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"I Am" Song

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"I am anger, under pressure
Lost in cages, a prisoner, the first to escape
I am wicked, I am Legion
Strength in numbers, a lie, the number is one
I, I, I, everything that I see is for me"
Black Sabbath, "I"

Bob Fosse said that most songs in musicals fall into two categories: the "I Want" Song and the "I Am" Song. The "I Am" Song is, simply put, a song which establishes a character's personality, role in the plot, and/or motivations right away. It can be more effective than setting up a character by dialogue, and it's almost always more fun.

Despite the name, the song doesn't have to be sung by the characters themselves. "The Villain Sucks" Song is an example of an "I Am" Song sung by other people about a villain they despise.

May also be an I Am What I Am, but not always. Sometimes the lyrics will contain I Am the Noun. Compositionally, it's often a Small Start, Big Finish number, starting off rather slow and low before growing as the character asserts themselves.

Note: Contrast the "I Want" Song. Although the two are not mutually exclusive, the "I Am" Song should be primarily about who the character is, rather than what they want (there's a clue in the name). Try to avoid citing an "I Want" Song as an "I Am" Song.

Compare Villain Song, which are almost always of this type (when they aren't I Want Songs), as well as Sidekick Song. See also Leitmotif for an instrumental version. Image Song is when it doesn't appear in the actual show, but rather in All There in the Manual extras. See "I Am Becoming" Song for when a character explains his or her new motivations or self. See also "I Am Great!" Song, which show how great the character thinks of themselves. Can overlap with Job Song if a character's job is a significant part of themselves.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch: "Oh, Yeah! Alala!" establishes Alala as an evil Kawaiiko Idol Singer (strangely enough for a shoujo series).
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: The ending theme, "Maru Kaite Chikyuu", along with its variations by the different characters. There are also some of the character songs, namely "I am German-Made" for Germany, "Absolutely Invincible British Gentleman" for England, "My Heart Has a Light" for Russia and both "Mein Gott" and "My Song That Is Written By Me, For Me" for Prussia since he's all about telling people who he is.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: "Akuyaku◇Kyosokyoku" is an ending theme for the anime adaption of "Stardust Crusaders" and has the Oingo Boingo Brothers sing about their powers while the animation is in the style of Boingo's Stand, Thoth.
    • Another song, "Akuyaku◇Kyosokyoku ~Hol Horse and Boingo~", does the same thing, only with Boingo and Hol Horse.
  • Detroit Metal City opening theme "Satsugai" ("Murder"), performed in-universe by the eponymous band themselves, is an introduction of their frontman and guitar/vocals, Johannes Krauser II, and some of the evil deeds he has done.
  • Great Mazinger's theme, "Ore Wa Great Mazinger" is easily this. It can also be considered to be an almost-literal "I Am Great!" Song, seeing as the not only does the title translate to "I Am Great Mazinger", "Ore Wa" is the boastful version of the phrase "I am" and the song boasts about how it doesn't shed tears and wants to kick evil's ass.
  • The first ending to the Food Wars! anime seems to be from the perspective of secondary character Megumi outlining her character arc where she starts in a negative spiral where low self confidence negatively affects her confidence, causing her to panic and do worse. From there she meets Souma and manages to get out of her funk and prove her actual talent as a down to earth chef who cooks simple, comforting things rather than flashy impactful food like most of the rest of the cast.
  • Oshi no Ko's first opening song, "Idol" by YOASOBI, is sang from Ai's perspective and describes both her worldview and the series premiere plot.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The first All Dogs Go to Heaven film has "You Can't Keep A Good Dog Down," which also serves as Charlie's Leitmotif at several later points in the film.
  • From Barbie:
    I'm just like you.
    You're just like me.
    We take responsibility.
    We carry through,
    do what we need to do.
    Yes I am a girl like you!
  • "Li'l Ark Angel" from Cats Don't Dance is mildly different: although it's more of a plot device, her cheerily singing about people and animals drowning establishes Darla's character immediately. She gets a Villain Song later, too.
  • From the Disney Animated Canon:
  • Zephyr the monkey gets one in Babar: The Movie.
  • "The Batty Rap" from FernGully
  • "All I Ever Wanted" from The Prince of Egypt is a deconstructed version. Despite following the traditional pattern and Moses explicitly declaring "I am a sovereign prince of Egypt/A son of the proud history that's shown," the song implies that he is beginning to doubt his identity and the life that he thought he knew.
  • Quest for Camelot has Garrett's "I Stand Alone" which describes his emotional state and worldview in contrast to his unwelcome guest, Kayley. Although several seconds after the song ended, he reluctantly lets Kayley join him.
  • "My Name Is Mok" from Rock and Rule.
  • "Witch Doctor" from The Rugrats Movie about the monkeys, their way of life, and how they want the babies to live with them.
  • Toy Story has two:
    • Woddy's "I am" song is "Strange Things": Woody has gone from top toy and loved by Andy to falling out of favor over the new Buzz Lightyear. Understandably, he's rather bitter about the situation. The first two stanzas are the best examples of the song's meaning.
    • Buzz's is "I Will Go Sailing No More", a somber song of Buzz (painfully) coming to terms with he's not a space ranger, just a toy.
    Now I know exactly who I am
    And what I'm here for
    And I will go sailing no more.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Camp Rock loves this trope with "This is Me", "Here I Am", "Too Cool", "Introducing Me", and "Who Will I Be?" which doubles as an "I Want" Song.
  • "The Vegetarian" from Doctor Dolittle.
  • "Main Hoon Don" (which translates to "I Am Don") from the Bollywood film Don. This one is an interesting combination of Trick Twist and Villain Song. When you are first watching the film, you fully believe the singer to be Vijay. At the end you discover it was Don pretending to be Vijay prentending to be Don, and he was so confident in his having fooled everyone that he is just reveling in his evilness.
  • "This Is Me" is one in the form of a Self-Empowerment Anthem for the "freaks" in The Greatest Showman.
  • Horse Feathers: "Whatever it is, I'm against it!"
  • "Chilly Down" from Labyrinth about the Fireys and their way of life.
  • In Love Finds Andy Hardy, teenager Betsy, played by Judy Garland, sings a song called "In Between" about how she's too old for little girls' toys but too young to attract older boys like Andy.
  • "The Life I Lead" from Mary Poppins.
  • The "Knights of the Round Table" song from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" from O Brother, Where Art Thou? if you count it as a diegetic musical.
  • "I Yam What I Yam" from the movie Popeye.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera, being a rock opera and featuring an ensemble cast, has one for the majority of the characters.
    • Perhaps the two most classic examples are "Legal Assassin" and "Things You See In A Graveyard", which introduce Nathan and Rotti's characters, respectively, their motivations, their pasts, and much of the plot besides.
    • Also "Seventeen" and "Infected". The latter is incredibly whiny, but still an I Am Song.
  • "Sweet Transvestite" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show for Dr. Frank-n-furter, a (not so) sweet transvestite from Transylvania.
  • "Spaceballs" The Song from the Spaceballs The Movie, is part of the soundtrack, and is, as such, not sung by any character in the story, but it is, as one might guess from the title, the I Am (or, more precisely, We Are) Song for the eponymous Spaceballs.
  • "We are the Three Aaaaaamigos! We are the three Aaaaaaaaaaaaamigos!!! We are the three AAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamigos, and Amigos forever we'll be!"
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory has interesting twists: The opening number "The Candy Man" is a typical celebration of a title character, but none of the other characters, to say nothing of the audience, has actually seen him in years. Willy Wonka, who turns out to be far more eccentric than expected, has his own I Am Song in "Pure Imagination", which better fits his personality, especially with its choreography. (It also doubles as a Follow Your Heart song.)
    • The 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie had its own take on this concept with Wonka's Welcome Song, which was written by Wonka himself, and could also be said to represent some of his character traits. Again, he is far more eccentric than the song suggests, as it only concentrates on his "positive" traits.
  • The song of White Knight "On m'appelle le chevalier blanc" ("My name is White Knight") from the movie You won't have Alsace and Lorraine.
    • He sings it every time he's asked "Who are you?" (and it's long. Hilarity Ensues).
  • In Blood Harvest, Sad Clown Marvelous Mervo sings one over the end credits.
    Marvelous Mervo, at your service
    Marvelous Mervo, that's my name
    I'll do my best to entertain you
    With magic and laughter, 'cause that's my game
  • In Zachariah, the Crackers play "We're the Crackers," in which they brag about being violent criminals. Later, they play "Poor but Honest Crackers," about how they're just humble musicians who have never broken a law, to create a distraction while Matthew and Zachariah rob a nearby bank.
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol opens with delightful number on the infamous Scrooge.

