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Suspiciously Apropos Music

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Ed: See, you'll get over her!
Jukebox: "If you leave me now, you take away the biggest part of—"
Ed: [turns, angrily] Who the hell put this on!?
Shaun: [sniffles, tearing up] It's on random!
Ed: For FUCK'S sake!

Whenever a show's characters include musicians, you can be sure you'll eventually hear them perform some original music. A lot of the time, these are pretty bad. Sometimes, they're pretty good. But even at their best, there's always going to be something slightly funny about them.

Specifically, they're always going to sound at least a little more relevant to the plot of the particular episode than you'd naturally expect. Sometimes, this will go so far as to put the song's message at odds with the established character and style of the singer.

This isn't about a purpose-written background song, or a scene where the action matches well with the background song—it only applies when the song is actually happening in-story. As such it's a subtrope of Source Music. It does still count if somebody in-story plays the song on a jukebox or radio or the like, however. If it changes over to the soundtrack after that, it's a Diegetic Switch.

Contrast Soundtrack Dissonance and That Reminds Me of a Song, compare to Bad to the Bone and Mocking Music; related to Mickey Mousing. Supertrope to Gospel Choirs Are Just Better. Often overlaps with a Left the Background Music On gag, and may provoke Musical Number Annoyance. Not to be confused with Profound by Pop Song, where one purposefully quotes a song to feign intelligence.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Chaos;Head, Fake Band Phantasm's music is more than apropos, it's plot important. The songs they sing appear to be prophetic of the New-Gen murders that are happening.
  • Several of the songs from the Fake Band "C-Drive" from GEAR Fighter Dendoh were used as various theme songs of the show, such as "Brand New Mermaid". The characters themselves weren't important in the show, however — they were just the protagonist's favorite band.
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: In (chronological) episode 12, Haruhi sings the song "God Knows" at the School Festival, in what turns out to be a Pet the Dog moment. For bonus points, the lyrics are suspiciously similar to the events of the last episode (which happened chronologically before this episode — it isn't Time Travel, just Anachronic Order.)
  • The Inuyasha episode "Battle Against the Dried-Up Demons at the Cultural Festival!" features, as one of the events at the titular cultural festival, a choir of students (including Kagome) singing the "Ode to Joy" theme from the fourth movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 — except that, instead of using the original words, they use words about the Shikon Jewel.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind: While the radio playing during Zucchero's infamous Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass torture scene was unelaborated background noise in the manga, the anime adaptation of that scene added in a song with such darkly appropriate lyrics as "like a burning sunrise" and "vocal percussion on a whole other level, coming from my mind". Keep in mind Narancia was listening to the song before he ever met Zucchero, making it even more suspicious.
  • The music of the Fake Band "Fire Bomber" actually becomes the main weapon used to fight the Big Bad in Macross 7.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • Chapter 36 is all about Fujiwara tutoring Shirogane how to sing so he can take part in the weekly singing of the school anthem (which has lyrics about overcoming one's flaws). Hearing him sing it at the end of the chapter causes her to collapse into a pile of tears, much to the confusion of the rest of the student body.
    • Episode 35 has Kaguya marveling at her good luck when she gets to go on a culture festival date with Shirogane while all the other characters who would normally get in the way are distracted by a series of seeming Contrived Coincidences. The following Good-Times Montage is accompanied by Hayasaka singing her Image Song "The Spring Pink Lipstick" as part of an idol routine for the festival, whose opening lyrics are "This isn't fiction! It's not a dream!"

