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How to Choose the Perfect Song Title

Sep 04, 2021

A song title is like a book cover. Sure, you can tell yourself it doesn’t matter, but do you want someone to choose your book from the bookshelf or not?

Alright, then I guess the song title does matter. 

Let’s dive into what I think are the 2 main factors to choose the perfect song title. 


Choose a title that is Memorable

How many songs are there named TonightYou,  and Stay? Like 453,093,029 each? Maybe don’t make yours #453,093,030. 

What goes into a memorable title? I’d argue being unusual and vivid

Don’t think unusual like weird. By definition, unusual means “not habitually or commonly occurring or done”. So not the same old, same old. Try for a title that hasn’t been used before or just sounds creative rather than cookie cutter.

So what is vivid? By definition, “producing powerful feelings or strong, clear images in the mind.” What’s more evocative, Tonight or Looking For Sunset? It’s basically saying the same thing, right? They’re both pointing towards the night of the current day.

The difference is Tonight doesn’t really bring a clear image to mind, but Looking For Sunset does. Tonight could be rainy, dark, happy, sad, the beginning, or the end. If you’re Looking For Sunset, you are looking forward to the beautiful turn of today into tonight. You can almost see the sunset. It’s a much more vivid title.

Try to think of a title that perfectly captures your song, and is also clearly the title of your song. What title is most uniquely your song? Changes isn’t your song. It’s everyone’s song. It’s anyone’s song. Winter Changes No Man? That might be your song. 


Choose a title that Best Defines Your Song

Your title should summarize your song. If your song is all about sleepy Saturday mornings, so be it. If your song is about how you plan to break someone’s heart, it probably shouldn’t be called I Love You, no matter how many times you may say that in the chorus. 

Think about it. What is Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey) about? What about You and Me (Lifehouse)? The Search (NF)? 

That’s right, just by reading the titles, you know what the song is about. Sure, there’s a lot more to the songs, but you don’t want to call a story about a murder case The Rise Of The Martians, or the next big fantasy series Waiting On a Time Machine, right?

The title obviously can’t (and shouldn’t) tell everything about a song, but it certainly shouldn’t be misleading. Well, unless it’s done on purpose for an intentional twist.

Your song title needs to best define your song. Whether that makes it the line you repeat multiple times in the chorus, the very first lyrics of your song, or a title that isn’t in the lyrics at all, whatever best defines your song is the way to go. 

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