- The Roy Orbison song "Claudette" is one of the minority of songs by the artist with a happy ending, referencing how "I'm gonna be so happy for the rest of my life, when my brand-new baby is my brand-new wife." Claudette was the name of Roy Orbison's first wife, and they were married for just eight years before Claudette was killed in a motorcycle accident; this and other tragedies meant that the remaining 22 years of his life were less than blissful.
- The 1988 album Black and White Night, which includes a version of "Claudette", makes this something of an Invoked Trope.
- This version also contains a straight example of the trope in Orbison's reference to "the rest of [his] life". Orbison would die of a heart attack in December 1988, less than a year after the album was released.
- Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me" has becoming a lot creepier since the NSA's recent activity.
- "Wasted" by Def Leppard is about a rock star and his battles with addiction. Fast forward 11 years, and Steve Clark dies from alcohol abuse. "(Wasted) I've wasted my time/(Wasted) I'm shooting a line/(Wasted) I'm out of my head/(Wasted) I wish I was dead"
- Most of the songs by Woods Of Ypres, especially off their 5th album.
"Life is just pain and piss
It's nothing that I will miss"
- Robots In Disguise's song "The Tears" is about being afraid that your partner is cheating on you, and taking every little gesture or word as a sign that it's true. At the time, band members Sue Denim and Dee Plume were both in long-term relationships- Dee with Noel Fielding and Sue with Chris Corner (of IAMX). Unfortunately, as it turned out, they didn't need any signs to tell them: Sue reportedly saw Chris kissing someone else at a concert and dumped him, and Noel left Dee for Pixie Geldof. Ouch.
- In 2001, Polish vocalist Monika Kuszyńska had a hit single "Maj" ("May"), in which she sang about a May that changed her entire life. In May 2006, she was seriously wounded in a car crash, which left her permanently paralyzed from the waist down.
- Patty Donahue of The Waitresses is seen smoking in the video for their 1980s hit "I Know What Boys Like". Donahue died of lung cancer in 1996.
- The Fall:
- "Powder Keg" included cryptic references to The Troubles ("retreat from Enniskillen") and some sort of tragedy occurring in Mark E. Smith's home city of Manchester ("It going to hurt me / Manchester city centre", "Don't you know, the town is a powder keg"). A mere five days after the song was released, a bombing was carried out in Manchester city centre by the IRA. Because of this, there was actually some speculation that Smith somehow knew the attack had been planned; his response was the sarcastic claim "I'm bloody psychic!".
- The 2017 album New Facts Emerge includes a track called "Victoria Train Station Massacre" - the official track-listing to the album was announced a week after a suicide bombing outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Arena, a venue adjacent to Manchester Victoria railway station. The song was written, recorded, and titled long beforehand, the title referring to Mark E Smith's aesthetic disapproval towards the station's recent reconstruction.
- Soul Asylum's video for "Runaway Train", which features names and photos of real missing children from the early 1990s, was already heart-wrenching when it first aired in 1993. Two decades later, it's known that several of the youths appearing in the Australian version were murdered by serial killer Ivan Milat, and others in Britain and America were likewise victims of homicide, including a little girl who was murdered and buried in a backyard by her own mother in the middle of a terrible divorce process. Five of the missing, including a toddler who appears last in the video, have yet to be found. What's more, at least one of the teenagers had run away to escape an abusive home and was angry at the band for enabling her parents to find her.
- In the music video for "Paparazzi", Lady Gaga is shown in a wheelchair and then with crutches after being thrown off a balcony. In February 2013, she suffered a hip injury that resulted in the cancellation of the rest of the Born This Way Ball's tours.
- Gram Parsons' second album ends with "In My Hour Of Darkness", a Grief Song featuring a verse about a young man who "played to people everywhere/Some say he was a star/But he was just a country boy/His simple songs confess". Parsons died of an overdose at age 26, four months before the album came out.
- "Sell Sell Sell" by Barenaked Ladies is ostensibly about an actor's career and the war movie that made him a celebrity, but the severity with which the movie is condemned by the lyrics suggest that it's an allegory for an actual war, with the "actor" being the politician who orchestrated it. Or maybe it's just impossible not to hear it that way since The War on Terror, which started two years after the song was released.
- "Hurricane", a song recorded in 1980 by Levon Helm which was also a Top 10 country hit a year later for Leon Everette. In it, a native of New Orleans is unfazed when a man from Chicago suggests that they raise their levees because "we finally taught her that it takes a lot of water to wash away New Orleans". Cue Hurricane Katrina in 2005
- Don Henley's "New York Minute" has some lyrics which are a lot more powerful post-9/11 than when the song was written. "In a New York minute/everything can change . . ." it sure did.
- The video for Ryan Adams' 2001 single "New York, New York" was shot on September 7, in Manhattan near the World Trade Center and on the New Jersey shore across the Hudson. The WTC is visible over Adams' shoulder as he sings lines like "Farewell to the city and the love of my life."
- A lot of the songs on Relient K's album Five Score and Seven Years Ago(Specifically "The Best Thing, "Must Have Done Something Right", and "I'm Taking You With Me") are rather hard to listen to; they're about how happy lead singer Matthew Thiessen was with his fiancee. After the release of the album, she called off the engagement and he suffered a mild Creator Breakdown as a result.
- Colorado's state song "Where the Columbines Grow" (and for that matter, anything to do with columbines) after the school shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. On the other hand, Colorado's other state song, "Rocky Mountain High", could qualify as Hilarious in Hindsight after marijuana was legalized there in 2012.
- Jo Dee Messina's "Bring On the Rain" is a song about facing adversity, with the chorus stating "Tomorrow's another day, and I'm thirsty anyway / So bring on the rain." The date of the song's release? September 10, 2001.
- Robin Thicke's 2013 single "Blurred Lines" attracted extensive criticism and controversy for its alleged trivialization of sexual consent (featuring as it did such lyrics as "I know you want it" in regards to a potential sexual encounter). Among the myriad defenses Thicke offered was his claim that he wrote the song about his wife Paula Patton, feeling confident that his wife wanted to have sex with him. While this defense carries its own Unfortunate Implications about marital consent, it seemed not unreasonable given that Thicke and his wife seemed to be Happily Married. It fell into this trope when Patton left him the following year after repeated accusations of infidelity; Thicke even dedicated his subsequent album Paula to her, an album which likewise attracted controversy due to its perceived Stalker with a Crush overtones. And we haven't yet got to the plagiarism lawsuit with Marvin Gaye's estate.
- Post-metal band Isis formed in 1997, naming themselves after the Egyptian goddess. By 2014, the band had long broken up, but their name started carrying rather different connotations due to the existence of ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group - it doesn't help that the band had usually stylized their logo in all capital letters, making it look like an acronym. Their Facebook page, which was mainly being used to promote former band members' other projects at that point, started being inundated with angry comments apparently confusing them with the Islamic State, and fans noted being understandably reluctant to wear their t-shirts in public anymore. They did take a small measure against the Facebook issue, changing the name of their page from "ISIS" to the less ambiguous "Isis the band".
- "Adam's Song" by Blink182, an anti-suicide song with an uplifting ending, became much heavier after a survivor of the Columbine massacre killed himself with the song on infinite loop. Puts a bad feeling on an otherwise optimistic song.
- The Boy Band parody music video for "All the Small Things" was one of the funniest of its time. But the opening shot of drummer Travis Barker nonchalantly walking off a plane is kind of painful to see, considering he was severely burned by a jet crash.
- In 1954, blues singer Pat Hare recorded the song "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby". Nine years later, he fatally shot his girlfriend. He would spend the rest of his life in prison for the crime.
- When The Beatles arrived at the Plaza Hotel in New York, some fans held signs which read "Elvis is Dead, Long Live the Beatles", referring to The Beatles' rising popularity and Elvis' stagnation at the time. Half a decade later, The Beatles would split up, and barely a decade after that Elvis passed away.
- "Long Live The Beatles" might also prove harsher for John Lennon (who was murdered in 1980) and George Harrison (who died of cancer in 2001).
- John's death being shot by a Loony Fan is sadly prescient in his song "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" and how the opening to "Come Together" is punctuated by John's repeated 'SHOOT me!'. The same interjection appears in the unreleased Beatles track "Watching Rainbows," which also features the eerie line 'Whatever you do, you gotta shoot somebody today.' (Some fans claim the "Rainbows" shout to be 'Shoot big', but this clearly isn't the case.)
- "When I'm Sixty-Four" is not only harsher for John Lennon and George Harrison — neither of whom lived to see 64 — but it was harsher for its writer Paul McCartney. Between the death of first wife Linda and his separation from second wife Heather Mills, the answer to "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?" was sadly "No".
- Miss Kittin & The Hacker's electroclash single "Frank Sinatra" was originally released in July 1998 and featured the lyric "You know Frank Sinatra? He's dead" - Sinatra was still alive when the song was recorded, but passed away two months before it was first released. Miss Kittin has said she meant the reference as a Shout-Out (and as a very loose rhyme for "VIP area"), but apparently genuinely thought he was already dead when she wrote the song.
- Frank Zappa: Many of his songs have lines about venereal diseases, though usually just the clap. In the 1970s most of those were a nuisance, but treatable. After the AIDS scare of the 1980s, many of these lines don't sound so amusing anymore, especially since one of Zappa's associates, groupie Lucy Offerall (featured in 200 Motels) died of it in 1991.
- Fela Kuti's final recorded song pokes fun at the AIDS scare. He would die from the same disease.
- It's difficult to listen to "My Way" by Sid Vicious without realizing he recorded it just months before he murdered his partner Nancy Spungen and then took a suicidal drug overdose out of remorse. Was that "his way" when "the end is near and he faced the final curtain?"
- Black Sabbath's album Paranoid has a Drugs Are Bad song named "Hand Of Doom", sung by Ozzy Osbourne. If you realize how much unhealthy stuff Ozzy would take the following decades this makes this song particularly harsh to listen to. He is still alive today, though the effects of all his drug abuse are very visible and audible.
- Elvis Presley singing "Treat Me Nice", when you know that during the final years of his life he was merely exploited by his manager Colonel Parker to perform, even when he was ill, under the influence or suffering from exhaustion.
- Out to Lunch! by Eric Dolphy would be his final album after his untimely death, making the casual album title all the more morbid when you realize he's never coming back.