    Audio Plays 
  • The songs of the Common Men in the Big Finish Doctor Who audio play "1963: Fanfare for the Common Men" contain several lines that sound like plot references, including to aspects of the plot which the whole point is that they don't know. "Beneath this skin, there is another me" is the most blatant.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • A Goofy Movie. Max's goal is to get to the Powerline concert in LA. Goofy's goal is to bond with his son. After quite a bit of turmoil, eventually their goals become one and the same and Goofy tries to help Max get on stage at the Powerline concert. Coincidentally, Powerline happens to be singing "I-2-I", a song about reconciling differences through The Power of Love.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks: One of the Villain Songs by the Dazzlings is called "Under Our Spell", which literally refers to the fact all the contestants listening to it are under the Dazzlings' spell to feed on their negative energy and become more powerful.
  • In Porco Rosso, "Le Temps des Cerises" serves as something of a leitmotif, heard first in the very first scene on a radio, and then being sung by Gina. Though it's in French, the lyrics are actually very appropriate, and bonus points for actually being popular in that time period.
  • At one point in Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Burnett Stone listens to a song called "Some Things Never Leave You", a song about loving someone even though they have "left this world behind". This fits because Burnett Stone still loves Tasha, even though she had passed away. The song even mentions a dance, fitting Burnett and Tasha's Dance of Romance that occurred while a jealous PT Boomer looked on. The dance scene was supposed to be in the film, but was sadly deleted.
  • In Shrek 2, the Fairy Godmother sings "Holding Out for a Hero" while Shrek and crew race to Fiona's side. Also a case of Dramatic Irony as the Godmother doesn't know Shrek is coming, and intends the piece to induce Fiona to kiss Prince Charming.
  • In Zootopia, Judy's just had her spirit broken after her second day at work. She comes home and shifts through radio channels, hearing "Everybody Hurts", "All by Myself", "You can't do nothing right, babe", and finally "I'm a Loser!" before turning it off and having the background music be appropriately depressing... until the neighbors yell at her to turn down her radio.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played with in 45 Years. Throughout the movie, we hear that the couple's wedding song was one by The Platters, though we never hear anyone say which one it is, simply referring to it as "the Platters song". At the very end of the movie, the couple have their dance to said song: "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", a song about being blind to the troubles in a relationship, and the look on the wife's face suggests she's finally hearing what the song is really about, realizing it sums up everything they've been through over the course of the film very appropriately. She has a visceral reaction to it as she yanks her hand away from her husband and begins crying as nobody notices.
  • In About Time, the chorus of Nelly's song "Dilemma" plays when the hero spots his love interest (which he had sleepless nights over) at a party: "No matter what I do, all I think about is you..."
  • In the Adam Sandler film Bedtime Stories (2008), Skeeter discovers that when he tells his nephews a bedtime story, the events of it somehow manage to play out the next day. At one point, his niece mentions his own character being set on fire. The next day, the radio stations all play fire-related songs (e.g. The Bangles' "Eternal Flame" and Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire") as he nervously awaits his fate. Fortunately, he just loses his job. He's fired.
  • Pedro Almodóvar does this quite often in his movies, in most cases the songs are performed by the characters. The ending of Átame (Tie me up! Tie me down!) even basically turns into the ending of The Graduate when the female lead hears the lyrics of the song playing on the radio.
  • In Animal House, the establishing shot of the toga party has Sam Cooke's "Twistin' the Night Away" playing. Just as Flounder — incongruously dressed in a formal suit and tie while everyone else is wearing wild togas — enters the Delta house, we hear the lyrics "Here's a man in evening clothes, how he got here I don't know..."
    • Multiple other shots in the scene parallel the lyrics, notably "Here's a man in blue jeans (a fraternity brother); he's dancing with an older queen (the dean's wife)".
  • In Apollo 13, when Jack Swigert, the backup CMP, is called up and informed that the main CMP, Ken Mattingly, is sick and can't go on the moon mission, so he's going instead, Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" is playing on his radio, specifically the lyrics "You don't don't know what we could find / Why don't you come with me little girl / On a magic carpet ride" Even more appropriate as he had been in the shower with a girl when the phone rang.
  • Happens several times during Baby Driver, usually involving Baby. For example, after the shootout with the Butcher's henchmen, Baby goes to Debora's diner with the rest of his crew. The song that plays while Debora seems worried about him is "When Something Is Wrong with My Baby" by Isaac Hayes and David Porter
  • Back to the Future:
  • Played with in Baseketball. The protagonist hears a song that vaguely describes somebody in his exact position: Lost love, lost friends, etc. Then the music gets even more descriptive with the line "Just tell them that it was all part of some rich guy's evil plan!" Then it gets really weird.
    Song: Look out ahead, there's a truck changing lanes! / You've got some yellow crumbs on your upper lip. / And those warts on your dick aren't gonna go away, 'less you start using topical cream every day!
  • The Batman (2022) manages to do it twice with Nirvana's "Something In the Way". First, it plays as Bruce Wayne goes underneath the bridge to enter his hideout, swarming with bats ("and the animals I've trapped, have become my pets..."). And there's much more resonance when it plays again in the ending, as Batman saves the people in a flooded arena,("Tarp has sprung a leak..."), the panicky people also fit as "animals I've trapped", and ultimately that Batman realizes his vigilantism, fueled by his vengeful need for retribution on criminals, is sending the wrong message to the people of Gotham, and he is 'in the way' of him becoming the hero that the city needs to make a real difference to it.
  • After Beth breaks up with him in Better Off Dead, Lane is driving in his car with the radio playing Neil Sedaka's "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do." Annoyed, Lane tries changing the station, only to find even more songs about splitting up ("She's Gone" by Hall & Oates, "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover" by Paul Simon, and Linda Ronstadt's "Hurt So Bad"). So he yanks the car radio out by the roots and throws it out the window.
  • "You Always Hurt the One You Love" was sung by the main character in Blue Valentine, which depicted a Destructive Romance.
