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Waxing Lyrical

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Well, what would Rick Astley do?

President Haney: Please God, don't let him quote lyrics.
Vice-President Matthews: [eulogizing] Muskrat Susie, Muskrat Sam. Do the jitterbug out in Muskrat Land. And they shimmy, [voice cracks] and Sammy's so skinny...

Bob and Alice are talking, and you the viewer can't help but notice that there is something weird with Bob's dialogue. When he finishes speaking it turns out that Bob was using the lyrics to a well known song to make his point. Alternatively, Bob could have been singing, but the fact that the song was mainstream was hidden due to the fact that the song could have been reworked or sounded more appropriate to the character's situation than it actually was. Either way, the writers have made a joke by subtly slipping a popular song into the events of a show and then revealing it. Writers, like all people, just love to play with words.

This is a favorite trick of time-travelers or ambassadors to alien civilizations, who will break out song lyrics whenever they need to say something vaguely intellectual-sounding. This often seems to manifest as a game of dueling aphorisms with a local philosopher, who will always end up being impressed with such an obviously learned man. See I'm Mr. [Future Pop Culture Reference]. This is also a common trait of the Pop-Cultured Badass and the Cloud Cuckoo Lander.


Obviously, if the viewer knows the song well, they'll see the joke coming, but the joke is intended for a larger audience who are aware of the song but wouldn't know the lyrics by heart. If it appears in a children's show, it likely doubles as a Parental Bonus. Prone to happening when dealing with songs that get stuck in your head.

When used in Fan Fiction, this is Song Fic. Not to be confused with That Reminds Me of a Song, "One Song To The Tune Of Another" or "singing the wrong lyrics". Also has no relationship to a certain Magical Girl.



    open/close all folders 

  • This commercial by Nortel features a CEO giving a rather bizarre inspirational speech to his company, which turns out to be The Beatles' "Come Together".
  • One advert for Virgin Media has the narrator reciting the lyrics to "Our House" by Madness.
  • A State Farm ad has a customer and a rep unconsciously quoting "Any Way You Want It," until the customer notices. "We just had ourselves a little Journey moment there."
  • This Fiat Punto advert has a man apparently in the middle of an argument with his partner, quoting "Don't You Want Me?" by The Human League. The cash register at the petrol station even adds the synth noises in the appropriate place.
  • This Workday Inc. spot has pro golfers Brandt Snedeker, Davis Love III, and Matt Kuchar swapping lines from Billy Joel's "Honesty". Another ad for the same company features lyrics from Matthew Wilder's "Break My Stride".
  • In 2017, Disney Theme Parks began running a series of commercials consisting of a montage of people enjoying the parks as a narrator quotes the lyrics to a well-known song from the Disney Animated Canon. Examples include "A Whole New World" and "Bella Notte".