  • The songs of the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter.
  • The Bible:
    • Satan in Isaiah 14:12-15.
    • There's a rather strange example at the end of Deuteronomy. Moses' final lesson to Israel before his death is to teach them a national anthem: a song spelling out the future of Israel, complete with the fact that they will grow rebellious and turn away from God, and that this apostasy will spell disaster for their descendants, ultimately leading to their scatter and the destruction of all but a remnant.
    • Also, Psalm 51.

    Live-Action TV 

  • This isn't an exclusively Musical Theatre trope. Many rappers have an introduction song, and some bands have theme songs, anthems, or otherwise similar I Am Songs.
  • Eminem:
    • Slim Shady, Eminem's Heroic Comedic Sociopath alter ego, has many. A good fifth of songs performed as Slim Shady are this.
      • "My Name Is..." is the most famous example of this in rap history.
        Hi kids, do you like violence? Want to see me stick Nine Inch Nails in each one of my eyelids?
      • While it didn't make him a household name like "My Name Is", the first single featuring Slim was "Just Don't Give A Fuck":
        Slim Shady, brain dead like Jim Brady
        My name is Marshall Mathers, I'm an alcoholic (
        Hi, Marshall)
        I have a disease and they don't know what to call it
      • The first introduction to Slim in album track order is "Low Down, Dirty" from Slim Shady EP, which introduces him as a Jekyll & Hyde character somewhat different to how he appears later on:
        Wearing visors, sunglasses and disguises
        'Cause my split personality is having an identity crisis
        I'm Dr. Hyde and Mr. Jekyll, disrespectful
        Hearing voices in my head while these whispers echo
        "Murder-murder, redrum!"
        Brain size of a bread crumb
        Which drug will I end up dead from?
        Inebriated 'til my stress is alleviated
        "How in the fuck can Eminem and Shady be related?"
      • Also from The Slim Shady LP, "I'm Shady":
        Who came through with two Glocks to terrorize your borough? (Huh?)
        Told you how to slap dips and murder your girl? (I did)
        Gave you all the finger and told you to sit and twirl
        Sold a billion tapes, and still screamed "Fuck the world"
        (I'm Slim Shady) So come and kill me while my name's hot
        And shoot me 25 times in the same spot (Ow)
      • From Relapse, "Hello", sort of a Darker and Edgier version of "My Name Is":
        My name is Shady
        I never meant to leave you (I never meant to leave you)
    • The Eminem persona, the part of him that is a rapper, performer and handling his celebrity, has several:
      • "The Way I Am":
        'Cause I am whatever you say I am
        If I wasn't, then why would I say I am?
        In the paper, the news everyday, I am
        I don't know, it's just the way I am
      • "Rap God":
        I'm beginnin' to feel like a Rap God, Rap God
        All my people from the front to the back nod, back nod
        Now, who thinks their arms are long enough to slap box, slap box?
    • The Marshall Mathers persona, however...
    • In "Rain Man", he does an "I Am" Song for himself as he is underneath his personas - reinforced in live performances of the song, which he begins by specifying that he is no longer Slim Shady, Eminem, or Marshall Mathers.
      Hi, my name is...
      - I forgot my name!
      My aim was not to become what I became with this level of fame.
      My soul is possessed by this devil.
      My new name is... Rain Mannote 
  • Anthrax's "I Am The Law" and "I'm the Man."
  • Neil Diamond's "I Am... I Said".
  • Michael Jackson's "Bad".
  • "Jesus of Suburbia", "St. Jimmy" and "She's a Rebel" from Green Day's American Idiot.
  • "Back In NYC" from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway serves this purpose for the main character, Rael.
  • John Denver's "The Eagle and the Hawk": "I am the eagle, I live in high country...I am the hawk, and there's blood on my feathers..."
  • The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil." from Beggars Banquet
  • "I'm the Urban Spaceman" by The Bonzo Dog Band
  • Kiss' "I" from Music from "The Elder"
  • "I Am Woman," Helen Reddy's 1973 anthem to feminism.
  • Simon & Garfunkel's "I Am a Rock."
  • Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention's "Help, I'm a Rock" from Freak Out. "I'm the Slime" is a combination of this and Villain Song.
  • "The Song of Dusk" from Märchen isn't an "I am" song so much as it's a "Who am I?" song in which the eponymous character knows nothing of who he once was, only that he's woken up at the bottom of a well with a Creepy Doll in his arms and feels an intense desire to enact revenge and seeks to satisfy it by granting the chance at revenge to others.
  • "Nemesis" by Arch Enemy.
  • "Prophecy" from Judas Priest's concept album, Nostradamus, is the I Am Song for Nostradamus himself.
  • Voltaire's song "When You're Evil" is a classic I Am Song for any villain.
  • The Devil gets one in Showbread's song "The Goat (Nervosa)". Almost every line is a description of what he is, and every other set of words is "I am." Also, in their song "The Sky (Anorexia)", the refrain is a deathly and commanding "I AM."
  • Grottomatic has "I Am."
  • By contrast, Theocracy not only represent Christian Metal on this list, but the trope is played as almost totally straight as can be, as almost every single lyric begins with the words "I am" as an autobiographical description of God.
  • A common trope for Crush 40, most notably I Am (All of Me)
  • Marian Call has two: "Vanilla (I'm Not Sexy)" is a declaration of her general uncoolness (in a positive way) while "I'll Still Be A Geek After Nobody Thinks It's Chic" is a geek anthem.
  • The Monkees' theme song ("Hey Hey We're the Monkees!")
    • A self-deconstructed one appears in their movie, Head ("Hey, HEY we are The Monkees! You know we love to please! A manufactured image, with no philosophies...").
  • Portal's "Still Alive" is a pretty simple one:
    I'm doing science and I'm Still Alive
