Blog

10 Easy Ways To Name a Song When There Isn’t Any Obvious Title

10 Mins read

What are the best ways to name a song?

There are a lot of things that go into writing a song, you need to come up with a melody, the lyrics, and then find the right chords to match it all together.

For most artists though, that can be the easy part, it’s coming up with a song title that can be much more difficult.

Sometimes the best titles just come to you naturally, but other times you might struggle to think of something clever or meaningful.

If that’s the case for you, don’t worry!

There are plenty of easy ways to come up with a great title for your song even if the inspiration isn’t there.

In this blog post, we’ll give you some easy ways to name a song when there isn’t any obvious title so you can get back to writing new music right away.

10 Easy Ways To Name a Song When There Isn’t Any Obvious Title

1. Use the mood or feeling of the song

Whenever you feel like your new written song doesn’t have an obvious title, then you can always go for the feeling or mood that the song gives off.

This is a great way to start thinking about a title that really suits your new track.

If the song is mellow and calming, then you could try something like “Lullaby” or “Sleepy Eyes”.

If the song is more upbeat and happy, then you could try something like “Hummingbird” or “Sunshine”.

These are just examples, (maybe bad examples too) but they perfectly demonstrate this point.

One of the most popular songs that used this idea is “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, which never mentions the phrase “smells like teen spirit” in the lyrics.

Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (Official Music Video)

The feeling/mood of your song should be the first thing you think about when trying to come up with a name for it.

2. Use the opening line of the song

This is another great way to come up with a title for your song, especially if the opening line is strong and catchy.

People will remember the title of your song if it’s the same as the first line they hear.

For example, the song “Yesterday” by The Beatles uses the opening line “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away”.

The Beatles - Yesterday

It’s a great opening line that definitely draws people in, and the title of the song reflects that.

It doesn’t have to be the exact first line, but something close to it can also work as well.

3. Use a place or object mentioned in the song

If there’s a place or object that’s mentioned in your song, then you could try using that as the title.

This is especially effective if the place or object is significant to the meaning of the song.

It could be anything from a city (“New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra) to a more specific place (“The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals).

world map vector

Source: HappyWall.com

On the other hand, an object can refer to anything from a key (“The Key to the Highway” by Big Bill Broonzy) to a spoon (“The Spoonful” by Howlin’ Wolf).

Whichever scenario you have, using a place or object as the title of your song can be really effective since they give the audience a more visual way to connect with the song.

4. Use a foreign word for the song’s title

This is a great way to make your song stand out, and it can also be really effective if the foreign word has a lot of meaning behind it.

It could be a word from another language that’s significant to the song, or it could simply be a made-up word that you feel represents the song well.

An example of a foreign word used in a song title would be “C’était Toi” by Billy Joel.


If you get too creative with this, you can potentially alienate your audience so be careful.

When it comes to pronunciations, make sure it’s something that people can actually pronounce, and is not too difficult to say.

That’s assuming you still want your song to be heard by people who don’t speak the language, of course, and those who currently listen to your music work.

5. Use a made-up word that’s unique

This is similar to using a foreign word, but the made-up word doesn’t have to be from another language.

It could be anything that you feel represents your song well, and is unique enough to stand out.

In order to come up with a word, you can simply start thinking about the lyrics and what they mean to you, and from there, try to come up with a word that describes the song as a whole.

“Californication” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is a great example of this.

Californication by RHCP cover

If all else fails, you can always pick any two words from the lyrics and mash them together to create a new word.

Although they’re usually not credited for creating this word, it’s safe to say that this term got more popular after the release of this song.

6. Pick a number, date, or time

If there’s a number, date, or time mentioned in your song, then you could try using that as the title.

This is especially effective if the number, date, or time is significant to the meaning of the song.

It could be anything from a year (“1999” by Prince or “1998 TRUMAN” by Brockhampton) to a more specific time (“25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago).

Numbers are easy to remember and are very brandable!

If you plan on marketing your music, then a number in your title can make it easier for people to remember and find your song.

Now to be fair, this method can be a bit overused so try to be creative with it so that your song can stand out when people search for it.