- Rise Above, a 2002 Black Flag tribute album performed by The Rollins Band and various guest vocalists, included Nick Oliveri (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age) singing "Jealous Again". The song's narrator, addressing his girlfriend, claims "I won't beat you up / No, I won't push you around / 'cause if I did that the cops would get me for doin' it"; this became ironic after an incident in 2011 where Oliveri was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.
- "Why Do I Keep Counting?" by The Killers is about a suicidally depressed guy. Keeping that in mind, the first two lines of the song "There's a plane and I am flying / There's a mountain waiting for me" become quite creepy after Germanwings Flight 9525.
- "DOTA O Ako" becomes this because of reports of break-ups, with online games as the cause. Only this time, a live-in couple broke up because of the video game 'Clash of Clans.
- The song "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)". It's pretty disturbing in the first place but becomes even more uncomfortable when you find out that not only is it absolutely sincere and unironic, it's based on the actual relationship the singer Little Eva had with her boyfriend. And it gets even worse when you consider that the producer was Phil Spector, who was an infamous domestic abuser and was later imprisoned for murdering an actress he was dating.
- Miranda Lambert's nostalgic 2014 hit "Automatic" contains the line "Staying married was the only way to work your problems out." A year after the song's released, she divorced her husband, fellow country singer Blake Shelton.
- Neil Young's "Piece Of Crap" was written as his jab at products on the market that were effectively overpriced junk. This would be the reaction a lot of people would have to the Pono Player, a portable music player that Young would lead to market that can play higher-quality formats than regular MP3s. Discounting the fact it costs a whopping $400, many critics doubt very much that the "high quality" files being sold in his web store are enough of an audible improvement over standard MP3s to warrant the need (indeed, one test of the very files, when downsampled to CD quality, only showed a minor difference in the high frequency ranges that humans can't even hear!). And did I mention that the device literally has only 3 buttons and issues with the touchscreen being unresponsive at times?
- His song "The Needle and the Damage Done" describes the destruction of musicians' lives by heroin addiction. Within a year of its release, both Crazy Horse bandmate Danny Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry had died from overdoses.
- Wilson Pickett recorded "Soul Survivor" on his 1999 studio album It's Harder Now, lamenting on the fact he was one of the few living musicians from the soul music era, and talking about numerous musicians who were no longer alive. That would be his final album; Pickett died in 2006.
- The Tragically Hip's "New Orleans Is Sinking" takes on new meanings after Hurricane Katrina.
- The Iron Maiden song "Tears of a Clown" from The Book Of Souls was a eulogy to Robin Williams's recent death, and contained the lines "there's something that inside has died" and "He had a longer way to run, or so the story goes". A couple of months after the track's release, it transpired that Robin Williams had been given only three years to live after being diagnosed with dementia.
- Speaking of Iron Maiden, they had a song called "2 Minutes to Midnight" on their 1984 album "Powerslave". As of 2018, the Doomsday Clock stands at two minutes to midnight. As of 2020, not even that.
- In September 1929, popular blues singer Bessie Smith recorded Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, a song about a millionaire who loses all their money and becomes a pauper. Barely two weeks after it was released, the stock market crash of Black October led to the Great Depression and the complete wreckage of the American economy, making this song a bitter reality for many.
- Keith Whitley's 1986 hit "Hard Livin'" contains the line "I wish hard livin' didn't come so easy to me", while 1990's "I'm Over You" has the line "You heard I'm drinkin' more than I should / That I ain't been lookin' all that good
" These lyrics quickly took on a different meaning upon Whitley's death from alcohol poisoning at age 34; it particularly hit the latter song hard, as "I'm Over You" was released nearly a year after his death...
- "Lucky Man", one of Emerson, Lake & Palmer's most famous songs, ends with the protagonist dying from a gunshot. In 2016, bandmember Keith Emerson would end up shooting himself.
- Rapper Phife Dawg's line "When's the last time you heard a funky diabetic" from A Tribe Called Quest's song "Oh My God!" is now depressing after the rapper has passed away from diabetes in 2016.
- Brad Paisley and LL Cool J's 2013 duet "Accidental Racist" was criticized for its awkward handling of a complex topic - namely, the lingering effects and divides from America's nasty history of slavery and racial segregation, which included Paisley's character trying to explain why he's wearing a Confederate flag shirt. It got worse after the 2015 AME Church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, when a white supremacist attacked the historically black church hoping to spark a "race war", brandishing the Confederate flag. This attack wound up destroying the flag's credibility as a symbol of Southern heritage, as governors and state legislatures agreed to take down their confederate flags.
- His 1984 hit song "Let's Go Crazy" included the lyrics "Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down?" seems pretty haunting now, considering that Prince was found dead in an elevator at Paisley Park on April 21, 2016. It also makes the surrounding lyrics about the afterlife, mortality, and the inevitability of death stand out more.
- Not only that, but the lyrics to "Sometimes It Snows In April" all deal with the death of the character he played Under the Cherry Moon, and therefore are a lot more eerie considering that he died in April of 2016.
- Also, in the 1987 outtake "Dream Factory," he sings "I take a pill 2 wipe away my doubts/But a pill can't cure my bein' alone." Considering that he died of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl, it's less cautionary-tale and more disturbingly symbolic.
- Same goes for the song "Pop Life" which contains the lyric "The river of addiction flows".
- Filipino rap group Salbakuta's biggest hit "S2pid Luv" contains the line "Wasak na wasak ang puso ni Nasty Mack", or "Nasty Mack's heart is really, really broken" when translated in English. In 2008, seven years after the song became a hit, group member Norman "Nasty Mack" Adriano died of a heart attack. He was only 30.
- Christina Grimmie's very popular cover of Sia's "Titanium," a song which revolves all around an "I'm bulletproof, guns can't kill me, go ahead and shoot me" metaphor, is very difficult to listen to since she was murdered at a fan meet and greet via gunshot to the head.
- Her own song, "Must Be Love," can also be painful, considering her killer was allegedly an obsessed fan. Blink and you'll miss it, but the lyric video even shows her getting shot in the chest with a Cupid's arrow.
- A Break-Up Song on her 2013 With Love album is titled "Absolutely Final Goodbye".
- The 1984 Wham! song "Last Christmas" is about having your heart broken on Christmas Day. George Michael would pass away from a heart attack on December 25, 2016.
- Dex Osama's song Death On Me was released in March 2015, and it talks about gangsters going after Dex and wanting him dead. Six months later, Dex was killed in a shootout. The first lyric "My mama said I got death on me..." says it all.
- Nine Inch Nails:
- Soundgarden is filled with dark lyrics, but some are particularly hard to take after the suicide of frontman Chris Cornell, such as "Pretty Noose" (cause of death: hanging), "Black Saturday" (a narrator sings how he prefers a Mercy Kill rather becoming an invalid elder; Cornell offed himself at just 52), and the self-explanatory "Like Suicide". Uncomfortable moments can also be found in "Blow Up the Outside World" (opening line: "Nothing seems to kill me...") and the title "The Day I Tried to Live". Maybe even harsher still because of his close friend Chester Bennington's suicide by hanging on what would have been Chris's 53rd birthday.
- The video for his 2015 single release "Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart" was taken down after his death, as it depicts Chris Cornell being executed by hanging in a dusty western town. (only fan uploads remain)
- The final song he played at a concert, which was right before his suicide, was a cover of "In My Time of Dying".
- Pearl Jam's song "Alive" now has a whole new meaning once we learn that with Kurt, Layne and Chris Cornell gone, Eddie Vedder is now the last grunge frontman standing. But only time will tell how long he stays that way.
- Temple of the Dog (the Supergroup that joined Chris Cornell and the future members of Pearl Jamnote ) opens their album with "Say Hello 2 Heaven", a Grief Song for Chris's deceased friend Andrew Wood that can easily be counted as a eulogy for the man himself now.
- Ariana Grande's song "One Last Time", which contains lyrics of Ariana finally saying goodbye to her lover after admitting to being unfaithful, takes a heartbreaking and depressing perspective after a suicide bomber attacked one of her concerts in Manchester, killing 22 people but leaving her uninjured, and Ariana believing on Twitter that she failed her fans, just like in the song where she failed her lover. In the events after, the song became a symbol of the tragedy.
- "Breathin'" is about Arianas struggles with anxiety and staying strong through hardships, and contains the lyric "People tell me to medicate". A few months after Sweetener's release, her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller was found dead of an overdose ruled accidental, and some people blamed Grande for it, saying she left him too broken after getting engaged to Pete Davidson. The engagement was called off shortly after, if not directly because of it.
- Speaking of, the song named for Pete seems a lot more awkwardly titled now.
- 2pac mentioning Mobb Deep member Prodigy having sickle cell at the end of the diss track "Hit 'Em Up" becomes very depressing to listen to after learning that Prodigy had passed away from the disease in 2017.
- And let's not forget the rapper's infamous line in the remix version of LL Cool J's song "I Shot Ya": "Illuminati wants my mind, soul, and my body".
- The Wallflowers' 2002 song "Everybody Out of the Water" was pretty dark to begin with, but the huge number of unintentional parallels to the events of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans three years later read like something from a Creepypasta. Just one highlight:
Now I'm treading high water to get back to you
Looking for a low spot or something to cling to
There's too many bodies there's not enough room
God help me and God help you
They say nobody panic, help is on its way
We're already on it, you got to be brave
If you can fix it now then don't make us wait
Man, they ain't nobody coming back away from the casenote
- Some of Montgomery Gentry's songs can be this after Troy Gentry died in a helicopter crash in September 2017, such as the second verse of "Roll with Me" ("I saw a kid last winter, only 20 years old / Being laid to rest while his mom stood by his side / It sure was hard to watch those tears roll down her face / It made me think how we all just have our time"), or the messages of self-improvement and enjoying life in the moment as seen in songs such as "While You're Still Young" and "Better Me" (the latter of which was released right after his death). Even harsher when you realize that Troy had the lead vocal on all three of those songs.
- The Gits' "Sign Of The Crab" seems to be about being a victim of a serial killer - it was recorded two months before vocalist Mia Zapata was murdered, and released on an album the band had to finish without her. The lyric "Go ahead and slash me up / 'Cause you know you're the one who won't be found" can come across as particularly eerie since the case was cold for 11 years before stored DNA evidence led to a conviction.
- The Youngbloods' "Get Together". When listening to it half a century after its release in 1967 and seeing all the strife still going on in the US and around the world, the impassioned plea "Smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now" begins to sound more and more desperate.