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • My Immortal:
    He suddenly looked at them with an evil look in his eye and muttered Well If you wanted Honesty that’s all you haD TO SAY! .
    "That's not a spell that's an MCR song." I corrected him wisely.
  • A few mangled lines from songs are snuck into the dialogue in Decks Fall Everyone Dies.
  • In Drunkard's Walk II, during a discussion about Doug's Pinball Gag combat (it's magic), one character asks "How do you think he does it?" and a second responds "I don't know." A third continues "What makes him so good?... Well, it's obvious that he's a pinball wizard. And that there has to be a twist." Neither of the other two gets it.
  • This quote from Gibbet (Willow) of My Mëtäl, a My Immortal Heavy Metal Parody by Monica Gilbey Bieber, as an added explanation of how Gibbet would show up one chapter after Ignacïo confesses to Rainblood that he killed Gibbet. This is in reference to the scene in My Immortal where Willow is brought back to life without explanation.
    I dunno what's gotten into Ignacïo, but he sent me to get tortured, killed, tortured again, and fucked by Snape ...In That Order after Ignacïo must have stabbed me fifty fucking times! Good thing I barely survived and escaped that necropedophile before he attempted to rip my heart out right before my eyes and completely butcher me until I end up looking like a model for a Cannibal Corpse album cover!
    • Hilariously, Avenged Sevenfold is considered a poser (My Metal's equivalent of a prep) band in this fanfic.
    • Also, Rainblood/Chäntal mentions that he's not a vampire, but he feels like one when Tom asked him/her how s/he drank all the blood of a lady in the movie theater. Just like Avenged Sevenfold, Falling in Reverse is also, hilariously, a poser band in this fanfic.
  • In Another Day in the Life of Voldemort quotes Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" shortly before entering the Potter home at Godric's Hollow.
  • In Disney High, Aladdin mistakenly believes that Jasmine will only date someone who knows all the lyrics to an album by Miley Cyrus by heart. When they are talking at a party and he tries to convince her he's really an Arabian prince who's only moved to the US recently, he desperately comes up with this:
    Aladdin: I just got here... hopped off the plane at L.A.X... with my dream and um... my cardigan. I mean... it's the land of fame excess... I was kinda worried I wasn't going to fit in.
    Jasmine: Are you... are those the lyrics to Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA"?
    Aladdin: ...Maybe.
  • In The Fairy Godmother Harry's mother comments on how much she and his father loved him at the end of a recorded will.
    Lily Potter: Never be sad, because our sacrifice was for you. You are my little sunshine and you make me happy when my skies are grey.
  • In The Ties That Bind, Phoenix Wright segues into quoting John Denver ("leaving on a jet plane...") while giving Edgeworth romantic advice. It should be noted that this is not at all out of character for him.
  • Several examples in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, notably when the priest of Meddar convinces the four to rescue Malla's baby by quoting a couple of lines from “Help!” while channeling the god.
  • There's Nothing Sweeter:
    Gwen: Now that you know me, your life would suck without me. Coz we belong together, yeah, forever united here somehow, yeah.
    Travis: Oh Gods, shut up. You're not even singing it and that song still sounds awful.
  • In Something Wicked This Way Comes Luna mentions her relationship with Hermione.
    Luna: If it makes you think less of me, I can understand. Love sometimes works in strange ways, and people don't like strange things.
    Cho: No, no, it's just... unusual.
    Luna: It's not unusual to be loved by someone.
  • In Leaving Home Harry decides to transfer to Salem Academy. Hermione's parents ask her why she intends to do the same and she quotes Peggy March's "I Will Follow Him".
  • In Secrets Draco is nervous about the impending Final Battle.
    Harry: Take my hand and we'll make it, I swear.
    Draco: Livin' on a fucking prayer.
    Harry: We've got to hold on, ready or not. You live for the fight when it's all that you've got.
  • In Potter's Protector Xander receives a valentine which quotes "Hungry Like the Wolf".
    Xander: I'm fairly certain Duran Duran are, as we speak, building a lawsuit.
  • Harry Potter and the Mystic Force: When the true Big Bad Ivan Ooze reveals himself, he quips "Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste."
  • In Between My Brother And Me Mors Omnibus, Yvonne Maxa and Yusho Sakaki have to duel Yuya and Zarc in an Action Duel. At this point, Yusho is trying everything he can to free Yuya from Zarc's control, so Yvonne uses the lines from the song "Aim For the Head" by Creature Feature to give him ideas.
    Yvonne: This is a test of strength and your will to survive. And if you give up now, they’re gonna eat you alive.
    Yusho: Then how do we stop them?
    Yvonne: (pulling out a knife) I suggest that with a loaded gun and a steady hand, we just might live through this.
    Yusho: Any other advice?
    Yvonne: (taps side of head twice) Aim for the head.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail has Lexi do this on one occasion, referencing The Beatles after dancing with Chloe ("happy just to dance with you"), but Chloe herself is the one who most often peppers her dialogue with quotes from books or songs when she wants to make a clever joke. Chloe doesn't always explain when she's doing this, however, leading to moments like:
    Lexi: It doesn’t matter what car you’re from or what your aspirations are; they [Grace and Simon] will hurt you, kill you and show not a single ounce of pity. If I had my way, I’d…
    Chloe: Find them, bind them, tie them to a pole and break their fingers to splinters, throw them in a hole until they wake up naked crawling at the ceiling of their graves?
    Lexi ...Was any of that sarcastic?
  • The Kingdom Hearts fic Adjustments has a scene where Kairi, giving relationship advice to Roxas about Xion, quotes the chorus of Jesse Mc Cartney's "Beautiful Soul", to him, much to his confusion.
    Roxas: I just… I didn’t realize that you could just… say song lyrics. I thought it had to be timed right… and underwater… and with the right button presses.