    I feel fantastic and I'm Still Alive
    When you're dying I'll be Still Alive
    And when you're dead I will be Still Alive
  • "Divide" by Disturbed, as well as 'Indestructible', 'I'm Alive', and a few others.
    I am a little more provocative then you might need
    It is your shock and then your horror on which I feed
    So can you tell me what exactly does freedom mean
    If I'm not free to be as twisted as I want to be?
    Don't wanna be another player losing in this game
    I'm trying to impress upon you, we're not the same
    My psychotic mentality is so unique
    I'm one aggressive motherfucker, now wouldn't you say?
  • The Beatles' "I Am the Walrus" from Magical Mystery Tour.
  • The Decemberists seem to like this trope, but, as so many of their songs are almost writ as monologues, this is hardly surprising.
    • "The Engine Driver", "Leslie Anne Levine", and "The Legionnaire's Lament" stand out as the best examples.
    • "The Mariner's Revenge Song" is basically one guy telling another guy who he is inside of a whale.
  • "We Are the World", by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, sung by USA for Africa.
  • Doctor Steel's songs "Lament for a Toy Factory", "Dr. Steel", and "The Dr. Steel Show"
  • The GWAR theme song.
  • India Arie's "Video" is a pure example. Video Lyrics
  • Sabaton's "Carolus Rex" is this for King Charles XII of Sweden.
  • Nine Inch Nails has three: "Mr. Self-Destruct," "Big Man with a Gun," and "Sanctified."
  • "Lecher Bitch" by the Genitorturers.
  • Roy Harper wrote 'The Lord's Prayer' as a sort of musical last will and testament when he believed he was dying. It contains 104 descriptions of himself, each beginning with 'who' or 'whose'. 'The Lord's Prayer' is also a sterling example of a list song.
  • LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It."
  • Metallica's "The View"
  • The Who (or at least Pete Townshend) were fond of these: Tommy alone has "Cousin Kevin", "Acid Queen", "Fiddle About" and "Sensation". Other examples include "I'm a Boy", "The Real Me" and "Behind Blue Eyes".
  • Devo's anthem "Jocko Homo" doubles as an I Am Song and a manifesto for their "de-evolution" concept:
    They tell us that we lost our tails
    evolving up from little snails.
    I say it's all just wind in sails:
    Are we not men? (We are DEVO!)
    Are we not men? (D-E-V-O!)
    • "Stop, Look, and Listen", an early demo on the Hardcore Devo compilation, more directly refers to the band ("I hear em' coming, gonna mess up the plumbing/It's D-E-V-O! From O-H-I-O!")
    • "Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA", in which Devo announce themselves collectively as the Smart Patrol ("suburban robots who monitor reality") who are ultimately subjected to self-sacrifice by the "man with a plan," Mr. DNA.
    • "Speed Racer" is an I Am Song for four different characters, presented in order in each verse ("I'm Speed Racer and I drive real fast..."; "I'm a big pirate and I like to steal..."; "I'm a Barbie doll but I've got brains..."; " "I'm your doctor and here's the bill...") and reprised all together in the last verse.
  • Overlapping with Singer Namedrop, the chorus of "Infinity" by Infinity Ink repeats the line, "Oh, you know we are the Infinity."
  • The Roches introduced themselves with "We," the first song on their first album, The Roches. They began by simply singing their names: "We are Maggie and Terre and Suzzy Roche."
  • Maria Conchita Alonso's "Soy Tu Mujer"
  • Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'."
  • Ratt's "I'm Insane" crosses this with Sanity Slippage Song.
  • "I'm A Boinger" by Billy And The Boingers, from Billy And The Boingers: Bootleg.
  • The Ramones' "I'm Against It' from Road to Ruin.
  • "I Am the Alter-Destiny" by Sun Ra from Space Is the Place.
  • The Raubtier track "Panzarmarsch" is one, told from the perspective of a decommissioned Leopard II MBT being returned to service.
  • Queen has several examples, notably "We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions", "Invisible Man", "Princes of the Universe" and "Don't Stop Me Now".
  • "My Name is Prince", by Prince, naturally.
  • "WE ARE MILKCAN!" from MilkCan's Make It Sweet!, as you can guess from the title.
    Rockin' to the rhythm, rollin' with the beat.
    Here we come, here we come, hold on to your seat!
    Cheerful and pleasing, cute and appealing.
    Give it up, give it up, can you feel the heat?
    We're the girls from around the block.
    Gorgeous sweet and we love to rock.
  • Meshuggah brings us I am Colossus from Koloss.
    ''I am life. I'm death. You belong to me
    Call me what I am. I am colossus
  • BABYMETAL with "BABYMETAL DEATH"; the only lyrics in the song are Japanese puns on "I am..."
    SU-METAL DEATH (I am Su-metal.)
    YUIMETAL DEATH (I am Yuimetal.)
    MOAMETAL DEATH (I am Moametal.)
    BABYMETAL DEATH (We are Babymetal.)
  • The second aria of Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht is Lieschen singing about her love for coffee.
  • Anaal Nathrakh brings us "I am the Wrath of Gods and the Desolation of the Earth" from In the Constellation of the Black Widow.
  • Three Days Grace performed "I Am Machine".
  • In Steeleye Span's Wintersmith concept album, the Nac Mac Feegle have "Wee Free Men" and the Summer Lady and Wintersmith have "Fire and Ice".
  • Miracle of Sound: Numerous songs are written from the first-person perspective of the or a main character from a given work as they describe themselves in song.
  • The majority of Christian praise music is, unsurprisingly, "You Are" songs about God and/or Jesus, many adapted directly from the Psalms or other Bible passages, with the occasional Villain Sucks song about Satan thrown in for good measure.
  • "Raven in the Storm" by John Gorka is a particularly ominous version of this trope, possibly crossed with A Storm Is Coming.
  • The American Folk song “A Man of Constant Sorrow” first line begins with “I am…” and has a man describing himself and his life:
    I am a man of constant sorrow.
    I've seen trouble all my day.
    I bid farewell to old Kentucky.
    The place where I was born and raised.