  • At the end of Cast Away, when Chuck is delivering the one surviving FedEx package he managed to hold onto during his time on the island, the car radio is playing "Return to Sender" by Elvis Presley, Chuck's favorite musician.
  • The finale of Cat's Eye features an evil little troll who wants to steal the breath of a young girl while she sleeps. The heroic kitty-cat protagonist defeats it with the help of a box fan, and a record player that's incidentally playing "Every Breath You Take".
    • Happens twice in the film. In the earlier segment called "Quitters, Inc.", Dick Morrison has a vision of clinic counselor Vinnie Donatti lipsyncing this song, namely the "Every breath you take, And every move you make, Every bond you break, Every step you take, I'll be watching you." Considering the story of the titular company, it Makes Sense In Context.
  • In Coneheads during the climax when Beldar narfles the Garthok, fighting a powerful beast with only primitive weaponry he sings "Tainted Love". While this is in part a Call-Back to Connie and her friends singing it when he drove them, it also reflects and foreshadows how he comes to view his love for Remulak, his home planet. It isn't what he once thought it was, tainted one might say, and now he will run from it by seeking to live on Earth, because of the pure love given by his daughter.
  • In one very memorable scene from Doomsday, the villain prances about onstage to "Good Thing", by the Fine Young Cannibals. Then he throws out all these plastic plates to the crowd, and a guy's wheeled in, set on fire, cut up and eaten.
  • In Disney's Enchanted, in the ballroom scene, the slow-dance song is a bittersweet ballad. It's a scheduled dance for you and "the one you didn't bring," which helps our Official Couple out — but why would a ball for presumably happy couples even have that?
  • In the original Halloween, relevant songs and movies play for... well, most of the movie. For instance, "Don't Fear the Reaper" when Michael Myers is driving behind them, and The Thing from Another World and Forbidden Planet to play up the Paranoia Fuel in-story.
  • In Independence Day, guess what track is playing when the nerdy Asian astronomer first detects the transmission of the alien ships? R.E.M.'s "It's the End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)". In an early trailer, the song in this scene is instead "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears, also suspiciously apropos.
  • Played with in Val Lewton's I Walked with a Zombie. Wesley and Betsy sit down at a café table and almost immediately hear a ballad being sung about the brothers' feud and the affliction of Mrs. Holland, apparently by coincidence. The singer's reappearance in the next scene, however, implies that this was not such a coincidence after all...
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The song playing on Steve Rogers' turntable, right before he encounters the titular Winter Soldier for the first time, is called "It's Been a Long, Long Time". It's pretty on the nose, given that the Soldier is actually his long-lost friend Bucky.
    • In the sequel, Tony Stark's holographic reconstruction of his last memory of his parents begins with his mother singing "Try to Remember".
    • In Captain Marvel, when Carol communes with the Supreme Intelligence after remembering her real identity, the Supreme Intelligence is dancing to Nirvana's "Come as You Are", which she pulled from Carol's head and includes the lyrics ''"Come as you are, as you were | As I want you to be".
  • In Miami Connection opens with our heroes performing the song "Against the Ninja" intercut with a villainous clan of ninjas stealing a drug shipment. At this point, the main characters have not yet encountered the ninja.
  • In Le Million, Michel and Beatrice are hiding behind the scenery at an opera. While they embrace, the opera's male and female leads sing a love duet that exactly matches their situation.
  • In Overboard, a band plays "I Just Can't Help Falling in Love with You", representing how Dean is falling in love with Joanna.
  • In Rush Hour 2, a bomb sent by the Big Bad goes off at the police station where Detective Lee works to his utter shock as he believes his partner Detective Carter was killed in the blast after the two of them had an argument and walked off in bad moods. Needing time to digest everything, Lee goes for a drive and turns on the radio which soon plays P. Diddy's "I'll Be Missing You", a song that was written in memory of The Notorious B.I.G. soon after the latter was murdered due to gang violence.
  • In the film of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Uncle Monty (being Scottish) sings and plays the Baudelaire orphans a childe ballad while entertaining them. Which one? "Bonnie George Campbell".
  • Shaun of the Dead has a scene where as Shaun cries after being dumped, "If You Leave Me Now" starts playing, and it's lampshaded. A later scene subverts it, as the same jukebox on random deploys some massive Soundtrack Dissonance with Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" as the characters beat on a zombie bartender with pool cues.
  • In Sinners and Saints (2010) a gramophone record is being played as Cacophony Cover Up for some Cold-Blooded Torture, the specific lyrics being Come in, come in as the detectives enter the room to interrupt events.
  • Star Trek Beyond. While it's also a Call-Back to the first Star Trek (2009) movie, "Sabotage" by Beastie Boys is an entirely appropriate track to play while trying to sabotage hostile alien communications with The Power of Rock.
  • Lampshaded in Star Trek: First Contact. Zefram Cochrane is finally ready to blast off on his historic flight to test the warp drive, but at the last second, he panics, saying that he forgot something and they can't take off without it. He frantically searches his pockets and produces a little plastic device which he jams into a slot... and Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" starts playing on the radio.
  • Terminator Salvation has Marcus turning on a car stereo, and it starts playing Alice in Chains' "Rooster", which is also about a war and opens with a line that fits the human resistance ("Ain't found a way to kill me yet...").
  • Thief (1981): When Frank enters the bar where his new girlfriend Jessie is waiting for him, the bar band is singing "I reached a turning point in my life."
  • Happens twice in Tommy Boy. First, when Tommy and Richard stop to get gas, Richard goes inside to ask for directions and Tommy accidentally breaks the driver's door and tries to hide it, and Patsy Cline's "Crazy" is playing inside. Later, after Tommy and Richard get into a fight that ended with Richard whacking Tommy in the face with a 2x4, we cut to them sitting awkwardly at a diner where Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" is playing.
  • In Unknown (2011), Martin and Gina hide in a dance club at one point, and New Order's "Blue Monday" is playing. Confusion over memory and identity is a major plot point, and there's a lull in the conversation so that the relevant portion of the lyrics ("So tell me how do I feel") can be heard loud and clear.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: What song is Angel listening to when Apocalypse, Psylocke, and Storm come to draft him? Metallica's "The Four Horsemen".

