Follow TV Tropes

Following

Lyrical Dissonance / Film

Go To

Animated

  • Don Bluth's adaptation of Thumbelina has a song with a syrupy-sweet melody performed in an equally saccharine tone by Carol Channing, with the following lyrics:
    Here comes the bride is a lovely little ditty
    But marrying for love is a foolish thing to do
    'Cause love won't pay the mortgage or put porridge in your bowl
    Dearie, marry the mole
    True it's a fact that he's not exactly witty
    He's blinder than a bat, but at least his eyes are blue
    His breath may be alarming but he's charming, for a troll
    Dearie, marry the mole
    Romeo and Juliet
    Were very much in love when they were wed
    They honored every vow and where are they now?
    THEY'RE DEAD! DEAD! VERY VERY DEAD
    Poor Thumbelina, your brain's so itty bitty
    I hate to seem a pest, but I know what's best for you
    Just think of all the ways that you can decorate a hole
    Take my advice, I'll bring the rice
    Dearie, Marry the Mole!
    Marry the Mole!
    Marry that Moooole
    M is for money. O-L-E
  • Advertisement:
  • Tim Burton is a master of mixing the macabre and the lighthearted, so it's no surprise that the music in his movies is the same. The best example is "Remains of the Day" from Corpse Bride, a swinging jazzy tune about death and murder. Even while you're tapping your feet to the beat, you probably don't miss the extremely dark chorus:
    "Die, die, we all pass away, but don't wear a frown, cause it's really ok! You might try to hide, and you might try to pray, but we all end up the remains of the day!"
  • "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind", from The Great Mouse Detective, is one of Disney's cheeriest villain songs. The most disturbing lyrics?
    Even Meaner? You mean it? Worse than the widows and orphans you drowned?
  • Hoodwinked!: Boingo's Villain Song, "Top of the Woods," is about oppressing other creatures, getting children addicted to junk food until they become morbidly obese, and becoming a ruthless dictator, to an upbeat jazz melody.

    "When your only desire is to dominate the land of the wolves and the squirrels
    You've got to think with a open mind and learn to detest little girls
    And everyone knows at the end of a show the villain puts his plan into words
    Except there won't be a rescue before the credits roll cause I'm gonna be top of the woods!"

    "Now the kids will be packed with my BoingoSnax
    Construction begins in a day
    And all of the bears will be ruled by the hare
    As I maniacally plot from my evil lair!"
    [cue evil laugh]
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride has "My Lullaby", a brutal declaration of war and violence set to the tune of a children's lullaby. On the other hand, it grows to be pretty creepy...
  • Advertisement:
  • "Let It Go" from Frozen, an uplifting-sounding song by Elsa about finally accepting her powers... which is also about choosing to live a life in isolation and cut herself off from the world. Ironically enough that's inverted on a meta-level, seeing as by many people it's viewed as an empowerment anthem and has actually encouraged many, which is arguably the opposite of what some dissonance may suggest it means for Elsa. Also of note is that it was originally intended to be a Villain Song before Idina's performance led the writers to completely changing the story, and the song led people to treat it as... well, the exact opposite. Irony at its finest.
  • Moana:
    • "Shiny" sees Tamatoma veer back in forth in tone between the menacing tones of a Villain Song... and upbeat '70s glam rock. While most of the song consists of Badass Boasts that fit the tone of both halves, Tamatoa's intent to kill and eat Moana and Maui is mostly expressed in the bouncy parts, and the lyrics do not at all sugarcoat this desire. Just look at the way the lyrics swerve...
      I'm too shiny
      Watch me dazzle like a diamond in the rough
      Strut my stuff, my stuff is so shiny
      Send your armies but they'll never be enough
      My shell's too tough
      Maui man, you can try try try
      But you can't expect a demigod to beat a decapod (look it up!)
      You will die die die
      Now it's time for me to take apart your aching heart