    For six long years I've been in trouble.
    No pleasures here on earth I found.
    For in this world I'm bound to ramble.
    I have no friends to help me now.
  • The American Folk song “Roving Gambler” is another folk song that starts “I am…” this time the singer is describing how his life as roving gambler led to him spending time in jail.
    ''I am a roving gambler I gambled all around.
    Whenever I meet with a deck of cards.
    I lay my money down.
    Lay my money down, lay my money down.
  • Village People's "I Am What I Am".
  • Sammy Davis Jr.'s "I Gotta Be Me".
  • Shirley Bassey's "This Is My Life".
  • Twisted Sister's "I Am I'm Me".


    Pro Wrestling 
  • A number of Professional Wrestling entrance themes (at least the ones with lyrics) fit this pattern. Of particular note:
    • AJ Styles' theme in TNA, in one incarnation, was actually titled "I Am." The later remix, "Get Ready to Fly", has completely different lyrics, but is still an I Am song.
      • Stable Fortune's theme has this: "We are, we are! Fortune Four!"
    • Triple H: "I am the game, you don't wanna play me..."
    • Chyna's theme was titled "Who I Am."
    • "I am Lei'D Tapa, the Queen of Rings"
    • Colt Cabana's theme, "Boom Boom", is more of a He Is song, but otherwise fits the trope well, talking about Colt walking away from "Corporate America" (i.e. WWE), his love of Chicago, and his desire to create "Good times, great memories".
    • Chris Jericho: "I am the Master of your whole heap. I am the Pastor, flock you like Sheep."
    • Dolph Ziggler: "I am perfection!"
    • The Nation of Domination: "We are the Nation...of Domination!"

