How to Use Everyday Things to Inspire Your Songs


Finding inspiration for new songs is arguably the most difficult thing about working in the world of music, but what if you could use everyday things to inspire you? There are many ways of doing this but how can you act on them?

Look at Popular Culture

Many great songs have been written about popular culture like movies and TV shows. 1998’s novelty hit titled “Doctorin’ the Tardis” by The Timelords was based on the theme music from Doctor Who and was massively successful. 1995’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something was another hit although it only really mentions the 1961 movie in passing.

Other songwriters have found inspiration in classic games like bingo, which has been featured in songs including “Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo” by Jens Lekman and “Bingo My Love” by Cleopatra. With bingo, now even more mainstream after going online and diversifying, it’s easy to see how more bands could be inspired by it. The current range of games is divided into rooms with unique themes, meaning that it’s easy to get started if you’re looking to learn about bingo for inspiration purposes.

Books have also helped many songwriters find something that they want to write about. Metallica is mentioned several times on this list of songs inspired by books, as they’ve leaned heavily on HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, and several war books for some of their most famous lyrics. Meanwhile, Sting has pointed out that The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” was at least partly inspired by the characters in Lolita.

Image credit – “Writing? Yeah.” (CC BY 2.0) by crdotx

Think About the Things That You Enjoy

What if you enjoy something else that we’ve not covered so far? The good news is that great songwriters have always drawn on many diverse areas of life, with the inspiration not always being obvious in the finished song. If you enjoy something then there’s nothing to stop you from starting to write a song about it and seeing where it takes you.

A long-lost arcade game was the subject of Frank Black’s “Whatever Happened to Pong?” Another example comes from “Pinball Wizard” by The Who, which is based on a “deaf, dumb and blind kid” who’s a pinball champion. It was written by Pete Townshend, who later claimed that it was one of the worst songs he had written, but perhaps its huge success may be due to being based on a game we all know and can relate to.

This look at songs based on hobbies includes efforts about making music, taking photos and flying kites, so no activity is too mundane to get a song. Of course, it can be as direct or as subtle as you like, meaning that you get to choose whether you directly reference the hobby or if you prefer to keep it vague so that listeners need to work out what it’s about.

These are just a few of the topics that could inspire you, as the world is filled with song ideas waiting for you to discover them and write about them.

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