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No Song for the Wicked

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You know there ain't no rest for the wicked
Money don't grow on trees
I got bills to pay, I got a mouth to feed
And ain't nothin' in this world for free
No I can't slow down, I can't hold back,
But you know, I wish I could
But there ain't no rest for the wicked
Until we close our eyes for good
Cage the Elephant, Rest for the Wicked

Many villains, especially from musicals or Disney animation, have impressive songs in which they boast about how good it feels being evil, or that use to expose their Evil Plan.

But there are also villains that don't have a song. While The Hero and their companions have their own musical numbers, the villain doesn't sing a single note. This choice can be made for various reasons: to show that the villain is a Serious Business individual, likely to be hated for their wickedness, to highlight his or her scary nature, or maybe because the villain has a bad voice. It could also have happened that the villain was originally meant to have a song, but for various reasons, it ended up being cut.

Remember: this trope applies when there's the lack of a Villain Song in a work in which such a song would be expected.

Could overlap with Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor, but not always. Evil Is Cool and Evil Is Hammy have less chance to apply to a villain who follows this trope.

Contrast Villain Song, though they can sometimes be used together if the song is sung by someone other than the villain.


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    Films — Animation 
  • The Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs doesn't have a Villain Song despite being the first villain of the Disney Animated Canon. In fact, the absence of a song highlights how cold and heartless she is in contrast to the other characters, even as a hammy Wicked Witch.
  • Despite singing a single line while playing the piano, Lady Tremaine in Cinderella has no Villain Song, which makes her even scarier. One of the stepsisters begins "Sing, Sweet Nightingale" while the other plays the flute, but mercifully our focus shifts to Cinderella's rendition.
  • Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove originally did have one called Snuff Out the Light (back when the movie was more of a traditional Disney musical), but this was cut when the movie changed directors and the whole story got retooled.
  • Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty was actually going to have a Villain Song, but it was cut. She instead gloats over her evil deeds with a Villain Poem that mocks the traditional version of her Fairy Tale.
  • Tzekel-Kan in The Road to El Dorado didn't get a song, though he was originally going to have one during the scene where he takes control of the jaguar statue. It was called "Trust Me," and appears on the soundtrack.
  • Exaggerated in Mulan. Shan Yu and his army of Huns don't just lack a song, they stop the musical portion of the film in its tracks. Up until about the halfway point of the film, Mulan functions as a typical Disney Musical. Starting with the introductory "Honor to Us All" (wherein the entirety of Mulan's village comes together to give musical exposition on Mulan's expected place in society as a daughter, a woman, and eventually a bride and mother) and continuing with the mournful, introspective "Reflections" and the fiery, upbeat "I'll Make a Man Out of You", the film delivers on its promised musical numbers. The Huns appear between these sets as ominous figures, clearly the villains of the film but not committing much on-screen villainy beyond skulking in the dark and sending threatening messages to the Emperor. (The implications of their actions are that the Huns are murdering and ravaging their way across China, but none of the outright bloodshed is shown directly to viewers. It's carefully concealed just outside the view of the camera, or committed just after a scene cuts away.) It's only at the end of the upbeat and irreverent "Girl Worth Fighting For" (sung by the soldiers marching to war, cheerfully fantasizing about the beautiful women who make the fighting all worthwhile) that the true devastation of the Huns is made apparent, with the Mood Whiplash literally cutting off the song. In the space of a second, the film goes from a marching chorus of joyful soldiers and Mulan's comrades preparing to engage in a playful snowball fight to the sight of a burned-out village, flames still flickering in the gutted ruins of the town. The Huns have massacred every civilian in the village and killed the soldiers sent to protect it. From that moment on there are no more musical numbers, no more bursting into song — the Huns are too terrible for that, too evil and cruel to exist in the same universe as random musicals. Not even at his moment of apparent triumph over the Emperor of China does Shan Yu get a song to gloat, and not even in their final victory over the Huns do Mulan and her companions get a song to praise their heroics.
