Music gives a colorful meaning to an artist’s words. And in this article, we take that literally!
You may have heard about people who can incorporate colors to sound or vice versa. Well, that is actually a true phenomenon evidenced by science. There is a neurological trait called synaesthesia.
It results in the combination of senses that aren’t usually connected. This is why people with synaesthesia can “hear colors” and “see sounds.” Many songwriters, singers, and other musicians have this trait that benefits them in their music-making career. Some of them reflect their desired sound and emotion by writing the color it represents in their song’s lyrics and even in the titles.
Here are 20 of the best songs with colors in the title:
1. “Red” by Taylor Swift
Country-Pop star Taylor Swift is best known for her songwriting prowess. Most of it stems from her romantic relationships and heartbreak experiences.
In an interview, Taylor described red as a color of intense emotions, such as love, frustration, jealousy, or confusion. Having experienced those emotions from an unhealthy romance. Taylor made it as a title of not just her single but her entire album. Her song “Red” is the title track of her fourth studio album of the same name.
However, red was not the only color mentioned in the whole song, and here are some lyrics to prove that:
- “Like the colors in autumn, so bright, just before they lose it all.”
- “Losing him was blue like I’d never known.”
- “Missing him was dark gray, all alone.”
- “But loving him was red Loving him was red.”
2. “Yellow” by Coldplay
The color yellow may have negative meanings: yellow cards in soccer, yellow fever, or yellow journalism. But for Coldplay, yellow is just right for their song that talks about being devoted to a specific someone.
According to Coldplay’s lead singer, Chris Martin, their song “Yellow” is not necessarily for a romantic type of love. It could also be about a person whom you look up to or someone you really care for.
The music video shows the lead singer walking along a beach in England in a continuous shot. The following are some of the best lines of the song:
- “Look at the stars. Look how they shine for you.”
- “And everything you do, yeah they were all yellow.”
- “Your skin, oh yeah, your skin and bones.”
- “Do you know you know I love you so?”
3. “Black Magic” by Little Mix
This song by Little Mix is about encouraging and empowering women to be confident in getting the man they like. The “potion” mentioned in the song could be taken as a metaphor for confidence.
This is supported by their music video wherein four teenage nerds are transformed into powerful girls who then took revenge on a school bully. Here are some lines from the song’s chorus:
- “Take a sip of my secret potion.”
- “I’ll make you fall in love.”
- “Boy, you belong to me. I got the recipe.”
- “And it’s called black magic.”
4. “White Horse” by Taylor Swift
Another Taylor Swift hit that has a color in its title is none other than ‘White Horse” from her 2008 album Fearless.
Taylor wrote this song as a mirror of her fascination with the differences between reality and fairy tales.
The song talks about the fairy tale moments of being in love and later realizing that it’s not always the case. This song gave Taylor her sixth top 20 debuts of 2008 when it ranked 13th on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also featured in the season premiere of ABC’s series Grey’s Anatomy. As a fan of the said medical TV series, Taylor was very excited and happy when she received the news.
5. “Purple Rain” by Prince
The “Purple Rain” was written for the film with the same name, and it was the centerpiece and primary plot point of the movie. This classic love song was solely composed by Prince, the singer himself.
“Purple Rain” became popular and was often performed by Prince as the showstopper in his concerts. The song also won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score.
6. “Green Light” by Lorde
“Green Light” is Lorde’s first single from his Melodrama album. Musically, it belongs to the alternative, electropop genre. The artist released the song when she was just 20 years old after she experienced her first real heartbreak.
The “green light” is a metaphor to symbolize how she waited to get back to her feet and have a head start again.
7. “Evergreen” by Will Young
One word for this song? Nostalgia.
Now, you might have heard this song sung by another artist. And yes, you aren’t mistaken. “Evergreen” was initially recorded by the Irish boy band Westlife. Will Young had his own version released as a double A-side single along with “Anything is Possible.”
This was after winning the first series of Pop Idol in the United Kingdom. Evergreen love means that love is always as new as when it started.
