If you ask a room full of hit writers how they get inspired and what kind of skills and training they have used to write songs you'll get a thousand different answers.
But If you ask the same writers how many come up with the song title first when they write songs, about 75% will raise their hands and say "almost always" and the other 25% will say "sometimes."
This is because most successful writers know what kind of themes to pick from and they're masters at developing fresh, original song titles. They know that a great song title will give birth to all the words, ideas, lines, and the song forms they need to inspire the best melodies. The song will virtually write itself!
When picking or creating your song title make sure you can turn your idea into a theme that appeals to a mass audience. You don't want to alienate your audience when you write songs , you want them to relate-this is one of the biggest and most overlooked aspects of successful songwriting.
There is a big difference between "selling out" and "writing something appealing and enjoyable." People who accuse successful songwriters of selling out are usually the same ones that can't write songs which appeal to listeners because they don't have the training, the desire, and/or talent. They spend their whole careers writing for themselves and the only fans that dig their music are their dogs and their Aunt Martha.
Step-By-Step Song Title Generating Tips:
1. Start thinking of one, and only one theme you will use for your song. The following themes are a great starting point:
Being In Love, breaking up, someone cheating, sex/lust, forgiveness, apologizing for something, life experiences, months or days of the week (Mondays, etc), places you've been to, question songs (i.e. What's Going On?), personal loss, urging someone(i.e.,Get Ready), friendship, reminiscing, remembering someone, slang words/sayings, current world events/issues, anger, frustration, etc.
You get the idea. A great tip here is to look at the current charts as well as your favorite songs, categorize one you like, and come up with an original song title based on that general categorized theme.
2. Once you have your theme/idea, start picking a few words off the top of your head that are related.
Let your mind go, don't force it, try to make sense of whatever idea you choose, and in a few minutes you'll have at least two words to start taking you in the direction of a new song title.
3. If you're still stuck at this stage, don't worry. Even pros get stuck when they write songs. But this following trick almost always does just that-the trick!
Make a worksheet. On a sheet of paper, on the left side, write as many nouns (including pronouns, i.e., me, you, etc.)related to your theme/idea that you can think of, in the center write down verbs, and on the right any other types of adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, etc.(I call these "Other Words")
Let's pick the theme of " sex/lust" and our title worksheet should look something like this:
Now let's try to match one "nouns" column word to a "verbs" column word and maybe an "other words" column word and start writing our matches on another sheet of paper.
This is what I have come up with so far:
(a). What I Need (Pretty straightforward and plain/common)
(b). You Always Give (A little better and more original)
(c). I Have Never Been So High (Now that's original!) Notice I had to add the word "so" which wasn't on the list. Always let your mind wander and don't be afraid to add words not on your worksheet list when you write songs. Let's make the title even more contemporary/cool. Let's change I have to the contraction "I've".
Now our song title is: "I've Never Been So High." This is an interesting, cool song title that would grab any record company executive's attention. I'm thinking it'll be about a lover whose high on love with their new flame. This song title sounds promising!
4. Many great song titles have come from TV shows and movies. I heard one just last night during a movie when the main character said,"I don't count." Sounds like it could be a pop, r&b,or country song title where the singer is tired of being neglected. Pro songwriters are always on the prowl for song titles and lines in real life, on the radio, and on the screen, and they condition their minds to do so.
5. If you're still having trouble there are a few song title generators available on the web that'll get your creative juices flowing and I've found many of them to be perfect for alternative, obscure type songs because they pick out random words. You'll get song titles like "Sunflower Tunnels, and "Breakfast Pavement". Pretty cool! Remember, if you have a great song title, you can write songs easily!