  • Jafar from Aladdin is a borderline case: he only had a Dark Reprise of "Prince Ali" but no Villain Song of his own, although some were written for him. The first, "My Time Has Come", was cut for being too slow and introspective, as did "Why Me?" which was recorded and storyboarded. The third, "Humiliate the Boy", was cut for basically stopping the story during what in the final film is a very short scene (Jafar becoming a genie and then getting trapped in his lamp.)
    • In Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, however, he had "You're Only Second Rate".
    • In the stage musical, he gets one called "Diamond in The Rough", in which he and Iago convince Aladdin to go to the Cave of Wonders. It helps that Jafar’s actor in the stage play is the same person who voiced him.
  • Hades from Hercules, despite being such a Large Ham. He did sing in the TV spinoff, however.
  • Shere Khan from The Jungle Book (1967), who actually did not sing at all except for the final lyrics of "That's What Friends Are For." He was originally going to have his own Villain Song, however, he does his very best to make his one singing line count, though, ending it on a bone-rattling bass note (performed by Bill Lee of The Mellomen).
  • Inverted in Home on the Range where the evil cattle thief and yodeler Alameda Slim is the only character to sing in the film.
  • Frozen doesn't have a single straight example of Villain Song, despite numerous opportunities and near-misses. "Let It Go" is a Not Evil, Just Misunderstood Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds Unwitting Instigator of Doom song for Elsa, and Prince Hans's part of "Love is an Open Door" is a cleverly-disguised Villain Love Song, but neither the evil Duke of Wesselton nor post-Reveal Hans actually sing anything during their time on-screen. "Let It Go" was going to be the Villain Song (while Elsa was still the villain of the story), but while it was being written the writers realized that it was too empowering to work as one; and also realized Elsa herself hadn't done anything wrong.
  • Neither Warren T. Rat from the first An American Tail movie nor Cat R. Waul from the second has a Villain Song, though the villains in the direct-to-video sequels have them.
  • Carface in All Dogs Go to Heaven. He did, however, sing in the sequels and TV series.
  • Tarzan doesn't have songs for Sabor (who, granted, is a non-speaking leopard) or Clayton.
  • Many consider "Shiny" from Moana to be the film's villain song, although Tamatoa is really nothing more than a One-Scene Wonder. The film's actual villain, Te Ka, gets no song, as she's a giant monster of lava and rage. She does get sung at by Moana, but that doesn't really count. Maui also gets a song where he steals Moana's boat, but that's more of a Jerkass song, as he's the film's secondary protagonist from shortly after that point on.
  • Played Straight in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls as Sunset Shimmer doesn't sing a note. With her Heel–Face Turn at the end of the movie, she does get plenty of solos in the sequels. Averted in later works in the series, as most of the succeeding villains get one or more full-blown villain songs — the Sirens even use singing as their primary weapon.
  • Played With in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. There is a villain song from Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi, "Not Evil", but then it's revealed she was Good All Along and the song was in complete sincerity. The real Big Bad, Rex Dangervest, doesn't get a musical number, which is fitting, since he hates musical numbers.
  • The 1990 Filmation Snow White sequel Happily Ever After features Malcolm McDowell as the Big Bad. While he doesn't sing, his crony, voiced by Ed Asner, is given this short one early in the film.
  • Animal Crackers (2017): Inverted. The villain, Horatio, and his henchmen, are the only characters to sing. Their Villain Song, "Could've Been Mine" is the only Broadway-style, non-diegetic song. Horatio also sings "Welcome" at the beginning, although that song is diegetic because it's part of a circus performance. The other vocal songs are used as background music rather than being sung by the characters.
