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A character is upset about something. He turns on the radio, only to be confronted with a song that seems to mock exactly the thing that's upsetting him.

Related to Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere. See also Your Television Hates You.

Examples of Mocking Music include:


  • In Bedtime Stories Skeeter worries that he'll catch fire because his nephew told a story in which Skeeter's character is incinerated. On the radio, Skeeter keeps changing the station and each one is playing a fire-themed song: "Disco Inferno," "I'm On Fire," and others.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen fits this trope. When Sam is being seduced by a girl at college, Bumblebee's response is to manipulate the radio so songs like "Your Cheating Heart" start playing constantly.
    • Though it then turns to songs like "Super-Freak", "Brick House" and others while Bumblebee tries to tell him that Alice isn't what she looks like. She's a Decepticon.
  • Seen with stuff besides songs, too: like, in Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin's character is awkwardly sitting on a bench next to the parson's wife, and her stomach keeps gurgling loudly. Charlie turns on the radio for a distraction, and a commercial says, "If you are suffering from gastritis..."
  • Occurred in the race-inverted remake of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner- the Salt and Pepper father and future son-in-law are driving along in steely silence to avoid talking about the big issue on their minds. The boy turns on the radio for a distraction and goes through a rote of such situationally ironic songs as "Ebony and Ivory" by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, "Brother Louie" by Hot Chocolate, and "Walk On The Wild Side" by Lou Reed, just as it's singing:

  And all the colored girls sang...

  • In the film version of Silent Hill, Rose wakes up after being scared to the point of passing out by screaming, crying, burning, BABIES. When she wakes up, a jukebox in the back just HAS to start playing, what else, "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash.
  • In Better Off Dead, John Cusack's character's girlfriend has just broken up with him. As he drives despondently, every radio station is playing a breakup song - he rips the radio out and hurls it out the window.
  • Shaun of the Dead- "Who the 'ell put this on?" "It's on random... *sob*"
    • Used for Ironic Echo value. The first time, the hero is bemoaning his girlfriend dumping him when the jukebox has the nerve to play Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now". The second time, the jukebox pipes up with Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now!"... as the pub the characters are in is being surrounded by zombies and a loud, fast, pumping rock track seemingly designed to attract their attention is the last thing the characters want.


  • From Good Omens: "Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me..." Unfortunately for rogue demon Crowley, it's more likely than you think.

Live-Action TV

  • In an episode of The Drew Carey Show, all of Drew's friends leave him, angry at him about one thing or another. He lies down solemnly in his car, turns on the radio, and gets Walking on Sunshine.
  • In the second season of The Wire, Ziggy is sitting in the bar, getting as drunk as possible because he got a letter saying that he'd inadvertently got some woman pregnant. As he's relating this, the jukebox is playing Love Child, by The Supremes. He was being pranked by someone in the bar.
  • In the fourth season of Dharma and Greg, after Greg learns that Dharma has kissed another man, every song on the radio mentions infidelity.


  • An example of Mocking Music pops up in an actual song: In Pet Shop Boys' "I Want To Wake Up", the narrator, distraught over his unrequited feelings for the song's subject, turns on his kitchen radio and hears "songs like 'Tainted Love' and 'Love Is Strange'". It doesn't end well.
  • "Songs About Rain" by Gary Allan devotes its chorus to listing all the sad songs the singer hears on the radio while trying not to think about his breakup. (The title is because all of the songs have "rain" in their titles, e.g. "Kentucky Rain.")

Western Animation

  • Subverted in The Simpsons. Homer, frustrated by his inability to get tickets to the Springfield Atoms game, turns on the radio to hear the song "Two Tickets to Paradise" by Eddie Money. At first he is unhappy, but soon starts singing along and playing air guitar.
    • Played straight in "Homer vs. The City of New York". After driving his booted car down a very crowded street he turns on the radio and immediately hears a song about taking things easy. The radio is promptly smashed with his foot.
    • Also played straight in "Bart Gets an Elephant", when Marge makes the family clean the house:

 Bart: [whining] I'm tired. I'm hungry. Can't we just buy a new house?

Marge: Oh, Bart, cleaning doesn't have to be a chore! Here, work to the music. [turns on the radio]

Radio: You load sixteen tons, what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt...

Bart: Amen, Ernie.