    Films — Animation 
  • Shrek:
    Gingerbread Man: Do you know the Muffin Man?
    Farquaad: The Muffin Man?
    Gingerbread Man: The Muffin Man.
    Farquaad: Yes... I know the Muffin Man. Who lives on Drury Lane?
    Gingerbread Man: Well... she's married to the Muffin Man.
    Farquaad: The Muffin Man?
    Gingerbread Man: The Muffin Man!
    Farquaad: She's married to the Muffin Man...
    • Also, there's this:
      Donkey: You love this woman, don't ya?
      Shrek: Yes.
      Donkey: You wanna hold her?
      Shrek: Yes.
      Donkey: Please her?
      Shrek: Yes!
      Donkey: Then ya gotta, gotta try a little tenderness!
  • In Rio 2, Nigel accidentally attends a Carnival audition. He then proceeds to do a dramatic performance of "I Will Survive", turning that into a Villain Song (not that it isn't adequate).
  • In one of the wraparounds from Friz Freleng's Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, Daffy challenges Bugs to a talent contest to see who's the best.
  • Open Season: In the Direct-To-Video Special "Scared Silly", the animals just have crashed Shaw's seaplane. Which happens to be named Jolene. Cue Trope.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In the Arthur C. Clarke/Stephen Baxter book The Light Of Other Days, about a society where privacy is becoming obsolete, a girl is seen wearing a T-shirt with the words 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town'. The protagonist doesn't know what it means, but she explains it to him later in case the reader didn't catch it: "He sees you when you're sleeping..."
  • In "Cold Snap", the advent of a prehistoric elemental ice being results in the surrounding countryside being plunged into freezing weather even though it's the middle of summer. The scene is described with a quotation from the Christmas carol "In the Bleak Midwinter":
    Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone... snow had fallen, snow had fallen, snow on snow.
  • Discworld:
    • Hogfather has some fun with the lyrics of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town": Quoth the Raven tells Susan "You'd better watch out"; Death, in his role as Hogfather, is able to ensure some kids see him, because I know when they are peeping, and he asks if checking the list twice is sufficient. In the same book, the magical and dizzyingly fast sleigh ride prompts Albert to mutter sarcastically "Oh, what fun."
    • Soul Music is absolutely loaded with musical references, such as Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler telling some would-be musicians "So you want to be a Music With Rocks In It Star? Then listen now to what I say..."
    • In Thud!, Fred Colon comments on the trouble in Koom Valley with the immortal question "War, Nobby, huh. What is it good for"? Nobby Nobbs proceeds to try and come up with an answer.
    • In Lords and Ladies, Ridcully claims he's not fit to jump off Lancre Bridge like he was in his youth, saying "I was young and foolish then". Granny Weatherwax retorts "Well? You're old and foolish now."
    • In The Last Continent, Ridcully's reaction to stormclouds finally arriving in the Disc's Fantasy Counterpart Culture Australia is "Can you hear that thunder? We'd better take cover." In the same book, Fair Go Dibbler's list of people he doesn't want to send back where they came from includes "me mate Duncan, 'cos Duncan's me mate".
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe
    • In the Past Doctor Adventures novel The Eleventh Tiger, the Doctor and his companions are staying at a 19th century gongfu school. (Note that Ian and Barbara are from ten years before the song came out, but the Doctor clearly recognizes the accidental reference):
      [Ian:] "One minute those kids are just running around chaotically, but the next minute they're all focused, and everyone's kung-fu fighting."
      "Those kids are as fast as lightning," Barbara added.
      The Doctor raised an eyebrow. "Are they indeed? And was it, perchance, dear boy, a little bit frightening? Hmm?"
    • In the Fifth/Seventh team-up Cold Fusion, Chris Cwej is posing as an Australian, and describes living in a close-knit community in a sunny suburb, where everyone pops in and out of each others' houses, before concluding "With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend and that's when good neighbours become good friends". Real Australian Tegan doesn't get the reference, having come from a time before Neighbours began, but does spot he's talking nonsense.
    • And in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Camera Obscura, the Doctor quotes "All Along the Watchtower" while trying to escape a creepy Eldritch Location with a man who literally stole his heart:
      "'There must be some way out of here,' said the joker to the thief."
    • Sabbath (the aforementioned thief) has his own moment of doing this, for no particular reason at all: he's usually The Stoic, and he's from the 18th century. But he gets into an alarmingly perky and cheerful mood and starts quoting from The Wizard of Oz.
      "'Because,' said Sabbath. 'Because because because because because. Because of the wonderful things I does.'"
    • The New Series Adventures novel Silhouette has a brief Call-Back to the The Lion King moment in "The Christmas Invasion" (below). The Twelfth Doctor is trying to convince a Human Weapon Emotion Bomb to amplify the positive emotions surrounding him, rather than the negative ones, and asks "Can you feel the love tonight?" He breaks off for a moment, then decides that wherever it came from, it works.
    • In the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Love and War by Paul Cornell, when Benny asks Ace how she met the Doctor, Ace accurately describes her initial situation in "Dragonfire" as "I was working as a waitress is a cocktail bar..."
  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency has a scene involving a horse in a bathroom.
    "A horse?" he said again.
    "Yes, it is," said the Professor. "Wait—" he motioned to Richard, who was about to go out again and investigate— "let it be. It won't be long."
    Richard stared in disbelief. "You say there's a horse in your bathroom, and all you can do is stand there naming Beatles songs?"
  • The Book Of Awesome: The final two paragraphs of "Taking your shoes off on a long car ride" match the lyrics of Buddy Holly's Rollercoaster.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In Ghost Story, Dresden tries to console Molly by saying "for everything there is a season", but Molly cuts him off by telling him to stop quoting the Bible at her. Harry counters he was actually quoting the song Turn! Turn! Turn! (admittedly the latter is based on the former).
    • In another book he makes Toot-Toot a Major General in order to psych him up. The little faerie can't believe it and asks for confirmations. Harry replies, "Yes, yes, a Major General."
  • Near the start of Whispers Underground, during a murder investigation, DI Stephanopoulos comments "Well, our victim had a thirst for knowledge. He was a student at St Martin's College."
  • Whateley Universe: From Imp 4: A Teacher’s Tail (Part 1), when her narration is discussing her neighbor, the Imp starts singing the opening song for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood:
    "It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor," I began singing, only to make Maria stop and stare at me. After a few more lines, I flashed her a broad grin and asked, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
  • In the Angels of Music novella The Mark of Kane, when Mrs Elizabeth Eynsford-Hill and Mme Gilberte Lachaille accost Charles Foster Kane to stop him leaving his own party, Eliza suggests that they could dance all night, Gigi that they could drink champagne like it's just been invented, referencing "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "The Night They Invented Champagne" from their respective musicals.
  • Colony Mars has Gizmo tell Mia Sorelli “it is time to leave the capsule, if you dare”
  • Bill from I Think I Love You writes Petra a love letter consisting of David Cassidy lyrics.
  • In Evidence of Things Not Seen, Frank asks his wife Stella if she would like to swing on a star and carry moonbeams home in a jar.


Note: For this category, we only list sketches or spoken word interludes on musical albums to be counted as an example of Waxing Lyrical.
  • Frank Zappa:
    • During the song "Punky's Whips" Terry Bozzio is voicing his obsession for Punky Meadows and at one point says (not sings): "Oh, Punky, isn't it romantic?" While he says that a small musical snippet from the 1930s song "Isn't It Romantic?" can be heard in the background.
    • Joe's Garage: During "Sy Borg" Joe is having sex with a robot, but gets too excited, causing the robot to malfunction and shout: "You're plooking too hard! Plooking too hard on me!" This is a reference to the 1966 song "Pushin' Too Hard" by The Seeds.