  • The Dead Is series by Marlene Perez has two examples:
    • The jukebox at Slim's Diner always plays songs that are specifically related to something going on in Daisy's life. This is because the soul of a psychic girl is trapped in the jukebox and the songs are her method of communication.
    • Dominic, lead singer of local band Side Effects May Vary, often deviates from the established set lists at random moments to sing songs related to the plot of the book, to the frustration of his bandmates. This is because he's a Seer and the songs are his premonitions.
  • The Dresden Files does this somewhat subtly in Cold Days. After a rather brutal fight at a Winter Court ball, Harry (who is now the Winter Knight) ends up dancing with Mab to an orchestral version of Shinedown's "45". If you're familiar with the song's lyrics, it's rather easy to see the parallel with the recent direction his life has taken.
  • In the series Fearless, a character genetically unable to experience fear keeps crossing paths with a band, also called Fearless, whose songs are entirely about fearlessness.
  • Bridget Daly from The Infernal Devices, likes to sing weepy ballads that tend to get on the Shadowhunters' nerves, and they've fallen into this once or twice.
  • In Night Watch (Series), Anton's portable CD player usually plays songs that are quite apropos when set on shuffle (i.e. random order of play). Anton even ponders if he could use it as a divination device.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians manages to pull this off in two different instances. The first one is subtle and comes in the first book of the series, where Grover the Satyr is practicing his reed pipes. However, the only song he knows is "So Yesterday" by Hilary Duff. It seems like a throwaway joke at first until you think about the meaning of the song, which is above moving on with your life, something Percy is unable to do because of his fatal flaw. The second comes in The Titan's Curse when a group of characters hitch a ride on a car truck, each one sitting in a car that suits their personality. Thalia, one of the edgier characters is sitting in a sports car blaring rock music. Though it is never really specified what song, the genre itself goes hand in hand with the character and the conversation she has with Percy which doesn't end on a good note.
  • Wet Goddess Recollections Of A Dolphin Lover: "oh good, some nice, mind-numbing rolling stones music. "Goodbye, ruby Tuesday, who could pin a name on you" Or not.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Agatha Christie Hour adaptation of "The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife", all the songs sung at the nightclub or heard on the radio at various points in the story are suspiciously apropos.
  • The Avengers (1960s). Lampshaded in "The Town of No Return" when The Vicar is revealed to be a foreign spy when he pulls a gun on Emma Peel and his choral singers turn out to be a tape recorder.
    Fake Vicar: A very appropriate piece of music, Mrs. Peel. It's a requiem!
  • A late season three episode of Babylon 5 arranges this by overlapping two distant scenes. At the climax of the episode, Lord Refa, who arranged for the use of weapons of mass destruction against the Narn homeworld, is lured into a trap and left at the mercy of the Narn Resistance. His attempts to flee, only to be met by more Narns at every turn, are intercut with scenes on Babylon 5 itself, where a visiting church is leading a Gospel Revival Number about how sinners will find no hiding place on the day of judgment.
  • The grand finale episode of Breaking Bad, "Felina", has Walt steal a car with the keys left inside. When he turns it on, the radio begins playing the Marty Robbins song "El Paso", which the episode is a Whole-Plot Reference to.
  • In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Jake flashes back to his childhood crush, Jenny Gildenhorn, slow dancing with Eddie Fung to Air Supply's "All Out of Love" at Jake's bar mitzvah. Jake gets Gina to invite Jenny to her mother's wedding so he can get another shot at her, only for Jenny to immediately hook up with another wedding guest and slow dance to - once again - Air Supply's "All Out of Love".
    Jake: How is this song playing?
  • Buffyverse:
    • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
      • In "Welcome to the Hellmouth", Buffy is trying to decide between accepting her destiny as the Slayer, or trying to live a normal life. She walks into the Bronze, where Sprung Monkey are playing "Believe", which includes the line, "If my life can have a purpose / Help me to believe".
      • The show frequently had real bands playing at the Bronze. Sometimes the songs were linked to the scene, sometimes they weren't. The bands themselves were usually small, often unsigned (at the time) — exactly the kind that would be playing at a nightclub in Sunnydale. One odd quasi-example: In "School Hard", Nickel's "Stupid Thing" is being performed in the Bronze during Buffy and Spike's first scene together. Non-diegetic music cuts in after the singer gets to the lines "I'm one step away from crashing to my knees/One step away from spilling my guts to you," so it was probably meant to reference the fact that Spike has an elaborate plan, the next step of which is to kill Buffy. However, the song as a whole depicts an unhealthy relationship from which the singer wants to escape, but lacks the willpower, which accidentally foreshadows much later developments. Then there's the use of Virgin State of Mind, which accidentally sounds like a description of Season 4.
      • The accidental foreshadowing in Nickel's "Stupid Thing" doesn't stop there — the song contains the stanza "You see, there's this huge chunk of me missing / It's gone / And I can't feel it, I can't feel it, I can't feel it"
      • Changed up later in the sixth season when curiously well-known Michelle Branch shows up to sing her single "Goodbye to You" in the episode "Tabula Rasa" wherein Tara breaks up with Willow and moves out, and Giles gets on a plane and leaves Sunnydale, quitting his job as Watcher. Probably the most appropriate song ever for the series.
      • Another very appropriate use of music is in the ending sequence of season 6 episode "Smashed", which cuts back and forth between the scene of Spike and Buffy fighting in the abandoned house which ends with them having sex for the first time, and Willow and Amy doing magic for fun at the Bronze. An all-male band called Virgil is playing their song "Here", with the chorus: "What is wrong here?/What is wrong with you?/What is wrong here?/Where is your head?" Willow and Amy decide they dislike the music, so they turn them into the all-female band Halo Friendlies, performing their song "Run Away": "I don't wanna be, I don't wanna be alone/I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go it alone/Every time I see you/I just can't find words to say/I just want to turn and run away/I can't find the time and place to say what I need to say..." Eventually Willow and Amy decide that they've had their fun and turn everything back as it was, including turning the band back into Virgil performing "Here".
      • In "The Yoko Factor", Giles is at home singing "Freebird" before he's interrupted by Spike. At this point, Giles is feeling useless and is preparing to leave: "I must be traveling on soon".
      • Aimee Mann is in the Bronze playing "Pavlov's Bell" in an episode where Spike is revealed to be a Manchurian Agent.
      • In "Bad Girls", Faith is dancing with Buffy in the Bronze to the song "Chinese Burn" by Curve. The lyrics foreshadow Faith going to the dark side in the service of the Mayor.
        She'll break a promise as a matter of course / Because she thinks it's fun to have no remorse / She gets what she wants and then walks away / And she doesn't give a fuck what you might say / Because the rage it burns like Chinese torture / She's just someone's favourite daughter / Spoilt and ugly as she willingly slaughters / Friends and enemies they're all the same
    • Angel:
      • In "Dead End", they go to Caritas and find Lindsey playing his guitar, singing "LA Song (Pretty as a Picture)", which was written by actor Christian Kane. The song's lyrics fit his character (and Angel's) perfectly. "Pretty girls on every corner. Sunshine turns the sky to gold. Warm, warm, it's always warm here. And I can't take the cold." And considering what happens in later episodes, the lyrics "The sky's gonna open/People gonna pray and crawl/It's gonna rain down fire/Gonna burn us all," seem like Suspiciously Apropos Foreshadowing as well.
      • In-Universe with Winifred Burkle singing "Crazy" by Patsy Cline in "That Old Gang of Mine".
        Cordelia: I swear to God she picked out the song herself.
      • In "Billy", the title character has been freed from a Tailor-Made Prison to do his evil thing. When he turns up at a party, "Clint Eastwood" by Gorillaz is playing on the stereo, specifically the lyrics Finally someone let me outa' my cage.
  • Class: In "Nightvisiting", April is practising her violin before she gets involved in the story. The piece she's playing just happens to be Jim Moray's "Nightvisiting" (which she later refers to for the Title Drop).
  • In Criminologist Himura and Mystery Writer Arisugawa, an idol group is performing one of their hits when their missing member suddenly shows up dead on-stage. The lyrics to the song they were performing foreshadow this appearance, such as mentioning the black coffin that she appears in, which Himura uses to deduce that the killer was a member of the group's production team.
  • Daredevil (2015)
    • In "Dogs To A Gunfight", Frank Castle attacks a garage where several members of the Dogs of Hell are located. One guy is power-washing a recently stolen semi-truck rig while listening to music on his headphones, which renders him oblivious to Castle's arrival as he's killing the other bikers. The song he's listening to is "The Price of Punishment".
    • Done as a Visual Pun in "New York's Finest". An outlaw biker gang charges out of their Bad Guy Bar to take on Castle as the jukebox plays Motörhead's "Ace of Spades". Just before the lyric "...the dead man's hand again" we Smash Cut to Karen Page examining a photo of one of the Punisher's victims from a manila folder, but all we see is the corpse's hand.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Fourth Doctor's skipping rhyme in "Robot" is very appropriate for someone called the Doctor feeling unlike himself and disoriented — "I feel sick — send for the Doctor, quick, quick, quick!" — and has an ending altered to be about his own multiple deaths — "Shall I die? Yes, my darling, by and by". After he starts the counting portion of the rhyme, the scene presumably continues for some time in-universe, but noticeably cuts just after the Doctor counts "Four...", the number of his incarnation.
    • "The End of the World": Rose is handling being in the year five billion rather well until Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" is put on, whereupon she gets a massive case of culture shock and runs out of the room.
      "Sometimes I feel I've got to / Run away / I've got to / Get away"
    • In "The Runaway Bride", the Doctor listens to the song "Love Don't Roam" at a wedding reception while flashbacks of Rose appear onscreen.
      • This is an interesting example: the first four Christmas episodes of Doctor Who have specific songs written for them by Murray Gold. "The Christmas Invasion" had "Song for Ten" sung by Tim Phillips, "The Runaway Bride" had "Love Don't Roam" performed by Neil Hannon (of the Divine Comedy, who also sang the album version of "Song for Ten"), and "Voyage of the Damned" had "The Stowaway" sung by Yamit Mamo. Sadly, working a Christmassy pop song into the Victorian London setting of "The Next Doctor" doesn't seem to have been possible.
      • And the album version of "Song for Ten" includes a second verse describing his separation from Rose in "Doomsday".
    • In "Last of the Time Lords", the Master apparently has his own soundtrack, including the Scissor Sisters' "I Can't Decide".
    • The cracker poem Clara reads to the Eleventh Doctor in "The Time of the Doctor" is supposed to be a real poem in-universe, but could only have been written about a person who has turned into eleven other people and is going to turn into number twelve.
  • On Fringe Walter, after an episode of coming to terms with his past as a Mad Scientist Omnicidal Maniac, listens to "The Man Who Sold the World" by David Bowie.
  • In Gilmore Girls, when the Town Troubadour sings a song with actual lyrics rather than just strumming and whistling, the lyrics will often closely match the drama playing out with the main characters, usually just as a relevant character is passing by him at the town gazebo.
    • In "A House is Not a Home", he sings Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried", a song about someone who "turned 21 in prison," to Rory the morning after her arrest.
    • In "New and Improved Lorelai", while a newly-engaged Lorelai and Luke reconsider Luke's bid on the Twickham house, he sings "Pre-Owned Heart" to Lorelai, which Grant Lee Phillips wrote specifically for the scene.
  • The Goodies. In "The Music Lovers", the Villain of the Week has kidnapped all of the musicians in Britain. He has his minion open the cells to demonstrate, and from one of them wafts the sound of Engelbert Humperdinck singing "Release Me".
  • Haven: In "Reunion," Audrey and Nathan have a Convenient Slow Dance to Boyz II Men's "On Bended Knee." Which, in addition to being fitting for a high school reunion of a 1990's graduating class, is a pointed description of Audrey and Nathan's season-long estrangement and their unspoken desire for reconciliaition.
  • In an episode of Heroes, "Building 26", Sylar has just saved Luke and killed the government agents who were taking him away. Later, in the car, Luke puts on the radio, and the song on air is Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer".
  • Partly played straight, partly averted in the House episode "Control". House is playing "Baba O'Reilly" by The Who on his iPod before Vogler, who is trying to make him admit to a moral but technically unethical decision House made, turns it off. The song comes back in the background after the scene, with the lyrics "I don't need to fight / To prove I'm right / I don't need to be forgiven" ending the episode.
  • In the TV miniseries House of Frankenstein (1997), police raid the eponymous nightclub waving crosses at the vampires inside as the nightclub music plays the opening lyrics of "Bullet With Butterfly Wings". The world is a vampire...
  • Lost:
    • A flashback in "Fire + Water" shows Charlie writing a song with the repeated line, "We can be saved," which ties into that episode's theme of salvation.
    • In the episode "Flashes Before Your Eyes", Desmond hears Charlie singing the Oasis song "Wonderwall"; 'Maybe, you're gonna be the one that saves me.' Desmond then saves Charlie's life at least four times.
  • This is used to excellent effect in the Magnum, P.I. episode "The Look", about a popular and charismatic radio announcer. She specifically says she doesn't make program choices; the music's all on tape, but the tracks are all suspiciously appropriate for the various situations.
  • Person of Interest. In "A Perfect Union", two plots are runningSamaritan tries to convince Shaw that it's Necessarily Evil to rule humanity, and Team Machine has to investigate this week's case at a wedding. The song that Harold Finch sings for the wedding guests inadvertently sums up Team Machine's response to Samaritan's pitch.
    ♪ You've got the right to choose it ♪ ♪ And there ain't no way we'll lose it ♪ ♪ This is our life, this is our song ♪ ♪ We'll fight the powers that be ♪ ♪ Just don't pick our destiny ♪ We're not gonna take it ♪ ♪ No, we ain't gonna take it ♪ ♪ We're not gonna take it anymore ♪
  • The Punisher (2017). Carson Wolf has "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" playing on his stereo while Frank Castle is kicking him in the head. The fight even ends in time with the ending to the song.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures: In "The Nightmare Man", Luke is leaving for university, and having nightmares that Sarah and the gang don't care and will be glad to get rid of him. When Rani throws him a farewell party, the song playing has the line "In my dreams I know that we will never be apart". It's ironic at the time but becomes appropriate when they defeat the Nightmare Man with The Power of Friendship.