  • "Backwoods Barbie" is the I Am Song for 9 to 5: The Musical. Funny enough, following it being written for the musical itself, Dolly Parton decided to use it for the title track of her album Backwoods Barbie, so not only is it the I Am Song for the musical, but it is for Parton personally as well.
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: "I'm Not That Smart" (Leaf), "I Speak Six Languages" (Marcy) and "Woe Is Me" (Schwartzy).
  • "The Lees of Old Virginia" in 1776. Richard Henry Lee giving a laundry list about why he, his family, and Virginia are undeniab-LEE the best thing in America in the hammiest way possible.
  • "Hey, Tom Sawyer" from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer establishes Tom's cunning, mischievous character, although it is technically more a "He Is" song.
  • Aida:
    • "Fortune Favors the Brave" for Radames.
    • "My Strongest Suit" for Amneris.
    • "How I Know You" is sort of an I Am song for Mereb as he details his backstory...which then turns into a You Are song for Aida as he reveals(the first time it's revealed in the show) that he knows she is the Nubian princess.
  • "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" from Animal Crackers. One of the few songs from the original stage show retained for the film.
  • "I'm a Bad, Bad Man" for Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun.
  • An interesting example in Stephen Sondheim's Assassins: in "Unworthy of Your Love" where John Hinckley Jr. and Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme sing for their respective Love Interests. While at first it sounds like an "I Want" Song, it's really about Hinckley and Fromme's insecurity and how they are completely lost in their lives. It even begins with 'I am'.
    • "Another National Anthem" is one for the Assassins in general.
  • "What Do You Do With a BA In English / It Sucks To Be Me" from Avenue Q serves as an I Am Song for more than half the cast: Princeton, Kate Monster, Brian, Christmas Eve, Rod, Nicky and Gary each get a verse. Additionally, "Special" is Lucy The Slut's I Am Song.
    • "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist" is a We Are Song where the cast acknowledges that they all carry unconscious biases.
  • "The Lady Is A Tramp" from Babes In Arms.
  • Probably the most famous opera example: "Largo al factotum della città" (aka "Figaro's introduction") from The Barber Of Seville.
    "Figaro here, Figaro there, Figaro up, Figaro down, swifter and swifter, I'm like a thunderbolt: I'm the factotum of the city!"
  • The title character of Barnum gets two in "There's a Sucker Born Ev'ry Minute" and "The Prince of Humbug".
  • "Clean the Kit" in The Beautiful Game for John.
  • "Independent (On My Own)" from Bells Are Ringing.
  • Rodolfo and Mimi's introductory songs "Che gelida manina" and "Si, mi chiamano Mimì" from La Bohème.
  • "How Lovely to be a Woman" from Bye Bye Birdie.
  • "I Am What I Am" from La Cage aux folles.
  • "The Hostess With The Mostes'" from Call Me Madam.
  • "C'est moi", from Camelot establishes Lancelot's puissance and hubris. (Notice the literal translation of the title).
    • "I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight" (sung by Arthur himself) establishes his fallibility.
  • The aria "Glitter and be Gay" from Leonard Bernstein's Candide establishes Cunegonde's role in society as a Socialite in a Gilded Cage.
  • Cats is nothing but I Am Songs (or rather, You Are Songs in most cases).
  • From the 2013 adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
    • "Almost Nearly Perfect" establishes Charlie Bucket's creative nature and Cheerful Child disposition, despite his hardscrabble life.
    • Augustus Gloop and his family have "More of Him to Love", which claims that the boy is Big Fun but reveals he's really more of a Fat Bastard.
    • "When Veruca Says" establishes both her Greed and her father's indulgent nature.
    • "The Double Bubble Duchess" is a Boastful Rap for the gum-chewing starlet and her Shameless Self-Promoter dad.
    • "It's Teavee Time" has Mrs. Teavee desperately trying to convince the media that her son's just a little high-strung and that they have an idyllic, 1960s sitcom-inspired life, but failing miserably — especially when Mike himself speaks up.
    • Willy Wonka has the bridge part of his "I Am Great!" Song "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" and "Simply Second Nature" (which overlaps with I Am What I Am) to establish that his strange creations are borne of a desire to make the world a lovelier place, even if others don't understand or fully appreciate what he's doing.
  • Chess has quite a few as well. Freddie's lyrics in Merano, Where I Want to Be for Anatoly and Someone Else's Story for either Florence or Svetlana. Plus Molokov and Svetlana's new songs in the Stockholm version.
    • Arguably, "Pity The Child" for Freddie as well.
  • Chicago
    • "All I Care About Is Love" . Of course, he's lying, but...
    • Mama also has her own song, "When You're Good to Mama", which is more accurate (metaphorically, anyway).
    • Amos has "Mr. Cellophane".
  • In Children of Eden, Yonah has a song about how she is not a "Stranger to the Rain", which establishes her as The Woobie because she is descended from Cain.
  • The Cobbler's Song from Chu Chin Chow (But not "I am Chu Chin Chow").
  • Cinderella (Lloyd Webber): The song "Bad Cinderella", where the heroine asserts herself against the simpering villagers and sings about how she doesn't care if they hate her.
  • The off-Broadway musical Closer Than Ever has "Life Story," in which a middle-aged woman reflects on the choices she's made and the experiences she's had throughout her life. It differs slightly from the average "I Am" Song in that the musical is a revue, and as such, this song is the only time the audience encounters this particular character.
  • Curtains: "I do the Kama Sutra with a Richard Rodgers score. It's a Business."
  • "A Little Brains, A Little Talent" from Damn Yankees.
  • Dear Evan Hansen has "Waving Through A Window" which is sung by Evan and establishes his severe social anxiety.
  • In Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, "Great Big Stuff" is both an I Am Song and an "I Want" Song.
  • Disney's Alice in Wonderland Jr. adds two 'I Am' songs not in the movie:
    • "Ocean of Tears" for the Dodo Bird
    • "Whooooo Are Youuuuu?" for the three Alices
  • Drood has "A Man Could Go Quite Mad" for Jasper and "The Wages of Sin" for Princess Puffer.
  • "I Am Aldopho" from The Drowsy Chaperone.
  • "Good Old Reliable Jake" and "Bit Part Demon" from Evil Dead: The Musical, although "Good Old Reliable Jake" is consist of nothing but Blatant Lies.
  • "Oh, What a Circus" is sung by Che, but completely describes Evita's role in the musical named for her.
  • "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof is a We Are Song.
  • "I Enjoy Being A Girl" from Flower Drum Song.
  • "Daphne Dreams" from Fly by Night.