    Newspaper Comics 

  • Gottlieb's Mayfair, based on the film version of My Fair Lady, is peppered with references to the musical's various songs, including:
    • A street sign for Your Street ("The Street Where You Live")
    • A dancing couple asking "dance all night?" ("I Could Have Danced All Night")
    • Eliza's father has a card in his hatband reading "Reminder: Get Me To The Church On Time"

  • This is a favourite pastime across many Cool Kids Table games.
    • In the Harry Potter-themed game Hogwarts: The New Class:
      • Episode three gets its title from Jake singing "Let's get it sorted!" to the tune of "Let's Get It Started" by The Black Eyed Peas.
      • Episode four has several Wu-Tang Clan lyrics dropped casually by the kids.
    • In The Fallen Gods when Tuatha succeeds her constitution saving throw in episode 10, Solvin asks her if she woke up feeling like P. Diddy.
    • Sequinox:
      • While debating what constitutes a magic attack in episode 4, Alan states "I've got the magic in me", and Jake follows up with "Everything he touch that track it turns into gold".
      • Jake accidentally says lyrics from "Enter Sandman" while describing a scene at Chell's home, and Josh tries to keep it going.
      • They do it to the theme from Wild Wild West during the previously on segment for episode 11. Jake tries to stop it before they get sued.
  • When the Jemjammer party lands at Port Meridian and tries to figure out what to do on a space station, Cacophony declares that the proper action is to find a girl named Brandy and tell her she might be a fine girl, but your life, your lover, your space sea.
  • In Interstitial Actual Play episode 2.
    Jo: First things first—
    Wheels: I'm the realest.
    Riley: I was gonna say "I eat your brains".
    • In episode 11, when Edith trudges through the woods.
      Hazel: I'm making my way...downtown. a moderate pace, faces pass, and I mean, like, in a grander sense I'm home bound.
  • Mystery Show: Dennis, the Ticketmaster customer service rep, quotes Gotye:
    Dennis: You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness.
  • All over the place in Disgraceland, as you can expect.

  • A very common gag in Milton Jones's shows; particular highlights include "Is this a photo of you with R.E.M.?" "Yes, that's me in the corner" and this gem:
    I had a Siamese twin, you see, but we were separated a couple of months before I went onto the comedy circuit. In fact, he earned a little money from doing this really bad impressions of me, but then he became an astronaut. I saw him again recently. He asked me how I'd been. I said, well, at first I was afraid, I was petrified, thought that I could never live without you... by my side. But I spent so many nights, thinking how you did me wrong, and I grew strong... So now you're back. From outer space.
  • Absolute Power:
    • In the first episode Sandy is accused of taking the petty cash and stormed out. When they find out it was really stolen by the chairman of the Conservative Party and she returns, Charles greets her with "Ah, Sandy. You came and you gave without taking, but we sent you away."
    • In episode 2 of season 3, Charles declares He's Back after being lovesick with "I'm reviewing the situation, I'm a bad 'un, and a bad 'un I shall stay."
  • When Pip Bin, Mr. Gently Benevolent, and Harry Biscuit are in space in Bleak Expectations, Harry keeps quoting "Space Oddity". When he thinks Pippa is leaving him for Mr. Benevolent (again), he does the first few lines of "I Will Survive".
    • Also, His Majesty King George the Fourth's armada, including H.M.S. War, H.M.S. Huh, H.M.S. What Is It Good For?, and H.M.S. Absolutely Nothing.
  • Happens occasionally on The Now Show; one particular example came when the audience question was "Who would you give an honour too?" and someone wrote, "I would give a KBE to Shalamar, to make him a knight to remember." (Hugh: "I think I was far away enough from the actual tune there that we don't have to pay royalties.")
    • In the first episode of the 2010 election special series, The Vote Now Show, they looked at the various government inspectors the Conservatives would abolish, including one who checks premises for illegal performing animals. The conversation between the inspector and a suspect quickly becomes "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear".
      • The second-to-last episode of The Vote Now Show, in what became a mini-Running Gag:
        Jon Holmes: I believe that the children are our future. Treat them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess inside...
        Steve Punt: Jon, has someone bet you that you can't get the lyrics to a Whitney Houston song into tonight's show?
        Jon Holmes: Yes. Mitch Benn has, and he now owes me five pounds.
    • Lloyd Langford on the failure of a Lib Dem peer to apologise for alleged sex offences: "It's sad, so sad, it's a sad, sad situation, and it's getting more and more absurd, but for Lord Rennard, 'sorry' seems to be the hardest word".
    • Steve Punt on the badger culls "Brian May is protesting again, in camouflage gear. He's got mud on his face, and he's waving his banner all over the place."
  • I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue:
    • There's a round based on this. For instance, the following dialogue between Graeme Garden (as a doctor) and Barry Cryer (as his patient):
      Barry: I hope you won't want to give me a jab, because I'm terrified of needles.
      Graeme: (contemptuous) Baby. Take off your coat. Real slow.
      Barry: But it hurts when I move my arms.
      Graeme: Baby. Take off your shoes.
      Barry: I can't bend over, it hurts...
      Graeme: (irritated) I'll help you take off your shoes. Baby. Take off your dress.
      Barry: Now, I can explain about the dress...
      Graeme: (dismissively) Yes, yes, yes.
      Barry : Doctor, do you want me to undress completely?
      Graeme: You Can Leave Your Hat On.
    • If one of the teams is putting on an Italian accent for 86 Chicken Cross Lane (a game in which they construct a letter from a historic personage word by word), it will inevitably morph into "Shaddap You Face".
  • The original radio version of Dead Ringers uses the same gag as the TV version, only with Radio 4 newsreader Charlotte Greene: "I'm Charlotte Greene. Say it loud and there's music playing, say it soft and it's almost like praying. More on that story later."
  • In Old Harry's Game Olympic Special, Thomas finds himself trying to comfort Marilyn Monroe.
  • The title character of Lenin of the Rovers, Russian footballer Ricky Lenin, does this quite often.
    Ricky: Look, Ray, I don't care too much for money. Because, you know, money can't buy me love.
    Ricky: Terry! Don't be a hero! Don't be a fool with your life!
    • Eventually, the rest of the cast starts joining in.
      Ricky: Hey, that's neat. That's neat. That's neat, that's neat, that's neat, that's neat.
      Terry Trotsky and Stevie Stalin: I really love your tiger feet.
  • Big Finish Doctor Who:
  • In the Radio 4 serial I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General, George Grossmith, having been given a dressing down by W. S. Gilbert for overacting in his role as Sir Joseph in H.M.S. Pinafore tells Arthur Sullivan it's to make up for his singing. Sullivan assures him neither of them has ever had any criticism of his singing. Grossmith asks "What, never?" and Sullivan, of course, replies "Hardly ever." It's later established that the line has already become a Memetic Mutation.
  • In an episode of The Infinite Monkey Cage about microbes, planetary scientist Professor Monica Grady, discussing the search for micro-organisms on Mars, mentions the theory that Earth might have been "seeded" by ancient Martian life.
    Robin Ince: Do we know what the chances of anything coming from Mars are?
    Monica Grady: I think they're about a million to one.