  • Queer Duck: The Movie is an Animated Musical, but the film's antagonist Reverend Vandergelding is one of the few characters in the movie who doesn't sing (aside from some participation in Queer Duck's song about how he came out to his parents).
  • The Lion King (2019) came rather close to cutting "Be Prepared" outright (early promotional materials noticeably omit it when listing the songs), and even in the final version, it's drastically cut down from the original.
  • The Man Called Flintstone doesn't give the Green Goose a song. He doesn't even participate in anyone else's song as the Green Goose or Triple X.
  • Sykes from Oliverand Company.
  • Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective inverts this trope: he is the only character to sing in the movie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aladdin (2019) is an example, as while Jafar did have a short song in the original, he doesn't sing in the remake.
  • Downplayed in Earth Girls Are Easy — Ted, Valerie's unfaithful fiance, doesn't get a song, but neither do any of the other male characters; singing wouldn't fit Woody's zoned-out personality, and the alien trio Learnt English from Watching Television and hardly speak as is. (The unproduced Jukebox Musical stage adaptation would have given Ted two Villain Love Songs: Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" and Richard Marx's "Should've Known Better".)
  • In Enchanted, Queen Narissa does not sing.
  • Prudy, Penny's mother in Hairspray (2007), doesn't get to sing, although Allison Janney has a musical background.
  • In The Jungle Book (2016), Shere Khan is the only one of the three antagonists (the other two being King Louie and Kaa) who hasn't his own song (the other two have "I Wanna Be Like You" and "Trust in Me" in respective order) as a way to fortify his Knight of Cerebus status.
  • The 1955 film version of Kismet falls into this by deleting the Wazir's Villain Song from the stage musical.
  • Inverted in Labyrinth — It was Jim Henson's idea to have a singing villain, and from there the filmmakers hired a performer who not only filled the role but also wrote all the songs. Jareth gets three on-screen musical numbers, and the only other characters who sing are a menacing Wacky Wayside Tribe who really aren’t that mean spirited, just unaware that limbs aren’t reattach-able like theirs are.
  • Moulin Rouge! has a Downplayed version. The villainous Duke never gets a song to himself, with the closest thing he has being his role in "Like a Virgin", which is mostly sung by Harold Zidler, and then in the last third becomes a duet between the two of them. Additionally, he gets a few lines during "The Pitch". However, considering the vast majority of solos in this film are given to Christian, Satine, and Zidler, the Duke still has more solo singing than most other characters. In the Broadway adaptation, he would go on to have a much larger singing role.
  • In The Muppet Christmas Carol, unlike in most other musical adaptations of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge never sings before his encounters with the three Ghosts of Christmas. Other characters sing about him and to him instead. The first time he sings is during the Christmas Past sequence, when he sings along with Belle's parting words in the song "When Love Is Gone": the moment that marks the beginning of his Heel–Face Turn. Only on Christmas morning when his reform is complete does he sing a full solo, "Thankful Heart."
  • In the film version of Oliver!, Bill Sykes never sings, although other people sing about him. In the stage version, instead, he does.
  • Singin' in the Rain: Lina Lamont has no singing number, not counting the few lines of "Would You" she can be heard singing as Kathy overdubs her since her voice is really awful. This is averted in the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation, which gives her a comic song, "What's Wrong with Me?"
  • In the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West doesn't get to sing. It's worth noting, however, that her counterparts in The Wiz and Wicked do have songs.
    • Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote some new songs for the stage version of Wizard, including a song for the Witch called "Red Shoes Blues". The song is better than the title suggests and it basically opens the second act.

