Villains arguably have some of the coolest and most powerful songs with charismatic lyrics. We looked at Disney movies, Broadway shows, and other artists to come up with our list of the best songs about villains if you're looking for an energy boost or just a villainous tune.
“Cruella De Vil” by Bill Lee
Song Year: 1961
If you ever want to hear a song about evil in human form, this song is for you. “Cruella De Vil” was composed by Mel Leven and performed by Bill Lee in the animated movie 101 Dalmations. It serves as the theme song for the movie's villain, Cruella De Vil, who seeks to kill the dalmatians for their fur.
In the film, Roger writes a new jazzy tune and makes up words about Cruella to fit the song. It depicts Cruella as an inhumane person who scares people with her icy stare and spider-like instincts. The song ends by saying how wholesome the world was before Cruella De Vil.
“You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Thurl Ravenscroft
Song Year: 1966
This popular Christmas song holds no bars when describing how cruel and disgusting the Grinch is. It starts by calling him “a mean one” and then goes into how cold and heartless he is. The singer states he wouldn't want to get anywhere near him.
This song was originally performed by Thurl Ravenscroft with lyrics written by Dr. Seuss for the 1966 cartoon special, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but it has since been adapted and covered by other artists.
“Evil Like Me” by Kristin Chenoweth & Dove Cameron
Song Year: 2015
This show tune-like song was written and composed for the film Descendants. Maleficent, played by Kristin Chenoweth, sings to her daughter, Mal, played by Dove Cameron, about becoming a villain just like her.
At the beginning of the song, Mal is struggling with her identity and the right thing to do. Maleficent then sings, telling Mal how she decided to become a villain and about all that she’s accomplished by being bad and ruthless. For those who enjoy villainous show tunes, this is a fantastic song to listen to.
“The Phantom of the Opera” by Sarah Brightman & Michael Crawford
Song Year: 1986
“The Phantom of the Opera” is one of the famous songs composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber from the hit musical The Phantom of the Opera. This song tells of Christine's relationship with the Phantom and their dependency on each other in the opera house.
It was first performed on the West End stage in London by Michael Crawford as the Phantom and Sarah Brightman as Christine.
“Be Prepared” by Jeremy Iron
Song Year: 1994
When it comes to villainous tunes, you can't forget to include this one from The Lion King. It has a dark and powerful note to it, while lyrically, it's both insulting to the hyenas and descriptive of Scar's plan.
In the song, Scar tells the hyenas to be prepared to overthrow his brother, the king, Mufasa, and describes how he will finally be recognized as a leader. He convinces the hyenas to follow him and support his coup, despite their lacking comprehension and fear of Mufasa.
“Mother Knows Best” by Donna Murphy
Song Year: 2010
Written and composed for the Disney movie Tangled by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, Donna Murphy voices Mother Gothel, who sings this song when Rapunzel asks if she can leave the tower to see the lights that always appear on her birthday.
In the song, Mother Gothel tells Rapunzel how scary and unpredictable the outside world is. She uses scare tactics, guilt, and even belittling insults to convince Rapunzel to stay in the tower with her. In the end, she tells her to never leave; otherwise, she'll regret it.
“Last Midnight” by Stephen Sondheim
Song Year: 1987
Featured in the musical Into the Woods, this song was popularized in the 2014 film adaptation, where Meryl Streep performed as the witch. In the song, the witch goes to the baker's wife to collect her due. The baker had stolen from her garden and taken beans from her as well.
The witch repeats the title to tell her that the baker's wife now has to face the consequences of her actions. She says that, like the world, they are all thieves and liars. At the end of the song, the witch succumbs to a curse and disappears.
“No Body, No Crime” by Taylor Swift
Song Year: 2020
In Swift's song, the singer tells of her friend Este's husband, who is unfaithful. Then Este disappears, and her husband's mistress moves in.
The singer believes the husband did something to Este to make her disappear. The song continues as the singer alludes to how she killed the unfaithful husband and covered up her crime by making the body disappear. The dark lyrics and haunting tune make it perfect for our list of songs about villains.
“Bust Your Knee Caps” by Pomplamoose
Song Year: 2012
For those who want to feel like a villain, this song is pleasant to listen to and coupled with disturbingly violent lyrics.
In the lyrics, the singer talks to a man named Johnny, who seems to be her lover wanting to leave her. She says if he does leave, her family will bust his knee caps and kill him. It alludes to her family being part of the mafia, which Johnny might call a crime, but they call a family business.
