The most common words in song titles

Ever wonder what words show up most often in song titles? Anyone? Well, I did. And Discogs has a database of over 156 million song, so I put together a couple Node.js scripts in search of some answers!

You can look at the raw numbers yourself, but here are some things that stood out to me:

After skimming past common articles and prepositions, the most popular word in song titles is You, with 5.8 million occurrences, followed closely by I with 5.5 million. This outward focus on others might seem endearing, but then I decided to combine some first-persion pronouns and common contractions (I, Me, I’m, I’ve) and compare with the third-person equivalents (You, You’re, You’ve). Turns out we’re a lot more self-centered (or introspective?) than it first seemed: the first-person shows up 11 million times, while the third-person is only 6.2 million. And don’t get too hopeful for reflections on our collective humanity: We came in 50th at a mere 818 thousand.

Mix and Remix are 12th and 19th. Not a big win for originality.

The most popular non-article/pronoun/preposition is, unsurprisingly, Love, showing up 4.1 million times. Time is the next noun at 1.2 million (after skipping things like Mix, Remix, Version, etc).

No comes in 14th with 2.3 million appearances. Yes isn’t even in the top 500!

The most popular number in a title is 2 (1.3 million), just ahead of 1 (1.2 million). 3 put in a solid showing at 682 thousand; much better than the disappointing performance from 4 (which has the advantage of being a numeronym for for). I have no idea why some other numbers like 5 (296 thousand) show up so much.

If you like your song titles to let you know what to expect up front, here are the most popular genres to show up:

  1. Blues
  2. Rock
  3. Instrumental
  4. Polka
  5. Disco

Rap didn’t appear in the top 500; rappers must feel that their genre is self-evident. Classics like Ninja Rap are clearly the exception.

And if you really want your song titles to be extra clear, Song itself came in 36th (1 million). So, roughly 0.6% of the time, songwriters are concerned that people might wonder what they’re about to listen to, so they’d better make sure they know it’s a song?

For classical music fans:

  1. Allegro
  2. Andante
  3. Adagio
  4. Moderato
  5. Allegreto

Clearly people like some tempo in their classical music! But if you’re not going for speed, Andante and Adagio are far more popular than a wishy-washy tempo like Moderato. Whether slow or fast, be bold!

Blue (81st) is the most popular color. Right behind is Black (99th), probably getting a big boost from metal songs. I expected Red (166th) to do better. White (216th), Green (339) Brown (491) were the only other colors I saw in the top 500. C’mon songwriters, let’s get some more songs about Orange and Purple!

Heaven (212th) is a more popular topic than Hell (350th), and Good (74th) beat out Bad (183rd). A win for optimistic songs! Though Die, Dead, and Death showed up a combined 1.2 million times, so…

I could go on all day with this, but you should check out the full list yourself and see what catches your eye!

Data provided by Discogs.