107 Song Prompts for When You’re Really Stuck

107 Song Prompts for When You’re Really Stuck

Songs prompts, oh, song prompts.

If I’m honest, I’m not a huge fan. I’m not really into writing by numbers. I think spoon-feeding is great for babies but terrible for songwriters. And I think the most important thing a songwriter – well, anyone – can learn is to think for themself.

That’s why most of the content on the site is about the big, fundamental ideas every songwriter should know about. (Including this article about how to come up with your own song ideas.)

But, you know, sometimes songwriters get really stuck. Sometimes songwriters have no idea where to begin. Sometimes songwriters get so stuck they just sit curled up in a corner murmuring ‘HELP ME’ to their pot plants.

 

 

And if that’s you, I have some good news: I made you a big list of songs you can write. Specifically, 107 songs you can write.

Do I hate myself for doing it?

Of course. A little.

But will it help you out if you’re really stuck?

Of course. So we’re good.

 

107 Song Prompts - Guy with big thumbs up.

You’re welcome, Internet.

 

If you’re new to the site I recommend you read my article on how songs tell stories, and how a song’s style, idea and hook work together before you do anything else. They’ll help you know what to do with the song prompts I’m about to give you.

You can also download a nifty (and printable) version of the list here.

Otherwise, have a browse. See which song prompts inspire you. Go write some songs, live your dream, change the world.

And remember: these ideas aren’t gospel. You can use the song prompts as is. You can make changes to the song prompts. You can ignore the song prompts entirely and go where your curiosity takes you. Do what’s right for you, compadre. Life is yours for the taking.

 

[  THE 107 SONG PROMPTS  ]

Download the printable version.

Love Songs

  1. Write a love song. Any love song.
  2. Write a love song from you to a current or former lover.
  3. Write a love song from you to a desired or imaginary lover.
  4. Write a love song from someone else to his or her lover.
  5. Write a love song about an unusual kind of love.
  6. Write a love song about a complicated kind of love.
  7. Write a love song that never uses the word ‘love’.
  8. Write a love song that never uses the word ‘you’.

Break Up Songs

  1. Write a song where you break up with someone and you’re really happy about it.
  2. Write a song where you break up with someone and you’re really sad about it.
  3. Write a song where you break up with someone and you’re conflicted about it.
  4. Write a song where you break up with someone but you’re terrified of doing it.
  5. Write a song where you break up with someone suddenly after learning something new.
  6. Write a song where someone broke up with you and you want them back.
  7. Write a song where someone broke up with you and don’t want them back.
  8. Write a song where someone broke up with you and you’re not sure if you want them back.

Relationship Songs

  1. Write a song that says ‘I’ve never met anyone like you before.’
  2. Write a song that says ‘Show me some respect.’
  3. Write a song that says ‘I don’t care.’
  4. Write a song that says ‘I don’t want to know.’
  5. Write a song that asks ‘Baby, what’s wrong?’
  6. Write a song that says hello.
  7. Write a song that says goodbye.

Story Songs

  1. Write a song that tells the story of someone you think is really interesting.
  2. Write a song that tells the story of someone you think is misunderstood.
  3. Write a song that tells the story of someone you really dislike.
  4. Write a song that tells the story of someone you know personally.
  5. Write a song that tells the story of someone you read about in the news.
  6. Write a song that tells the story of an existing fictional character.
  7. Write a song that tells a story about you, but from someone else’s perspective.

 

Microphone in dark background

 

Personal / Artist Songs

  1. Write a song that introduces us to you as an artist.
  2. Write a song that introduces us to someone else as an artist.
  3. Write a song based on your key life philosophy.
  4. Write a song that tells us something nobody else knows about you.
  5. Write a song about a major event in your life.
  6. Write a song about a major change in your life.
  7. Write a song about what you want in life.
  8. Write a song about your biggest hope in life.
  9. Write a song about your biggest disappointment in life.
  10. Write a song about growing up in your particular neighborhood.

