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Ode to Apathy

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Though my childhood was atrocious, Christmas never was that bad, you see
So the most that I can muster is complete and total apathy!
Dr. Doofenshmirtz singing "I Really Don't Hate Christmas", Phineas and Ferb, "Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation"

Many songs are about love (whether romantic love, platonic love, or even loving a thing) or hate (of a thing or a person), but these are songs about things the singer just doesn't care about.

You may be wondering why, if they don't care, they bother to sing the song in the first place. Well, there are many potential reasons.

They could be talking about how their enemy can do or say whatever they want— they wouldn't care anyway (sort of like the lyrical equivalent of the phrase "Go ahead, laugh, I don't care" when the phrase is used sincerely). These songs may also be about how the singer used to care about what the other person did or said but they no longer do.

If the singer is a villain, Anti-Hero, or a regular hero facing an extremely bad villain, they might be singing about how they don't care what happens to the person they're singing to, or about how they know that what they're doing is bad/inconveniences the person being sung to, but they don't care.

If society expects the person to care (for instance, a woman singing about how she doesn't care if she has kids or not), or if they're singing about how they don't care about society in general, it could be an inspirational ballad.

Maybe it's about how they have a great relationship (romantic or platonic) with another person or they enjoy doing something and it has its downsides, but they couldn't care less because the person or thing is worth it.

Maybe something bad has happened, but at the same time, something good has happened that is so good that the person doesn't care about the bad thing.

Sometimes subverted by having a character start a song this way, only to find out in the process of singing it that they do care (common with people who think they don't miss another person, but they do).

Of course, not all Odes to Apathy are that deep— maybe it's just someone singing about how they don't care about the weather, or a Lazy Bum singing about how they can't be bothered doing something. Contrast Song of Many Emotions and Fear Song. If the song leads to empowerment, it's harnessing The Power of Apathy. Could be a Bravado Song if the thing they don't care about is supposed to be scary.


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    Fan Works 
  • Jan Valentine in Hellsing Ultimate Abridged combines this with Cluster F-Bomb in a rap song he sings while stalking the hallways of the Hellsing Organization headquarters.
    "I don't give a shit, I don't give a fuck. I don't give a shit, I don't give a fuck. Now if I gave a shit, I might just give a fuck, but I don't give a shit, so I don't give a—(hears something) fuck was that?"

    Films — Animation 
  • In Frozen (2013), the song "Let it Go" is sung by Elsa and about how she doesn't care anymore about people finding out about her powers since now they know. She also mentions not being bothered by the cold.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend parodies these with "I Could If I Wanted To", a slacker rock song in which Greg insists that he could totally be successful at a variety of different things if he actaully tried, but those things are all dumb and caring about them is stupid. However, it's very clear that he's just feeling insecure about getting a bad grade at college and that his deliberately apathetic persona just makes him look like a conceited, superior jerk.
  • Sesame Street:
    • The song "That's What Friends are For" is about how Ernie and Bert sometimes do things that would ordinarily bother the other, but they don't mind because they're such good friends.
    • The song "Born to Add" is about how an unnamed man and woman don't care that their loud addition at night is waking everyone up— they'll keep doing it anyway.
  • The Sunny Side Up Show: The song "Always I Love You" is about ways they say "I love you" in different languages.

  • "Jimmy Crack Corn", also known as "Blue-Tailed Fly", is mainly a song about a slave's owner dying, but the chorus is about the slave not caring about Jimmy cracking (milling) corn to make into wine because he's either too caught up in grief or happiness.
  • Dan Bull's "Can't Be Arsed" Is an escalating litany of things the singer claims he doesn't bother to do. It comes to a climax as he realizes "Come to think of it: I can't be arsed to not be arsed!" From there he does a total about-face and declares how much energy and passion he's putting into his life.
  • Joan Jett wrote a song called "Bad Reputation" about a woman who doesn't care about her bad reputation and so doesn't attempt to improve it.
  • Songdrops:
    • "The BFF Song" is about how the two friends don't care that they sometimes don't see eye-to-eye or about what other people say because their friendship is so strong.
    • "Lazy Saturday Afternoon" is about someone who's too lazy to take care of his many pets, from a cat to an elephant.
  • "The Great Song of Indifference" by Bob Geldof is about how the singer doesn't care about anything at all.
  • The Tim Minchin song the fence is an "anthem to ambivalence" about how people tend to divide the world into a binary of good and bad, but it's not that simple and it's okay not to know all the answers.
  • The Henry Philips song "What Do You Want Me To Do About It?" is an apathy anthem. The song continually lists all the various problems that face society in the modern era in multiple languages, but each refrain returns to the singer asking the titular question.
  • Bruno Mars' aptly-titled "Lazy Song" is about him lazing around all day and doing nothing, not even giving a care to the world for one moment. The music video makes it extravagant with the addition of people in monkey masks dancing to the laid back tune and Leonard Nimoy playing a version of himself that is a gigantic jerk and is lazing around in his pijama.
    Today I don't feel like doing anything
    I just wanna lay in my bed
    Don't feel like picking up my phone
    So leave a message at the tone
    'Cause today I swear I'm not doing anything
  • The character who's the subject of "Battle of Who Could Care Less" by Ben Folds Five is the model of the perfect apathetic man.
  • The Simon & Garfunkel song "I Am A Rock" focuses on the singer's Safety in Indifference he receives by remaining apathetic to other people.
    I have my books
    And my poetry to protect me
    I am shielded in my armor
    Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
    I touch no one and no one touches me
    I am a rock
    I am an island
  • Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq.'s "I've No More Fucks To Give" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a song about the singer, fed up with his constant failures and lack of acknowledgement, proclaiming in various detailed ways how he simply does not give any more fucks about anything.
    The effort has just not been worth the time or the expense!
    I've exhausted all my energy, for minimal recompense!
    The distinct lack of acknowledgement has now begun to gall!
    And I've come to realize that I don't give a fuck at all!