    Live-Action TV 
  • There are many fans of Buffy who see the appeal of both the Musical Episode "Once More, with Feeling", and the villainous activities of the Evil Trio of Warren, Andrew and Jonathan. Such fans would undoubtedly have loved for the episode to have a Villain Song by the Trio. The writers surely could have come up with something good, and of course, the actors were all guest stars who were probably completely available for an episode that season. No doubt, though, it would have been too difficult and involved sacrificing too much of the screen time used for other stuff, to rewrite the episode in such a way that it included the Trio. But the magical effect that caused everyone to burst into song was operating throughout Sunnydale, so of course, there must have been some such song that happened off-screen, which was not recorded by the TV show — but that's exactly the kind of thing Fan Fiction is for...
  • The Dutch series Bassie & Adriaan has at least one song per episode, but they are always sung by the two protagonists (sometimes joined by a chorus of extras), never any of the villains.
  • Averted and played straight in the Once Upon a Time Musical Episode "The Song in Your Heart"; whilst Regina the Evil Queen and Zelena the Wicked Witch of the West both have showstopping numbers, Rumplestiltskin prepares to sing, with his usual Leitmotif swelling in the background... before stating he'd rather poke his eyes out with a rusty fork. "Do you think the Dark One sings?"

  • In Johann Gottfried Seumes Die Gesängenote , there is the phrase "Wo man singt, da lass dich ruhig nieder, böse Menschen haben keine Lieder"note .

  • Zigzagged in The Book of Mormon. General Butt-Fucking-Naked doesn't get a Villain Song, and only gets to sing after he converts; however, he does appear in the role of Satan (complete with eyepatch) in Elder Price's nightmare of Hell, "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream", and gets a verse to himself.
  • Finian's Rainbow plays with this in an amusing way: Senator Rawkins doesn't sing and outright refuses to do so until his heart is magically lightened.
  • In The Music Man, Villainy-Free Villain Charlie Cowell doesn't get to sing any musical numbers (not counting his part in the "talk, talk, talk" number "Rock Island"), though neither does the Beta Couple of this show.
  • In Rose-Marie, the only singing parts for Emile and Hawley are buried in ensembles, usually quite short ones.
  • While Show Boat doesn't really have a villain (not counting the character from the Show Within the Show, who is quite affable offstage), the most antagonistic characters in the first act, Parthy, Pete and Sheriff Vallon, don't sing at all. That is until the 1994 revival reassigned "Why Do I Love You?" to Parthy to make her come across as more sympathetic.
  • In Strike Up the Band, Sloane, "the villain of the play," has no song of his own.
  • In Tenderloin, though many lively musical numbers are put on by the "evil" Red Light District, the real antagonist, Lt. Schmidt, has a purely speaking part (not counting the trial scene, which is actually a satirical sketch where he's played by another character).
  • In Spring Awakening, the adults, generally regarded as the villains, don't sing at all throughout the musical.
  • The Musical Touken Ranbu series includes virtually every character in some singing role— the Touken Danshi of course get primary singing duty, but the various historical figures are allowed to sing covers of some songs during the special "festival" performances. The overall villains, the Time Retrograde Forces, never get to sing, although none ever get to speak either.

    Video Games 
  • Inverted in Figment, a musical puzzle adventure game. Dusty, the protagonist, is the only major character who does not sing, while each of the game's three villains gets their own song.

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has quite a few musical numbers, and while the majority of the earlier songs are sung by Pinkie Pie, everyone else has gotten in on the action at least once — if not a solo number, then during a Crowd Song. However, neither Discord nor Trixie nor Nightmare Moon, three pretty hammy villains, have any song. King Sombra doesn't have one either (makes sense, since he barely says anything at all anyway). The Flim Flam Brothers do have songs in the second and fourth seasons (although they're more antagonistic than evil), and Queen Chrysalis has her songnote  during the finale. And it is just awesome. May not apply to Discord as of "Three's a Crowd" with his song "Glass of Water". He is considered to be "reformed" from his previous villain status at this point and never did sing while he was considered one. But he does remain rather morally ambiguous.
  • Squiddy from Team Umizoomi, other than the fake fanfare.
  • Steven Universe has numerous musical numbers, but sticks to Steven's point of view, where they represent some sort of communication he's aware of. All his encounters with sentient antagonists tend to be too brief and traumatic to have anyone expressing themselves so openly. One comical exception to this is that Greg's scummy ex-manager Marty still manages to sing—because it's not a Villain Song, it's an in-show advertisement he did for money (and made by plagiarizing Greg's song "Comet"). This trope is eventually subverted in the fourth season, where there is a Villain Song from Yellow Diamond to Blue Diamond. However, this keeps with songs' usual portrayal in the series, as we only hear it thanks to Steven's Exact Eavesdropping on a private conversation (the subject of which is more humanizing than boastful). It's not until Steven Universe: The Movie do we get a malicious Villain Song in "Other Friends".
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: All six of the videos have several musical numbers, but the ones that actually have the McDonaldland gang facing an antagonist ("The Legend of Grimace Island", "Birthday World" and "The Monster O'McDonaldland Loch") noticeably do not provide Villain Songs for One-Eyed Sally, Professor Pinchworm or Stiles.