It seems unfair at times as some people come up with ideas for literally hundreds of songs, yet you can’t seem to come up with even one. But I would like to reassure you that everyone, including you, can write songs. It’s simply a matter of knowing which ideas can be best used, and take my word for it, there’s plenty.
Write about Your Life Experiences
Eminem became known for the songs he wrote about himself and the things he went through. One of Kanye West’s classic hits, Through the Wire, was also about himself. They’re not the only ones who have done this, so why not do it yourself? If you have undergone or undergoing a difficult period, write about it. This might hurt I know, but it’s going to be good since it’s honest and you are emotionally involved.
Songs about Love
Now this shouldn’t surprise you now should it? This is the most popular topic for songs of any genre and it’s easy to see why. You can write a song when you’re in love, and express how happy you are. Or you can write a song about how you broke up with your partner, how sad or angry you are.
You don’t have to be in love or out of love to write about it either. You can write a song wishing that you weren’t alone and hoping the right person will come along. You can also write about a song about yourself or someone who is struggling to choose between two lovers.
Telling Stories and Metaphors
Some of the most memorable songs of all time tell stories. Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water tells the story of the band’s experience when the place they were supposed to record their next album burned down.
The Eagles’ Hotel California is about a man who ends up in a strange hotel and is unable to get out. The song Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin and later remade by Ugly Kid Joe, is about a father who never had time for his son.
If you read a book or watched a good movie recently, I suggest you try to write a song about it. If you’re going to compose the song, make sure the melody goes along with the way the story is progressing.
You can also try your hand at using metaphors for your songs, so your song can have hidden or multiple meanings. Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven is a metaphor for the quest for spiritual perfection, while Metallica’s Master of Puppets is about drug addiction. Here are other examples.
- Songs about the Devil can also refer to the evil inside of men and women.
- A song about a quest or longing for something (like U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For) can be a longing for love of a person or love of God.
- A snake can refer to temptation or sex, or betrayal.
- Songs about cars can also refer to women such as Deep Purple’s Highway Star and Panama by Van Halen.
The Top 5 Songwriting Tips You Need to Remember
- Listen to music and what the lyrics say and you might be able to write a song in response to it. Peter Schilling’s Major Tom was written in reaction to David Bowie’s Space Oddity, while Romeo Void’s Girl in Trouble was in made in response to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.
- Learn to think outside the box. Don’t constrain yourself to writing just about love songs thinking the public “won’t accept it”. Great rock bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin wrote songs about mysticism and the supernatural as much as human emotions. One of the biggest hits of the 80s, I Ran by A Flock of Seagulls, is about aliens invading the Earth.
- Don’t force your idea to come out. They will come and flow if you don’t impose a deadline on yourself to come up with a good idea.
- Copyright your lyrics and composition. This will save you a lot of trouble later on when your song gets picked up by a record company. You might think that playing your song in a small venue isn’t a big deal. But if someone hears and claims credit, you won’t have proof unless you copyright it first.
- Learn to play an instrument such as the piano or guitar. A lot of times great song ideas came from strumming the guitar or just sitting in front of the piano.
If you want to write songs about sensitive issues like politics, religion or your feelings towards someone or something specific, go ahead, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, you need to be prepared for the response, as some people may not agree with the lyrics of your song.