      Maui, now it's time to kick your heinie
      Ever seen someone so shiny?
      Soak it in 'cause it's the last you'll ever see
      C'est la vie, mon ami
      I'm so shiny
      Now I eat you so prepare your final plea
      Just for me
    • Advertisement:
    • The tail-end of "You're Welcome"; Maui's "I Am Great!" Song starts out with a recap of all the awesome things he's done, but near the finish suddenly declares he's stealing Moana's boat, and then traps her in a cave, while still keeping the upbeat melody.
      Hey, it's okay, okay,
      "You're welcome" (You're welcome!)
      But come to think of it, I gotta go!
      Hey, it's you day to say
      "You're welcome" (You're welcome!)
      'Cause I'm gonna need that boat
      I'm sailing away, away
      You're welcome (You're welcome!)
      'Cause Maui can do everything but float!
      You're welcome! (You're welcome!) You're welcome! (You're welcome!) You're welcome!

      And thank you!
  • The children's movie The Brave Little Toaster contains a song near its end which the other wiki sums up perfectly: "Worthless is sung by the junkyard's broken down cars, each singing a few verses about their life before being smashed and killed by the compactor." However, they fail to mention the upbeat music it's sung to.
  • "L'il Ark Angel" from Cats Don't Dance starts with Darla singing about the world being destroyed in a flood and people and animals drowning in exactly the same cheerful tone she later sings about the various animals she's rescuing. If you hadn't already realized she'd be the Big Bad of the film from the foreshadowing in the intro, it's hard to miss it after that.
  • "Batty Rap" from FernGully: The Last Rainforest. It has a fast and springy beat and tune.....with the lyrics being about how Batty was used in animal testing laboratory, with strong implications that he was conscious throughout all the processes. Due to its 'adult' nature, quite a bit of the song was cut from the film, but was left in on the CD.
    "The Eye makeup, when inserted rectally, has some effect...
    Remove the brain cap...
    If you notice, by dipping the bat in a series of paints...
    After 600 packs of cigarettes, the animals seem to exhibit some carcinogenic tendencies..."
    Oh God, I'm bleeding by my genitals!
    • The tune's single most horrifying line: "As you see, the animals don't really feel pain, THEY JUST GET USED TO IT!!!"
  • Tangled: "Mother Knows Best" is a cheerful, bouncy song where Gothel terrifies Rapunzel by listing off all the "scary and dangerous" things in the outside world and how all of them will happen to Rapunzel if she steps out of the tower. Throughout the song, Gothel is intentionally emotionally abusing Rapunzel by playing with her fears to make her seem like she's the only one in the cruel world Rapunzel could trust.
  • Coco: The lyrics for "Remember Me" make it seem like it's from a place of love, true pure love, yet as performed by Ernesto de la Cruz, it has an fast-paced and upbeat melody, as if it's a frivolous and showoffish love. That's because it's not Ernesto's song to begin with, but Hector's. Hector wrote the song to be played at a much slower and melancholic tempo, which feels more genuine and heartfelt. It's something that only Hector was able to write, because it came from his heart. For Ernesto, music is a tool for him to achieve fame and nothing more. He has no care for using music as a tool to express his feelings, which is why the only way he could achieve anything was to steal music from somebody who legitimately cared about the art: Hector. However, while Ernesto stole the lyrics and melody of the song from Hector, the one thing he couldn't steal was the heart and passion of the song, which is why Ernesto's version is glorified and over the top.
  • Uglydolls has a couple: "The Ugly Truth," a bouncy funk song where Lou points out how "ugly" everyone else is compared to himself, and "All Dolled Up," an upbeat song about changing how you look in order to be like everyone else.
  • Home on the Range: "Yodel-Adle-Eedle-Idle-Oo" is Alameda Slim's Villain Song. It starts in a very sinister D minor as Slim monologues and boasts to his minions, then it turns into a bouncy Western ballad in F major, during which he steals $50 million worth of cattle just by yodeling them into hypnosis, which is depicted for the cows as the equivalent of an acid trip.