- Melanie Martinez has written a few songs with themes of abuse and rape. While the events in the songs were played out as bad, it all becomes a lot creepier after an ex-friend of hers spoke out about Melanies sexual misconduct towards her.
- The biggest hit for Country Music singer Lari White was "Now I Know", a song about dealing with the unspecified loss of someone close ("I always wondered how I'd live without you / Now I know"). Another one of her hits, "Stepping Stone", was about overcoming adversity in general ("Here I am at another dead end / Stopped in my tracks again..."). Both can be seen as harsher in hindsight following White's sudden death from cancer in January 2018.
- Italian rock band Elio e le Storie Tese has two:
- Their 1996 song "Li immortacci" lists several characters that enjoy their new lives as "zombies" of some sort: those are unnamed, but several allusions and nicknames make clear that they're all famous rock stars and musicians that died before their time. Among them, there's also "Micheletto" ("Little Michael") that "doesn't want to be black". The allusion to Jackson was made in reference to his wedding with the daughter of Elvis Presley, himself referenced in the song. In 2009 Jackson sadly became yet another member of that long list.
- They entered 2013's Sanremo Music Festival with a song that was about the damned in Hell and what they did to deserve that punishment, and one of the lyrics said "you accidentally murder people". The song was unveiled on February 13, 2013, and barely one day later Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his fiancee, all the while saying that it was an accident and that he mistook her for an intruder. Several members of the Italian press actually commented on the coincidence.
- T. Rex's song 1972 "Solid Gold Easy Action" contains the lyric "Life is the same and it always will be/Easy as picking foxes from a tree". Five years later lead singer Marc Bolan was killed in a car crash. The license plate read FOX 661L and the car was wrapped around a tree. Bolan often wrote songs about cars, despite never learning how to drive (He was a passenger in that accident), and several of those songs also took on harsher meanings after his death.
- Another one that was either considered this or Hilarious in Hindsight. Craig Mack's signature hit "Flava in Ya Ear" contains the line "You won't be around next year", which was arguably already harsh to begin with when the rapper faded into obscurity in the following years.
- Even worse, Craig had been in ill health for up to six months before his death, even calling his friends to say goodbye. In essence, he knew he wouldnt be around next year.
- The video for Run the Jewels' "Blockbuster Night Part 1" ends with an older man collapsing from a heart attack in a restaurant. That man was played by Bruce Hampton, a legendary musician best known as the frontman for the jam band The Aquarium Rescue Unit. Hampton would die of a heart attack for real in 2017, collapsing on stage at a concert held in honor of his 70th birthday.
- Lorrie Morgan's 1996 hit "By My Side", a tender ballad with a declaration of love was originally supposed to be a duet with Sammy Kershaw. However, his label rejected it, so she cut it with her then-husband Jon Randall instead. Five years later, she divorced Randall and married Kershaw.
- Tom Petty's song "Mary Jane's Last Dance" contains the lyrics "Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the pain", which is unfortunate considering that Tom Petty died on October 2, 2017, of cardiac arrest brought on by an accidental overdose of painkillers. His backup band being called The Heartbreakers also counts because of this.
- Emerson Drive's 2007 hit "Moments" is about a man who attempts to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge, until an encounter with an old homeless man changes his mind. A year after the song came out, Emerson Drive bassist Patrick Bourque committed suicide.
- Scatman John's last album was called "Take Your Time". He passed away from lung cancer a few months after it was released.
- Demi Lovato's song "Sober" was released about a month before they overdosed on an unknown drug and were hospitalized in July 2018. Had they not been found and treated with Narcan in time, they would have died.
- Mac Miller says in his song "Brand Name", "To whoever sells me drugs don't mix it with that bullshit/I'm hopin' not to join the 27 club". What makes this harsher is that he died of an overdose at age 26, imbuing this line with an unintended, secondary meaning. In other words, he got his wish.
- There's also the line in his single "Self Care": "Swear the height will be too tall so like September I fall", which also has an unintended, secondary meaning since September just so happens to be the month he passed away in.
- Said music video also features him in the coffin with the words "memento mori" engraved on the coffin.
- If that wasn't enough, his final studio album cover features him sitting behind an open casket.
- Quite a few examples with Avicii after his sudden death by suicide from self-inflicted injuries in April 2018 at only 28:
- The title of his most famous song, "Wake Me Up". Even one of the lyrics counts: "Wish that I could stay forever this young".
- Not to mention the first line of the Mike Posner hit: "I took a pill in Ibiza to show Avicii I was cool".
- From The Days:
Under the tree where the grass don't grow
We made a promise to never get old
- The Nights, shared widely after his death. Even more since both his parents outlived him.
He said, "One day you'll leave this world behind
So live a life you will remember."
My father told me when I was just a child
These are the nights that never die
- "SOS" with Aloe Blacc released on his posthumous album Tim sounds in retrospect like a cry for help.
- P. Diddy's song "Coming Home" contains the lyrics "What if my twins ask me why I ain't marry their mom?", referring to longtime girlfriend Kim Porter. On November 15, 2018, Porter died unexpectedly at age 47.
- During a concert in 1985, singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen reminisced about recording with influential producer Phil Spector, as well as their shared interest in firearms: "[He was a] delightful chap. You really get to know him, you really did get to know him. And I had a Walther PPK. He had just an ordinary .45." In 2009, Spector was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson with a handgun, after what was apparently a long history of abusive behavior and threatening people (including, as it turns out, Cohen himself) with weapons.
- In October 2016, Cohen was quoted in a New Yorker interview as saying he was "ready to die," and a few days later he released You Want it Darker — a melancholy album all about the approach of death and his acceptance of it. He passed away within a month.
- Following her father's death at 54 from cancer, country singer Kylie Rae Harris wrote "Twenty Years From Now", in which she expressed the hope that she would live to see her own daughter grow up ("God, I hope I'm still around / Twenty years from now"). In September 2019, less than six months after the song was released, Harris died in a car accident.
- Juice WRLD:
- "Legends" features the lines "What's the 27 Club? Uh, uh, uh, oh/We ain't making it past 21". He did end up dying at 21.
- Actually, that whole song is pretty tough to listen to now. It was recorded after the deaths of fellow Soundcloud rappers XXXTentacion and Lil Peep, and about how only the best artists die young...
- He mentioned John Lennon in another song "All Girls Are the Same". His death occurred on the 39th anniversary of Lennon's murder.
- The chorus of his song "Hurt Me", begins with "Sticks and stones may break my bones, But the drugs won't hurt me, the drugs won't hurt me." Juice's death was caused by him swallowing pills of Percocet and other drugs to hide them from law enforcement.
- Jesus Christ Superstar: "This Jesus Must Die" has the lyric "So like John before him, this Jesus must die!" It refers to John the Baptist, who was infamously executed at the instigation of Salome... but the same song also used ambiguous language to make a dig at John Lennon ("Where do we start with a man who is bigger/Than John was when John did his baptism thing?"). In light of Lennon's 1980 murder, these lines are a good deal more uncomfortable than they were intended to be.
- Kelly Rowland's "Stole" tells the story of three teenagers whose lives are stolen either by violent death or teen pregnancy. One of them is a promising young basketball player named Greg, who is shot, so "Now we're never gonna see him slam/Flying high as Kobe can". Kobe Bryant, his eldest daughter, and seven others died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, while he was flying her to basketball practice.
- Paul Simon "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard". (Whereas the music is rather lighthearted, the theme isn't.) And now it's 2020 and you sure don't want to hear about the Queen of Corona...
- "We Will Become Silhouettes" by The Postal Service started seeming more relatable to listeners whose cities were officially on lockdown due to COVID-19 (though in the song, the narrator can't leave the house because of radiation, not a virus):
I wanted to walk through the empty streets
And feel something constant under my feet
But all the news reports recommended that I stay indoors
- The title track to Amy Grant's 1994 album "House of Love" could fit. The song's chorus (inferred to be about a couple going through a rough patch in their relationship). Where this fits is the fact that the song was a duet with country singer Vince Gill. A few years later, both Grant and Gill divorced their respective spouses (Gary Chapman for Grant; Janis Oliver for Gill) and soon afterward married each other, which - especially for Grant's primarily Christian audience - sparked a brief scandal in the process due to rumors swirling that they were cheating on their spouses with each other.
- "Gloomy Sunday" is a song about somebody contemplating suicide. Rezső Seress, the song's composer, would take his own life 35 years after it was written.
- Crusher's "Calalini" was a song created to raise awareness for a child named Jani Schofield who was said to have one of the most severe cases of childhood schizophrenia. This song got harder to listen to as it turned out her diagnosis was a hoax by her mother who lost custody of her children in 2019 due to her over-medicating them and lying about their illnesses.
- Late-1970s R&B duo McFadden and Whitehead had a major pop hit in 1979 with "Ain't No Stopping Us Now," whose lyrics celebrate how the duo succeeded as performers despite how Philadelphia International Records owners Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff insisted that they focus on songwriting. Not only did this turn out to be their only U.S. Top 40 hit, but there also turned out to be something "stopping" both members some 25 years after their heyday — John Whitehead was murdered in a case of mistaken identity in 2004, while Gene McFadden succumbed to lung cancer just two years later.
- The lyric "Father, father / We don't need to escalate" from Marvin Gaye's song "What's Going On" becomes this following Gaye's murder at the hands of his father after a fight between them.
- Christina Aguilera's 2010 album Bionic contains a song called "Vanity", which contains a lyric "Nevermind screw him...cause I found someone better" Months after the album was released, she filed for divorce and immediately started dating another man.
- YNW Melly's breakout hit "Murder on My Mind" brought new attention to the Florida rapper after he turned himself in on double murder charges in 2019.
- DMX's song "Slippin'" hits even harder now after his fatal overdose in 2021, which left him in a coma and eventually led to his demise a week later.
- Metal Church have a number of songs with Mike Howe on vocals that deal with suicidal impulses, depression, and mental illness, many of which hit very differently following his suicide. Gods Of Second Chance and No Tomorrow are perhaps the most affected, but others like In Mourning, Losers In The Game and Reset definitely feel much more tragic as well. Theres also the fact that the band seems to blame prescription medications and their side effects for driving him to suicide, which is on-the-nose enough that theyve specifically name-checked their song Fake Healer in public statements.
