A great song starts with a memorable title. However, great song title ideas can be challenging to come by, especially if you haven't learned what to look for as an artist.
We've put together a guide of creative song title ideas to help you write good song titles and understand what goes into a hit song. Below, we'll share what exactly makes a great song title, share some song topics, and dive into a couple of perfect track title examples to help you find inspiration.
What Makes A Great Song Title?
So, what makes a great song title? It can be challenging to find common ground across different song names since one compelling title can be completely different from another. However, there are some shared characteristics across all great song titles such as:
- Song names are short and sweet. A song title should encapsulate the ideas of the song lyrics within a couple of words. The goal is to help listeners understand the meaning of your songs by reading a concise phrase.
- Titles evoke curiosity. Song titles can easily draw in new listeners by evoking curiosity within an audience. You could do this by writing a vulnerable title, asking a question, or incorporating a recent cultural reference.
- A song name can generate mental imagery. Sometimes, song titles will use literary devices as discussed below to help generate a stronger mental picture and help draw listeners into experiencing the full composition.
- The song title is the entry point to the play button. Whether you like it or not, a song title makes a strong first impression of what your music is going to sound like. It primes the listener to take in your music based on the short title you've presented, which can completely shape the sonic experience. A great song title is effortless, captures the song's theme, and uses a song name that makes sense for a particular music genre.
How To Write An Amazing Song Title: 7 Methods
There are several different ways to craft compelling song title ideas. When in doubt, use one of these methods to craft a strong song title:
1. Use Your Hook
If you write a strong hook , it's probably compelling enough on its own to grab your listener while still capturing the main theme of the song. You can use a shortened version of your hook as the title. For instance, the hook of Taylor Swift's "Our Song" is a shortened version of the hook in the chorus.
You could also use any short phrase that helps take on the theme of your song. Titles should be short, sweet, and to the point.
2. Use Something Culturally Relevant
Has certain slang entered the cultural lexicon? Is there a new phenomenon in modern history that hasn't been explored lyrically? If you're an efficient creator, you could structure your song off of something fairly topical.
Remember, the song title is the point of entry for every listener, so you need to use an idea that's intriguing enough to be heard. Note that this method will only work when the new music subject matter is still relevant upon release. If it takes you a while to craft a completed track, you might want to opt for another strategy.
3. Try An Idiom
An idiom is a common phrase that's not meant to be taken literally. Literary devices like idioms can make excellent song title ideas since they already carry meaning to a particular culture. Common idiom examples include phrases like "thin on ice", "spilled the beans", and "raining cats and dogs".
Idioms are excellent inspiration for song titles since they are usually tied to a strong visual and can help communicate a variety of feelings. You could even explore what the idiom would mean if it were taken literally.
4. Opt For An Oxymoron
Oxymorons are one of the most intriguing song title ideas since they contain two items that are supposedly a contradiction. Some common oxymoron examples include, "open secret", "old news", and "alone together". Oxymorons are great for touching on a wide variety of topics since they're able to capture the nuances of life that can be challenging to explore via song.
Whether you're writing a rap song, folk song, or pop song, using oxymorons as inspiration can help you land on a winning idea more efficiently.
5. Use A Cut Lyric
When fishing for song title ideas, don't forget that your title or title phrase doesn't necessarily need to be included in the lyrics of the song itself. This is usually done since it can help a song stand out as more memorable, but great songwriting can speak for itself. Open yourself up to using any phrase that encapsulates the feeling of your song, or utilizing your lyrics that didn't quite make the cut to inspire you.
6. Pick Something Specific
One of the most intriguing song title ideas is to use something oddly specific. For instance, Clairo's breakout track, "Flaming Hot Cheetos", didn't mention the snack in the lyrics, but captured the listener's attention through this odd but intriguing concept. Almost all kinds of references are up for grabs! Pick a lyric or phrase relevant to your target audience to help draw in new listeners to your masterpiece.
7. Think About Your Song Theme
What message do you want your listeners to walk away with? Think about the true theme or potential impact of your song and try to generate random names from that concept. This may not be the most common way to write a song title, but it can be effective! What makes this song unique? How can you showcase that concept within a title?