Live-Action

  • Georgy Girl: the theme is about how the protagonist is insecure but you can't tell it from the outside...but it has a very light, upbeat tune.
  • The 2005 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy film opens with the Guide narrating to us about how on Earth, man was only the third-most intelligent species on the Earth. The second most intelligent species, were in fact dolphins, who curiously enough knew of the impending destruction of the planet Earth.note  They made many attempts to alert mankind to the impending doom, but most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs or whistle for tidbits. So they eventually decided to leave Earth by their own means. The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double backward somersault through a hoop while whistling the Star-Spangled Banner, but in fact the message was this: *ding!* "So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish", an upbeat big band jazz song with these catchy lyrics:
    The world's about to be destroyed
    There's no point getting all annoyed
    Lie back and let the planet dissolve around you
    So long, so long, and thanks for all the fish!
    • The "Share and Enjoy" song from the radio series. A cheerful little ballad, which must be sung a flattened fifth out of tune by a badly-programmed choir of robots, about how when malfunctioning Sirius Cybernetics robots tear off doors and rape cats, the company's complaints department (which takes up the masses of three planets and is the only part of the company to turn a profit) won't give a fig. "Go stick your head in a pig!"
    • Disaster Area's song "Only the End of the World Again" can be heard on the now-rare Hitchhiker's Guide EP (with the rubber duck on the sleeve). It's a heavy rock ballad about a guy who kills his best friend to be with his girlfriend, takes her for a crash in her dad's car, and then makes out with her as the moon explodes for no adequately explored reason.
  • "That Thing you Do" in the movie of the same name is an upbeat, Beach Boys-esque song about a guy lamenting his girlfriend leaving him.
    • In story, the songwriter intended for the song to be a slow ballad, but it became the peppy dance hall song it is after the new drummer decided to up the tempo without telling anybody
  • The opening number for Phantom of the Paradise, "Goodbye Eddie Goodbye," is about a singer who commits suicide in order to promote the sales of his upcoming album. The song is sung in catchy 50's style complete with "ya-ya-ya-yaahs" and the lead singer pantomiming Eddie's death throes.
    • The end credits song contains a bouncy piano breakdown along with the lyrics "Good for nothing / Bad in bed / Nobody likes you / You're better off dead / Goodbye."
  • The Hangover has a band playing 50 Cent's "Candy Shop" in lounge style as well.
  • This is Spın̈al Tap had fun with this one while parodying some of the more overblown conventions of the Heavy Metal genre.
    • "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" seems to be a fairly straightforward parody of sexually-charged, self-promoting Rock and Roll anthems directed at adoring female fans; until you realize it's talking specifically about pre-pubescent female fans.
    • At one point in the film, guitarist Nigel Tufnel plays a short piano piece. It's a hauntingly beautiful excerpt from a trilogy he's composing in D-minor, "The saddest of all keys", inspired by his love of Mozart and Bach. The name of this melancholy tune? " Lick My Love Pump". Admittedly, his inspiration might have been Mozart's piece named "Leck mich im Arsch".
    • In a deleted scene (available on the DVD), after the breakup of Spinal Tap, David St. Hubbins discusses his long-time desire to create an classic, upbeat-style musical a la ''Oliver!'' titled "Saucy Jack"; based on the life of Jack the Ripper, with the melody of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch".
  • How is the best way to promote Roland Emmerich's 2012? Give it a trailer tune sung by Idol Runner-up Adam Lambert, that's what! And the title of this song is "Miracle", of all things.
  • Team America: World Police features a parody of RENT's songs and the subject matter with an uplifting song of: "EVERYONE HAS AIDS! AIDS AIDS AIDS!" Etcetera.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail has "Brave Sir Robin," who was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways indeed.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian contains the song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," with such lyrically dissonant lines as, "always look on the bright side of death," being sung by Brian during his own crucifixion.