    Tabletop Games 

  • In Finian's Rainbow, Og the leprechaun is trying to explain that he now knows What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?, and Finian plays along with the quotation of Silly Love Songs:
    Og: Does an optical illusion feel an, oh, such a hungry yearning burning inside of him, under the hide of him? Does an optical illusion feel the beat-beat-beat of the tom-tom in the roaring traffic's boom, in his lonely room?
    Finian (His scholarly interest is enlisted): Hmmm. Do you also feel like the promised kiss of springtime that trembles on the brink of a lovely song?
    Og: Yes, and what's worse, smoke keeps coming out of me eyes.
    Finian: You go round and round like an elevator lost in the tide?
  • In The Complete History of America (abridged), Jefferson and Madison are brainstorming the beginning of the Bill of Rights. After throwing out each other's first ideas as "too liberal" or "too conservative" suggestions, Jefferson suggests, "Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother, you're staying alive, staying alive," to which Madison says, "No, that's too seventies."
  • In an indirect example, the stars of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages are this; a small town girl, trying to escape her lonely world, and a city boy born and raised in south Detroit.
  • A running gag in The Case of the Tale Told by an Idiot, a Macbeth/Film Noir mash-up by Bruce Kane. The Femme Fatale, Nola, is described in the words of "Whatever Lola Wants" and "Copacabana". Her accomplice's confession at the end keeps lapsing into "You Made Me Love You". Macbeth's soliloquies (in addition to the ones Shakespeare gave him) are "I'm Forever Chasing Rainbows", "Night and Day", and "Three O'Clock in the Morning".

    TV Tropes 

    Video Games 
  • Many units in Warcraft III will spout song lyrics as their Stop Poking Me! lines.
  • In Sam and Max: Ice Station Santa, Sam and Max confront a giant Maimtron robot that randomly drops appropriate pop-song lyrics into its dialogue. Sam can distract it by asking it questions like "Why do fools fall in love?" and "Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near?"
  • Hotel Mario has Mario telling one of the Koopalings: "Hey you! Get off of my cloud!"
  • Jolee Bindo spent twenty years on Kashyyyk. Why?
    Jolee: I did it all for the Wookiees.
    PC: The Wookiees?
    Jolee: The Wookiees!
  • In the handheld versions of The Urbz: Sims in the City, after you best the Red Man at a fiddling contest:
    Player Character: I told you once, you son of a gun, I'm the best there's ever been!
  • In Maximo vs. Army of Zin, a rescued townsperson next to a burning barn proclaims "The roof... the roof... the roof is on fire!" on the spectacle, referencing the Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three song "The Roof Is on Fire".
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3, if the player starts the game by saying "I like MGS2!" in the opening screen, Snake will be wearing a mask in the opening cutscene and greet the Major by saying "Can you hear me, Major Tom?"
  • Kingdom of Loathing does this all the time. For example, pretty much every cake-based food item in the game references lyrics from a song by CAKE.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, there is a guy running around in Hyrule Castle Town. If you talk to him, he says: "I'm late! For a very important date!".
  • Some of the clothing/instrument descriptions in Rock Band, unsurprisingly.
  • In Monster Hunter 3U, talking to one of the Moga Village fishing boat captains when you have both Shakalaka party members with you results in him reciting a short (and hilarious) homage to a famous Mary Poppins song.
  • Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: In "Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective", Strong Bad's character, Dangeresque, begins rattling off pop song lyrics when his father, "Dadgeresque," is killed.
    Dangeresque: Don't do this dad, you have to hang on! Did you ever know that you're my hero? We've only just begun! You're the wind beneath my wings! Umm... She Bop?
  • Super Robot Wars UX:
    • In Scenario 12, Soushi uses quotes from the opening and ending song lyrics of Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor note . Later in Scenario 25, Tsubaki will use another quote from another Fafner ending song "Separation" note . Lyrics from Fafner In The Azure: Heaven and Earth are quoted by Shou in Scenario 29 note , while Ryuubi Gundam or Chousen Qubeley quotes the main song lyrics in Scenario 47 note .
    • In Scenario 34, Doctor West will quote the lyrics of the 1979 anime Cyborg 009 note .
    • During Scenario 43 of the Union Route, Fei-Yen HD, Sheryl Nome and Ranka Lee will sing the lyrics of the opening song "Tori no Uta" from Dancougar Nova together note .
    • At one point in UX, Aira uses the lyrics from "Proud", an in-anime song from Linebarrels of Iron note .
    • Shou uses the lyrics to "Fly Dunbine", the opening song to Aura Battler Dunbine, in Scenario 46 note .
    • Shinn Asuka will quote lyrics from the ending song "Life Goes On" from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. note 
  • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation, Irm will sometimes quote the Ultraman Taro opening theme when he attacks.
  • Animaniacs for the Sega Genesis:
    Yakko: We need to cooperate here. Wakko, you take the high road. Dot, you take the low road. As for me, I'll be in Scotland before ye. Whatever that means.
  • In The Sims Medieval if you get the "Ghost Ship" chance event one of the choices is described with "I ain't afraid of no ghost!"
  • In Disco Elysium this can happen at several points:
    • You can quote DMX's "Where The Hood At" at your Shivers skill, and it replies in kind:
      You: Where the hood, where the hood, where the hood at?
    • The Electrochemistry skill will reference Fatboy Slim's "The Rockafeller Skank", as you extract the bullet which has punched a hole in the Hanged Man's basal ganglia:
      Electrochemistry: The funk soul brother at the back of his head has gone dark. Forever.
    • When you are trying to listen to the beat of the pale, and the Old Curch is collapsing around you as a result, you can loudly shout out a line of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" at the unfolding pandemonium, and Egg Head, the MC who is present at the eventm will quote you right back:


    Web Original 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd:
  • A frequent gag including Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. Including:
    Marik: Let's see how you like my Cage of Doom!
    Yami: Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.

    Vic Mignogna: Let's dance!
    Yami: I don't feel like dancing. No sir. No dancing today.

    Téa: We didn't start the fire! It was always burning since the world's been turning!
    • And another one, from Episode 36, that then turns into BGM:
      Yugi: Hey, Joey, how'd it come to this? I mean, after all we've been through? Two of a pair, now on opposite sides.
      Joey: Yeah, from the very start with honor we've dueled 'n stuff. Watched each other’s backs and, you know, battled with pride.
      Yugi: We’re closer than brothers. And now we have to fight each other.
      Yugi and Joey, singing: And we trust our fate to the heart of the cards!
      Tristan: No matter what!
      Yugi and Joey, singing: Let the game begin.
      Tristan: No matter what!
      Yugi and Joey, singing: May the best man win.
  • Any time Rickrolling comes up in an Internet discussion, there's a good chance that someone will mention how Rick Astley's never gonna give you up and never gonna let you down. You wouldn't get it from any other guy. It's now possible to recite lines that are simply a similar form of exaggeratedly romantic promises, and get your audience to Rickroll themselves.
  • The Descendants loves this. To date, it's used "Hurt" by Trent Reznor, "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads and "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones.
    • The "Sympathy for the Devil" one is arguable because the characters were quoting the Show Within a Show.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, when describing the Astral Knights, the Emperor says that they were "...the best around. Nothing was ever gonna keep them down.", quoting the "You're the best" song from The Karate Kid.
  • Unskippable's Grandia III episode:
    • As far as I know, there's only been one.
    • Singular sensation.
  • An episode of ENN has the newsreaders reciting the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • This News Biscuit article, "Mild alarm caused by kung fu fighting outbreak" ("it was a little bit frightening" said one witness)
  • Homestar Runner:
    • In a really old version of the character page, Marzipan's description stated that "She loves horses and her boyfriend, too."
    • "3 Times Halloween Funjob" has Strong Sad dressing up like David Byrne, and sure enough, there's an Easter Egg with the inevitable reference to the lyrics of "Once In A Lifetime".
      Coach Z: Well, Strong Sad, this is a beautiful house you got here.
      Strong Sad: This is not my beautiful house!
      Coach Z: Oh, and I haven't been introduced to your beautiful wife yet, neither.
      Strong Sad: This is not my beautiful wife!
    • In the Strong Bad Email "cliffhangers", Strong Bad's eventual response (after some Literalist Snarking) to a request to "resolve all the cliffhangers, please" is "You say you want a resolution, huh?"
    • In Teen Girl Squad Issue #14, Quarterman quotes some lines from "What I've Been Looking For" when he tells The Ugly One, "All this time I was looking around, and you weren't right there in front of me. But I realized... when I was looking around... that you were right there in front of me... all this time...".
      The Ugly One: (excited) That makes so much sense!
    • In "A Decemberween Mackerel", Homestar is so turned off at the thought of helping Senor Cardgage, that he leaves for Marzipan's house. As he does this, he references "Winter Wonderland" by telling Marzipan "Later on, we'll conspire."
    • The last update to the site (until April Fools' Day of 2014, at least) was a "Decemberween costume special" that had The King of Town dressed up as Heat Miser from The Year Without a Santa Claus. When Homestar confused it for a "Devil Don King", he was corrected, followed by the KOT saying "I'm Mister Heat Blister, I'm Mister Hundred and One!"
    • In "Mr. Poofers Must Die", Strong Sad starts making a series of references to Dinosaur Jr. albums, in reference to Marzipan dressing as lead singer J. Mascis. Strong Bad complains that no one else gets the reference, and Marzipan says that while she gets the joke, it's not very funny.
  • Whenever someone on a message board or any sort of site says something that also happens to be the lyrics to a song, the next few posts are usually continuations of the lyrics.....
  • Linkara tends to do this quite a lot, most often when a comic's dialogue gives him a decent opening. This is usually an excuse to play the song, no matter how otherwise irrelevant, over the opening title card or closing credits. He will also occasionally play a clip from the song immediately after reciting the verse if he thinks viewers might not get the reference. He seems to know an awful lot of songs.
  • After a chapter of Dive Quest that's been particularly harrowing for both of them on a personal level, Tislomer and Babrakus start reciting lines from the Dropkick Murphys' "Forever".
  • In Suburban Knights, some of The Nostalgia Chick 's elven montages feature lyrics to 'One Week' by Barenaked Ladies and Bad Romance by Lady Gaga.
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG:
    390. My character's background must be more in-depth than a montage of Queen lyrics.
  • In the DVD-R Hell review of Bibleman, archvillain Doctor Insano delivers a "We Will Meet Again" speech from behind bars.
  • Mr. Mendo does this a lot, usually as a Couch Gag. At various times, he's introduced himself as:
  • TV Trash's The Rowdy Reviewer does this when reviewing The Groovenians. After a character says "Tomorrow is another day", he follows it up with "And I'm thirsty anyway, so bring on the rain."
  • In Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv) Da Chief declares "I won't let you down... or give you up... but I might run and round and desert you."
  • The Nostalgia Critic concludes his review of Jingle All the Way with this, as a threat to Santa:
    Critic: You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I'm telling you why. THE NOSTALGIA CRITIC IS COMING TO YOUR HOUSE!
  • Happens occasionally in Todd in the Shadows' videos, usually using lyrics from the song he's reviewing.
    • In "OMG" and "The Top 10 Best Songs of 2010", he hits on Lupa with terrible song lyrics ("OMG" itself and "Sexy Bitch" in the former, "Carryout" in the latter).
    • To push the "Born This Way"/"Express Yourself" joke further, he advises Lady Gaga by saying that a wise person once said, "Don't go for second best baby, put your love to the test".
    • He closes a U2 top 5 with "I'm Todd in the Shadows, and I still haven't found what I'm looking for".
    • "I mean, you'd think people would have had enough of silly love songs."
    • "Levine, get off of his cloud!"
    • He begins his review of "We Are Young" and "Somebody That I Used to Know" by quoting the former's opening lyrics: "Give me a second. I... I need to get my story straight."
    • In His "Top 10 Best Songs of 2013" video, Kyle convinces Todd to get over his depressive stupor and go on with the show by telling him to "be the best... hooded silhouetto of a man that you can be!"
      • From the same video, when discussing Gotye's failure to get any further publicity after "Somebody That I Used to Know" became a #1 hit, he admonishes the public: "You didn't have to cut him off!"
      • A partial example when he's describing "Some Nights" by fun. — he asks "What is this song about? What is this song about?" in a manner deliberately imitating the song's "What do I stand for? What do I stand for?" and immediately cuts to the next line, "Most nights, I don't know."
    • When introducing Justin Timberlake in his review of "Suit and Tie"/"Thrift Shop", Todd asks, "You ready, JT?", just as Timbaland does in "Suit and Tie".
    • In the "Worst Hit Songs of 2013" video, he says that the "bros" who have overtaken country music in 2013 are "not here for a long time, just a good time."
    • In his "Talk Dirty" review, when he realizes Jason Derulo has still been having hits, he states that it's "not a come back, he's been here for years".
    • When introducing "Show Me" in his Worst Hit Songs of 2014 video, he comments that the song reminds him of something, but he doesn't know what it is.
    • Also in the Worst of 2014 video, when discussing Jason Derulo's "Trumpets," particularly that the subject's eyes remind him of a Coldplay song, Todd responds with, "...they were all yellow?"
    • In his "Best Hit Songs of 2015" video, before introducing "Wildest Dreams," he comments that Taylor Swift romanticizing a sustained relationship is hard to believe because "she goes on too many dates" but "can't make them stay." At least, "that's what people say". Also, while discussing "FourFiveSeconds," he says that the song carries the sentiment of "It's the freakin' weekend, baby, I'm about to have me some fun!"
    • Todd sums up "Scars to Your Beautiful"'s underlying message as "you are beautiful no matter what they say, words can't bring you down."
  • In Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, Penwood and his men get reports that London Bridge is falling down.
    British Intelligence Agent: London Bridge is falling down!
    Penwood: Falling down?!
    British Intelligence Agent: Falling down!
    Penwood: London Bridge is falling down... My fair lady, what should we do!?
  • The Doctor Who analysis blog TARDIS Eruditorium occasionally does this with its jokey picture captions, for instance, suggesting that in "Planet of Fire", the Master is saying to Peri "See Kamelion, lying there in the sun..."
  • The Ben Heck Show: In the 2015 Halloween episode, Ben quotes word-for-word the ending rap/speech of Michael Jackson's Thriller.
  • Rotten Tomatoes had a consensus that read "The Shareef don't like Rock The Kasbah, and neither will viewers...".
  • El Sandifer of TARDIS Eruditorum, also did this with her previous blog The Nintendo Project, quoting One-Hit Wonder the Vapors with a shift in punctuation, when her discussion of baseball games says "Video games have always been turning Japanese, I think. So?"
  • Parodied Up to Eleven in the Smosh video "REJECTED TWILIGHT ZONE EPISODES!" where one of the rejected episodes featured a woman who could only say lyrics from Lady Gaga songs.
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, Yui admits that she latched onto Kirito and Asuna to try to figure out how two incredibly dysfunctional people managed to form a stable relationship. Or as she puts it:
    Yui: I wanted to know what love is. I wanted you to show me.
    Asuna: (tearing up) Goddamn Foreigner...
    Kirito: Y-you mean the band, right?
  • From the 1000 Misspent Hours review of Murder at the Baskervilles:
    El Santo: Now a horse is a horse (of course, of course), and no one can bribe a horse to throw a race (of course), and that pertains even if the horse is the famous Silver Blaze.
  • An invoked version: Go on YouTube and search for "Sung by the movies". You'll find a number of videos of movies spliced together so their dialogue forms the lyrics to various songs.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable But Really Really Fast, Kira does this with the lyrics from the They Might Be Giants' song "ECNALUBMA", which also foreshadows his eventual fate. An example, which also has lyrics from the Jojo Part 4 theme song itself, "Great Days":
  • In Team Four Star's abridged parody of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency, the characters named after famous music acts tend to quote lyrics from those music acts' most-known songs. Other song lyrics are quoted just for the hell of it.
    Wamuu: Thanks for waking us up before you went-went!

    Joseph Joestar: (to Lisa Lisa) And you are the one I adore!
    Lisa Lisa: Not the reference, but whatever. [She's actually named after Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam]

    Lisa Lisa: You are now Hamon masters head to toe.

    Esidisi: Oh, you've got some big balls to take me on.

    Joseph Joestar: [after defeating Esidisi] Looks like he's on a highway to Hell, now!

    Esidisi: [his brain is possessing Suzi Q's body] So, turns out Hell's not a bad place to be!
    Joseph Joestar: Hell's Bells, he's got Suzi Q! She's up to her neck in him! Esidisi, your dirty deeds will not go unpunished!

    Esidisi's brain: [as he's exploding] I've been... Hamon struck!
    Joseph Joestar: Now that's what I call a brain shake!

    Kars: Sorry, but I'm a real dangerous type, and while you might have the drive to beat me, you're all mixed up if you think you have the skills! [Joseph kicks him off a cliff] Aw, dammit. [falls]
    Joseph Joestar: Bye-bye, love!

    Wamuu: It was a mistake to come here alone, but if you're that eager to die, I'm your man.

    Joseph Joestar: [mourning Caesar Zeppeli] We had good times, bad times... Sometimes we had a communication breakdown, but... now you're climbing a stairway to Heav- [Zeppeli's blood bubble hits Joseph in the face] Blood in my eyes! Blood in my eyes, oh God! This is how you get hepatitis!
    Lisa Lisa: JoJo, this is no time to get lost in emotion!

    Joseph Joestar: [having just decapitated a distracted Wamuu] Looks like you got careless... whisper.
    Wamuu's Head: Y'know, some people consider "Careless Whisper" to be a George Michael solo single, Even though it was released on Wham!'s "Make it- [dies]

    Robert E.O. Speedwagon: Don't worry; they've [Stroheim and his cohorts] got sunshine in their pockets!
    Rudol von Stroheim: And ze good soul in our beams!

    Kars: [upon becoming the Ultimate Life Form] And now, let the good times roll! [Joseph crashes a plane into him]
    Joseph Joestar: Terribly sorry, but I'm all you've got tonight!
    Kars: It's sunrise, you asshole!

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • There is a time and a place for this sort of wordplay; at an inquest asking you why you shot a man dead is not it.
  • A dark (and likely unintentional) example appears in Wonderful Tonight, the autobiography of Pattie Boyd (ex-wife and muse of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton). Ringo Starr refused to believe that his wife, Maureen, was having an affair with George until George announced that he was in love with Maureen in front of an entire dinner party—including their spouses. According to Boyd, Ringo worked himself into a state and went around for the rest of the night muttering, "Nothing is real, nothing is real."
  • While not exactly trying to pass them off as "regular conversation", ESPN's Chris Fowler reveals in an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine that he had one of his groomsmen incorporate song lyrics into his speech at Fowler's wedding. The groomsman introduced it as "a reading from the great American poet James Hetfield". (The song in question was "Nothing Else Matters".)
  • Happens on Not Always Right a few times.
  • After the 2014 Oscar ceremony, when his song "Happy" from Despicable Me 2 lost the Best Original Song category to "Let It Go" from Frozen, Pharrell Williams expressed his feelings:
    "When they read the results, my face was … frozen. But then I thought about it and I just decided just to … let it go."
  • Herman Cain used a quote in one of his speeches, which he attributed to a ‘poet’, and in a later speech he claimed it was from ‘the closing song to the 2000 Olympics’, unaware that it was taken from The Power of One, used in the ending of the American dub of Pokémon 2000. The Internet did. Later, when he dropped out of the Republican Party’s primary elections for the 2012 presidential elections, he used the same quote in his concession speech, saying, ‘I believe these words come from the Pokémon movie,’ trying to pass it off as an indication of him being a family man.
    Cain: Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible. It’s never easy when there’s so much on the line. But you can make a difference: with courage, you can set things right. The gift to dream, and make dreams real, is yours and mine.
  • An anecdote from the New York Times "Metropolitan Diary" of September 28, 1998:
    They didn't need the coming revival of On the Town to inspire them—Sidney Sandler gave his prescription information to the order taker for the AARP Pharmacy Service in Pennsylvania. He followed this with his address and ended with "New York, New York." The following exchange ensued, short but a delight to both participants.
    Order taker: "It's a hell of a town."
    Mr. Sandler: "The Bronx is up."
    Order taker: "And the Battery is down."


Video Example(s):


Santa Claus is Comin' to Town

Kris does a word-by-word reference to the first line of the famous song.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / WaxingLyrical

Media sources:

Main / WaxingLyrical