The doo-wop tune combined with shocking lyrics makes it an intriguing song that fits the villainous theme without being explicitly about a baddie.
“Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish
Song Year: 2019
Though this song is not about any particular villain, the lyrics and beat are the perfect theme song for any villainous character. “Bad Guy” became wildly popular when it was released in 2019 by Billie Eilish.
The thumping bass and softly spoken lyrics act as a powerful and catchy beat as Eilish sings about being a villainous woman who uses men, ruins relationships, makes people sad, and calls herself the bad guy.
“You Should See Me in a Crown” by Billie Eilish
Song Year: 2018
Another Billie Eilish tune made our list of songs about villains because of its dark lyrics. The singer talks about how she would rule the world if she were the queen. She would wreak havoc on the town and make the citizens bow down to her, but she plans to wait patiently to build her kingdom.
Eilish wrote this piece with her older brother, inspired by an episode of the BBC TV series Sherlock, where the villain, Moriarty, spoke the words which is the title of this song.
“Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood & The Destroyers
Song Year: 1982
This blues song is all about a person who claims to be “bad to the bone” and brags about all the ways he's manipulated women with his sexual charm and dominance. It's full of macho confidence as the singer takes on a rebellious bad boy demeanor.
The song title refers to the idiom meaning immoral or inherently wicked, but the word “bad” can also refer to being excellent, which the singer seems to believe he is in these lyrics.
“Oogie Boogie's Song” by Ken Page
Song Year: 1993
Ken Page played Oogie Boogie in The Nightmare Before Christmas and performed this song composed by Danny Elfman. In the film, Oogie Boogie sang this song after Santa Claus was delivered to his lair. As he sings, he makes fun of “Sandy Claws” and describes how he will roll the dice and gamble unfairly with his life.
Oogie Boogie sings this while Santa Claus, voiced by Edward Ivory, demands to be freed. The movie omitted the second verse due to time constraints and visual complications, but the full song is on the film’s soundtrack.
“In the Dark of the Night” by Jim Cummings
Song Year: 1997
Jim Cummings, who also filled in parts of “Be Prepared” by Jeremy Irons, performed this song in the movie Anastasia as the evil mystic Rasputin, though he was not the speaking voice for the character.
In the song, Rasputin tells of how his body is falling apart and how he exchanged his soul to bring a curse upon the royals that betrayed him. However, he has one last Romanov to kill: Anya. He tells of how he is slowly regaining his power and calls upon the evil spirits to aid him in killing her.
“Gaston” by Richard White, Jesse Corti, & Ensemble
Song Year: 1991
Gaston is the subject of this Disney song from the film Beauty and the Beast. He is the strongest and most attractive man in their provincial French town, but after being rejected by Belle, he goes to the pub for some cheering up.
Though the lyrics aren't dark or violent as some others on this list, the song ironically portrays Gaston as the heroic manly man, though he will later turn the townspeople against the Beast.
“Toxic Love” by Tim Curry
Song Year: 1992
Written and composed by Thomas Dolby, this song was performed by Tim Curry in the 1992 movie Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. The character voiced by Curry, Hexxus, is a destructive spirit that thrives on pollution and wants to destroy nature.
In the lyrics, Hexxus states how humans have contributed to pollution and helped him thrive and destroy the jungle, which he calls worthless. He also praises them for creating a machine to help make deforestation more efficient.
“The World's Greatest Criminal Mind” by Vincent Price
Song Year: 1986
In the film The Great Mouse Detective, Ratigan, voiced by Vincent Price, tells his gang about his evil scheme to become the ultimate supreme ruler. There are allusions to his previous crimes, such as drowning widows and orphans.
Ratigan also complains about how he hasn't been able to reach his fullest evil potential because of the mouse detective, Basil, but his new plan is so diabolical even the great mouse detective won't be able to stop him.
“Mad Madam Mim” by Martha Wentworth
Song Year: 1963
Martha Wentworth performed this song as the villain in the 1963 Disney film The Sword in the Stone. Her character acts as the foil to the good sorcerer, Merlin.
In these lyrics, Mad Madam Mim tells Arthur of her powers and the dark magic she can do. She tells about how incredible she is. She tells of altering her appearance to be big or small or make herself look deceivingly beautiful.
