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Villainous Lament

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I'm so ronery, so ronery
So ronery and sadry arone.
There's no-one, just me onry,
Sitting on my rittre throne.
I work rearry hard, and make up great prans.
But nobody ristens, no-one understands
Seems rike no-one takes me seriousry.
And so, I'm ronery *sniffles* A rittre ronery.
Poor rittre me...

It's been said that the villain tends to have the best songs in any given musical, full of flash and gloating. But sometimes, the villain (or perhaps a Villain Protagonist, Anti-Villain, or character who made a Heel–Face Turn) has a moment onstage in which they list all of their misdeeds or mistakes... and the audience realizes that the character really, really hates themselves for what they've done, and the song has clearly strayed from fully villainous territory.


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    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: "Jack's Lament" and the first half of "Poor Jack", though this trope is subverted by Jack not being evil just wrong about some things.
  • "Up there" from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. Who would have known Satan could be that woobieish?
  • Spinel from Steven Universe: The Movie gets two major songs. "Other Friends" is a straight-up Villain Song, but "Drift Away" is the story of how she was abandoned by Pink Diamond, forced to stand in their garden, alone, for 6000 years, under the guise that they were just playing a game. She spent all those millenia by herself, standing so still she became literally rooted to the ground as plants began to grow around her, wondering if it was her fault Pink wasn't coming back ("Is this how it works? Am I doing it right?") while the garden decayed and everyone moved on without her. When she saw Steven's message, she realized that Pink never intended to come back, and had a complete mental breakdown, which led to the events of the movie.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Galavant: In "What Am I Feeling," the evil Queen Madalena, an established sociopath, feels her first emotion. Unfortunately, the feeling is sadness, as she had just been bullied by an entire room full of Old Money royals for being Nouveau Riche. While she herself is a cruel individual, the hosts of the lunch invited her to a roast meal without telling her that she was what was being roasted.

  • "bellyache" by Billie Eilish, is about the singer is implied to have murdered her compatriots in a heist to keep the money for herself. According to Billie, the song is about "a psychopath who regrets being a psychopath but doesn't really care".
    Thought that I'd feel better
    But now I got a bellyache
  • CG5: "Let Me Through" has a melancholy waltz tune, and it features Foxy singing about how he's lonely and sad because the security guard won't let Foxy into his room. Subverted in that Foxy also makes some thinly veiled death threats, and the music video shows him violently attacking the other animatronics, implying that Foxy's sadness is just an act.
  • The Coolio song "Gangsta's Paradise" is about a hoodlum who obviously knows that his lifestyle is morally wrong and self-destructive, but has given up hope on changing for the better.
  • Doctor Steel's "Lament for a Toy Factory", although it also doubles as his Motive Rant.
  • mothy's "Regret Message" from the Evillious Chronicles. The tyrannical princess Riliane looks back on what she did and realizes that not only is she a horrible, horrible person for it, but she's lost the one person who truly cared about her. Since she can't apologize, she writes her grief on a note in a bottle and throws it into the ocean.
  • Twisted Sister's "Burn In Hell": "You can't believe all the things I've done wrong in my life / Without even trying, I've lived on the edge of a knife..."

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Edge's theme, "Metalingus", was a really twisted inversion, or maybe just a subversion. It's a song about a Christian triumphing over personal shortcomings through faith in God....but Edge started using it after he became so obsessed with winning the WWE Championship that the desire turned him into a villain. So he basically saw championship gold as his "salvation" - even if he had to betray his tag-team partner and screw and corrupt his rival's girlfriend along the way.