  • "I'm The Greatest Star" from Funny Girl.
  • "Bring Me My Bride", Miles Gloriosus' song from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
    • Which is also an "I Want" Song, as the title suggests.
    • Also "Lovely" for Philia and... well, half the songs in the play.
  • "A Little Girl from Little Rock" from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
  • Gilbert and Sullivan love these. To list just a few:
    • The Mikado: "A Wand'ring Minstrel I" (Nanki-Poo), "Behold The Lord High Executioner" (Ko-Ko), "Three Little Maids From School Are We" (Yum-Yum, Pitti-Sing, Peep-Bo), "A More Humane Mikado Never Did In Japan Exist"
    • The Pirates of Penzance: "O, Better Far to Live and Die" (or "I Am A Pirate King"), "I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major General"
    • H.M.S. Pinafore: "I'm Called Little Buttercup", "I Am The Monarch of the Sea" and "When I was a lad" (Sir Joseph), "I Am The Captain of the Pinafore" (Captain Corcoran), "We sail the ocean blue" (the crew).
    • Princess Ida: "We Are Warriors Three" (Arac, Guron, and Scynthius), "If You Give Me Your Attention" (Gama)
    • The Gondoliers: "We're Called Gondolieri" (Marco and Giuseppe), "In Enterprise Of Martial Kind" (Duke of Plaza-Toro)
    • The Sorcerer: "My Name is John Wellington Wells", "Love Feeds on Many Kinds of Food"
    • Patience: "If You Want a Receipt For That Popular Mystery" (Colonel)
    • Iolanthe: "Good Morrow, Good Mother" (Strephon), "The Law is the True Embodiment" and "When I Went to the Bar" (The Lord Chancellor), "My well-loved lord" (Phyllis), "When all night long, a chap remains" (Private Willis)
    • Trial by Jury: "When I, good friends, was called to the Bar" (The Judge).
  • "Some People" from Gypsy, as well as "Rose's Turn" and "Little Lamb".
  • "Colored Spade", "Manchester England", "I Got Life" and probably more from Hair. That whole show was basically an I Am Song for the hippies.
  • "Miss Baltimore Crabs" from Hairspray.
  • Heathers has "Candy Store" for all the Heathers but especially Heather Chandler, and "Freeze Your Brain" for JD. In addition, "Beautiful" is a We Are song in a "what have we become" sorta way.
  • "Angry Inch" from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
  • "I Put My Hand in There" for the title character of Hello, Dolly!!. Replaced in the film version by the Movie Bonus Song "Just Leave Everything To Me".
  • In How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,"The Company Way" shows Mr. Twimble's role is as head of the mail room at the World Wide Wicket corporation: being a consummate Yes-Man so that the company higher-ups will hopefully keep him around if any major shake-ups happens.
    Mr. Twimble: Whoever the company fires, I will still be here.
  • Just about every character in Keating! has one:
    • Bob Hawke gets "My Right Hand Man" (sorta. It's more about Keating, but it applies to him too).
    • Keating himself gets "Do It in Style".
    • John Hewson has his part of "On The Floor".
    • Gareth Evans and Cheryl Kernot have "Heavens, Mister Evans".
    • Alexander Downer has "Freaky".
    • John Howard has "Power" (which doubles as his Villain Song).
  • Königskinder has "Bin ein lustiger Jägersmann" ("I am a happy huntsman") for the King's Son. (This was one of the many musical numbers that were spoken through rather than fully sung in the original melodrama version.)
  • In the stage musical Kinky Boots, Lola gets two different songs:
    "Land of Lola", the opening number of her stage show, shows off her Large Ham personality.
    "I'm Not My Father's Son", a more bittersweet song, tells how Lola was finally able to accept who she was, which her father never could.
  • "Always True to You" from Kiss Me, Kate.
  • Legally Blonde has a late-in the story version in the song "Legally Blonde", in which Elle, after seeing her future in law disappear, dejectedly expresses that she's nothing but what everyone always thought ("some girls fight hard, some face the trial, some girls were just meant to smile").
    • In the "remix" version a scene later, Elle reclaims her confidence with a much more upbeat "I Am" song, in which she finally figures out an identity encompassing both her legal talents and her "sorority girl" personality, as exemplified by her pink suit.
  • Despite the name, "I Want More", from Lestat is actually Claudia's I Am Song. (Her "I Want" Song is "I'll Never Have That Chance").
  • "The Beauty Is" for Clara from The Light in the Piazza.
  • The Lightning Thief, the musical adaptation of the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, has "Son of Poseidon" for Percy.
  • "Now", "Soon", and "Later" (for Fredrik, Anne, and Henrik respectively) from A Little Night Music. "The Glamorous Life" might count as Desiree's.
  • Little Shop of Horrors has "Dentist!" for Orin Scrivello. Additionally, the film version has "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" for Audrey II.
  • "My Name Is Samuel Cooper" from Love Life.
  • "Der Vogelfänger Bin Ich Ja" (I Am the Birdcatcher, Yes) from The Magic Flute, sung by Papageno.
  • "I, Don Quixote" from Man of La Mancha qualifies for this as its first reprise - not to be confused with its second reprise, which is more of an I Am What I Am song. Aldonza also gets such a song with "It's All The Same".
  • You will probably never get a more literal example than "I'm Martin Guerre."
  • The bitterly ironic "Rich and Happy" from Merrily We Roll Along: Frank has sold out his principles, abandoned his dreams and destroyed his most important friendship... but he's "rich and famous and therefore happy too". And if you believe that, there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.
  • Les Misérables has a boatload: for Fantine, it's "I Dreamed a Dream". For Thenardier, we get "Master of the House". "Stars" for Inspector Javert, although it borders on the "I Want" Song, but then, Javert's character is defined by its goals. And for Jean Valjean, it's the side-splittingly obvious name for an I Am Song: "Who Am I?"
  • "I'm an Ordinary Man" from My Fair Lady is an introduction to Henry Higgins and his misogyny.
    • "With a Little Bit of Luck" establishes Eliza's father Alfred as a slacker, drinker and womanizer.
    The Lord above gave man an arm of iron
    So he could do his job and never shirk
    The Lord above gave man an arm of iron, but
    With a little bit of luck, with a little bit of luck,
    Someone else'll do the blinkin' work!
  • The "Prologue" from Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 serves as an "I Am" song for every non-ensemble character in the show—even Andrey, who isn't there!
    • "Pierre" is Pierre's, naturally.
    • "Balaga" is an extended version of Balaga's brief verse in "Prologue".
  • Next to Normal
    • "I'm Alive" takes this pretty literally. Most of the lyrics starting with "I am..."
    • "I Am The One", in which Dan and Gabe compete for Diana's attention, has both men describing what makes them fit to care for Diana.