  • Richard Cheese swanks out a cover of Disturbed's "Down With The Sickness" in the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004). This is, of course, his entire schtick.
  • Mary Poppins invokes this with a soft, sleep-inducing lullaby called "Stay Awake".
  • The most popular song in Anna and the Apocalypse is "Hollywood Ending", an enthusiastic group song where all the students sing about how reality doesn't have the happy ending they were made to believe when they were younger.
  • Sweeney Todd (both the original play by Stephen Sondheim and the cinematic adaptation by Tim Burton) has the song "A Little Priest". Todd and Mrs. Lovetts are singing about murdering random strangers and cooking them into meat pies...but it's such a pleasant and upbeat tune!
  • Speaking of Tim Burton, in his adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Oompa-Loompas' morality ballads are all fun and energetic, but the lyrics graphically detail the potential gruesome fates of misbehaving children. It's worth noting that all those lyrics came directly from Roald Dahl's original novel, which shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with Dahl's trademark style of Black Comedy. What's more, Danny Elfman was responsible for putting those lyrics to musical accompaniment, and Elfman is no stranger to Lyrical Dissonance, as Oingo Boingo fans will readily attest.
  • Air America has a pair of Chinese singers singing America's "Horse with no name" a song about desperate loneliness in an upbeat longue-singer fashion.
  • In Borat, Borat sings the National Anthem of fictional Kazakhstan to the tune of "The Star-Spangled Banner".
  • The movie Grumpier Old Men starts with a bouncy song about the singer killing his wife's lover and leaving his corpse for the crows
    "I'm gonna kill you just for fun, you rascal you
    I'm gonna kill you just for fun, you rascal you,
    (Verse 1) I'm gonna kill you just for fun, the birds can have you when I'm done, (Verse 2) You slept with my wife, now I'm gonna take your life
    I'm gonna kill you just for fun, you rascal you"
  • In Billy Madison, during the musical number where Billy vows to go back to school, the clown who fell down during a party earlier in the film suddenly comes to life and starts singing.
    Clown: (singing cheerfully) Hey, kids, it's me! I bet you thought that I was dead! But when I fell over, I just broke my leg and got a hemorrhage in my head!
  • Lana Del Ray's cover of "Once Upon A Dream" for 2014's Maleficent takes the sweet, happy Disney love song and gives it a creepy new feeling.
  • One of the songs in the movie Begin Again has a song called "A Step You Can't Take Back". If you listen to the lyrics, it's pretty clear the song is about someone committing suicide, but you wouldn't know it from the upbeat melody.
  • Mel Brooks's History of the World Part I features a catchy Busby Berkeley Number about The Spanish Inquisition.
  • The 1971 film Taking Off contains a scene in which a young Ingenue-looking girl sings very sincerely and accompanies herself on the lute. The music is charming, restrained and reminiscent of the Elizabethan era. The lyrics, by contrast, are filthy. The Lyrical Dissonance is played up when the word "fuck" is, several times, given classical melismatic treatment. Can be watched here.
  • In Trading Places, in the lead-in to the scene where Louis Winthorpe (Dan Aykroyd) tries to borrow money from his "friends", the Gentleman Snarkers perform a lovely a cappella song for a group of young women sitting at a table. It's about how the girls are complete sluts. From their reaction, they apparently recognize that fact.
  • Downplayed in "Sailing to Adventure" in Muppet Treasure Island, which is mostly played straight but includes a few much darker interjections in a Black Comedy Burst kind of way...with only one of them changing the music to matchnote . Most notably, the last line before the chorus is delivered loudly and enthusiastically by all the singers at once, whether that line is "Underway and off to see the world," "Margaritas at the midnight buffet," or "And people die by falling overboard!"
  • Buster's Mal Heart features a folk songesque version of "Starving In The Belly Of A Whale" which lyrically is all about how foolish it is to have hope.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report