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Lyrical Dissonance / Theatre

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  • Blood Brothers has - "Take A Letter, Miss Jones", a bright, upbeat, happy song sung by Mr. Lyons the factory manager as he dictates letters to his secretary, each of which fires another employee. Then he fires her.
  • My Fair Lady has "Ascot Gavotte", in which lines of motionless, expressionless aristocracy sing about how 'thrilling, absolutely chilling' the race they're watching is (the music fits the restrained visuals rather than the words).
  • The Ballads of Booth, Czolgosz, and Guiteau from Assassins.
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    • And the treacly ballad "Unworthy of Your Love," in which the female vocals are addressed to Charles Manson.
  • A Very Potter Sequel has Guys Like Potter, a song with lyrics such as, "so many assholes in my face," and "you were totally pwned." It's a sad song.
  • "The Campfire Song" from Percy Jackson and the Olympians has the tune of a typical happy campfire song. It's about several half-bloods lamenting how awful it is to have a god for a parent.
  • A very darkly hilarious example comes from the Sister Act musical, where Shanke is singing of "finding" his girl (who just saw him commit a murder). It starts off like a jazzy love song, until he gets to the part about killing her in multiple violent ways. As horrible as it is, it's actually one of the most hilarious songs in the musical, especially when he starts adding the dance moves, and his henchmen begin singing in the background. It must be heard/seen to be believed...
    • When he keeps repeating the line "When I find my baby, I ain't letting her go," it only gets worse as the song moves on.
    • One verse in particular:
    "Yeah, yeah oh yes I know that girl, and man I need that girl, I gotta have that girl, so I can snuff that girl. See I know my baby, she's already running. That's how my baby, is gonna be done in. I'm gonna drown that girl, or disembowel that girl, or give her skull a big dent with a blunt instrument, I tell ya soon that girl is looking at a world of WOE! (Wo-wo-wo-WOAH!)
  • Little Shop of Horrors, true to its over-the-top comedy-horror nature, has toe-tapping, rock-out songs about impending doom ("Little Shop of Horrors"), the pleasures of sadism ("Dentist!"), and justifying murder to gain your own ends ("Feed Me (Git It)"). "Now (It's Just The Gas)" counts on some level, regardless of how it's played: some productions play it grim and scary, while others play it cheerfully. Either way, it's a song about being gassed to death with lyrics like "Though I giggle and I chortle/Bear in mind I'm not immortal".
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  • In Bye Bye Birdie, Kim sings "How Lovely To Be A Woman" while dressing herself in typical trashy TV Teen clothes.
  • In The Book of Mormon, there's first "Hasa Diga Eebowai", which seems to be a rip-off of Hakuna Matata, even with a similar upbeat melody. Until we are told that the phrase is Ugandan for "Fuck You, God".
    • "Turn It Off", where the Elders sing very upbeat verses about suppressing bad memories - like witnessing domestic abuse, missing your sister's death, and suppressing your sexuality because you think it's evil.
    • "Joseph Smith: American Moses" has the dysentery chant, which makes drinking contaminated water and shitting blood sound awesome.
  • Wicked has "Thank Goodness" - a song about how happy Glinda is, while she sounds like she's about to cry.
    And I couldn't be happier, simply couldn't be happier
    Well...not "simply"...
    'Cause getting your dreams, it's strange, but it seems
    A little, well, complicated...
  • RENT has the upbeat, catchy song "Today 4 U" in which Angel describes how she got the money for Christmas...namely, by killing a dog for a rich woman. You'll be bopping your head all the way through that song before you realize "Wait, did she really drive a dog to commit suicide?"
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  • The opening number of Next to Normal is an upbeat song called "Just Another Day", which is about the apparent stress of each member of the Goodman family, and each of them treating that stress as just a part of their everyday lives, and being determined to bottle it.
  • In Company, the song "Getting Married Today" has an operatic section that sounds absolutely beautiful...and then you stop and listen to the words and find out it's about the bride having a total meltdown.
  • Hamilton has "You'll Be Back", a catchy and upbeat Britpop song that comes courtesy of King George III. According to the lyrics, also coming courtesy of King George is a fully armed battalion sent to kill the Americans' friends and family and to remind them of his love.
  • Ruddigore has "You Understand". It's one of the bounciest songs in the show, a duet between two men plotting to crash a wedding, break up the happy couple, and reveal to everyone that the groom is really the local Bad Baronet.
  • Dear Evan Hansen has "Waving Through A Window," a fairly up-tempo song about the main character's depression.
  • A David Yazbek trademark. "Big-Ass Rock" from The Full Monty is a striking example: the song is played after Dave saves Malcolm from asphyxiating himself, has an appropriately slow melody, and the lyrics boil down to "Don't kill yourself when you have friends who can kill you for you" (though it is meant to, and does, cheer Malcolm up).
  • The Pirates of Penzance has the trope-naming "With Catlike Tread", an extremely loud and bombastic song about how stealthy the pirates singing it are being.
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