‘I Am’ Songs

  1. Write a song that says ‘I’m happy.’ (And tell us why.)
  2. Write a song that says ‘I’m sad.’ (And tell us why.)
  3. Write a song that says ‘I don’t know.’
  4. Write a song that says ‘Nothing’s gonna stop me.’
  5. Write a song that says ‘Something awesome is coming.’
  6. Write a song that says ‘I’ve been holding myself back all this time.’
  7. Write a song that says ‘I’m ready to start a new chapter in my life.’
  8. Write a song that says ‘I need help.’
  9. Write a song that says ‘I never saw that coming.’
  10. Write a song that says ‘I was right all along.’

Public Service Announcement Songs

  1. Write a song that makes people feel happy.
  2. Write a song that makes people laugh.
  3. Write a song that makes people want to dance.
  4. Write a song that makes people say ‘I love you’ more.
  5. Write a song that motivates people.
  6. Write a song that encourages people to be themselves.
  7. Write a PSA song of your choice – think ‘Always Wear Sunscreen’.

 

Lady with Loudspeaker outside

 

Other Story Songs

  1. Write a song from a parent to their son or daughter.
  2. Write a song from a son or daughter to their parent.
  3. Write a song for two friends.
  4. Write a song for two enemies.
  5. Write a song for two siblings.
  6. Write a song for two lovers.
  7. Write a song about getting married.
  8. Write a song about eloping.
  9. Write a song about moving to a new town.
  10. Write a Christmas song.
  11. Write an Easter song.
  12. Write a Kwanza song.
  13. Write a Hanukah song.
  14. Write a ‘We make a great team’ song.
  15. Write a ‘What would I do without you?’ song.

Start with a Lyrical Hook (Title)

(For a recap on how lyrical hooks work, check out this article.)

  1. Write a song with a one-word hook – think ‘Jealousy’, ‘Hello’, ‘Fever’.
  2. Write a song with a two-word hook – think ‘Bad Romance’, ‘Space Cowboy’.
  3. Write a song with a hook that’s a phrase – think ‘No Good at Goodbyes’.
  4. Write a song with a hook that’s a complete sentence – think ‘I’m Outta Love’.
  5. Write a song with a hook that’s a question – think ‘Where Is the Love?’.
  6. Come up with a totally original word or phrase – think ‘Love Foolosophy’, ‘Ghetto Gospel’ – and make that your hook.
  7. Take the lyrical hook of an existing song, change one word and make that your hook.
  8. Take the lyrical hook of an existing song, make that your hook BUT write about a completely different story or situation.

Start with a Melody

(For a recap on how to write a great melody, check out Episode 11 of our series On Songwriting on the video page.)

  1. Write a perky melody, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.
  2. Write a simple melody, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.
  3. Write an expressive melody, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.
  4. Write a melancholy melody, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.
  5. Write a melody that repeats a single rhythmic motif, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.

 

Coffee mug saying 'Begin' on table

 

Start with a Groove

(For a recap on how to match your groove or musical style with your song’s story, check out this article.)

  1. Write an upbeat groove, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.
  2. Write a melancholy groove, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.
  3. Write a funky groove, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.
  4. Write a weird-sounding groove, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.
  5. Write a chilled-out groove, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.
  6. Write a groove based on two alternating chords, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.
  7. Write a groove based on a simple three- or four-chord progression, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.
  8. Write a groove based on a chord progression from an existing song, figure out a song story that fits it, then write that song.
  9. Set a drum loop playing then freestyle lyrics over the top until that gives you a song idea. Then write that song.

Miscellaneous

  1. Write a song about life on other planets.
  2. Write a song about your pet rock Ignacio.
  3. Write a song about the Northern Line Extension to Battersea.
  4. Write a song about the life and death of Hildegard von Bingen.
  5. Write a song about a sweet potato that looks like Michael Caine.
  6. Write a song that never uses the letter ‘m’.
  7. Write a song that has a 60-second sackbut solo.
  8. Write the song you’ve always wanted to write.
  9. Write the song you’ve just decided you wanted to write.
  10. Write the song you’ve never wanted to write.
  11. Write the song you still don’t want to write.
  12. Write the song you’re totally petrified to write.
  13. FFS. Just write something. Anything.

 

Feel free to add your own song prompts in the comments below. And if, one day, you manage to write all 107, well, I’ll buy you a taco.

Happy writing!

 

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