Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Music

Greetings Fanpeople! Adrianna here, with an interesting subject this week.

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Yes, it’s music again. But what kind of self proclaimed music guru would I be if I didn’t make semi weekly music posts?

So today, I’m going to be talking about Breaking the Forth wall in music.

The term “breaking the fourth wall” comes from theater. The fourth wall is the imaginary barrier between the actors and the audience.

The term is used for all sorts of media: books, TV, movies, and video games. So when a character acknowledges that they’re in a movie, or addresses the audience, they are breaking that fourth wall.

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So then, can it be the same way with music?

Now you can argue there is no fourth wall with music, but that’s not all true. Think about it: songs can tell stories. About how the singer is feeling, the relation between them and people they know, or a different set of characters completely.

There are some songs that are meant to get the listeners attention, addressing them for the reason of getting them dancing or moving to the music, like the Cha Cha Slide. “Everybody clap your hands!”

Clap

That’s not what I’m talking about here, though I’m sure that still counts.

What I think would be considered breaking the fourth wall in music is something like when the singer brings up the radio.

“All I ever wanted to be, was in your stereo” – Stereo by Mike Mains & The Branches

“And baby, I know I you got your radio on. So this is my, my bad, comeback back song” Comeback Song by Darius Rucker

Or take note of chorus/verses or even just the fact they’re singing a song:

Alright, second verse” – We Don’t Believe What’s on TV by Twenty One Pilots

“I don’t know if this song is a surrender or a revolt. I don’t know if this song is about me or the devil.” The Judge by Twenty One Pilots

Or when the song ends with “Now press repeat” (something  Fall Out Boy did in I’ve Got All This Ringing In My Ears And None On My Fingers. Yes, even if you’re not a fan you’ve probably still heard of their crazy long titles)

“I’m not going to write you a love song,”- Love Song by Sara Bareilles

“It’s been said and done. Every beautiful thought’s been already sung. So I guess right now here’s another one” –Love You Like A Love Song by Selena Gomez

Or this entire song:

That song uses it for the purpose of humor. (Or perhaps to say something about the way the music industry’s going but for now we’ll stick with humor)

Mama Said by Lukas Graham goes through the story of him as a kid, ending up with him getting into the music industry. This kind of song reminds us of the work it takes for artists to make the music we listen to.

It’s a cool technique. And I love hearing it used in novel ways. Especially in music, a medium you wouldn’t think breaking the fourth wall would work.

What do you fanpeople think? And do any certain songs come to your head that use this technique? Or even, what’s your favorite use of breaking the fourth wall in any medium?

Keep rocking!

 

~Adrianna Ewing

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Music

  1. Panda says:

    “Listen, I know this one’s a contradiction because of how happy it sounds, but the lyrics are so down. It’s ok though, because it represents, wait, better yet it is who I feel I am right now” (twenty one pilots – not today)

    Liked by 1 person

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