8 Thoughts on Choosing a Song Topic

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By Curtis Dean, Sage Music

 

Are you a professional songwriter or someone just learning the ropes of songwriting? Perhaps you’re someone on the rise who likes creating music just for fun? Are you a musician who is always coming up with lyrics to a song? Perhaps you have enrolled for music lessons to get some inspiration for your next track. Regardless of wherever you are in your songwriting journey, this post will give you some inspiration on how you can go about your next songwriting project. 

 


Look Around You

When it comes to picking the right title, all you have to do is look around yourself. Keep your eyes and ears open for short phrases that could suggest an emotion. It could even be a situation. Pay attention to headlines, books, magazines, news stories. 

Try listening to the movie and TV show dialogues. Even sometimes paying attention to mundane conversations with friends could hit you with inspiration. It’s always good to have a notebook handy. That way, whenever an idea comes to mind, you can quickly write it down.

 

Work Out the Theme of the Song
A theme gives you a rough idea of what the song is going to be about. It could be a heartbreak that you went through (a bit cliche though). It could even be an unusual situation you experienced. You could even use scenes from your favorite show as inspiration. 

Often, the inspiration hits you out of nowhere. But, to give you some rough idea, here are a few universal themes that have been woven time and gain into paintings, music, songs, poetry, and novels -

 

  • Love
  • Loss
  • Hate
  • Friendship
  • Family
  • War
  • Conflict
  • Winning
  • Protest
  • Geography
  • Past, future, or present
  • State of Mind

 

Show Some Spontaneity
Not only is it good but also essential to have a little bit of structure to your lyric-writing. With a plan, you can make the entire process easier. However, sticking too much to the plan could leave no room for surprise.
 
Always have some space for spontaneity. For example, you could have a broad idea of what the song will be about. You could even have the title picked out with a few lyrics in mind. But, as you sit down to write, let your subconscious guide you. 
 
Be a little spontaneous. You may find yourself writing lyrics that never even occurred to you solely based on assonance and consonance of words.
 
 

Decide on the Mood

 

Every single song has a mood or a feel to it, if you will. Most composers would first think about the mood before composing the track or writing the lyrics. Sometimes, you may begin with a random inspiration. 
Or perhaps you want to express a certain type of emotion. Start with a rough idea. Let your imagination run wild. If you’re starting with absolutely no idea, it’s good to write down what kind of mood you want to create. Do you want the song to express sadness, euphoria, celebration, inspiration, love, passion, or energy?
 
When you’re clear about the motive of the song and the emotion you want to create, you can pick better words. To come up with all these ideas, it’s best if you go out and explore the world a little. Go for a ride, go camping or just go see a movie. It’s amazing how every little thing can inspire you in so many ways.

 

 

You don’t necessarily have to say something completely innovative or new

 

It’s easy to get stuck with the idea of coming up with something brand new and completely original. Make no mistake! Originality is appreciated and required. But, you don’t always have to go so much out of the way to think of something that no one has thought of before.  
It’s good to have a sense of familiarity with your work. In fact, a song that most people can identify with will have a better chance of garnering accolades. 

 

Put Your Feelings into Words

Song-writing is a creative task. It’s an artistic endeavor. And, like most artistic endeavors - it’s essential that you put your heart into it. Do not be too rigid or too structured about it. It’s good to have a plan but ultimately your feelings and your heart should take things over.

Connect with your feelings and let them come outpouring in the form of words. You might be surprised what you wind up creating if you let your heart and emotions guide you.


 

Be Original

If you wind up using the same title as some other song, it could lead to copyright issues. As an artist, you never want that kind of a mess. Try to come up with unique titles. Think about it broadly and freely. 

You could try using a combination of words or even some foreign words if you fail to pick a combination in your target language to convey the right feel and emotion.

But, don’t pick something so strange or foreign that it seems alienating or senseless. Many great songs never got the recognition they deserved because of their tricky or off-putting titles.

So many songs share the same title and have the exact same combination of words. Avoid using such titles. You would never want your song to be mistaken for someone else’s work. 

To sum it up - keep your title unique, different, but not so foreign that it seems to alienate.

 

 

Use a Title That Appeals to the Ears

The title of the song must speak with you personally. It should have an emotional connection. If you can manage that, that connection will show in your lyric writing. You cannot fake that kind of authenticity.

Also, you will find it in your heart when you have created just the right title. Keep waiting for that eureka moment. Listen to your heart and your intuition. When a song means something to you, it will mean something to others as well and vice-versa.

If the title doesn’t seem right or if you have mixed feelings about it, keep digging. Persevere and keep your options open .


 

Bottom Line

Even while following all of these rules and tips, it’s important that you have fun in the process. Make sure to enjoy your artistic endeavor and it will show in your final work.

 

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