In response to Richelle Gable’s list of top (underappreciated) villain songs.
Let’s start with a definition. For me, a villain song must be sung BY the villain. A song about a villain doesn’t count, so sorry to classics like “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch.” Ideally, the songs are gloating and over the top. The villain might be gleefully evil or they are convinced they’re truly the hero of the story, but most importantly they want you to know that they are the best. You can practically hear the evil laugh at the end…
But… since it’s a list about villains and evil and all that, the rules are made to be broken.
So, with no further ado, here are my top (underappreciated) villain songs.
31. A Little Priest: Sweeney Todd
There are other songs from Sweeney Todd that could easily fit in this list: Epiphany and My Friends both. But I have to go with A Little Priest. This duet between Mrs. Lovett and Todd is catchy as hell and ridiculously evil. Joyfully singing about cannibalism goes to show that a sense of fun is one of the most important facets of a good villain song.
30. I’m Bigger Than You: Bump in the Night
Bump in the Night was a stop motion animated show from the mid 90s that really should have more fans than it does. Most people don’t even seem to have heard of it at all. Which is a damn shame it is.
This song, sung by the show’s villain character Destructo (performed by the always amazing Jim Cummings) is all about the villain getting to push everyone else around.. because he’s bigger than they are. Can’t argue with that at all.
29. I’m Mean: Popeye
Speaking of overlooked… This film is rarely remembered. Which… isn’t really a shame? It’s not a great movie despite how much I loved it as a kid. Now the film itself is more of a half remembered oddity than anything else. But, what this movie does have, is a great villain song performed by Bluto. It’s as simple as they come; He’s mean and he wants you to know it. That simplicity is its strength. It’s silly and Bluto clearly enjoys being the bad guy. Because he’s mean.
28. It Will All Be Mine: Pokémon Live!
Giovanni gets a villain song and it’s great. Darren Dunstan, probably best known as Pegasus in the Yu-gi-oh English dub really gets into the smarm and slime that a bureaucratic baddie like Giovanni needs. Plus, the song includes the Team Rocket motto, so you know it’s good.
27. Kick Your Ass: The Brak Show
Zorak is a 7 foot tall mantis alien that fought Space Ghost then became his band leader. One day he had Carmine (a pink lumpy thing) removed from his throat, which gave him a beautiful man voice so he became a pop star. Like everything related to Space Ghost or Brak… it’s weird. But it gave us this gem of a lyric:
“I love beating people up, it’s what I do and if your lame ass had any friends, I’d kick their asses too!”
26. Slick: Scott Pilgrim vs the World
I love this movie. Slick is the introduction to the evil ex boyfriends and it’s a heck of an introduction. It’s weird and over the top, like all of the exes, but it’s also a really fun villain song (costarring demon hipster chicks).
25. Razzle Dazzle: Chicago
There are a lot of villains in Chicago, but Billy Flynn is the most satisfied with his villainy. He’s not just good at getting his clients off using lies and distractions… he loves to do it.
24. Sweet Transvestite: Rocky Horror Picture Show
The song that will see you shiver with antici…
This isn’t the only time Tim Curry shows up on this list. The man is a virtuoso of villain songs.
23. Riverbottom Nightmare Band: Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas
You know they’re evil because they’re a rock band.
Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas is also on my list of underappreciated Christmas films. Seriously, it’s so good.
This song is the Riverbottom Nightmare Band’s performance for the talent show and it’s entirely about how evil they are. The perfect subject matter for a villain song.
22. Snow Miser / Heat Miser: Year Without A Santa Claus
It’s two songs in one! And two Christmas songs in a row. Huh… Christmas films have good villains. Interesting.
This one is borderline because the Miser brothers aren’t really villains… but they are obstacles for the heroes to overcome and they sing braggadocious tributes to their abilities. So I’m counting it. My list, my rules. I’m too much.
21. Heffalumps and Woozles: Winnie the Pooh
Don’t do drugs, kids.
While the song is ostensibly about Pooh’s fear spiraling out of control, this song and video make a pretty strong statement about the dangers of LSD.
20. It’s the Count: A Series of Unfortunate Events
You knew when Neil Patrick Harris was cast in the Netflix series based on Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events that he’d have a show stopping musical number. And he sure does. His theatre troupe performs It’s the Count and it’s amazing. Equal parts great and terrible, it’ll be stuck in your head all day.
19. Psychotic Hot Tub: American Dad
This one’s short (only 40 seconds) but it’s so good. Cee Lo Green plays an evil hot tub that has spent the episode brainwashing Stan. When Stan tries to break the spell, the hot tub performs this number.
By the way, if you don’t watch American Dad… you really should. A lot of people gave up after the mediocre first season, but the show quickly became one of the best animated comedies on television. As evidenced by a musical episode where Cee Lo Green plays an evil hot tub.
18. It’s Our House Now: Mickey’s House of Villains
Why settle for one Disney villain when you can have them all?
The Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp, Kaa, Hades, Captain Hook, Cruella de Ville, Jafar, the Red Queen, Ursula, Maleficent, and Chernabog (among others) sing about taking over the House of Mouse and finish the song throwing Mickey and Minnie out into the streets. Perfect.
17. Grim Grinning Ghosts: The Haunted Mansion
Yep, this is a song from a theme park ride. The song that accompanies you while you tour the Haunted Mansion from your Doom Buggy is catchy and spooky all at once. Plus it includes the vocal talents of the amazing (and amazingly named) Thurl Ravenscroft. This ride terrified me when I was a kid, but even then I loved the theme song.
16. Rogues Are We: Holy Musical B@man!
Speaking of amazing… is there any better Riddler than as played by Meredith Stepien? No. No there is not.
In Starkid’s phenomenal musical, Batmans rogue’s gallery gets a showstopping number where they sing all about being evil. In the words of Mr. Freeze, “Let the villainy begin.”
15. Oogie Boogie’s Song: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Ken Page almost made this list with King Gator’s song “Let’s Make Music Together” from All Dogs Go To Heaven… but that whole scene is just weird. Oogie Boogie’s Song is a much better song and fits in its own movie, whereas King Gator just doesn’t.
I love villain songs that have a sense of fun and this one definitely does. The jazzy sound and Oogie’s palpable delight in torturing Santa make this a blast to listen to.