Writing Titles For Your Songs
It’s time to discuss writing titles for your songs. In a previous article, I talked about the song “These Days” by Foo Fighters. In the article, we saw how proper positioning of your lyrical phrases can help emphasize your song’s meaning. In case you missed it, you may want to check it out on this site before you continue on. It’s called “Songwriters – Learn How the Position of Your Lyrics Can Change What You’re Saying” . I want to continue talking about this song, but this time in reference to its title, “These Days.”
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The Function of Titles, ‘These Days’
Typically song titles are intended to serve as a summation of what the song’s about.
But more than being just a recap of the song’s essence, they’re meant to help up find songs we want to hear again. We’re ALMOST at a time in history where anyone can find out the name of a song they’re hearing for the first time, by holding up his phone up to the radio, so that an app can spit the name back at us. Then we can go download the song and throw it on our iPods. We’re almost at a point where that’s commonplace. But we’re not there just yet… So these days, it’s common for us to hear a song on the radio, then go to a search engine and search for the phrase in the chorus we perceive to be the title. The phrase that repeats the most, or is in the most highlighted position in the song, is what we usually assume the title to be.
Foo Fighters’ Take On The Title
Back to our Foo Fighters song. To follow along, you can watch video below:
The phrase “One of these days” occurs frequently throughout this song. It happens not only in the chorus, but in the verses as well. As you may recall from the previous article I wrote on this song, the phrase is shaped differently in the verse than it is in the chorus. It’s shaped similarly to the spoken-word version in the verses, but it isn’t as successful in that respect in the chorus. Again, if you’re not sure what I mean about that, you may want to check out my previous article on this song, as mentioned above.
As we saw in that previous article, when the phrase “One of these days” was sung in the chorus, the word “these” took the spotlight. Actually we should say it stole the spotlight, since “these” isn’t the word that was best suited to be in the highlighted position. But it was anyway.
Since the phrase “One of these days” happens so frequently, in both the verses and chorus of this song, it would seem fitting that it would become the title. But it’s not. The title is “These Days.” This is interesting. Now the word “these” is taking over in the title as well! It’s almost as if it was acknowledged that “these” was sucking up all the spotlight in the chorus, so as a response they named the song “These Days” to accentuate that fact. The problem is, if we refer back to our spoken word version of the phrase, which holds all the answers, it tells us that “these” shouldn’t be accented. It’s as if Foo Fighters knew on some level that “these days” is the phrase that cuts through to the listeners in the chorus, even tho “one of these days” is the idea they’re trying to get across. So they made that the title because IT is what was coming across in the highlighted position in the chorus. So they ran with it. Fair enough.
At the end of the day, it’s okay, because if we go into google and type in “one of these days – foo fighters” we’ll find the right song. It’s close enough.
So it works for Foo Fighters:
1. because their title is “close enough” to the title we thought it would be and
2. they’re world famous and people are just going to be able to find their songs based on a quick search for any of the song’s lyrics.
Naming Your Songs
Having said that, it’s important to realize that if you’re an unknown artist (for the time being, anyway), you want to make your songs as easy to find as possible. If your songs had the lyrics to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and you named the song, “A Girl’s Wicked Adventures with Her Fuzzy Friend,” no one’s going to find your song.
Optimize your chances. Even, if it’s just someone taking a quick look on your website or social media page for your song… you still want them to be able to find it quickly and easily, so they can commence rocking out to it.
I get that you want to do something different and atypical to what everyone else is doing. You may be saying: “Yeah, but everyone’s slapping down the main line of the chorus as their title… I’m more creative than that! I’m an artist!” Sit down, I get it. However in a situation like this, I’d recommend testing this concept BEFORE you go naming your songs all kinds of crazy unfindable things. I’m a big believer in breaking the rules. But I’m a bigger believer in knowing the rules before you break them. The best way to understand something is to first get some information on it, and then utilize it. Only then will you have experience with it, and you be able to manipulate it however you’d like. Have fun.
About Anthony Ceseri
Anthony Ceseri is a songwriter and performer who has traveled the country in pursuit of the best songwriting advice and information available. From classes and workshops at Berklee College of Music in Boston, to Taxi’s Road Rally in Los Angeles, Anthony has learned from the most well-respected professional songwriters, producers and performers in the industry.
Realizing this kind of information isn’t readily available to most songwriters, Anthony founded www.SuccessForYourSongs.com as a way to funnel the very best advice to songwriters and performers all around the world.
Anthony’s writings appear as examples in the book Songwriting Without Boundaries: Lyric Writing Exercises For Finding Your Voice by Pat Pattison, an acclaimed lyric writing professor at Berklee College of Music.
For more information, please visit successforyoursongs.com
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Do you want to find out more about songwriting and lyric writing? If so, you can find articles and tutorials on our our Songwriting and Lyric Writing Articles page.
For ideas about how to keep your song interesting, please read our article, “Keeping A Song Interesting“.
You might find the following articles by Anthony Ceseri useful:
- A New Perspective On Writing Lyrics
- Aligning Your Lyrical Phrases With Your Melodic Phrases
- Songwriters – Learn How The Position Of Your Lyrics Can Change What You Are Saying
- Using Rhyme To Enhance Your Lyrics
- Why Do The Lyrics Of John Mayer’s Daughters Work So Well
You might also find the following article of interest:
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