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Serial Escalation / Music

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  • Kiss. How much pyrotechnics can they fit in this show? How much blood can Gene spit up this time? How high can the drums go now? How much more creepy are half their songs this year? How much body hair can fit on 1 human being? How much more awesome can their music get?
  • Tom Lehrer:
    • "I Hold Your Hand In Mine" manages to get squickier (and funnier) with every verse. "I Hold Your Hand In Mine" is about a man holding his lover's hand which he just chopped off from her dead body, now that he's killed her.
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    • Then there's "I Got It From Agnes," with the increasing squick that never enters Dude, Not Funny!. "I Got It From Agnes" is about a present that keeps going around a circle of friends and acquaintances: an STD.
    • This seems to be a specialty of Lehrer's. Other examples include "How black can I make this comedy while still keeping it funny" ("The Irish Ballad" and "We Will All Go Together When We Go", among others).
    • "What wholly inappropriate countries can I suggest are going to get nuclear capabilities" ("Who's Next?"; answer: Alabama).
    • "What disabilities can I suggest the army allows in recruits" ("It Makes a Fellow Proud to be a Soldier").
    • "What immoral/illegal activities should a Boy Scout Be Prepared for".
  • Stephen Lynch is also brilliant at this, although he may cross over into squick territory. Rumor has it he left one song unfinished because his father threatened to disown him if he didn't.
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  • DragonForce. How many references to sunlight/moonlight/warriors/fire can we fit in? How much apocalyptic subtext can we fit in a single verse? How many ludicrously overblown solos can Herman Li and Sam Totman manage?
  • And as DragonForce is to metal, so is Meat Loaf to rock 'n' roll. Take the familiar lyrical themes of '70s hard rock, double the length of each song, add pounding pianos, soaring orchestra, layer upon layer of squealing guitars, bombastic backing choirs, and one of the largest hams in modern music history on lead vocal, and you've got a totally unique brand of "Wagnerian rock" that seems scientifically engineered to produce crowning moment after crowning moment.
  • Faith No More amps up the heaviness for each of the subsequent albums The Real Thing, Angel Dust and King For A Day (Fool For A Lifetime). The track "Surprise You're Dead" is by far the heaviest on The Real Thing, but the likes of "Caffeine" and "Malpractice" on Angel Dust, and then "Ugly In The Morning" and "Cuckoo For Caca" on "King For A Day" outdo it.
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  • Neil Peart of the band Rush appears to be doing it with the number of pieces in his drum set. To be fair, he doesn't have the big-ass glockenspiel and Chinese gong any more. Now, digital samples of said instruments he can trigger via foot pedals on the other hand...
    Stephen Colbert: The band Rush is here! Either that or a drum factory exploded in my studio.
  • This rendition of the COOL&CREATE arrangement Flandre Scarlet's theme starts out fairly playable, and then it adds more and more notes until only a computer could play it. Seriously, here's a video of a player piano failing the song.
  • The Lonely Island's entire musical output runs on this trope.
    • For example, Like A Boss starts out as a fairly normal office day: remembering birthdays, directing workflow, ect. Then it gets a little odd, like crying down sex phonelines, getting sued for harrasment, and taking a shit on Debra's desk. Then he takes a load of drugs, eats some chicken strips, and then has sex with a massive fish in the sewers (note that this is after the protagonist has chopped off his balls) before turning into a missile and bombing Russia. All a normal day in the office.
  • P!nk in concert. How much more insane can this woman's stunts get? The "Try This" tour had her doing an aerial spin while singing. So the "I'm Not Dead" tour had her doing a Cirque de Soleil performance. While singing. And no net. And then a big aerial stunt at the end. So the "Funhouse" tour has her singing while doing a trapeze act that starts out with her blindfolded.
  • U2's 360º Tour. If you thought the Zoo TV tour was big, then the Pop Mart tour out Spinal Tap-ed Spinal Tap. Then, after a few comparatively low-key tours, the 360º tour was even more of a spectacle than Pop Mart was.
  • Two Steps from Hell, how much more epic can they honestly get? Just about everything they make is already a Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • Metal in general has "How METAL can we make the guitars?" It starts with making them pointy, then making them shaped like dragons, then adding double necks, then...well, look at the picture.
    • And if that wasn't enough, there's another quad guitar user named Michael Angelo Batio who can actually use the guitar to its full potential. Left-handed by birth, ambidextrous by training, able to play two guitar necks with one hand each at the same time or switch his hand over and under a guitar neck in rapid alternation for a distinct sound... He can do a lot more, but the general rule is that almost all of it is very technical and too fucking fast to believe. Even shown when he was in a Hair Metal band, of all things.