  • Scrubs:
    • Ted's a cappella vocal band, "The Worthless Peons". Whenever they performed, it was sure to be related to the episode. (Except for when celebrating Carla's pregnancy: Babyback Ribs was the only song they knew with the word "baby" in it.)
    • "My Lunch" has The Fray's "How to save a life" during one tearjerker of a scene.
  • Shameless (US): Fiona goes to hear her ex’s band perform in a bar. Seeing that she’s there, they debut his new song entitled “The F-Word” and dedicate it to her. It turns out to be an extended Cluster F-Bomb cussing her out by name for cheating on him.
  • Skins: Emily and Naomi kiss for the first time during a party. The music playing? "I Kissed a Girl".
  • In Sons of Anarchy, one episode ends with a kid and his band giving a concert at a local community event, playing a song '18 and I like it' which glorifies youth rebellion and anarchy. Meanwhile, the kid's father who is a former member of the titular motorcycle club is at their clubhouse... having his SoA tattoo burned off his back with a blowtorch for chickening out during a robbery and getting a fellow member sent to jail.
    • Except it was because he hadn't blacked out the tattoo himself. His involvement in the incident was done when he was excommunicated, but him keeping it was like saying he had never really been kicked out, as if he hadn't really done anything wrong.
  • So Weird: When Jewel Staite guest starred, she sung a song called "Questions", which questioned whether anything in her life was real. Why is this surprisingly apropos? Well, start with the fact the episode was called "Siren"...
  • In the miniseries of Stephen King's book The Stand (1994):
    • "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult plays as the camera pans across the people killed in the bioweapon facility when the Captain Trips virus got free. The pan ends at a jukebox implying the song was playing on it when everyone started dying.
    • The second episode involves the characters in a post-apocalyptic world playing a Crowded House record. The tune? "Don't Dream It's Over". Which it wasn't.
    • In the same mini-series, one of the characters sits on the back of a car playing "Eve of Destruction" on his guitar while 99.7% of New York (and the rest of the world) lies dead around him.
  • An episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine includes Vic Fontaine singing "I've Got the World on a String", while Nog tries to recover from losing his leg in battle. (This doesn't seem to fit, but as Nog learns to face his life again and deal with what happens, it starts to apply. Later, Vic and Sisko sing "The Best is Yet to Come," relating to the optimism in Sisko's relationship with Cassidy, and the upcoming series finale. (Of course, both of these can be considered subversions, depending on how you look at them.
  • Parodied in Strangers with Candy in the mock-Very Special Episode about anorexia, in which Jerri is dogged throughout by a ridiculous song with lyrics that include (in both English and Spanish), "You are large and fat and quite obese, fat fat fat fat fat fat fat oink oink oink..." At one point she shuts off the radio and says to no one in particular, "I can't believe that's the number-one song."
  • In the second episode of Stranger Things, Joyce has run from the monster in her house and is desperately trying to start her car to flee. However, she is drawn back into the house by a signal from her missing son Will note  in the form of a tape deck suddenly blaring the Clash song "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?".
    • In the second season, (Jim) Hopper puts on "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" while he and Eleven fix up their new home. Then she promptly messes around with him by breaking the "Don't Be Stupid" rules that he set down.
  • Supernatural:
    • Played with in "Bad Day at Black Rock", when a bullet ricochet triggers a stereo to play music that suspiciously synchs up with the course of the fight. Justified because the fight is happening over a magical rabbit's foot that induces wild coincidences.
    • In Malleus Maleficarum, a guy listens to "I Put a Spell on You". Guess what happens to him!
    • In "Meet the New Boss", Castiel has double-crossed Crowley, gaining god-like powers and smiting everyone who annoys him. Crowley is getting drunk, listening to Nancy Sinatra's "These boots are made for walking" when Cas teleports into his room.
      You've been messin' where you shouldn't have been a messin'
      And now someone else is gettin' all your best.
      Castiel: (appearing) Hello Crowley. You look stressed.
      These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do
      Crowley: Bollocks...
      One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you
    • The lyrics of "Beautiful Loser" by Bob Seger playing on Dean's radio alarm during Dean's 10-Minute Retirement montage at the start of Season Six.
      He wants to dream like a young man / With the wisdom of an old man / He wants his home and security / He wants to live like a sailor at sea.
      Beautiful loser / Where you gonna fall? / When you realize, you just can't have it all.
    • In "Point of No Return", Zachariah casts a Death Glare at the jukebox when it starts playing "The Man Upstairs", seeing as he's currently Drowning My Sorrows over how his angelic superiors don't appreciate his efforts.
  • In Ted Lasso, when Rebecca has to eulogize her father with whom she had a rocky relationship, she doesn't know what to say. So she starts singing the song her mother played earlier that day, and somehow "Never Gonna Give You Up" manages to fit her situation and a funeral as "I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling\Gotta make you understand" makes her start to crack, and every line of the chorus makes her more teary-eyed.
  • In the episode of That '70s Show called "Eric's Depression", Eric has recently dumped Donna. When he is on his bed, feeling lonely, he turns on the radio. All FM stations play the same song: Eric Carmen's "All By Myself". Fed up, he switches to AM, but it's even worse: the song he hears is Ritchie Valens' "Oh Donna".
  • Vinyl: This is Lampshaded when Buck Rogers gets killed and Corso is dumping his body, he notes that a radio somewhere is playing a Donny Osmond song. Since Rogers was angry at Osmond for stiffing him up, Corso is delighted at the irony of hearing the song
    Corso: Hey that's Donny Osmond right, you hear that you prick!
  • In the Warehouse 13 episode "A Faire to Remember", when Claudia wakes up her sister Claire, who has been in an induced coma for fifteen years because of being a teenage telekinetic rage monster, it turns out Claire's favourite song is "When I Grow Up" by Garbage. "When I grow up, I'll be stable..."
  • The School Play (a musical written by the teachers) in the third season of Waterloo Road is a long exercise in this trope.
  • The season 3 finale of The West Wing combines this with Soundtrack Dissonance to create gut-wrenching irony in the form of a musical being performed during the action. As President Bartlet is informed that the terrorist-sponsoring, American-killing foreign defense minister whose assassination Bartlet finally ordered, after failing to find any alternative course of action, is dead, the "Patriotic Chorus" from The Wars of the Roses plays joyfully and triumphantly in the background: "Upon this country God will pour His rich increase / And victorious in war shall be made glorious in peace."
  • Subverted in The Wire — in a second-season episode, Ziggy enters the dockers' bar, morose because he's just been served with papers saying that he'll have to pay maintenance for a previously unknown illegitimate son. In the background, the jukebox is playing "Lovechild" by Diana Ross and The Supremes. However, it turns out that the papers are a prank by the guys in the bar and the music is just supposed to wind him up.