- Kanye West's "Wouldn't Leave" (2018), a song dedicated to his wife Kim Kardashian for staying by his side during public controversies, has unfortunately not aged well, as the two filed for divorce in 2021 — namely, Kim filed for divorce from him.
- In the Leftfield song "Open Up", John Lydon cameos to sing about wanting to burn Hollywood to the ground. While this is mainly meant as Black Comedy, it's not so funny after the massive wildfires in California that did indeed burn entire towns to the ground (although Hollywood itself is still intact.)
- Horrorcore rapper Syko Sam released an album titled I Kill People For Real in 2009. At the time, this could be seen as standard horrorcore stuff, but in September of that same year, the rapper murdered a family of four with a maul and hammer, giving the album's title a whole new meaning.
- Tom Cochrane and Red Rider's Signature Song in their native Canada is "Big League", off of their 1988 album Victory Day, describing an aspiring hockey-playing teen who is killed when a truck driver in the wrong lane strikes his car. Thirty years later in 2018, a semi-trailer truck that failed to yield collided with a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team, killing sixteen people including many of the players and evoking mourning across Canada. Tom Cochrane would release an acoustic rendition of "Big League" with the proceeds going to the victims' families and survivors of the crash.
- Noah And The Whale released the upbeat song "5 Years Time" in 2007 that had lead singer Charlie Fink and girlfriend and fellow band member Laura Marling singing about how theyd be looking back on their relationship in five years time and reminiscing about all the crazy things theyd done. However, Fink and Marling would have an acrimonious breakup less than a year later resulting in Marling leaving the band.
- Dominican singers Kinito Méndez and Johnny Ventura had an upbeat song in 1997 named "El Vuelo 587", about the joys of taking the titular American Airlines Flight 587 to Santo Domingo for the holidays. Years later, a plane on the route crashed into a neighboorhood in New York, killing everyone on board.
- It is a little-known fact that in the early 1970s, the People's Temple Choir released a gospel album called He's Able, a collection of hymns that would otherwise be typical religious passion. Unfortunately, everyone involved in the gospel recordings is presumed to have died in Jonestown, and the album was reissued on CD as a morbid curiosity (like Charles Manson's recordings). The CD release contains Jim Jones's suicide sermon as a bonus track.
- The Thrash/Hardcore band Early Graves was on tour with fellow Californian band The Funeral Pyre when a van accident took the life of Makh, their vocalist. The name and the fact that they had recently released an album entitled Goner didn't help much.
- Progressive metal band Dream Theater originally released their live album Live: Scenes From New York with artwork showing the NYC skyline, including the Twin Towers, in flames. The album was released on September 11, 2001. It was quickly recalled, and the artwork was changed — but some copies with the original artwork were sold.
- The Replacements, in 1981, recorded a song called "Johnny's Gonna Die" about New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders, who had a notorious drug addiction. Ten years after the song was released, Johnny Thunders did indeed die, presumably of drug-related causes. Replacements guitarist Bob Stinson died a few years afterward, largely due to the toll years of drug and alcohol abuse took on his body.
- In the music videos for his solo songs "Misery" and "Oblaat", X Japan guitarist hide posed hanging from a tower at one point in "Misery" and sticking his neck into a noose near the end of "Oblaat". In 1998, he would die in an accidental suicide involving self-inflicted asphyxiation.
- His solo song Drink or Die!!! - at the time of his death, he was also suffering from alcohol poisoning - which possibly ensured his death as in he most likely passed out from the alcohol before he could free himself to breathe again.
- Some of Taiji Sawada's work attained this with his death, as well as being Harsher in Hindsight:
- His character's role in X Japan's original PV for Week End involved being stabbed or shot in the chest/torso, collapsing and dying as a result. It was later noted after his death that despite the official story that he hung himself with a bedsheet, he had no scars on his neck - but he did have tape marks on his face, combat wounds, and a small red mark/slash on his chest.
- His work on the lyrics of Voiceless Screaming for X Japan and the various remixes of it he made for his solo bands - though Toshi was the main writer - foreshadowed his downward spiral into illness and addiction.
- His song for Loudness, Black Widow, - because of Kitami Terumi and her involvement with stealing the last of his money, trying to scam people in his phone contacts for money as he was dying, and likely with his death at least by inaction (not informing anyone of his epilepsy) or even possibly via directly getting someone to kill him in jail.
- His song for his solo band D.T.R., Empty Room, a poignant description of depression/loneliness/mental illness/falling through the cracks of mainstream society. Which was how he lived, right up until he died.
- A good portion of Paul McCartney's solo album Driving Rain can cause headaches now for those who know the backstory because he included multiple love songs to Heather Mills. Songs declaring eternal love to someone you have since broken up with are by definition painful.
- This also happened to his song "Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five", presumably written for Linda, once he remarried.
"No one ever left alive in nineteen-hundred-and-eighty-five will ever do
She may be right, she may be fine, she may get love, but she won't get mine, 'cause I've got you..."
- The Beatles' song "When I'm 64" from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. This is Paul McCartney's song, and its verses end, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm 64?" Anyway, one month before his 64th birthday, he and Heather Mills separated.
- Another McCartney album, Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard, released in 2005, was recognized immediately as a Concept Album and recognized immediately as having Heather Mills as a primary subject; but they thought it was mostly an album of mere Silly Love Songs (Paul is a believer in Death of the Author, usually, so his analyses aren't always helpful). The album was critically acclaimed when it was released. There was one unambiguously vicious song on the album, "Riding to Vanity Fair", but it was considered Mood Whiplash, and there was much speculation towards who it was about... Then Paul and Heather separated in May 2006. Some quickly realized what Chaos and Creation (as an album) was really about. Others never recovered from the Logic Bomb (there are Silly Love Songs on there — it's just that most of them have darker interpretations) and lost respect for the work.
- John Lennon once told the press that he acted silly so that he wouldn't become a martyr. It didn't work.
- It gets worse - on the day John Lennon was murdered, he recorded an interview for Rolling Stone, in which he made a reference to "when I'm dead and buried - which I hope is a long, long time from now." In the same interview, Lennon also talked of how much hope he had for the 1980s and how he looked forward to the new decade.
- The Ballad of John and Yoko, recorded by The Beatles three years after John's controversial "more popular than Jesus" remarks, contained these chorus lines, which may seem more prophetically grim after John's assassination in 1980:
"Christ, you know it ain't easy, you know how hard it can be,
The way things are going, they're gonna crucify me."
- The lyrics "First you must learn to smile as you kill" in Lennon's song "Working Class Hero" acquired a touch of creepiness as Lennon's killer, remained calm, smiling and politely replying, "I just shot John Lennon."
- "Beautiful Boy", about his son Sean:
"I can hardly wait to see you come of age, so I guess we'll both just have to be patient."note
- Jann Wenner, in 1971 while interviewing John, asked him how he expected to die. John's answer:
"I'll probably be popped off by some looney."
- The repeated line "shoot me" in "Come Together" (a Beatles song that John wrote) is hard to overlook.
- Then there's the song "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" from The White Album:
"When I hold you in my arms
And I put my finger on your trigger
I know nobody can do me no harm..."
- A song he wrote for Ringo is called "Life Begins at 40". This was a saying (and self-help book) dating from the 1930s, still popular as a kind of joke in the 60s; Lennon died at the age of 40.
- Lennon made a cynical observation in a rare interview from 1980 found on YouTube (start at 8:22), about those who criticized him for being in seclusion for five years, not releasing any music, and not calling any of his rock star drinking buddies to party, was that when John dies, the rock community who criticized him for hiding would say nothing but nice things about him when he's dead, but the fact that he didn't die in L.A. from his "lost weekend" excesses in the mid-1970s meant that they were free to judge John for settling down and for not partying with his rock star friends until he became a "rock casualty".
- He's a Rebel, a Phil Spector biography by Marc Ribowsky, recounts an incident where Spector fired a gun in the studio, which led John to protest, "If you wanna shoot me, go ahead, but don't fuck with my ears! I need them!" It's doubly harsher with Phil Spector's conviction.
- In a Rolling Stone interview conducted three days before his death, John said of his fans, "what they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean. I'm not interested in being a fuckin' dead hero." He said he celebrated artists who had lived and thrived; "Death? No thank you, I'll take the living and the healthy."note The same interview had John saying he may go back to touring someday, but he wasn't doing any serious planning at the moment because "there's plenty of time."
- There's also the line in "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out":
Everybody loves you when you're six feet in the ground
- A comment Paul McCartney made in a ''Life'' magazine interview in 1971 about how freely and "ordinarily" he and Linda lived turned out to be eerily prophetic, but not for Paul or Linda:
"I love my life now because I'm doing much more ordinary things, and to me, that brings great joy. We're more ordinary than ordinary people sometimes. In New York, we go to Harlem on the subway — a great evening at the Apollo. We walk through Central Park after hours. You may find us murdered one day."
- This would also count for unrelated reasons, as Paul & Linda would be robbed at knifepoint in Lagos, Nigeria while strolling in the city against advice without a bodyguard during the recording of Band on the Run in 1973. The robbers would walk off with all of the couple's valuables and a bag carrying the demos Paul had written of the songs that Wings was to have recorded, and presumably the McCartneys only narrowly escaped being murdered as they were white and the robbers black, and the robbers figured that Paul & Linda wouldn't be able to describe their assailants anyway due to their skin color.
- According to Alan Weiss, the ABC Radio News reporter who had been brought into the Roosevelt Hospital ER with a broken hip and was on a gurney outside the room listening to a surgical team trying to save John's life, the Beatles song "All My Loving" — whose opening lines are "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you, tomorrow I'll miss you..." — started playing on the hospital radio just when Lennon was pronounced dead. Moments later, Weiss heard Yoko crying.
- In the late 1980s, George Harrison was once asked if he feared for his own safety after Lennon's murder. In a bit of self-deprecating humor, he answered that he wasn't important enough to kill. Near the end of 1999, a crazy fan decided the exact opposite, broke into his home, and stabbed him repeatedly in the chest, nearly succeeding in killing him.
- In an early run through of the then-unfinished "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" from Abbey Road, Paul sings "bang bang, Maxwell's silver hammer came down upon his head/bang bang, Maxwell's silver hammer made sure that George was dead". George died in 2001, a time when downloading music was becoming increasingly easy, and this and other demos started circulating on file-sharing networks.
- Guns N' Roses' most famous song, "Sweet Child o' Mine" from Appetite for Destruction, was Axl Rose's declaration of love for then-fiance Erin Everly. A few years later, Axl and Erin were involved in a bitter divorce battle where Erin accused Axl in court of hitting her.
- The They Might Be Giants song "Meridian" contains the lyric, "I'm sleeping in the Astrodome!" A year after it was written, Hurricane Katrina hit, resulting in hundreds of evacuees being bused to the Houston Astrodome, while the less fortunate ones who were trapped in New Orleans' own Superdome.
- The initial album cover for the 1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd album Street Survivors depicted the band members surrounded by an outdoor fire. Unfortunately, the tragic plane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines occurred three days after the album was releasednote . As a result, the album was reissued with the fire cover replaced by a solemn cover depicting the band members in a black space, illuminated by a spotlight. In 2008, when Street Survivors was reissued in a Deluxe Edition CD set, the original fire cover was chosen instead of the spotlight cover.
- Many songs were hit by Hurricane Katrina, including:
- The Blues Brothers' opening to "A Briefcase Full of Blues" starts with a little dialogue stating that how (in 1978, when it was released) you hardly ever hear the blues, and "by the year 2006, the music known as the blues will exist only in the classical records section of your public library". This was not made funnier by Hurricane Katrina.
- Katy Brand's parody of the pop group Sugababes. One year later, Keisha Buchanan left the band, leaving none of the original members in the group.
- The title of the song "Miami 2017" by Billy Joel may have become this. Why? Hurricane Irma, which ripped through the Caribbean before causing severe weather and strong winds, plus damage, in the city of Miami. The year? 2017.
- The song itself is about the violent destruction of New York City. Lines like, "I've seen the lights go out on Broadway/I watched the mighty skyline fall..." are clearly reminiscent of the WTC attacks on 9/11/2001, despite being written in the 1970s. After the attack, Billy Joel sang the song to defy this trope.
- To a lesser extent, the opening line of "Miami 2017", "I've seen the lights go out on Broadway." It was written in the 1970s. The lights going out on Broadway, then, was the first sign of the destruction of New York City. After New York got through its bankruptcy issues that decade, the song came to seem silly. Then, in the winter of 2007, the writers' strike did shut down Broadway.
- Another Billy Joel example, the chorus of We Didn't Start The Fire (We didnt start the fire/It was always burning since the worlds been turning/We didnt start the fire/No,we didnt light it but we tried to fight it) could be considered this due to climate change.
- Shortly after the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin in 1970, The Doors singer Jim Morrison, before he died, allegedly quipped, "You're drinking with number three."
- He also once said that when he died, he wanted to "be there" (as he put it) and experience it, "not die in [his] sleep or of an OD or something". Knowing he felt this way makes his manner of death doubly sad.
- Also, one of the lines in the Doors song "Roadhouse Blues" from Morrison Hotel is "The future's uncertain and the end is always near." The song was released in 1970 and for Morrison, who died the following year, the end actually was near.
- Joplin's reaction to Hendrix' death was, reportedly, "Goddamnit, he beat me to it." A week later she was dead.
- Speaking of Joplin, her last recording ever, "Mercedes-Benz", ends with her saying "That's it", and giggling. She died three days later.
- A well-known photograph depicts Blind Melon singer Shannon Hoon gleefully kissing Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley. Both singers had severe drug problems and died from fatal overdoses.
- The last song Alice in Chains recorded with Layne before his overdose was called "Died".
- Alice in Chains had a song titled "We Die Young". And well... Layne did.
- Many of Layne's quotes such as:
That makes me sad for my friends who have taken their own lives, because I know that if your time is not finished here, and you end it yourself, then you gotta finish it somewhere else.
Why do people keep taking drugs? Don't they hear my music? Don't they understand the words?
I'm scared of death, especially death by my own hand. I'm scared of where I would go.
- The Luther Vandross song "Dance With My Father", about his wish for himself and his mother to be reunited with his father, came only a few years before both Vandross and his mother would pass on.
- At one New Order show, Peter Hook dedicated a song to Ian Curtis, producer Martin Hannett and manager Rob Gretton, all deceased. Then he joked dryly, "Tony Wilson'll be next". And he was.
- Depeche Mode songwriter Martin Gore wrote and sang the sardonic but generally lighthearted "A Question of Lust" for the band in 1986. It contains the line, "And I need to drink more than you seem to think before I'm anyone's". Twenty years later, after alcohol had destroyed his marriage, he would write "Precious" as an apology to his children.
- There are also quite a few of their songs that play very differently in light of the lead singer's near-death experience.
- Country singer Patsy Cline was nonchalant about the possibility of her death in a plane crash, saying to a member of her entourage, "Don't worry about me, Hoss. When it's my time to go, it's my time." A week before, she said to another singer, "Honey, I've had two bad ones (accidents). The third one will either be a charm or it'll kill me."
- The Notorious B.I.G.'s 1994 song "Juicy" from Ready to Die (the title alone is harsher since he died three years later) includes the line "...Blow up like the World Trade", which took on a rather different meaning seven years later (he was referring to an attack on the towers in 1993 that, while deadly, was mostly limited to the parking garage and didn't cause the towers to fall). When "A Dream" by JayZ samples the iconic verse, that line is blanked out.
- His final album, released after his death but planned out before it, was called Life After Death and featured a photo of him standing next to a hearse. For the final touch, a track on the album is titled "You're Nobody Til Somebody Kills You".
- He also shoots himself at the end of the song. Both Biggie and Tupac Shakur were unusually, almost preternaturally obsessed with their own deaths (possibly due to the big "East coast/West coast" rap rivalries); when they were both gunned down, it was almost a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
- In Ol' Dirty Bastard's relatively upbeat 1999 track "N***a Please", there is a line referring to how ODB "gets that cocaine to clean out my sinuses". This got a lot less funny after he died of a cocaine overdose five years later.
- Marvin Gaye's 1971 hit "What's Going On" from What's Going On?. Evidence from thirteen years later suggests that his father violently disagreed with this:
"Father, father, we don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate".
- In the little known AC/DC song "Carry Me Home", Bon Scott sings about getting so drunk he can't move and is pretending to be drunk while singing. Also the last lines:
"I'm dead drunk and heaving hanging upside down
And you're getting up and leaving, you think I'm gonna drown."
- In October of 2007, a popular Christian singer named Steven Curtis Chapman released an album that included a song titled "Cinderella". The song is about Steven's daughters and is about how someday they'll eventually grow up and get married. But in May of 2008, the song's lyrics took on a tragic meaning when the youngest of Chapman's adopted daughters—she was just five—was killed when her older brother accidentally ran her over in the driveway. The last half of the chorus goes like this:
"Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone..."
- Since that incident, whenever Chapman has sung "Cinderella" in concert, the last line would often be changed to "I know the dance will go on".
- One song from Queen's debut album, "Great King Rat," features an apparent Author Avatar who quotes several other songs on the album and "died syphilis, forty-four on his birthday." Two decades later, the writer and lead singer would be dead at forty-five from a venereal disease.
- An even worse moment came in their Live At Wembley Stadium concert, where Freddie Mercury told fans that "we're going to stay together until we fucking well die, I assure you." This became the saddest section of the concert and its album release.
- "I'm Going Slightly Mad" seemed like another lighthearted Queen song when it appeared on their final album, Innuendo- before Freddie's illness was widely known about. When later replayed during the tribute concert, the possibility of its reference to some form of AIDS-related dementia (something which has apparently been confirmed since) was more obvious and chilling.
- Since Queen's popularity in America had been flagging in the late eighties, Freddie Mercury reportedly said to Brian May, "I'll probably have to die before we're popular there again." This turned out to be true.
- "Who Wants to Live Forever" seems a lot more awkward when you realize that, apparently, Freddie Mercury didn't want to hard enough.
Speaking of which, the song (along with other Queen's songs) was used in Highlander II: The Quickening which was given its American Release Date of November 1, 1991. Freddie died on November 24 of the same year. This song was also used in Freddy's biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, playing over the scene where Freddie gets his AIDS diagnosis, which may be seen as invoking this trope.
- Sure, it's a Brian May song, but it's difficult not to associate the title (and, to a lesser extent, the lyrics) of "Too Much Love Will Kill You" with Freddie's illness. As a 1984 Freddie Mercury solo song called "Love Kills".
- "My Love Is Dangerous" was a track from Mercury's 1985 solo album Mr. Bad Guy.
- Made In Heaven, the posthumous album, start to finish. "Let Me Live", "Made In Heaven", "My Life Has Been Saved", "Too Much Love Will Kill You", "It's A Beautiful Day", and "Mother Love".
- Ironically, despite popular belief, many the album's tracks aren't Freddie's final (post-Innuendo) recordings, of which there wasn't an album's worth. They're based on previously-released tracks and unreleased demos, some dating back as early as 1980 ("It's a Beautiful Day"), long before his likely HIV diagnosis. Whether this makes the content more or less poignant in hindsight is open to question.
- A good chunk of Innuendo is like this, Songs in particular: "Delilah" (about one of Freddie's cats), "I'm Going Slightly Mad", "The Show Must Go On"
- "Play The Game" contains "My love is flowing through my veins". Seeing as most people associate AIDS and blood this line can be a little bit uncomfortable...
- Listen to the album track "Khashoggi's Ship" from Queen's 1989 album The Miracle, and lines like "I'm in pretty good shape" and "no one stops my party" play as this in light of Mercury's death a few years later (the song was recorded in 1988, Mercury had been diagnosed with HIV in 1987, though he kept it a secret from the band until 1989).
- Though Brian wrote the song as a tribute to a neighborhood cat he befriended as a child who passed away, some of the lyrics of "All Dead, All Dead" might apply to Mercury as well.
- Tom Lehrer:
- On The Darkness' 2003 album Permission to Land, there was a song about heroin addiction ("Giving Up"). Later, the lead singer got addicted to crack and had to go into rehab.
- Soul Coughing's "Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago", recorded in 1994, repeats the line, "A man drives a plane into the Chrysler Building." For obvious reasons, Mike Doughty refused to play the song after 9/11 for a long time, before he brought it back by surprise at a late 2008 solo gig. He has played it occasionally since then, mostly in 2010.
- A particularly horrifying example would be The Coup's "Party Music" and its original album artwork◊ designed in June 2001 depicting the band in front of an exploding World Trade Center; the album was scheduled for release in September 2001. Even after the 9/11 attacks, vocalist Boots Riley fought to keep the original cover as a political statement.
- Hank Williams' last single released before his death was called "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive".
- John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane", generally viewed as the song that launched his career. He died in a crash involving an experimental light aircraft. Since then, his version of the song has all but disappeared from distribution. Even a singer/songwriter compilation chose to use the Cover Version from Peter, Paul, and Mary even though Denver wrote it and the other songs were sung by their writers.
- T. Rex's Marc Bolan stated in a number of interviews, in an off-hand manner, that he was scared that he wouldn't live to the age of thirty and never learned to drive because of his fear of premature death. Despite this, cars were mentioned with varying degrees of prominence in most of the band's songs. Two weeks before his thirtieth birthday, he was killed in a car crash. Another band member was killed in the same way a few years later.
- It doesn't end there. He was once asked what exactly made him decide to stop the self-destructive lifestyle he once lived. He replied that it was because of his young son Rolan and that if he had continued in that lifestyle, he'd be unable to take care of him. Due to circumstances that not only had nothing to do with his lifestyle but were also entirely beyond his control, that happened anyway.
- The line "It's better to burn out than to fade away" from Neil Young's "My My, Hey Hey" from Rust Never Sleeps became something of a Stock Shout-Out, appearing in places up to and including Def Leppard songs. They came to an abrupt end when it showed up in Kurt Cobain's suicide note. Since then, even classic radio stations don't want to touch the half of the song containing that lyric, and Neil now emphasizes the line "Once you're gone, you can't come back...".
- Ironically, that reference supposedly applied to Sex Pistols' singer Johnny Rotten ("The king is gone but he's not forgotten/ This is the story of Johnny Rotten..."). But Rotten is still alive today, even if he isn't using that name anymore. (He reverted to John Lydon.) The dead Pistol was Sid Vicious, who replaced original bassist Glenn Matlock. The "King" would have been Elvis Presley.
- "Exodus'04" in Utada's 2004 album Exodus is a beautiful love song that Hikaru most likely wrote about her marrying Kazuaki Kiriya, fifteen years her senior, when she was only 19 and had just recovered from an ovarian cancer. It's about how her family and people around her saw that move as rushed and immature, but she's glad of her decision because their love is true. The couple didn't make it to their fifth wedding anniversary.
- Barenaked Ladies' "Sell Sell Sell", released in 2000, is about an actor who stars in a film about either (depending on your interpretation) the Gulf War or a fictitious second war in Iraq. The second interpretation is eerie enough, but it also works disturbingly well as an allegory for, and condemnation of, the second war itself: "A bad guy who's not there", "a smoking gun" that "distracts us while the actor takes the stand," and this choice bit:
It goes like this: "We have no choice"
The minarets, the wailing voice
And vaguely Celtic music fills the air
We choose a foreigner to hate
The new Iraq gets more irate
We really know nothing about them, and no one cares"
- On the other hand, the song works even better as an allegory for a real event that had already occurred, in 1998: Bill Clinton, in the midst of controversy over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, ordered an airstrike on Iraq, which has been seen as a desperate attempt to distract the country from the affair and subsequent perjury trial and, like the invasion in 2003, has been viewed as unprovoked by the critics of the President that ordered it. History repeats itself mighty fast these days.
- Snot's only album features the song "Joyride," an energetic song about driving irresponsibly that ends with the sound of a car crash. Snot's singer Lynn Strait (along with his beloved dog and band mascot Dobbs) died in a car crash one year after the album's release.
- "Short Ride in a Fast Machine" by John Adams was scheduled to be performed at the Last Night of the Proms in 1997, but was removed because of the death of Princess Diana in a car crash. It was on the schedule again in 2001, but was removed once more because the September 11th attacks had occurred just a few days before the Last Night.
- The early Beach Boys song, "I'm Bugged At My Ol' Man" from Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) is the lament of a teenager who has been grounded by his father for staying out too late, with the specifics of his punishment exaggerated and Played for Laughs. At least, we hope they were exaggerated. It would later come out that Murry Wilson, father of three members of the band, including the song's vocalist and songwriter Brian Wilson, had a history of physically and emotionally abusing his sons. This makes lines like "I wish I could see outside/ but he tacked up boards on my window" seem less humorous than they were originally meant to be.
- A comedy sketch on a Beach Boys album, "'Cassius' Love Vs. 'Sonny' Wilson" from Shut Down Volume Two, has Mike Love and Brian Wilson engaged in a mock-insult war in the studio. Later on, Mike would sue Brian for publishing royalties and song credits over songs with lyrics Mike wrote, after Brian got control of his '60s publishing company back.
- Their 1988 hit "Kokomo", with its references to Caribbean vacation-paradise islands, lost some of its charm when Montserrat ("...that Montserrat mystique...") was economically and geographically devastated by the Soufriere Hills volcano in the '90s.
- Aruba, the very first place mentioned in the lyrics, is now best known to Americans for the Natalee Holloway disappearance.
- The Electric Six album Flashy. On the album, there is a song called Transatlantic Flight, a darkly humorous song about a transatlantic flight crashing into the sea in the middle of the night. One of the lines of said song is "In the event of a water landing, you can use my body as a flotation device". Seven months after its release, a flight from Brazil to France crashed in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Rihanna's 2008 hit song, "Disturbia", was written in part by Chris Brown. Lyrics such as "A disease of the mind/It can control you/I feel like a monster" are truly disturbing in light of Chris Brown's arrest for physical abuse against a woman later identified as Rihanna.
- Rihanna's song "Take a Bow" is sung from the point of view of someone strong enough to leave a lover who was mistreating them and betraying the relationship. It became bitterly ironic once she decided not to leave Brown.
- And another disturbing Rihanna song is "Hate That I Love You" which is all about staying in a very bad relationship. Yeah...
- Maybe worst of all is her 2007 song "Breakin' Dishes" about physically attacking a cheating boyfriend. It contains the repeated line "Imma fight a man tonight."
- Eazy-E did his own take on Bootsy Collins' I'd Rather Be with You, called... well, I'd Rather Fuck You, with lyrics such as "I'd rather fuck with you all goddamn night 'cause your pussy's good" and "We can do it doggy style, or you can get on top!" The song, as well as many of his others, have taken on a whole new light after Eazy's death from AIDS.
- When asked in an interview what he'd say to his teenage self if he could go back in time and meet him, Malice Mizer's drummer Kami answered "Just hurry up and die." A few years later he did, aged just 26.
- The song "Jordan's First Choice" from folk-punk band Against Me!'s first album features "Tell me where was your head when you broke that promise to yourself?" amongst its first lines. They were very strongly committed to anarchist politics and remaining on indie labels. They discarded both principles and the song is now difficult to listen to.
- "Punk Rock Classic" from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The song takes swipes at bands (specifically Guns N' Roses) that claim to be underground but really want to be on MTV, make videos, and release radio-friendly ballads. After "Under the Bridge" came out and the band got big, the Chilis became exactly what they had mocked. To add to that irony, GNR's Slash originally didn't like "Sweet Child O'Mine" - the riff mocked at the end of "Punk Rock Classic" - because he felt it was too poppish.
- Every other song 2Pac wrote was about him dying before his time (same thing with Biggie Smalls as mentioned above). Case in point: Troublesome '96.
- Metallica recorded "Trapped Under Ice" in 1984. Two years later, bassist Cliff Burton died in Sweden - crushed instead of frozen, but the lyrics are still unsettling ("Freezing, can't move at all, screaming, can't hear my call, I am dying to live").
- Frank Zappa wrote a decidedly tongue-in-cheek song called "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee", about the title character of his Joe's Garage Concept Album contracting an "unpronounceable disease," then years later died of prostate cancer.
- Some of the songs on Zappa's We're Only in It for the Money are based on the absurdity of the idea of cops killing hippies. The album was released in 1968- two years before the Kent State massacre.
- Zappa also enjoyed poking fun at people getting venereal diseases a lot in his music. In the 1970s the clap was a nuisance but treatable. From the 1980s on, with AIDS coming into the limelight, such jokes don't sit well with modern-day listeners. Especially since Lucy Offerall, the groupie who acted in Zappa's film 200 Motels (1971) died thirty years later from the disease...
- The song "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" from his second album Absolutely Free has become a HUGE, almost to the point of being prophetic, FAM for the 2016 Presidential Election.
- Syd Barrett, founding member of Pink Floyd, gave the band their first hit with a song entitled "Arnold Layne" , which is about a crossdresser. Not too long afterwards, after Syd Barrett began his mental decline, he developed similar tendencies.
- Similarly, the 1965 Syd Barrett composition "Lucy Leave" is a pretty run-of-the-mill song about a cruel girl who takes advantage of the narrator's love for her. Nothing creepy there. However, since the term "Lucy" is slang for LSD, which is generally thought to have either caused or exacerbated Syd's mental breakdown two years later...yeah.
- Another Barrett-written early Floyd song, "The Scarecrow" from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, is a piece of whimsical psychedelia which now has sinister overtones as it's about a scarecrow who's "resigned to his fate" and just sits in a field all day. It has eerie future echoes of Barrett's breakdown and retreat into isolation from society.
- The Who's album Who Are You has Keith Moon sitting on a chair labeled "Not to be taken away"◊. About one month after its release, Moon passed away.
- The line "I hope I die before I get old" in "My Generation" from the album My Generation. Moon died at 32.
- Their concert DVD The Who At Kilburn 1977 features Keith saying he's going to go backstage and OD. A year later, he overdosed on pills he had been taking to try and cure his alcoholism.
- On a cold night in February in 1959, J.P. Richardson (aka The Big Bopper), ill with the flu, asked his friend Buddy Holly if he could get a seat on his plane to their next gig. Holly's bassist Waylon Jennings gave up his seat for Richardson. Upon learning that Jennings wouldn't be on the plane with them, Holly joked, "Well, I hope your ol' bus freezes up"; Jennings jokingly shot back, "Well, I hope your ol' plane crashes!" Tragically, the plane did crash, killing Holly, Richardson, and Ritchie Valens. It was decades before Jennings forgave himself.
- And of course, "That'll Be the Day"... when he died.
- Released in 2001, "Apology Song" by The Decemberists features the line "Guess we'll never see poor Madeleine again." It's the name of his friend's bicycle that the narrator was looking after while said friend was on holiday and was stolen because he left it unlocked while he ran into a shop. The meaning of it has changed somewhat since 2007 and Madeleine McCann's disappearance...