  • The Italian powermetal band Nanowar Of Steel manages to put the essence of symphonic epic Power Metal into five seconds of song, even beating most Grindcore songs in shortness. The song is called "Power of the power of the power (of the Great Sword)", which takes longer to say than the song goes.
  • Some examples in the Loudness War. Taken to its logical conclusion with The Stooges' Raw Power remaster and Hypocrisy's Virus.
  • The album openers and closers of each Marianas Trench album fit this trope: they become more intense and ambitious with each album.
  • Tool's song "Schism". How many uncommon time signatures and switches between them can we pack into a single song? 47
    • Topped by The Dance of Eternity by Dream Theater which manages a grand total of 104 time signatures changes in 6 minutes.
      • Not to mention that The Dance of Eternity is shorter than Schism.
  • The ever evasive twenty-seven minute long version of Helter Skelter.
  • Daniele Gottardo. How much more badass can waltz sound? How does it feel when Steve Vai himself subscribes to you? Now this is damn impressive.
  • Styrman Karlssons äventyr med porslinspjäsen (Chief Mate Karlsson's adventure with the porcelain pot). The entire song is sillyness getting sillier and sillier- and the main character getting more badass. The song starts out with him stepping in his chamber pot when he is going to the navy ball, and it gets stuck on his foot(it would seem the pot is icredibly durable for porcelain). Since he can't get it off his foot, he smears it with shoe polish so it shines black. Then he dances so well he gets promoted to Captain... and the next verse tells us how he is every pirate's worst nightmare- partly due to the powerful kicks he can do with the pot on his foot. Then he falls of the ship in the middle of the sea... and sails home using only the pot and his coat. And then he meets his wife... who has her foot stuck in a chiffonier. And she went all the way down to the port like that.
  • My Bloody Valentine circa Loveless. Beyond being simply one of the loudest live acts ever, the band (particularly Kevin Shields) took their obsession with the "wall of sound" several steps further than most by supplementing their songs with keyboards based around samples of their guitars feeding back at maximum volume in turn being run through those same amplifiers.
  • Garth Brooks has done this a few times. "The Thunder Rolls" became the second highest-debuting song on the country charts in 1991. "Good Ride Cowboy" tied the record (set by Eddie Rabbitt's "Every Which Way but Loose") in 2005. In 2006, Keith Urban debuted a song at #17, and in 2007, Kenny Chesney debuted one at #16… but only one week after the latter, Garth's "More Than a Memory" debuted at number one. Making this even more impressive is the fact that the country charts are tabulated entirely from airplay, so songs generally have to climb for several weeks before hitting #1. This means that all of the 120 or so stations on Billboard's survey had to play a brand new song 30-35 times in one week… from an independent label, no less.
    • Michael Jackson also did the same (twice) in 1995. Prior to that year, the highest-debuting song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was the Beatles' "Let It Be", which debuted at #6 in 1970. In 1995, Michael and his sister Janet Jackson debuted at #5 with "Scream". Later that year, he topped that feat by being the first artist to debut at #1 with "You Are Not Alone".note 
  • mothy loves this trope. To put things in perspective, one of the first songs in the Evillious Chronicles, Daughter of Evil, was Very Loosely Based on a True Story, but mostly straightforward and with a "happy" ending for almost everyone involved. Fast-forward to one of his later songs. It's about a girl with multiple personalities who murdered her father, who is implied to have molested her, and at the end, she is implied to have been killed via injection. It's that kind of series.
  • One might argue The Who were a case of this as far as gear was concerned, from Pete Townshend matching John Entwistle's quest for more volume and amplification to Keith Moon's ever-expanding drum kit setups. The band's penchant for ambitious concept albums, onstage "auto-destruction" techniques, road antics, and rock excess might also be a case, at least up until the beginning of The '80s. Much of the rock music world followed, musically and otherwise.
    • Much of their excess and road antics came to an end in the wake of Moon's death.
    • According to Neal Smith, he and Moon had an ongoing rivalry over who had the most drums in their kit.
  • At the moment i wrote this lines, Miley Cyrus's constant quest to distance herself from her child star past lead her to experimental music about her dead pets who could be used as ambience music for a alien cafe.
  • Pelagial by The Ocean starts with soft keys and strings, and generally gets progressively darker and heavier as the tracks continue, ending with a slow, obliterating doom track. This is to give the effect of diving deep into the crushing depths of the ocean.
  • The lyrics to Never Set The Cat On Fire, with each couplet giving you worse things which you shouldn't do, all the way from setting the cat on fire to starting interstellar wars.

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