    • "Superboy and the Invisible Girl" combines this with a "I Want" Song, about how Natalie feels she is always ignored, and wishes she could be free of her mother's expectations.
    Take a look at the invisible girl
    Here she is, clear as the day
    Please look closely and find her before
    She fades away
  • "An Orthodox Fool" from No Strings.
  • "Howdy There (I'm Oedipus Tex)" from P.D.Q. Bach's Oedipus Tex.
  • "I Was The Most Beautiful Blossom" in Of Thee I Sing is more accurately described as an "I was" song, but it defines Diana to the extent that she sings its first bars on her subsequent entrances.
    Wintergreen: You like that song, don't you?
    • Also: "We're the one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine Supreme Court judges..."
  • "I Cain't Say No" from Oklahoma!!
  • Bill Sykes' "My Name" from Oliver!.
  • "I Can Cook, Too" from On the Town.
  • In Once Upon a Mattress, Princess Winnifred gets one in "Shy". Queen Aggravain's is "Sensitivity", and then "The Minstrel, The Jester, and I" for the Minstrel, Jester, and King.
  • "Johnny's Theme/The Dreamer" from Only You Can Save Mankind: The Musical, establishes Johnny as, well, a dreamer, albeit more confident in that role than the book version:
    Me, I'm a dreamer and I choose to be,
    It's my dreams that will set the world free.
    Me, I'm a dreamer, it's my destiny,
    Look around, see the world that I see.
  • "I Jupiter, I Rex" from Out of This World (1987).
  • "Advantages of Floating In the Middle of the Sea" is pretty much the I Am Song for all of Japan in Sondheim's Pacific Overtures.
  • "Wand'rin' Star" from Paint Your Wagon.
  • "How Can I Call This Home?" for Leo in Parade.
    • Leo also gets the much more somber "It's Hard to Speak My Heart" near the very end of the first act.
  • Passion has "I Read" for Fosca, a mild conversation about a borrowed book taking a sharp right turn into a slightly unhinged, passionate song explaining Fosca's philosophy, tinged with mental illness, and hinting at her tragic backstory.
  • The Phantom of the Opera has "Stranger Than You Dreamt It" after Christine removes the Phantom's mask.
  • Pippin has "Spread a Little Sunshine" for Fastrada, "Kind of Woman" for Catherine and "Extraordinary" for Pippin himself.
  • "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'" from Porgy and Bess.
  • The Producers has "The King of Broadway." Though in this case, it's more of an "I used to be" song. This song doesn't appear in the film adaptation of the musical, however.
    • Roger De Bris and Carmen Ghia have "Keep it Gay" though it is in part an "I Want" Song about his desire to make more lighthearted productions.
    • Ulla has "When You got it, Flaunt it.''
  • "Out Tonight" from RENT begins as an "I am" song for Mimi (as in, I am a sexy Latina firecracker) and ends as an "I want" song when she gets into Roger's apartment.
  • Six is chock-full of these:
    • "Ex-Wives" is a rare group We Are song performed by all the queens.
    • "Don't Lose Ur Head" sung by Anne Boleyn.
    • "Heart of Stone" sung by Jane Seymour.
    • "Get Down" sung by Anna of Cleves. Also a Boastful Rap.
    • "All You Wanna Do" sung by Katherine Howard. Interesting version as it is mostly about how she is shallowly seen by others.
    • "Six" is another group We Are song performed by all the queens. Also doubles as a We Are Becoming Song.
  • In Sonic: Live in Sydney, Sonic's "What Are We Waiting For?" describes his cool attitude and determination to stop Robotnik.
  • "His Name is Lancelot" from Spamalot is more of an "Just Admit It, You Are" song.
    • There is also "Laker Girls Cheer" with Arthur declaring that he is Arthur, King of the Britons.
  • "All That's Known" from Spring Awakening.
  • "A Cockeyed Optimist" from South Pacific.
  • Strike Up The Band had "A Typical, Self-Made American" and "The Unofficial Spokesman" for Horace J. Fletcher (who, judging from his song, made himself much like Sir Joseph Porter did) and Colonel Holmes.
  • "The Barber and His Wife" from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, though the title character who sings this speaks of himself in those days in the past tense because as far as he's concerned, That Man Is Dead. It gets a Dark Reprise at the end of the play after Sweeney unknowingly kills his wife, learns of Mrs. Lovett's treachery in not telling him said wife was still alive, and then throws her in the oven.
    • Another example for Todd is, of course, his part of "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd".
    • Meanwhile, Mrs. Lovett has "The Worst Pies in London", which tells you just about everything you need to know about that character in two minutes flat.
    • And Adolpho Pirelli gets his entrance which actually opens with the lines "I am Adolpho Pirelli, / Da king of da barbers..."
  • "Not For the Life of Me" for the title character of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
  • "30/90" for Johnny in tick, tick... BOOM!
  • In Vanities: The Musical, "An Organized Life" is this for Kathy, in addition to being an "I Want" Song, and in its Dark Reprise it becomes her BSoD Song and "I Am Becoming" Song. The first two productions also had "Hey There, Beautiful", which was later replaced by "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing". Also, the closing song "Letting Go" from the Pasadena Playhouse and ACT Theatre productions.
  • "Different As Can Be" from A Very Potter Musical is a duet I Am Song for Quirrell and Voldemort
    • Hermione gets "Coolest Girl" in the sequel.
  • "The Jet Song" from West Side Story.
  • Wicked:
    • "A Sentimental Man" is a subversion. The Wizard believes what he's saying, but it's only later that the audience finds that he has his own ideas about who qualifies as a "citizen of Oz" and that part of his motivation for helping Elphaba is to use her magic for his own ends.
    • "Defying Gravity" is more of an "I Am Becoming" song, since Elphaba's entire character for the second act stems from that song...both the good and the bad.
    • "Popular" is an interesting twist, as it's supposed to be about Elphaba and Galinda's attempt at making her, well, popular. However, it's quite clear that Galinda's plan for achieving this is to make Elphie as much like her as possible, thus making it an "I Am" Song.
  • From the 2000 Andrew Lippa stage adaptation of The Wild Party:
  • The Wiz subverts this with both "Mean Ole Lion", the Cowardly Lion's introductory song, in which he presents himself as anything but cowardly, and "So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard" for the Wiz's flashy, smoke-and-mirrors entrance.
  • Wonderland has "Mad Hatter" for, well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Pretty much every song in Working is either this, an "I Want" Song, or both.
  • "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," in the Peanuts musical of the same name.

    Video Games 


    Web Original 
  • "I'm New Here" from Twilight the Musical plays this quite blatantly.
    Edward Cullen: I am a vampire!
  • ''Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.
    • "A Man's Gotta Do" starts out as an "I Want" Song for Dr. Horrible but then Captain Hammer hijacks it and makes it his very own, very hammy I Am Song.
    • "Bad Horse Chorus" for the Animal Supervillain Bad Horse, actually a "He Is" song.
    • "Penny's Song", appropriately, for Penny.
  • Tenerence Love's "R&B break" from the song "Rap Song" from Homestar Runner for some reason composes entirely of his own name:
    Well, My name is Tenerence Love
    Plus my name is Tenerence Love
    Divided by my name is Tenerence Love
    Equals my name is Tenereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnce Love!
    Remainder three!
  • "I am a millipede! I am amazing!"
  • I'm a computer! I'm a computer-y guy! Everything made out of buttons and wires!
  • The My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks shorts give one to the reformed Sunset Shimmer, "My Past Is Not Today", describing her determination to overcome her dark history and begin anew.
  • Nightmare Time:
    • "Latte Hatte" establishes Zoey's ego, and how she's know for being attractive. It also confirms that she is the barista that Ted is attracted to in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals.
    • "Queen B" establishes that Linda's wealth and influence on the people around her.
  • Youtuber Goldentusk wrote and filmed a series of videos in which he created lyrics for classic film scores, turning many of them into this trope. Notable examples are his versions of the 1976 Superman theme and the 1989 Batman theme.
  • RWBY has a few of these in its soundtrack.
    • Yang gets I Burn and Armed and Ready among others. The former describes her as a a badass fighter who can't be beaten and showcases her hot blooded and boisterous personality. The latter has to do with her character development after the Fall of Beacon and losing her arm to Adam, detailing how she's getting through her pain and becoming stronger for it.
    • Strangely enough, Neon Katt of all people, gets a song called Neon, a very peppy, pop song full of back-handed compliments telling someone how they can work really hard and maybe get to be almost as amazing as she is.
    • Weiss has several songs such as Mirror Mirror and It's My Turn, the former about her lonely life with a neglectful and abusive father who has controlled her every choice in life, and made her believe she would never amount to anything without him. The latter explains how she is realizing how wrong her father was and how she is finally finding independence.
    • Emerald and Mercury share the song I'm the One, which plays during their match against Coco and Yatsuhashi. The song is about how the two have gone through hell and come out stronger, and as a result will crush their opponents.

    Western Animation 


The Pixie Rap

How is it that things are finally going according to the pixies' 37- year plan? Allow them to break it down.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainSong

Media sources: