Guide to Writing Great Song Titles

Good Song TitleDo you have trouble coming up with good song titles? You’re not alone. It’s probably one of the most challenging steps in the songwriting process.

Let’s look at some of the reasons for this and discuss a few creative ‘tricks’ you can use to blow past writer’s block.

First, take a look at where you are with your song. Is it already written or are you trying to come up with a title first and base everything else around that? Do you want the title words to appear in the chorus of the song, or do you intend to use them elsewhere?

Remember: your song title should be descriptive, but this does not mean you have to use it in the chorus or anywhere else in the song for that matter.

For example, let’s say you’ve written a song about lost love, and in the chorus, you write: “she’s disappeared for good.” You could title your song “Gone” or “She’s Gone”. It expresses the same theme, but you need not use the word “gone” anywhere else in the song.

So, what we’re saying here is don’t be afraid to break from the rules just a bit.

Now, let’s talk about some other ways to generate songwriting ideas. As a songwriter, a big part of your job is to pay attention to things – both big and small – in your everyday life. There are images and stories and snippets of conversation surrounding you all the time, but are you listening?

Observing And Listening To Your Surroundings

It’s a good idea to carry around a notebook or tape recorder to jot down any ideas that come to you. At the end of the day, you can sort through all this material and look for hidden gems or inspiration for new ideas.

When you sit down to write, look for unique ways of expressing the theme of the song you intend to write. Pull out colors, moods, emotions, and common turns of guitar phrases. See if you can arrange them in new ways.

For example, let’s say you’ve written (or intend to write) a song about an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. First, think about what it is you’re saying about them. Were they great or were they “crazy”? How did they dress? What else made them stand out? Maybe you dated someone who drove you crazy in both the positive and negative sense of the word. They made you mad when they fought with you, but they also made your heart skip a beat whenever you saw them wearing blue jeans.

So, why not call the song “Crazy Blue Jeans”? Or “Crazy in Blue”? Or “The Denim and Heartache Blues”?

Pulling disparate images together is one key to writing good titles. You can also make use of metaphor, euphemisms, innuendo, and other tricks of expression. I recommend tackling the job from as many angles as you can by generating at least a dozen or more potential song titles for your song. You can then sort through them and run them by a third-party for more perspective. Eventually, you will hit upon the perfect title for your song!

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