  • The plays of William Shakespeare often feature songs of this type, performed in-universe by musician characters. Though usually presented merely as pop songs that these characters just happen to be singing, they end up commenting fairly pointedly on one important theme or another in the play.
    • In Much Ado About Nothing, Balthazar has a song with the line "Men were deceivers ever." Coincidence? In a scene about pulling an elaborate practical joke? In a play full of deception and distrust of every kind? Not ruddy likely!
    • In Twelfth Night, Feste sings a lot about the passing of time and the complexity of romantic love. No prizes for guessing whether those are notable motifs in the play as a whole…

    Video Games 
  • At one point in Alan Wake, you end up fighting a seemingly endless army of Taken while on a stage, complete with pyrotechnics and music playing through the sound system. Standard video game setpiece, also used in Left 4 Dead 2... except that if you pay attention to the lyrics, it's quite literally about fighting a seemingly endless army of Taken. Justified in that by this point, the player should realize that not only is the song literally about the battle, but the battle most likely only happened because the song was written about it — Rewriting Reality applies to works created in the area around Cauldron Lake.
  • Inverted in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. The mostly nonsensical sequence of images and metaphors in the song Klavier and Lamiroir wrote together becomes the template for a complicated murder scheme, meaning the situation was tailored to the song, rather than vice-versa. However, it turns out that the similarities were initially coincidental, but the killer, upon discovering that he had inadvertently committed his crimes in a way that brought the lyrics to mind, then went on to add one more detail that was in the song, in order to make everyone fixate on the music and not think too hard about the real reasons he did all those things.
  • In the final Cutscene of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Anne Bonny sings a beautiful version of "The Parting Glass" as Edward Kenway reflects on his failures and how his selfishness has cost him his friends and his love life. Of particular note is that as Anne is singing the verse "And since it falls unto my lot, that I should rise and you should not" he sees his former friends, including Blackbeard and Mary Reed, sitting at a table and raising their glasses in toast.
  • Several songs in BioShock. Within the context of the game, they're not meant to have significance since they come from speakers and record players wherever you happen to be. But some, such as "God Bless the Child" and, of course, "Beyond the Sea", certainly were chosen for a reason.
    • "Danny Boy" playing in Fontaine's apartment is too good to not be a coincidence.
  • Driver: San Francisco also has its music ostensibly coming from the car radio, but the song selection process seems to be heavily weighted, routinely choosing faster songs during race challenges and the like. "Don't Give Up" in particular seems to play during the last few checkpoints of tight races far too often to be coincidence.
  • Fallout 4: A prominent one is Skeeter Davis' "End of the World". Radio DJ Travis is not amused by the song's relevance.
    • If you turn on Diamond City Radio the moment you get out of the vault, getting your first look at the post-apocalyptic world, you'll hear "Anything Goes". Times have changed, and we've often rewound the clock...
    • In something of a meta example, it can be a little hard to believe that the song 'Crawl Out Through the Fallout' was not written specifically for the game. How many mid-20th century songs take an irreverent look at the subject of a nuclear apocalypse and include the name of the series in their title?
  • With a little luck, and the right MP3s in your user track folder, it can happen quite frequently in the GTA 3D games. You can even drive in The Truth's hippie van, with CJ being high, while Iron Butterfly's "In A Gadda Da Vida" was playing.
    • If you don't have access to custom soundtracks, you can always find yourself in an intense police chase while A Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran" plays in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. And then sometimes, it may end up being a very good day in this department.
    • Grand Theft Auto V has several scripted instances where a particular song appropriate to the situation will play on the radio. Perhaps the most notable is The Alan Parsons Project's "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You" playing in the final mission when Trevor has the main villain locked in the trunk of his car. Also, if Trevor is angry at the time and you've got the radio set to a station he doesn't like, he'll snarl, point out the Soundtrack Dissonance, and switch to something he considers more fitting, usually the punk station.
  • Killer7: In "Alter Ego", there is a street musician that plays a song ("Find your soul / find your place / then you'll find your way") that hints at the solution to one of the level's puzzles (only one persona, Con, is able to navigate his way through a maze).
  • The guitarist from Mother sings a song that is made of hints as to where all the melody tunes can be found. Then blatantly Lampshaded in Chapter 2 of Mother 3 where a ghost pianist outright tells you what item to use in a certain room. In the English translation, a ghost in the room comments that the song is "very catchy...and hinty!"
    Even if you forget the small moles
    On my back and inner thigh,
    I'll never forget you.
    In my lonely room, your wig weeps,
    Baby, believe me when I say,
    Don't attach anything to the walls of this room,
    Like moles or wigs or wall staples.
    Ooh~ ooh~ oooooh~
    No~ wall~ staples~
  • In Parappa The Rapper, Parappa puts on the radio in his car to distract Sunny from how desperately he needs the bathroom. The song, "Love You", is cosmetically the kind of rap love song a hip hop fan would play for a girl he likes, but the lyrics are full of Double Entendre relating to Parappa's more pressing issues:
    I must always be ready for any action, precaution, or junction, revolution, or constipation...
    Diggin' it out, diggin' it out...
    I need you, I want you
    Where in the world are you?
    ...I wanna let you know of my desire, let it let it go! I'm almost on fire...
  • In the opening cutscene of Persona 3, the protagonist is listening to a remix of the game's main theme song, "Burn My Dread", on his headphones. The song reappears for the game's Post-Final Boss sequence, and the lyrics are now much more fitting with the situation: in spite of everything that's been done, the battle seems hopeless, but there's still one last chance to save the world and that the game is almost over.
    Tear up your fear, the end is coming near, spit it out like a spear, I'll burn your dread
  • Prey (2006) plays Blue Öyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" during an alien abduction. At first, this seems the ironic sort, since the aliens are literally reaping the planet in a method that inspires quite a bit of terror. Eventually played even straighter, as the plot of the entire game parallels that particular tune. Probably Lampshaded: the jukebox playing said tune doesn't have it as an option before or after the abduction.
  • Most of the soundtrack to Reservoir Dogs (from K-Billy's "Super Sounds of the Seventies") is straight Soundtrack Dissonance, but in the video game adaptation, Bedlam's "Harvest Moon" comes on the radio during the car chase sequence where Mr. Brown is slowly bleeding to death.
  • In Saints Row 2, one on the songs on The Mix 107.7 (a music that plays music from The '80s) is "Karma Chameleon". One of the lyrics in the chorus of the song, "Lovin' would be easy if your colours were like my dreams/Red, gold, and green", perfectly fits the rival gangs in control of Stilwater; The Brotherhood (Red), The Ronin (gold), and The Sons of Samedi (green). This is also lampshaded by the DJ of the station.
  • The soundtrack of The World Ends with You mostly consists of those. Given that Neku is almost always wearing his headphones, and can be seen rocking out to them at the start of battles as the music kicks in, it's entirely possible that the game's entire soundtrack is just his personal playlist. This becomes even more apparent if you consider the fact that there are music shops that allow you to buy songs in-game.