For example, let’s search for 1998 on Spotify:

songs with title numbers

As you can see, there’s a few songs that show up when you search for this query, potentially being ranked based on how many plays each of them have.

So if you publish a new song, then chances are, you’re not going to show up in the top 10 at all.

For that reason, I would advise you to add an extra identifier to any number title that you have, just like we see with Brockhampton’s”1998 TRUMAN”, and “1999 WILDFIRE”.

The identifiers here are “TRUMAN” and “WILDFIRE”.

7. Use a simile or metaphor

If you want to be more creative with your song title, then you could try using a metaphor or simile.

This is a great way to give your audience an idea of what your song is about without giving too much away.

A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two things, usually using the words “like” or “as”.

For example, Nelly Furtado’s song “I’m Like a Bird” is a simile that compares her to a bird.

“She’s Like The Wind” by Patrick Swayze is another example of a simile, but this time it’s comparing someone to the wind.

When it comes to metaphors, they’re usually a bit more indirect, and hence harder to spot.

According to Oxford Languages:

A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

“I Shot the Sheriff” by Bob Marley is a metaphor for taking control and standing up for yourself.

In this case, “shooting the sheriff” conveys the idea of when “people have been judging you and you can’t stand it no more and you explode.”

8. Use an idiom that’s easy to understand

An idiom is a phrase that has a meaning that can’t be understood from the individual words alone.

It’s basically when the meaning of a phrase is different from the literal meaning of the words.

For example, “It’s raining cats and dogs” is an idiom that means it’s raining really hard.

“She’s over the moon” is another idiom that means she’s really happy.

This is similar to using a metaphor or simile, but with an idiom, you’re using a phrase that’s already common in everyday language.

It could be anything from “the writing’s on the wall” to “raining cats and dogs”.

The key here is to use an idiom that’s not too common, or else people might not understand what you’re trying to say.

A good example of an idiom used in a song title is “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye.

The idiom “I heard it through the grapevine” is commonly used to describe when someone hears a rumor or piece of gossip from someone else.

In the context of the song, it’s used to describe how the protagonist found out that his lover was cheating on him.

9. Just pick a word or phrase from the chorus

This is a pretty self-explanatory method, but it’s definitely one of the easiest ways to come up with a song title.

All you have to do is take a word or phrase from the chorus of your song and use that as the title.

This method works well because the chorus is usually the most memorable part of the song, so people will be able to remember your song more easily.

It also helps if the word or phrase from the chorus is catchy or has some sort of double meaning.

A great example of this is “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston.

I Will Always Love You on Genius

The phrase “I will always love you” is repeated multiple times throughout the chorus, and it’s also a pretty catchy phrase.

So when people hear this song, they’ll now automatically think of the phrase “I will always love you” and associate it with the song.

10. Use a popular artist or band’s name

This is a great way to get people’s attention, especially if the artist or band you’re referencing is popular at the moment.

People will be curious to see what your song is all about, and it might even help you get some more exposure.

Just make sure that you’re not using the name of the artist or band in a negative way, or else you could get into some legal trouble.

A good example of this method is “Kanye” by The Chainsmokers.

The Chainsmokers - Kanye ft. SirenXX (Official Music Video)

In this case, they’re not using Kanye West’s name in a negative way, but rather in a positive way.

Specifically demonstrated by saying how they “wanna be like Kanye” and “be the King of me always” and do whatever they want.

They’re basically implying how they want to live freely and not care about what other people think.

Bonus #1: Use the most popular lyrics in another song

This is my favorite one because it involves a bit of clever marketing.

What you do is find the most popular lyrics from another song and use that as your own song title.

This works really well because people will already be familiar with the lyrics, and they’ll be curious to see how you use them in your own song.

Not to mention, it’s a great way to get people to listen to your song, especially if it’s one of those songs with bad titles and people just search for the lyrics instead.

On platforms such as Spotify, or YouTube, this will be a huge advantage for your song since everybody will be searching for those popular lyrics and chances are, your song will come up.

Are song names copyrighted?

The answer is no, song titles are not copyrighted.

You can use any song title you want without fear of legal repercussions, in fact, there are plenty of songs with the same title out there.

The only time you might run into some legal trouble is if you’re using the name of a popular artist or band in your title, as I mentioned earlier.

This is if you’re using it negatively, or as a way to make people believe that the said individual is associated with the musical artist that created the original song.

According to Copyright.gov:

Words and short phrases, such as names, titles, and slogans, are uncopyrightable because they contain an insufficient amount of authorship

Examples of names, titles, or short phrases that do not contain a sufficient amount of creativity to support a claim in copyright include:

  • The name of an individual (including pseudonyms, pen names, or stage names)
  • The title or subtitle of a work, such as a book, a song, or a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work
  • The name of a business or organization
  • A band or performing group’s name
  • The name of a product or service
  • A domain name or URL
  • The name of a character
  • Catchwords or catchphrases
  • Mottos, slogans, or other short expressions

They also mention that under certain circumstances, names, titles, or short phrases may be protectable under federal or state trademark laws.

Circular 33 Works Not Protected by Copyright pdf

Source: CIRCULAR 33 – Works Not Protected by Copyright (PDF)

On the other hand, laws are dependent on your location, so it’s best to consult with a local attorney if you’re ever in doubt.

How long should a song title be?

A song title can be as long or as short as you want it to be.

There is no rule that says it has to be a certain number of words or a certain amount of characters, it really just depends on what you want your title to be.

For example, Arctic Monkeys have a song titled “You Probably Couldn’t See for the Lights But You Were Staring Straight At Me”, and this is what it looks like when you search it:

Arctic Monkeys song with long title example

If you feel like a longer title will better capture the essence of your song, then go for it.

Now, if you think a shorter, more to-the-point title will work better, then go for that instead.

I’d just advise you to consider how your title will look on platforms and things like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, or even on a physical CD.

If it’s too long, it might get cut off, or it might be hard to read.

Lastly, as we mentioned before, the easier it is for people to remember your song title, the better.

What are some of the most popular song titles ever?

The most popular song title ever is believed to be “Happy Birthday To You”.

This song was first published in 1893 and has been translated into over 300 languages.

It’s estimated that this song is sung over 100 million times every year, making it one of the most popular songs in the world.

Here are some other popular song titles:

  • “Love Me Do” by The Beatles
  • “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran
  • “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi
  • “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega
  • “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
  • “Wonderwall” by Oasis
  • “Hotel California” by The Eagles
  • “Sweet Child O’Mine” – Guns N’ Roses.

The thing with these song titles is that if you use them, then no matter how big your new song gets, these will always be the ones people will think of first when they read the title.

So still, even though you can use anything as a title, you must be strategic all the time.

What is the most overused song title?

The most overused song titles are “I Love You”, “I Want You”, “Hold On”, and pretty much any variation of these concepts.

These phrases have been used in countless songs throughout the years, and it’s estimated that there are thousands of songs with this title.

Other popular, but overused song titles include:

  • “Forever Young”
  • “Stand By Me”
  • “Yesterday”
  • “Imagine”

While these titles may be overused, you can say they’re still popular for a reason.

They’re all classic songs that have stood the test of time, and they’re all examples of great songwriting.

If you use one of them, you’ll be totally okay, but again, it’ll be way harder to make your song stand out.

One more thing

GuitarBased.com is all about showing you a little bit more about guitars each day and finding ways to innovate and have fun with this beautiful instrument that we love.

If you enjoyed this post, then I invite you to go check out our blog!

We’re always sharing a lot of useful and helpful content that both beginners and advanced players can use to further their playing abilities.

As always, thank you for reading and being here! 🤘

Related posts
Blog

17 Best Places To Buy Guitars Online In 2022

8 Mins read
Nowadays, guitars are one of the most popular musical instruments in the world, and their popularity is only increasing day by day….
Blog

31 Best Busking Songs That Any Crowd Will Love (2022)

16 Mins read
If you’re new to busking or just looking for some inspiration, it can be tough to decide what songs to play. With…
Blog

Are Scalloped Fretboards Better? If So, Why? (2022)

8 Mins read
Many people ask themselves whether scalloped necks are any good or not. The answer might vary from person to person, but in…