- Johnny Cash and June Carter sang a duet about dying & meeting in heaven, called "Far Side Banks of Jordan". Johnny sings the first verse, then June sings, "If it proves to be His will that I am first to go/And somehow I've a feeling it will be". June died four months before Johnny.
- The Dead Milkmen had a fair amount of darkly humorous upbeat sounding songs about death and suicide that became a little unnerving after bassist Dave Blood's suicide (The self-explanatory "I Hate Myself" and "Death's Alright With Me" for instance). The last verse of "Life Is Shit" even becomes kind of a tearjerker:
And when my friend and I were done
we went to rest upon the sun
'cause life takes from us the things we love
and robs us of the special ones
and puts them high where where we can't climb
and we only miss them all the time
- Jermaine Stewart is most famous for his song "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off". Stewart later died of AIDS.
- The eponymous album by The Moldy Peaches was released on September 11, 2001 and features a song titled "NYC's Like A Graveyard"
- The Smiths' "Paint a Vulgar Picture" from Strangeways Here We Come gets less amusing and more depressing with every best-of album. It'll hit rock bottom when Morrissey becomes the dead star himself.
- Avenged Sevenfold's song "Brompton Cocktail" has Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, the band's drummer and back-up vocalist, say something about meeting his maker, which takes on a WHOLE new meaning now that he's dead.
- Their song, "Unbound (The Wild Ride)," also deals with death (in a less direct way). It has a section where a girl sings "There's nothing here to take for granted with each breath that we take, the hands of time strip youth from our bodies and we fade. Memories remain as time goes on" which was eerie sounding before The Rev died but has now moved up to freaky.
- They also have "Afterlife", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin and has The Rev singing several backing lines about death.
- And their song "A Little Piece of Heaven", where The Rev sings "Everybody's gotta die sometime". As well as the original name of the last song he wrote, "Death". The song (now called "Fiction") is all about someone dying and apologizing to the ones they love. He gave the demo to the band's singer on Christmas 2009. Three days before he died.
Synyster Gates: "Yeah, he fucking planned it all, that crazy fuck. Knew he was gonna be gone before 30. He told my dad that he was fucking out. He said, "I know two things: I'm gonna be in a famous rock band, and I'm gonna die before I'm 30." He told my dad that at 15."
- Jello Biafra, of the seminal Hardcore Punk band Dead Kennedys, penned the typically blunt DK anthem "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" from In God We Trust Inc as his reaction to skinheads wrecking the LA Punk scene. Years later, he was hospitalized by a pack of skinheads... supposedly for "selling out" and "not being hardcore enough".
- Jimmy Eat World's album Bleed American came out on July 18th, 2001. For several years, copies pressed after 9/11 rebranded it into a Self-Titled Album, and the title track was renamed "Salt Sweat Sugar" (it helped that "Bleed American" was a Non-Appearing Title anyway).
- Elton John songs like "White Lady, White Powder" (1980) and "Heavy Traffic" (1988) both of which denounce cocaine abuse, "Idol" (1976), which describes a fallen idol (Elvis Presley, very likely) and "Social Disease" (1973) from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, a bittersweet look at alcoholism, take on a new meaning when one realizes Elton's own debilitating cocaine and alcohol habits from the mid-seventies to 1990. Granted, Bernie Taupin, who had similar habits from the mid- to late 1970's, wrote the lyrics to both songs, but still...
- Other examples are "Rocket Man" ("And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then...") and "The Bitch Is Back" ("I get high every evening, sniffin' pots of glue")
- "Weird Al" Yankovic:
- 1985's "Christmas at Ground Zero" is actually about nuclear war, but unfortunately uses a phrase that became the name for the remains of the World Trade Center site.
- His song "Traffic Jam" opens with the line "Carbon monoxide making me choke." In 2004, both of his parents died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
- The music video for "TMZ" depicts an actress running into humiliation everywhere after photos of her naked butt leak onto the internet. The album it was on was released just a few months before the same exact thing happened to Scarlett Johansson.
- "Buckingham Blues" after the death of Princess Diana. The song also is a satirical take on what a hard life two rich extremely privileged people must have, which became a lot less funny as their marriage started to break up.
- "Canadian Idiot:" The song includes a line "Never even bring their guns to the mall," a thinly veiled reference to mass shootings in the U.S. In 2012, a mass shooting at the Toronto Eaton Centre made this line less funny.
- Outkast's "Bombs Over Baghdad," released in late 2000 / early 2001. A few years after it was released, and...
- Jeff Buckley covered The Smiths' "I Know It's Over," from The Queen is Dead with the repeated line "I can feel the soil falling over my head." He drowned in 1997, aged 30.
- He also wrote a song titled "River of Dope." The New Orleans flood and his own death makes it sadder.
- Allusions to water and drowning were fairly common among Jeff Buckley's career, especially with the aptly titled "Nightmares by the Sea:"
"Stay with me under these waves tonight"
- Irish band The Thrills released a single called "Whatever Happened to Corey Haim?" in 2004 referencing the '80s star's diminished profile. On March 10th 2010, he died of overdose.
- In the early 1980's, comedienne Julie Brown released a novelty song called "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun," about a girl winning homecoming queen then blasting away at her classmates. The song itself is an over-the-top parody of fifties "tragedy songs" like "It's My Party," and contained lines like "An hour later, the cops arrived/By then the entire glee club had died (no big loss)." After Columbine, even SHE was uncomfortable with it.
- New Orleans based metal band Down had a song on their 2002 album titled "New Orleans is a Dying Whore." Oops. They play it live as of 2009, but one imagines they took it out of rotation for a year or two following Katrina.
- Thin Lizzy's closing track of their final album, entitled Heart Attack, features the lyrics "Mama I'm dying of an overdose". The group's frontman, Phil Lynott, would die of "blood poisoning", which was likely an indication of being related to heroin abuse, less than two years after its release.
- The popularity of "Fire Burning on the Dance Floor" in the Philippines kinda gets a little uncomfortable if one is old enough to remember the Ozone Disco Club Fire (the worst fire in Philippine history) in which 162 people burned to death, most on the dance floor, because of poor fire exit design and the number of people in the club at that time.
- Bonus aneurysm for the even worse Santa Maria Disco fire (if you happen to be a German, just look up the lyrics "Santa Maria" by Roland Kaiser...Uck.)
- In a PR stunt, the band Type O Negative started propagating a rumor in 2005 that their frontman Peter Steele died. Five years later he did for real. There's also the fact that their final two albums were entitled Life Is Killing Me and Dead Again.
- Any jokes from TV appearances by former Morning Musume member Iida Kaori about Motherhood or Childbirth are this as she had a son who sadly died at only 6 months old.
- Tenacious D's song "Dio" lost a decent bit of its humor after he died of stomach cancer in 2010, as did all the jokes among metalheads about how Dio would kick the ass of some personification of cancer as befitting his Memetic Badass status.
- Telefon Tel Aviv's third album is called "Immolate Yourself". One day after it's release, Charles Cooper, half of the duo, went missing and was found dead a week later.
- Once upon a time, in a magical land called Lollapalooza, Eddie Vedder sang a song encouraging the audience to boycott a particular gas company, BP. It plays differently after the Texas City's chemical leak and Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
- In the 1970s, Gary Glitter was one of the most popular acts around and a star of the glam rock scene. Now, after his prosecutions for child pornography and soliciting children for sexual purposes in Thailand, the revelation that when he was in his mid-50s he dated a VERY young Denise van Outen (who was one of his backup dancers at the time and all of 17 when this happened), and his 2012 arrest in connection with the Jimmy Savile revelations? "Do You Wanna Touch Me" is, in spite of its catchiness, not quite a jolly song to listen to.
- He's the leader, he's the leader, he's the leader of the gang, he is...Get two aneurysms to the price of one when realizing that the distinctive "yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah" of "Do You Wanna Touch Me" was musically cited in "Bloodsports for All" by...Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. (Carter USM couldn't know - their single came out years before Glitter got busted.)
- AC/DC had a track on its debut album about groupie sex called "Little Lover" that featured the lyric "You had my picture on your bedroom wall / Next to Gary Glitter, yeah." While the reference was almost certainly intended as a comment on AC/DC's growing popularity, combined with the song title it sounds Squicky in light of the allegations against Glitter.
- The drum beat to Cheap Trick's "ELO Kiddies", released in 1977, was deliberately similar to that of Gary Glitter's "Rock & Roll Part II": The unfortunate coincidences in that particular song don't go much further than indirectly associating Gary Glitter with "kiddies"... But on the self-titled debut album, it's immediately followed by "Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School", a song about a middle-aged man trying to pick up high school girls, and the short segue between the two songs consists of a field recording of children playing.
- A song by "Vărul Săndel" starts with the line Oh boy, did it rain hard in Tecuci... and is eventually played for laughs. It gets a nasty twist when in this period, Tecuci is under risk of being flooded. This risks falling well into Dude, Not Funny! territory if you think the area Galați-Tecuci is often flooded because it's close to the Danube's falling into the Black Sea.
- "Mary" by the Scissor Sisters is about Jake Shears' platonic love for his friend Mary. The song itself sounds a bit mournful, though it was released in 2004. It was two years before she died of an aneurysm.
- The Aquabats! are primarily known for being silly; their shtick is that they're really superheroes from the land of Aquabania, and "The Cat with Two Heads!" is typical of their work. "Pizza Day!", which was released in 2000, is about how great government-assisted school lunches were. It ends with a bit where one of the band members pretends to read a letter from Michael Jackson, of Encino, California (Jackson really lived there in The '80s). Aside from "Michael Jackson is weird!" jokes not being funny anymore, the line "When he's not at his his little theme park, he's eatin' pizza with the kids!" was audacious enough in 2000, as he'd first been accused of molesting children in 1993, but became even more so when more charges of same cropped up in 2003.
- There's a cover of "Baby It's Cold Outside" done by Alan Cumming and Liza Minnelli. It's cute and funny, until you remember that Liza's mother who is supposedly "pacing the floor" was Judy Garland. ("Say, what's in this drink?")
- David Bowie's "Kooks", a number from Hunky Dory dedicated to his just-born son Zowie (aka Duncan Jones, later a film director), seems to have been meant as a light breather between the dramatic "Life on Mars?" and the existential "Quicksand". Knowing the bitter decline and demise of David's marriage to Angie (who wrote a tell-all book on the matter) and the toll that it and other personal problems of his took on his relationship with his son makes it much less cheerful.
- Slipknot songs with titles such as "The Virus of Life", "Everything Ends" and "No Life" becomes this after the death of bassist Paul Gray.
- The debut single off Shania Twain's breakthrough album The Woman in Me, "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under", a song about a cheating lover (which she co-wrote with her husband/producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange). 15 years later, Twain and Lange were divorced.
- The Lemon Demon song "Behold, the Future!", written in 2003, contains a list of tongue-in-cheek predictions for the years 2004-2013. Two in particular are rather sad in hindsight:
- One seems prescient of the 2008 recession...
In the year 2005, stopwatch futures took a dive
Leaving us with nothing more than cents and dimes.
- Another describes how "In the year 2008, Don LaFontaine sealed our fate". 2008 was the year La Fontaine died.
- Laurie Anderson recorded a live album in New York one week after 9/11. "O Superman", written 19 years earlier, suddenly went from being oddly creepy to full-on Tear Jerker without changing a word:
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
Here come the planes.
They're American planes. Made in America.
Smoking or non-smoking?
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
- Primus' album Frizzle Fry came out in February 1990 and included a jokey Protest Song called "Too Many Puppies", which mentions "too many puppies in foreign lands" and needing to "protect our oil fields". Six months later, the Gulf War broke out.
- Britney Spears' songs "Lucky" and "Mona Lisa (Demo Version)" both have extra meaning after her publicized erratic behavior and meltdowns spanning from 2006 to 2008.
She's so lucky
she's a star,
but she cry, cry, cries with her lonely heart, thinkin',
"If there's nothing missing in my life,
then why do these tears come at night?"
About Mona Lisa, and how she suddenly fell (huh)
See everyone knew her, they knew her oh so well
Now I am taking over, to release her from her spell
Don't have a break down you will hit the freaking wall
Cuz she's gone, cuz she's gone, gone
- She recorded a song called "Oops, I Did it Again".
- Though released in 1988, Edie Brickell and New Bohemians' "Little Miss S." reads today as eerily prescient of Britney at her worst, even getting one of the initials right.
- Lindsay Lohan's songs "Rumors", "A Beautiful Life", "Fastlane", "Disconnected" and "Anything But Me", since everything has seemed to got worst since she recorded these songs in the better times in her career, before she went off the deep end in every way possible. It's a strange experience either way.
- "My Innocence" and "Confessions Of A Broken Heart" also are harder to listen to since she deleted her father from her life again after beating up another girlfriend/wife again.
- In an example that features a slightly less disturbing coincidence than many of the 9/11 related songs and albums, Rammstein's music video for "Ich Will" begins with the band getting off of a prison bus going to a television awards ceremony in their honor. The rest of the video is what happened before: the band plays as a group of terrorists, and they rob and then blow up a bank. The whole video was intended as a Take That! statement to the media for giving large amounts of attention to people who do bad things and then become famous. The part that makes it harsher in hindsight is that it was a music video featuring terrorists released September 10, 2001. Osama bin Laden, the head of Al-Qaeda and responsible of both attacks, was one of the most recognized, and hated, individuals in the world.
- During the recording of the song "Gimme Shelter" from Let It Bleed for The Rolling Stones, guest vocalist Merry Clayton hit some very high notes, and broke her voice during the bridge. She shortly after had a miscarriage, due to the stress that she put on her body during the recording. It probably wasn't very wise for the Stones to have named the album it is listed on as Let It Bleed.
- There is a filk song called fire in the sky which refers to the space shuttle Columbia, among other things saying "see her big jets burning, see her fire in the sky." The inspiring line became more tragic after the Columbia spectacularly burned up on re-entry.
- Some versions include a verse memorializing the crew of Challenger—spaceflight-inspired filk songs have never shied from acknowledging the risks of exploration.
- A weird example from Gorillaz canon: in the MTV Cribs bit, a quick gag shows a signed note from Dennis Hopper that says, 'Murdoc is a nob.' Murdoc glances at it and slinks away, snarling, "I'll get him..." Not so funny since Hopper's death a few years later.
- Pre-9/11, KOMPRESSOR released a cover of Tunak Tunak Tun, with some added lyrics:
KOMPRESSOR crushing American people
KOMPRESSOR driving cars into stores
KOMPRESSOR crushing all of Manhattan
KOMPRESSOR flying plane into building
- The first two lines of the Soviet National Anthem were "An unbreakable union of free republics/Great Rus' joined together forever". Then came the USSR break-up.
- Lady Gaga's single "The Edge of Glory" features a saxophone solo from Clarence Clemons from the E Street Band. The music video premiered on June 16, 2011 and featured Clemons. The combination of the premiere, the fact that the song is about the last few moments of life before death, and the fact that Clemons died on June 18, two days after the video was released...
- The inside gatefold photo of Chicago's eleventh album, released in late 1977, depicts the band, in an antique car, being chased by a group of policemen in another car, some of whom are firing guns. One policeman's gun appears directly aimed at the head of guitarist Terry Kath, who is driving the band's car. In January 1978, Kath would accidentally kill himself by a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
- The first line of The Midnight Beast's career-making parody of Kesha's "Tik Tok" opened with the line "Wake up in the morning feeling like Winehouse"... not so funny after she passed away from drug and alcohol abuse.
- Space had a song called 'Drop Dead' on their first album, sung from the point of view of a crazed stalker. One year later, when the band were touring America, Tommy Scott had a stalker of his own, who turned up at every gig, sent him death threats and told him he was going to hell.
- Early in his career, Randy Travis promised in "Forever And Ever, Amen" that he would love his wife forever. They divorced in 2011.
- One of the first hits by Mexican showman Juan Gabriel was El Noa Noa, a song about a nightclub in Ciudad Juarez where he began his career. Now that the Noa Noa club no longer exists (it was damaged by a fire in 1994 and demolished in 2007) and Ciudad Juarez has become a Wretched Hive... eeeeeeeep.
- It gets better: the song describes the titular nightclub as a "Lugar de ambiente", which maybe at the time meant "the It place" or was a veiled reference to the club being more of a whorehouse, but in many Spanish-speaking places that phrase is slang for "Gay Bar". Juan Gabriel's act was Campier than Liberace's, and the popular perception of him was that of a Camp Gay, but he denied every accusation of being gay himself, either by deflecting the question or claiming that he just didn't want his and his partner/mother of his kids' private lives exposed to the tabloids.
- Rapper Poetic performed as a member of Gravediggaz as "The Grym Reaper". And he was the one that died.
- In Stevie Wonder's song "Master Blaster (Jammin')" from Hotter Than July, he happily sings the line "Peace has come to Zimbabwe". It was true at the time: the song was first released in 1980, not long after the end of the end of the Rhodesian Bush War. A couple of decades later, however...
- Katy Perry's last single from Teenage Dream was Break-Up Song "The One That Got Away"... released two months before she got divorced from Russell Brand.
- After The Mamas and the Papas got back together for the first time they recorded "Creeque Alley," the story of the band, which included the line "No one's getting fat except for Mama Cass" a reference to Cass Elliot, who was very well known as being an overweight woman in pop. The final refrain changes the line to "And everybody's getting fat except for Mama Cass." Given that Cass Elliot died in 1974, of a heart attack, allegedly due to her size, and she was the first of the Mamas and the Papas to die...
- The song "The Ghost At Number One" by power-pop band Jellyfish tells of an underappreciated rock star who is only vindicated at death (possibly Roy Orbison, who would get his only #1 single posthumously with "You Got It"). Jellyfish would break up in 1994 following low sales of their second album (which feature that song), and much of their work would be reappraised decades after their breakup.
- Sugarland's "It Happens" is a bouncy song about not wallowing in self-pity when things go wrong and instead learning to roll with the punches; that blunders, accidents, etc. are just part of life. This isn't so cheery when one considers that their attorneys' response to legal claims brought against them after high winds caused the stage to collapse before their scheduled performance at the 2011 Indiana State Fair — a disaster that killed seven and injured 58 — was to claim that not only was the band not responsible for what had happened, but that it was partially the fault of the waiting concertgoers for not leaving as the weather grew worse.
- Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous committed suicide by gunshot in 2010. All of a sudden, a whole slew of songs from his career became TearJerkers - but the hardest to take was Pig. "I wanna try and die, I wanna try and die..." And that's not counting this brief documentary.
- Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" from 'Bringing It All Back Home'' includes the line "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." While the line is iconic of the 1960s in its own right, it gained some undesirable subtext when terrorist group The Weathermen named themselves after the line.
- Dylan is also another artist who happened to release an album, Love And Theft on 9/11 2001, which included the apocalyptic "High Water":
High water risin, the shacks are slidin down
Folks lose their possessions, folks are leaving town (...)
Coffins droppin' in the streets like balloons made out of lead (...)
Don't reach out for me," she said, "Can't you see I'm drownin' too?
It's bad out there, high water everywhere.
- The cover of Riot's 2011 album Immortal Soul features a pair of ghostly arms in a graveyard reaching toward a guitar. Just a couple of months after the album's release, founding guitarist and bandleader Mark Reale lost his lifelong battle with Crohn's Disease, adding a major sense of tragedy to both the title and the cover of the album.
- Lil Wayne's video for "My Homies Still" features him dancing in a movie theatre full of skeletons and was released just before the The Dark Knight Rises shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
- The Kleptones' 2004 mashup album A Night at the Hip Hopera included a song called "Bite", featuring samples of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" and Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Got Your Money", and ending with a clip from an "Honest Obituary" segment from TV Offal. ODB died shortly after the album's release, making it almost seem as though the track was mocking his death.
- The Wu-Tang Clan's video to their song, "Triumph" , which features a lot of things that these days, can be taken as reminiscent of 9/11 (people panicking on the streets of Manhattan due to what can only be described in the video as a terrorist attack [the bees are implied to be the Wu-Tang Clan and there's no clear reason why they're wreaking havoc in Manhattan], Old Dirty Bastard hurling himself off the building as SWAT teams have him cornered note , and the World Trade Center towers in the New York skyline), and the whole "killer bees" thing is a lot less funny thanks to colony collapse disorder (in which bees are actually disappearing).
- You Say Party! We Say Die! drummer Devon Clifford died after suffering a brain hemorrhage on stage in 2010. Naturally their band name no longer seemed appropriate - the band continued on without him, but shortened their name to You Say Party out of respect.