“The Headless Horseman” by Bing Crosby
Song Year: 1949
Bing Crosby had a part in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Crosby voices a townsperson who tells the legend of the horseman. He says when it gets late at night, scary creatures rise up, including the terrible Headless Horseman.
The lyrics say the Headless Horseman rides around looking for a head to chop off and take as his own. It frightens the listeners, and after singing this song, the character leaves quickly back home before it gets too late in the night.
“Poor Unfortunate Souls” by Pat Carroll
Song Year: 1989
This song featured in The Little Mermaid and was sung by the film's villain, Ursula, as a way to convince Ariel to exchange her beautiful voice for some time on land with legs to win over Prince Eric.
Ursula sings about once being known as a nasty witch but how she's changed her ways to help the less fortunate with her magic. She tells her how she helped different merfolk, but it becomes clear at the song's end that Ursula is manipulating Ariel for some greater evil scheme.
“Hellfire” by Tony Jay
Song Year: 1996
Composed by Alan Menken and performed by Tony Jay, this song featured in Disney's 1996 rendition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The villain in the film, the pious Judge Claude Frollo, sings this to express his lust for the beautiful gypsy, Esmerelda.
Frollo struggles with his lust and desire for Esmerelda to either be his lover or burn in hell. It contrasts Quasimodo's pure and gentle song where he confesses his love for Esmerelda.
“I've Got Friends on the Other Side” by Keith David
Song Year: 2009
This song featured in The Princess and the Frog and was sung by the movie's villain, the sorcerer Dr. Facilier, voiced by Keith David. He tells Prince Naveen and Naveen's friend, Lawrence, how he can read their future and use voodoo to grant their wishes.
The title phrase is repeated throughout the song to reference the dark sorcery and spirits Dr. Facilier can access. In the song, he tells their fortunes, then takes the opportunity to transform them into frogs.
“The Phony King of England” by Phil Harris
Song Year: 1973
In the film Robin Hood, Little John, voiced by Phil Harris, sings about how they dislike Prince John and disapprove of the taxes he decreed. Little John slanders the prince as a lazy phony along with other insults and praises the older brother, King Richard, as the true and good king.
The song also praises Robin Hood as the one who will step in and steal back their money while King Richard is away and the townspeople are under Prince John's rule.
“Heffalumps and Woozles” by The Mellomen
Song Year: 1992
Though Heffalumps and Woozles are not consistent villains in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, they act as the antagonistic characters of which Winnie the Pooh is afraid.
In the film, Pooh is frightened by Tigger, who tells him about dreadful creatures called Heffalumps and Woozles that steal honey. Pooh then has a nightmare about the beasts set to this song.
“Shiny” by Jermaine Clement
Song Year: 2016
Featured in the Disney movie Moana, “Shiny” is sung by the villainous crab, Tamatoa, voiced by Jermaine Clement. When Moana and Maui sneak into the crab's lair to retrieve Maui's magical fish hook, Tamatoa sings a song about how he was once a drab and unhappy crab but became a beautiful and shiny creature.
Tamatoa points out Moana and Maui's insecurities of wanting love and recognition, then says that he plans to eat them after tearing them apart. David Bowie's musical style inspired this catchy but villainous song.
“Ain't No Rest for the Wicked” by Cage the Elephant
Song Year: 2008
The lyrics follow the singer as he walks through his town and sees or talks to different people struggling in life. The first is a prostitute who tells him she needs the money to feed her family.
The second person the singer meets is a mugger who threatens him with a gun for his money. The third person the singer sees is a preacher on TV arrested for taking money from the church. The song then ends with the singer describing how we all seek to survive however we can in this world.
“Brand New Day” by Neil Patrick Harris
Song Year: 2008
For those wanting a song about a struggling villain, this is one to check out. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is an underrated musical comedy-drama miniseries focused on a man trying to become a supervillain, defeat his bully, and impress the woman he loves.
Performed by Neil Patrick Harris, “Brand New Day” tells of Dr. Horrible's decision to commit to the evil lifestyle. After seeing his love with his nemesis, Dr. Horrible says he has no remorse and plans to shock the world with his evil scheme.
Top Songs About Villains, Final Thoughts
Villains are often powerful, charismatic, and complex characters, and their songs carry that same weight. The ones on our list focus on all types of villains and people who do bad deeds.
We hope you liked our list of best songs about villains, discovered a new song, or maybe even have a new favorite to jam out to. Happy listening!