Here are some of the song’s lyrics to help you recall this nostalgic song:
- “Don’t tell me but. it feels like love.”
- “I’m gonna take this moment and make it last forever.”
- “‘Cause you’re one good reason, you’re the only girl I need.”
- “I’m gonna take this life and make it evergreen.”
8. “Blackbird” by The Beatles
The classic song “Blackbird” actually has a deep, political meaning. It talks about the civil rights struggle of African Americans that had happened in the 1960s.
In the English language, the term “bird” can be used to refer to a girl. The song could be taken as a message to a black girl, telling her to fly and have her freedom. Besides its inspirational message “Blackbird* was also loved by listeners because of its beautiful harmonic tune.
Lyrics of the song include:
- “Blackbird singing in the dead of the night.”
- “Take these broken wings and learn to fly.”
- “Take these sunken eyes and learn to see.”
- “You were only waiting for this moment to be free.”
9. “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles
There were many different interpretations of The Beaties’ “Yellow Submarine.” They include those that thought it was about war, drugs, or the career of the band.
The song was even often sung at protests and rallies to signify unity. However, Paul McCartney said that he wrote this as a fun song that kids can enjoy. Paul purposely used short, simple words in the lyrics so that children could readily learn the song.
There was even an animated musical film inspired by this song that featured the caricatures of the band members as main characters.
10. “Lady In Red” by Chris de Burgh
Chris said that he wrote ‘Lady in Red” after seeing his wife. Diane, wearing red amidst the crowd of people in a club. It reminded him of how they first met. He explained, however, that the song is not specifically about his wife but about how people should appreciate the most important people in their lives.
“Lady in Red” became a huge hit worldwide, topping the charts in 25 different countries.
11. “Ebony and Ivory” by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
Paul McCartney once again used music to voice out a wonderful message. This time, it was a duet between him and none other than Stevie Wonder.
The song used the keys of a piano as a metaphor. The black keys are ebony, while the white ones are ivory. These keys symbolize racial harmony, saying that people of all types can live together and go ‘side by side” like the piano keys that create harmony.
He said that people can play the piano using only the white keys or the black ones. But to produce great music, you have to combine the two of them.
Here are some lyrics from the song that talks about this great analogy:
- “Ebony and ivory live together in harmony”
- “Side by side on my piano keyboard oh Lord why don’t we?”
- “We learn to live when we learn to give.”
- “Each other what we need to survive, together alive.”
12. “Bluer Than Blue” by Michael Johnson
“Bluer Than Blue” is a 1978 pop ballad breakup song. Blue here is deemed as a color of sadness, a feeling you would most probably have after getting left behind. The verses of the song describe the bright sides after the singer’s lover left.
But right at the chorus, he’s back to being “bluer than blue” or “sadder than sad.” It means that despite the things that could free the singer up when his lover left, none of them will bring him much solace.
Here are some lyrics that tell how blue this song is:
- “After you go, I’ll have a lot more time for sleeping.”
- “And when you’re gone, looks like things are gonna be a lot easier.”
- “But I’m bluer than blue, sadder than sad.”
- “You’re the only light this empty room has ever had”
13. “Black or White” by Michael Jackson
The King of Pop Michael Jackson wrote this song with producer Bill Bottrell, intending to awaken racial equality consciousness.
Jackson’s record label described it as a rock ‘n roll dance song about racial harmony. The lyrics expressed Jackson’s opinion about racism and how it affected him and the people around him. “Black or White” was one of the biggest hits of the 1990s.
This song earned Jackson his 12th #1 hit as a solo artist. The lyrics of the song include:
- “They print my message in the Saturday Sun.”
- “I had to tell them I ain’t second to none.”
- “And I told about equality, and it’s true.”
- “It don’t matter if you’re black or white.”
14. “Black and Yellow” by Wiz Khalifa
This song by American rapper Wiz Khalifa topped the Hot 100 after an 18-week climb. In an interview with the Journal, Khalifa said that he wrote the song with Pittsburgh pride, the city where he came from.