    I've no more fucks to give
    My fucks have flown away
    My fucks are now so fucked off they've refused to fucking stay!
    I've no more fucks to give
    My fucks have gone insane
    They've come back 'round and passed me while they're fucking off again!
  • In Pink Floyd's The Wall the narrator muses that nothing is very much fun anymore during the song One Of My Turns. In universe, it's a sign of him retreating behind the mental wall he's building to avoid having to confront modern life. Interestingly, this line is spoken in response to his wife becoming colder towards him. A clearer example is slightly later, in Another Brick In The Wall Part 3, where he actively rejects everyone and everything around him.
    I don't need no arms around me.
    I don't need no drugs to calm me.
    I have seen the writing on the wall.
    Don't think I need anything at all.
    No! Don't think I need anything at all.
  • The Rammstein song "Keine Lust" makes no bones that it's about being apathetic: its title translates roughly to "No Desire" or "I Don't Feel Like It." It's a sort of truth in advertising, as the song itself is about a person who's too apathetic or depressed to take care of, or even pleasure, themselves. The video takes the concept in a slightly different direction, as it shows most of the band flaunting fabulous wealth (and wearing gigantic fat suits) as a riff on the idea of bands becoming too rich and successful to really care about their art.
  • "I Don't Care" by A House is a List Song of various things the narrator doesn't care about, with the refrain
    And the reason why I don't care
    Is because nobody else does
  • In "I Forgot That You Existed" by Taylor Swift, she celebrates her indifference towards a former friend who's hurt her. For a long time, she was mad at them and upset about everything they did but now, she feels peaceful and nice.
  • Apocalyptica's "I Don't Care" describes how the narrator tried to get through to their loved one, until he stopped caring about them.
    If you were dead or still alive
    I don't care
  • James Blake has "Say What You Will", a message to those who would criticize him for his life/career choices that he's content with where he's at and they can, naturally, "say what they will" without it affecting him.
  • Since The Power of Apathy — and the Escapist Character role he serves the audience in for his willingness to say anything — is a major facet of Eminem's persona, he has multiple songs about not giving a fuck — "Just Don't Give A Fuck" and "Still Don't Give A Fuck" being the ones which say what they are on the tin.
  • In "I'm Bored" by The Bonzo Dog Band, the narrator catalogs (and occasionally makes horrid puns about) all the things he's not interested in.
    I'm bored with everything I touch and see
    I'm bored with exposes of LSD
    I'm bored with Frank Sinatra's new LP...

  • Played with in the song "I'm Not Saying a Word" from Blood Brothers, where Eddie sings to Linda about how he'd win her heart if he were dating her, all while insisting that he's not trying to woo her, because he knows that Mickey's after her, even though Mickey Cannot Spit It Out.
  • In Fiddler on the Roof, after the town's Jewish residents face the news that they are being evicted, the song "Anatevka" downplays their feelings about their home. They begin by claiming it is nothing much and they will not miss it, but by the end they are mourning the loss of their poor little town.
  • In "No More" from Into the Woods, the Baker has fallen into a deep despair after the death of his wife and sings about how tired he is of feeling anything and how much he wishes he could just turn himself off.
  • "Living Dead" from Jasper in Deadland is an upbeat, optimistic song about how great it is to have nothing worth caring about.
  • In Monsters - The Musical, Samantha is haunted by manifestations of her emotions, including Apathy, who sings "What's the Point?" about the futility of making plans.
  • Subverted in the song "I'm Not Afraid of Anything" from Songs for a New World. Woman 1 has no irrational fears, unlike her parents, her peers, and her boyfriend David. However, it's revealed throughout the song that Woman 1 has trouble with vulnerability and empathy because of this, and often winds up feeling isolated from those she loves.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "I Really Don't Hate Christmas", Doofenshmirtz sings about how, despite not really liking the holiday, he doesn't hate it, either. He sums up his feelings as "ambivalence" and "an intense, burning indifference". This actually upsets him, because he's a Card-Carrying Villain who wants to hate Christmas.
  • VeggieTales: The trope-naming song about "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything", with lyrics including "We just stay at home and lie around!"


Video Example(s):


I Don't Wanna Work

Pasqually prefers to be lazy all day, but Chuck E. doesn't agree with him.

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