Song Topic Ideas
To write an excellent song title, you first have to find an authentic song topic to write about. These are a couple of topic ideas to get you started, but don't be afraid to experiment!
The word "love" on its own already evokes so many emotions. It's an excellent song topic and surprisingly adaptable. Other than writing about the obvious romantic love, you can also talk about platonic or familial love in your songs. Real songs contain real feelings, and love is one of the most powerful emotions out there to inspire great songs and title ideas.
You can also write about the loss of love or a difficult breakup. Some of the most catchy songs surround this central topic, and you can't have too many love songs!
While we shouldn't act on it, most people can relate to having feelings of revenge. This powerful emotion is great for inspiring songs with its passionate power.
One of the most under-explored topics in songwriting is the wonders of friendship! In many cases, friendship can be just as important as romantic relationships and challenging to navigate. You can write about your best friend, losing a close friend, or even wanting to be friends with someone but not knowing how to approach the situation.
Many people flock to certain songs in order to escape a different feeling. It's no mystery why upbeat or celebratory songs are so popular. They make people feel good! Write a song covering your come-up or partying with your favorite people.
A Personal Story
Many songs stemming from folk music or related genres base lyric writing entirely on stories or personal experiences. While it can be a tough process to be vulnerable in your music, it often makes for more gratifying work and more compelling music overall. If you're experiencing writer's block , try to think of your song as writing a story. This might make it easier to come up with a perfect song name utilizing the additional story format.
A Cause You Believe In
What gets you out of bed in the morning? What causes are near and dear to your heart? Craft a song name and entire song structure surrounding something you truly believe in. These songs focused around a specific word or idea can help you quickly find community amongst other music lovers.
Where there is love, there is also loss. This powerful song topic idea can evoke plenty of emotions and help you process your own feelings.
Life can be a struggle sometimes. Reaching your goals or attempting to do so is something nearly everyone can relate to, for better or for worse. See if you can generate any song title ideas from your journey as a musician or just as a human being. Talk about what you hope will happen throughout your life and how you plan to get there.
These are just a couple of song categories to get you started, but feel free to check out our comprehensive article on song prompts for more ideas.
5 Memorable Song Titles And Why They Work
Sometimes, the best way to generate song title ideas is to look at what has worked well in the past. Let's take a look at some pretty creative song titles to help spark inspiration.
This Must Be The Place
This Must Be The Place by the Talking Heads is a classic, for more reasons than one. While the song has an easy-going, infectious feel, the title also hooks in unsuspecting listeners. You automatically wonder, "What place?" and, "What does that place feel like?". The lyrics and instrumentation of the song help answer some of the presumed questions created through the mysterious title.
Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying
I may not be much of a rock fan, but a song title like Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying certainly piques my interest. This song title is a bit longer than most, but its straight-to-the-point attitude makes it well worth exploring. It's straight, to the point, and gives you a clear sense of what the song may sound like without giving too much away.
Fast Car by Tracy Chapman is a classic, and the title is just one part of what makes the song special. While the song name isn't directly related to the main theme of the track, it does convey the emotion associated with the song's message and reuses some of the song's lyrics. It's specific and hooks you in without a first listen.
The pop star songwriting queen herself, Taylor Swift, is incredibly skilled at creating eye-catching song name ideas. Even though it isn't one of Swift's chart-topping hits, Illicit Affairs sets forth a complex storyline with a mere two words which is nothing short of impressive.
So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings
So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings by Caroline Polachek is one of the best song title ideas that utilize a specific word or phrase relevant to the current cultural lexicon. While the phrase, "So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings" isn't used as much anymore, its limited popularity at the time helped break the experimental artist more into the mainstream.
Hopefully, this guide makes it easier for you to come up with a pretty creative name for your next song. If you find yourself conflicted, you can always come up with a couple of names and then revaluate with musician friends to pick out the perfect name together. Have fun finding a name that captures the true moment and essence of your music.