  • "If I Can't Love Her" from the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.
  • "Rudolf, wo bist du?" from Elisabeth.
    • Not a straight example as Elisabeth, who sings the lament, isn't the villain. While not an entirely likeable person, she is in fact the protagonist. A better example is "Bellaria", sung by the Archduchess Sophie, in which we find that the domineering, cruel woman we've seen her as until now has given everything for her son.
  • It's kind of hard to pinpoint a "villain" in Evita, but all three main characters do villainous things and have songs where they regret something.
    • Eva has (depending on the production) "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" (about people taking advantage of her) and "You Must Love Me" (showing her love for Peron).
    • Che has "High Flying, Adored" and the Dark Reprise of "Oh What a Circus" (which are both technically laments for Eva, not himself). Peron has "She is a Diamond", which is a lament for Eva.
    • The entire ensemble has the opening song, "Requiem for Evita".
    • You Must Love Me" was written specifically for the movie, and "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" belongs to another character in the stage version. However, both the movie and stage versions end with the appropriately titled "Lament", in which Eva wonders whether all of her scheming and manipulating were worth the toll it took on her life.
  • "Accursed All Base Pursuit" from Gounod's Faust. Yep, an actual operatic example.
  • "The Bum Won" from Fiorello!, in which a group of Tammany hacks read the headlines and weep.
  • In Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Hamilton's friend turned enemy, after killing Alexander in their infamous duel, is horrified by the realization that Hamilton had always planned to throw away his shot, and the rest of "The World Was Wide Enough" is given over to his lament.
    Now I'm the villain in your history
    I was too young and blind to see...
    I should've known
    I should've known
    The world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me
    The world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me
  • "Those Canaan Days" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Marks the brothers' Heel–Face Turn as they realize they miss Joseph.
  • "Behind Blue Eyes" by The Who was originally intended as a villain's lament within Townshend's aborted Rock Opera Lifehouse.
  • In Li'l Abner, General Bullmoose has "Progress Is The Root Of All Evil," a lament for plutocracy lost.
  • "The Madness of King Scar" from the stage version of The Lion King.
  • "Javert's Suicide" from Les Misérables, during which Javert realises that he hasn't really been pursuing justice all these years, and he decides he just can't live with that.
  • "Pore Jud Is Dead" from Oklahoma! counts as both a Villain Sucks Song and this — Judd is a really self-loathing person, and even though Curly is insulting him in the song, he likes the idea that if he killed himself, people would feel sorry for shunning him.
  • "Reviewing the Situation" from Oliver!. Fagin wonders whether he should give up crime and make an honest man of himself.
  • "The Best at Being the Worst" from Team Rocket in the Pokémon Live! musical.
  • Both of Tybalt's songs from Gerard Presgurvic's ''Romeo et Juliette: De La Haine a l'Amour ," but especially "C'est pas ma faute".
  • In Ruddigore, Anti-Villain Sir Despard makes his entrance with a song lamenting his life of evil.
  • "Le Blues du Businessman" from Starmania may count.
  • "I Loved Her, Too" from Street Scene.
  • "Die Unstillbare Gier" from Tanz Der Vampire, in which both the audience and Alfred realize that Count von Krolock is a person, capable of great longing and regret.
  • "Call From The Grave" and "Epitaph" from Bertolt Brechts The Threepenny Opera. (Titles vary depending on the translation - "Ruf aus dem Gruft" and "Grabschrift" are the original titles.)
  • Richard in Thrill Me has "Afraid", which is mostly about how he's scared of going to prison, but also serves as the moment when he finally realizes what he's done. It's entirely possible to play him as having his first real My God, What Have I Done? moment as he sings, "What we did was wrong!"
  • Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier has one in homage to "No Good Deed" from Wicked. It's a subversion, as it reveals all the villains singing were good people who were demonized by the supposed "heroes". Jafar even gives a subverted Then Let Me Be Evil rant near the end, with the subversion being that he's going to do the right thing even if it means he'll go down in history as the villain.
  • "No Good Deed" from Wicked.
    Sure I meant well
    Well, look at what well-meant did!

    Visual Novels 
  • In Doki Doki Literature Club!, this is one of the functions served by the song "Your Reality", which is from the point of view of a character who recently had a Heel Realization. As befits the style of the game, it hides some really dark stuff behind relatively innocuous words.
    If I can't even read my own feelings
    What good are words when a smile says it all?
    And if this world won't write me an ending
    What would it take just for me to have it all?
    Does my pen only write bitter words for those who are dear to me?
    Is it love if I take you or is it love if I set you free?

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • The final song in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog seems to go back and forth between this and a straight Villain Song. To an extent, the whole show is this trope.
  • Potter Puppet Pals: "Have you ever had a bad day? Do you know what they'd call you if every day of your life was like that? They'd call you Snape..."
  • Edgeworth's song in Turnabout Musical, "Decree of the Prosecutor", has him question his own tactics as a prosecutor. "For if I cheat in the court can I say with a straight face/ that I'm a better man than the sort that I prosecute every case?".

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic's resident Rich Bitch Diamond Tiara sings "The Pony I Want to Be" in the episode "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", lamenting about how she wishes she could become different but how she has no idea how to change into a nicer pony.
  • The Simpsons: Sideshow Bob had a plan to kill Krusty the Klown, and he was about to see the plan come to fruition when Krusty sang a song about how he really missed working with Bob. In turn, Bob sang about how he would really miss Krusty when he had killed him, and this made him have second thoughts and prevent his trap from killing Krusty.


Video Example(s):


My Evil Dreams

Cedric laments to Wormwood over his longtime desire to take over Enchancia and his friendship with Sofia.

How well does it match the trope?

3.4 (5 votes)

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