The 100 most clichéd clichés in pop song titles

Andy Baio has been writing about The Whitburn Project - a vast spreadsheet with data about the 37,000 songs that have been hits on the Billboard Chart since 1890. Those 37,000 song titles use a vocabulary of fewer than 9,000 different words, and here are the top hundred most frequently used:
ain't alone angel arms around away baby bad beautiful believe blue boy change christmas comes crazy cry dance days dear dream ever everybody everything eyes fall feel fire fool forever girl gone gonna goodbye happy heart heaven hey hold kiss la lady leave life light lonely love lover mama man mind mine miss moon moonlight morning mr music night nobody oh people play please rain red remember river rock roll rose sing smile somebody something song soul star stay stop street summer sun sweet sweetheart talk tears theme things think tonight town true walk wanna wish woman wonderful world young
created at TagCrowd.com


  1. Oh, I take that back... I thought we were doing lyrics, not titles. So "theme" makes sense. Don't mind me.

  2. I did the same thing for artist names. 'Orchestra' was way out in front. After that, it was just common boy's names - 'Billy', 'Paul', 'John', with 'Elvis', 'Presley' and 'Sinatra'.

  3. Anonymous1:50 am

    alright. "Man-Girl With the Angel Arms," the latest top 40 single.

  4. Fun (obsessive) project:

    Write a song using only those 100 words.

    Syntax alone should be interesting: "Theme town nobody play mama goodbye." Okay, I've started . . .

  5. How about 'Blue Baby'?

  6. Right, I'm inspired. "Lonely love" sounds like a good song, for one...

  7. "Aint Gonna Wanna Walk" That sounds like a sad country song haha!... hey, it could make it to number 1... I am sure of it!

  8. This would make a good set of refrigerator magnets.

    I'd also like to see the next hundred down, from #101 to #200.

  9. couple of possible slayer titles in there if you just read it straight through

    'feel fire' and 'please rain red'

  10. both link point to "..._onehit_wonders_and_pop_longevity". where can i find the post about lyrics?

  11. Um...

    I'm afraid whoever compiled this list put a heavy artistic filter on it. I can see why they cut out words like 'the' or 'a'. But I don't agree with many of the choices, such as 'you', 'I', 'time', 'little', etc.

    Here's the real top 100:

    6384 the
    4205 you
    3215 i
    2916 love
    2901 a
    2508 me
    2252 in
    2248 my
    2223 of
    2218 to
    1278 and
    1274 it
    1243 on
    980 your
    933 for
    904 be
    866 don't
    828 is
    754 i'm
    699 little
    673 all
    651 do
    625 baby
    623 heart
    606 with
    542 that
    533 time
    530 it's
    527 when
    522 one
    486 girl
    479 what
    477 song
    467 get
    465 man
    461 night
    452 got
    451 like
    440 go
    421 up
    418 just
    416 no
    404 can't
    400 you're
    392 if
    388 so
    387 from
    373 this
    373 good
    373 down
    371 back
    365 home
    362 come
    350 way
    350 old
    344 blue
    341 want
    333 i'll
    332 out
    327 again
    323 are
    321 have
    319 never
    318 let
    312 know
    304 can
    302 day
    301 at
    291 world
    285 over
    284 blues
    281 we
    281 sweet
    277 take
    274 by
    274 away
    270 how
    265 now
    262 part
    260 make
    250 eyes
    245 long
    244 say
    242 life
    240 there
    231 boy
    225 dream
    222 more
    220 where
    219 moon
    217 too
    216 tonight
    213 ain't
    212 oh
    211 woman
    211 gonna
    210 tell
    206 rock
    205 only
    204 will

  12. I didn't put a 'heavy artistic filter on it' - the tagcrowd software has a 'common words' filter.

  13. If billboard included time signature, bpm, and key (C#, E, etc) you'd be able to come up with a formula for a chart hit. I seem to recall reading that some company claimed to have written software that can deliver guaranteed chart hits based on this premise. See also: The Manual by KLF.

  14. Anonymous11:26 pm

    a good title for a song would be "moonlit morning"

  15. Anonymous1:12 am

    "Aint Alone Angel" aw. first 3 words of this make a great song title!

  16. Anonymous5:08 pm

    I have a theory and I would like to see if this data could be used to confirm it. I have been a DJ for almost twenty years, and I beleive that the most popular word used in song LYRICS is not "love" or "girl" or even "you"....but "baby". If this wasn't the most used word before Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight", that song probably put it over the top. The word is used like punctuation in almost every pop song.

    So, can you tell me, what are the most frequently used words in pop music LYRICS, in order?


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