    Web Animation 

    Web Videos 
  • In To Boldly Flee, General Zod requests that Ursa and Non, actually The Nostalgia Chick and Oancitizen trying to distract him, sing the number one song on Krypton from 1983. The song's title? Distraction. This also applies doubly due to the fact that said song is about finding happiness in and taking your mind off of the end of the world, it was very popular on Krypton, and Krypton is usually presented as not knowing what was about to happen to it until an hour or two before the bang. It also ends up being suspiciously appropriate for the situation directly at hand, which also turns out to be the end of the world and of The Nostalgia Critic.
  • Everyman HYBRID:
    • The first appearance of The Rake in the series also featured "The Rake's Song" by The Decemberists playing on the car radio earlier in the same video. The song is about a guy who kills his wife and kids so that he can once again enjoy the freedom of being a bachelor, not a naked dog-man who will claw your face off, but the title sure fits. Every subsequent video in the series featuring the Rake would also feature Decemberists music playing either before or during its appearance. Apparently he's a fan.
    • At one point, HABIT is seen listening to "Baby Götterdämmerung" by Monster Magnet, which contains some rather apropos lyrics about having "lived a dozen lives" considering the central plot of the series involves the main cast being trapped in an endless cycle of death and reincarnation that has lasted at least as far back as the 70s, but most likely a lot longer.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: During “Froggy Little Xmas”, a wandering musician (voiced by Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar) follows the gang around singing about the holiday season.
  • Parodied in an episode of Arthur where Buster comes back from his trip around the world and finds that he and Arthur have slightly different interests now. A singing moose, played by Art Garfunkel, follows them around and sings about what's happening.
    "Mom, there's a singing moose outside our house!"
  • A variant in Baymax!, with the cat who's swallowed a wireless headphone. When she looks through a window at a woman playing with a kitten, the headphone plays an ad that begins "Do you want to be happy?", when she tries to make her own cat toy, it plays a song about being alone, and when Baymax manages to corner her in a warehouse to remove the headphone, it plays a radio drama with a woman exclaiming "I won't be a part of your medical experiment!"
  • Bojack Horseman: Parodied. One episode in the third season has Princess Carolyn driving away from the restaurant Bojack owns after deciding she is through with helping him out of every emergency. (It doesn't help that she is there in the first place because Bojack plans on firing her). She puts on the radio, and a song singing about "keeping driving away and not turning that car around and breaking your pattern of helping other people" comes on. The song goes as far as mentioning her name as well and asking her to not go back to the restaurant.
  • In The Boondocks animated series, Rapper Thugnificent writes a song called "Stomp 'em in the nutz!" In the Season Finale, they finally get the opportunity to play it while someone is getting stomped in the nuts.
  • Parodied in an early episode of Family Guy where the main characters come across Randy Newman providing a running musical commentary on every tiny detail of what is happening around him, a mild Take That! at the songwriter who seems to have a tendency to compose songs with very obvious lyrics describing whatever situation the song is to be used for.
  • Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids could be a mild inversion. Since the songs the junkyard gang played at the end of an episode were intended to drive home the plot/moral of the episode, there wasn't much suspicious about it. It was as obvious as the title character's considerable girth.
  • Futurama:
    • The fourth movie foreshadows part of the plot in the opening song by mentioning "The psychic worms from Rigel 9 who control everything we do."
    • Parodied in first movie. It shows a montage of how Lars got his job at the head museum accompanied by what seems to be a generic acoustic ballad, but turns out to be an original composition that changes partway through to start describing the specific events that are happening.
      Shame you won't be there to see me
      Shaking hands with Charles de Gaulle
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Dipper vs. Manliness", while Dipper is getting training in being a macho man from the Manotaurs, Mabel is trying to teach Grunkle Stan how to be a gentleman. She puts on a "training mix" with some...oddly specific lyrics that play over twin Training Montages:
    Never lose sight of the sights you see
    You gotta believe your beliefs are real!
    Now you're drinkin' from a fire hydrant
    Teach your uncle how to wear a cummerbund!
    Now you're gonna jump a crazy gorge
    Keep on shavin' that hairy uncle!
    Um..I don't really know what's happening in this part
    Your heart's on fire and the fire is in your HEARRRRT!!!
  • The Hollow has Weird Guy perform a jazz cover of Radiohead's "Creep" in the season two episode "Dead End". While it's definitely apropos for him, it also mirrors the current situation of the main characters, who shouldn't be in The Hollow anymore after having seemingly escaped at the end of the previous season and are desperately trying to get his attention throughout the performance to figure out what's going on. He even stumbles on the chorus when he finally sees them, confusingly stating that they don't belong here.
  • Kamp Koral: In "Helter Shelter", Sandy leads SpongeBob and Patrick to dance to an upbeat square dance tune, where the lyrics perfectly describe their actions. She even keeps up with it when Squidward interrupts and gets dragged in as well.
  • The ending of the Kim Possible movie "So The Drama" ends on a musical number played at the school prom which just happens to be absolutely perfectly 100% about Kim and Ron and their discovery that actually, they could be more than friends. It's so absurdly apropos it's unreal, but somehow it works.
  • Each episode of Metalocalypse typically features Dethklok performing a song relevant to the plot of that episode. In some cases, the song itself is the plot of the episode, as on the occasion where their song about an apocalyptic troll accidentally broke the curse that had kept a mountain-sized troll asleep for centuries. The bulk of the episode showed the band being mildly inconvenienced by it and eventually trying to stop its destructive rampage.
    • In the pilot, the "SEWN. BACK TOGETHER WRONG. BACK TOGETHER" song was inspired by the plot (Nathan got the idea from Toki's offhanded remark)
    • Probably the straightest example is "Comet Song", given that Dethklok was too naive to ever figure out that they were performing for a comet cult (even going so far as to complain that no one offered them any of the "Grape Drink" all the cultists were getting). The lyrics are about spending money for a better afterlife and being killed at the speed of light.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "The Best Night Ever", Pinkie tries to liven up the Grand Galloping Gala with the song "Pony Pokey"; during said song, we see the rest of the Mane Six's moments start to go downhill, with the lyrics even matching up to their situations perfectly. We even see them perform the actions Pinkie calls out.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In the episode "Delivery of Destiny," Paul the delivery guy wins a radio contest where the prize, to his annoyance, turns out to be having the band Love Händel ride along with him making up songs about everything he does on the job.
  • The Simpsons:
    • A minor Running Gag in the third and fourth seasons was that a character would have a problem and call a hotline for help, only for them to be put on hold and hear a pop song over the phone relating to their situation, causing them to start crying.
    • This was eventually played with in "Homer Love Flanders", when Homer fails to win a radio contest to win tickets to a baseball game and wallops the radio in a rage, only for it to start playing Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise". This time around, Homer doesn't notice the irony and even begins singing along to it.
    • Lurleen Lumpkin's song "Your Wife Don't Understand You" from the episode "Colonel Homer" describes Homer and Marge's situation at the time almost perfectly.
      Lurleen: [singing] That's why you're losin' all your hair, that's why you're overweight, that's why you flipped your pickup truck right off the Interstate...
      Homer: That's right! Except for the pickup truck.
    • In "Trash Of The Titans", Homer runs for the position of Springfield's Sanitation Commissioner, and he promotes himself by interrupting a U2 show as they were performing "Pride (In The Name Of Love)", which was written about Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated after addressing striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.
  • Sofia the First: In "Sofia the Second", the Highland Hootenanny starts performing a song about making a promise and keeping it, which causes Sofia to worry and regret her decision, as the song matches up to her situation that she promised her father she'd show Lady Joy around the castle and she isn't present for such.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: The song "Musical Doodle" from "Earworm". It's a pretty catchy tune which is about getting a catchy tune stuck in your head on endless repeat. Naturally, this is what SpongeBob experiences throughout the episode, with the lyrics matching up with his situation perfectly.
  • 3-2-1 Penguins!: the show has a stinger of the penguins performing at a cafe, illustrating a song about space trucker Big Midge, who's in a race with another, cheating trucker. He sees several people in trouble of various kinds but doesn't stop because he's in a hurry. At one point he turns on the radio, which is playing a song about helping others that gets more pertinent to his situation with every chorus.
  • In Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Gromit turns on the car radio to try and ease his nerves. It of course begins playing "Bright Eyes", which was used in the film adaptation of Watership Down. Gromit appears to know this, as he quickly shuts it off, startled.

    Real Life 
  • In his memoir, Lt. Col. Robert Morgan (Best known as the pilot of the legendary B-17 The Memphis Belle) relates how, while flying a mission to firebomb Tokyo in 1945, the radio operator on his B-29 picked up a Japanese radio station. The first track the DJ played was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, followed by My Old Flame and I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire. Morgan writes that his crew started to get uncomfortable and they switched off the radio because they didn't know if they could stand it if the next track the DJ played was There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.
  • Subversion: During the controversy over Penny Arcade's "Dickwolves" comic, which got accusations of endorsing rape (to say the least), the artist, Gabe, did a Livestream during which a song from rape survivor Tori Amos was played, along with one about a woman who is a Nazi. Two songs, in two hours of music. It was accused of being this trope, and Gabe replied, with irritation, that he simply had his music collection set on shuffle and didn't deliberately bury two songs a good way into a playlist specifically to piss off his critics in a passive-aggressive manner.
  • Back in The '80s, Soldier Of Fortune magazine had a Running Gag in which "Send Lawyers, Guns and Money (cause the shit has hit the fan)" (from the song by Warren Zevon) always seemed to be playing before an Oh, Crap! moment.
  • The non-fiction book Homicide: A Year On the Killing Streets by David Simon has the detectives struggling not to laugh as "I Fought The Law (and the law won)" plays while they're interrogating a particularly dim-witted criminal. He fails to notice.
  • Vinny of the Twitch streaming group Vinesauce ended up experiencing this in the final moments of his stream, during which he attempted to shoot an antique cannon out of a much larger cannon. Vinny failed multiple times, from the smaller cannon failing to enter the larger cannon, to the game itself resetting the position of the smaller cannon automatically to prevent instability, much to Vinny's dismay. What makes this fall under this trope was the music, George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", which managed to be hilarious, depressing, and spectacular all at the same time, while also syncing up surprisingly well with the whole debacle. The whole stunt managed to break the entire chat into laughter, then applause.
  • At Minnesota Vikings home games, Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" plays after Vikings touchdowns as a nod to Prince being a Minneapolis native. It was the perfect song when the Vikings won on a last-second touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Round of the 2017-18 NFL Playoffs (a play now known as the "Minneapolis Miracle"), and Vikings fans immediately got crazy seeing such a miraculous win.


Video Example(s):


Zack and Kelly Break Up

As their friends play "How Am I Suppose To Live Without You" in the gym, Zack and Kelly have a tearful breakup due to Kelly suddenly falling for her new boss.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / MockingMusic

Media sources: