When learning about their favorite artists and bands, many people grow curious about how famous people decide what to name their songs and albums. So, how do well-known artists and musicians create names for their songs?
Artists often pick the most frequently said lyrics in the chorus or song overall as the title for the song so it can be memorable. Others may use literary devices like alliterations, metaphors, or anagrams to name their songs. Other bands will use inside jokes or people’s names as song titles.
The Straightforward and Easy Peasy Approach To Song Title Creation
Say someone hears a snippet portion of a song while shopping at the grocery store, or they hear the first part of a song from a friend’s new playlist while driving. If someone is busy or only hears the end of a song, they may only be able to hear a few lyrics or a few lines of notes before it ends.
These listeners may not know how to or be able to use song identification apps like Shazam or SoundHound so they can find the song later. They also may not have either of these apps or be able to stop the car so they can use one of the apps to find the title of the song and listen to the entire thing later.
This is why most song titles must cut to the chase and be easy to associate with the corresponding song. Many bands and artists use this approach to name their songs by picking out whatever word or lyric is most repeated or first said during the song’s run time. Repetition in song lyrics often happens in the song’s chorus, so the song title is often taken from or inspired by lines or words in the chorus!
The following video below features songwriting tips and tricks on why song titles are made this way!
Six Tips For Naming Songs
1. Use Trial Listener Input and Forums
Many beginner songwriters will reportedly use free resources to develop interesting titles. If they can’t come up with a title on their own, they could show the lyrics to a friend, family member, or even stranger and ask them if they can guess the title. Then the songwriter could write down the person’s words and use the best submissions as a new title! Other free resources and public forums exist, such as Reddit, Quora, and Stackflow.
2. Research the Song Genre to Get Inspiration
Another way some bands name their songs is by researching similar songs to get ideas for their work. For instance, if their new song is a love or pop song, the songwriter may read over Taylor Swift’s song titles to see some good song title examples. By looking at already created song and album names, time can be saved and accurate titles can be discovered so that the song title fits into the genre well!
3. Brainstorming Together
One of the other most popular ways a band will create a song moniker is by speaking with their bandmates about what sounds best.
You can write and re-read the song to find the best title ideas as she brainstorms! This songwriter also said that the song’s underlying message could be turned into the title, which makes the song stand out amongst other songs that may have unimaginative, bland titles by comparison.
4. Make it an Inside Joke of the Band
Surprisingly, some song titles may appear seemingly random or even nonsensical. Songs like “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne or “8” by Billie Eilish may appear disconnected from the lyrics, but with some research, fans will find these song titles are chosen because of stories from the band members. Sometimes, songs are named specific things because of an inside joke or something the band only knows about.
5. Naming Instrumental Music
Some bands and composers don’t have lyrics in their songs to draw inspiration from to make a title for the song they are working on. If that is the case, instrumental-based groups may take an attribute of their song, such as the mood, technique, or type of song in their music, and make that the title as a result.
For instance, if the song is instrumental and has distorted sounds, the band could call it “Clip” as a reference to the “clipping” often associated with the distortion effect in music. They could also call it “Disjointed” or “Out of Tune from You” to communicate the distorted feeling.
6. Have Fun with Literary Devices
Now let’s talk about song names that have fun with creative literary devices! Some songs like “Wind Beneath My Wings” is longer on purpose and draw upon a popular metaphor for people to be inspired by. Others will have titles that are paradoxes, play on traditional or popular phrases, or are alliterations.
7. Take Inspiration From Other Media
Some websites discuss how this is done, with bands choosing one-worded titles, titles based on times, locations, and titles based on other songs, books, or even movie titles! Taking inspiration from existing media is a great way to create titles.
Many musicians pick out words and phrases that are easy to remember but interesting enough to think about long after hearing the song. Other songwriters will create phrases or terms that inspired the song before it was written.
Overall, there are many ways that singers and bands make the names and titles for their works, and all the above approaches are great ways for indie artists to get started on titling their songs! Luckily, that means that you can do many things to find the title of a song you write in the future.