The repetition of “black and yellow” lyrics and the upbeat and hip-hop-y rhythm got the audience into the song. It especially appeals to those who love the pop-rap genre
15. “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea ft. Rita Ora
A black widow is a venomous spider known for luring male spiders, mating with them, and then killing them right after. This creature has been musically used as a metaphor for a manipulative woman. And Azalea’s “Black Widow” is just one of the songs that use such symbolism.
Azalea said that the song depicts the act of loving and obsessing with somebody and then hating them. “They love it and then they crush it,” she said when asked about her song’s meaning.
The track was actually co-written by Katy Perry, explaining why the song has a little bit of a “Dark Horse” vibe. Originally, Katy was going to sing for the track but the artist’s schedule was very hectic at that time. This wasn’t necessarily a let-down since Rita Ora, who successfully sung the hook, was a great fit for it.
16. “Old Yellow Bricks” by Arctic Monkeys
When talking about song titles with colors in them, “Old Yellow Bricks” is another rock song that has to be on the list.
From the very start to the end of the song, you’d find yourself tapping your feet or nodding your head from its upbeat tune. The collaborative performance of the guitar and drums at the middle of the song is one of its highlights.
The lyrics “Dorothy was right though” at the end of the song wore based on the film Wizard of Oz. In the movie, Dorothy followed a yellow-brick road, which is similar to the track’s title.
17. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John
Another song with the Wizard of Oz reference is Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.“ This was his title track for his seventh studio album of the same name. Elton’s songwriter partner, Bernie Taupin, wrote the lyrics of the song.
This ballad talks about trading a life of luxury and riches for a simple life in a rural area. It’s said to reflect more about Taupin’s life than Elton’s as the former often preferred to keep a low-key life.
These lyrics prove that the whole idea:
- “When are you coming down?”
- “I should have stayed on the farm.”
- “So goodbye yellow brick road, where the dogs of society howl.”
- “You can’t plant me in your penthouse. I’m going back to my plow”
18. “Baby Blue Eyes” by A Rocket To The Moon
This is a romantic love song that talks about a man’s loyalty and care for his lover which in this case, is described as someone with baby blue eyes.
It is a track from A Rocket To The Moon’s album called The Rainy Day Sessions. The song’s melody could really fit into your playlist during rainy days, especially when you’re in love.
Here are some heart-fluttering lyrics from this 2009 hit:
- “She’s a doll a catch a winner.”
- “I’m in love and no beginner.”
- “Baby baby blue eyes, stay with me by my side ‘til the morning through the night”
- “And I may feel like a fool, but I’m the only one. dancin’ with you.”
19. “Green Green Grass of Home” by Tom Jones
The list will not be complete without this classic version from Mr. Tom Jones himself. Tom Jones decided to record his own version after hearing a previous one by the legendary rocker Jerry Lee Lewis.
This country song was originally sung by singer Johnny Darrell and was written by Curly Putnam in 1964. It was inspired by a crime scene in the film The Asphalt Jungle. The man in the song is a prisoner who waits to be hanged and reminisces his precious past while in the jail cell.
“Green Green Grass of Home” was Tom Jones’s biggest hit in the United Kingdom. Many other well-known artists have covered this song including Elvis Presley and Kenny Rogers.
20. “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65
Last but not least on our list is Eiffel 65’s electronic dance-pop “Blue.” Many would probably not recognize this song with that title since the “da ba dee” phrase is more well-known. That is why the phrase is often included in the title.
Many others have mistaken the chorus lyrics to be “I’m blue and I’m in need of a guy.” But it’s actually ’I’m blue da ba dee da ba di.”
The rest of the song talks about a guy that lives in a blue world. “Everything he sees is just blue,” a line says. It depicts the literal and figurative meaning of the color blue.
It is incredible how music can represent and relay emotions from the singer to the audience. When incorporated with colors, songs can create a visual image that mirrors the musician’s feelings behind it.
Those mentioned songs are just some of the best ones ever recorded in history. But they already prove that music indeed is colorful