The Smell of Rebellion
Matilda the Musical Original Cast Lyrics


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This school of late has started reeking -
Quiet, maggots, when I'm speaking! -
Reeking with a most disturbing scent...
Only the finest nostrils smell it,
But I know it oh-too-well.
It is the odour of rebellion.
It's the bouquet of dissent!
And you may bet your britches
This headmistress
Finds this foul odiferousness
Wholly olfactorily insulting.

And so to stop the stench's spread,
I find a session of phys. ed.
Sorts the merely rank from the revolting.

The smell of rebellion comes out in the sweat,
And phys. ed. will get you sweating,
And it won't be long before I smell the pong
Of aiding and abetting!
A bit of phys. ed. will tell us who
Has a head full of rebellious thoughts.
Hold! Hold!
Just like a rotten egg floats
To the top of a bucket of water.

(One, two, three, four...)
The smell of rebellion!
The stench of revolt!
The reek of insubordination!
(I can't take it anymore! One, two, three, four...)
The whiff of resistance!
The pong of dissent!
The funk of mutiny in action!
(That's not right!)

Before a weed becomes too big and greedy,
You really need to nip it in the bud.
POSITION TWO!
Before the worm starts to turn,
You must scrape off the dirt,
And rip it from the mud!

(One, two, three, four...) x2
The whiff of insurgence!
The stench of intent!
The reek of pre-pubescent protest!
(But that's not right!)
(One, two, three, four...) x2
The funk of defiance!
The odour of coup!
The waft of anarchy in progress!
(I can't take it anymore!)

Once we've exorcised/exercised these demons,
They shall be too pooped for dreaming!
Some double-time discipline
Should stop the rot from setting in!

All right - let's step it up. Double-time!
One, two, three, four!

Discipline
Discipline
For children who aren't listening,
For midgets who are fidgeting
And whispering in history,
Their chattering and chittering,
Is tempered with a smattering of
Discipline.

We must begin insisting
On rigidity and discipline,
Persistently resisting
This anarchistic mischieving.
These minutes you are frittering
On pandering and pitying
While little ones like this
They just want discipline.
The simpering and whimpering,
The dribbling and the spittling,
The ‘Miss, I need a tissue'
Is an issue we can fix.
There is no mystery to mastering
The art of classroom mistressing.
It's discipline, discipline, discipline!

The smell of rebellion!
The stench of revolt!
The reek of pre-pubescent plotting!
The whiff of resistance!
The pong of dissent!
The funk of moral fibre rotting!

Imagine a world with no children.
Close your eyes and just dream.
Imagine. Come on - try it...
The peace and the quiet...
A babbling stream...
Now imagine a woods with a cottage,
And inside that cottage we find
A dwarf called Zeke, a carnival freak,
Who can fold paper hats with his mind,
And he says, \\"Don't let them steal your horses! No!\\"
\\"Don't let them throw them away! No!\\"
\\"If you find your way through,\\"
\\"They'll be waiting for you,\\"
\\"Singing \\'neigh neigh\\'!\\"

She's mad!

Aha! And there, just like I said,
The stinking maggot rears his head.
Even the squittiest, piteous mess
Can harbour seeds of stinkiness.
Have you ever seen anything more repellent?!
Have you ever smelled anything worse
Than that smell of rebellion?!

The stench of revolt!
The reek of insubordination!
The whiff of resistance!
The pong of dissent!

Discipline, discipline.
No more whispering,
Children need discipline,
Cut out their whimpering.
If you\\'re micheiving,
She\\'ll sniff you out.
Without a doubt,
She\\'s a snout in a million.
Discipline, discipline.
No more whispering,
Children need discipline,
Cut out their whimpering.

And I will not stop ‘til you are squashed!
‘Til this rebellion is quashed!
‘Til glorious, sweaty discipline has washed




This sickening scent...
Away!

Overall Meaning

In the song "The Smell of Rebellion" from Matilda the Musical, the headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, complains about a foul odor in the school that she identifies as the "odor of rebellion" and the "bouquet of dissent." She enlists the class in phys. ed. to get them sweating and identify the culprits. The lyrics evoke imagery of a tyrannical ruler trying to stamp out any hint of rebellion, with lines like "Before a weed becomes too big and greedy / You really need to nip it in the bud," and "Once we've exorcised/exercised these demons / They shall be too pooped for dreaming!" The song ends with Miss Trunchbull vowing to squash the rebellion and impose discipline.


The song highlights the oppressive and authoritarian nature of the school's administration and the lengths they will go to maintain control over the students. The repeated emphasis on discipline and order suggests a hierarchical power dynamic where any dissension or disobedience is seen as a threat to the establishment. The song also serves as a commentary on rebellion and the necessity of standing up against oppressive systems.




Contributed by Brody K. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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