As songwriters, we dream of Grammy nominations and billboards glowing our song across Time Square. However, writing a hit song takes time, practice, and strategy. I wouldn’t say that there’s a magical formula, but there are many common denominators in platinum lyric writing, one of which is the meaning behind the song. After breaking down the lyrical themes from songs charting on this week’s Billboard Top 100 (June 26, 2022), I found five trending lyrical themes for you to take into consideration for your next project.
Reminiscing with a broken heart
Throughout musical history, songwriters have written millions of songs about heartbreak. Songs like “Glimpse of You” by Joji and “Wasted on You” by Morgan Wallen continue this trend, as they reminisce on a nostalgic relationship that resulted in a broken heart. However, many of the songs topping today’s charts center around accountability and taking blame for a failed romance.
“I just wonder what you’re dreaming of
When you sleep and smile so comfortable
I just wish that I could give you that
That look that’s perfectly un-sad”
– Glass Animals, “Heat Waves”
Love, lust, and desire
I don’t think we will ever stop writing about the fairytales of lust and desire. As humans, we crave to be wanted. Falling in love can be beautiful and ugly, and one of the best ways to express this complexity is through music.
“Ooh, girl, I like you, I do (I do)
I wanna be your friend, go shoppin’ in a Benz
I like you, I do (I do)
I’ll hit you when I land, can you fit me in your plans?”
– Post Malone ft. Doja Cat, “I like you (a happier song)”
The most cathartic songs come from stories of personal struggle and pain. Whether it be an emotional or physical battle, these are the songs that help listeners feel heard.
“Do you ever get a little bit tired of life
Like you’re not really happy but you don’t wanna die
Like you’re hanging by a thread but you gotta survive
‘Cause you gotta survive”
– Emi Beihold, “Numb Little Bug”
These days, it seems like everyone loves clout. For artists, music is a prime outlet to share their stories of success, often inspiring listeners to chase their own dreams.
“Uh, I got plaques in the mail, peak season
Shout out to my UPS workers makin’ sure I receive ’em
You can do it too, believe it”
– Jack Harlow, “First Class”
Music never fails to be your number one cheerleader. When you want to feel like the best version of yourself, what do you do? You play your go-to hype song. Messages of self-worth and confidence have been dominating the charts. After all, everyone loves a melodic mood-booster.
“Turn up the music, let’s celebrate (alright)
I got a feelin’ I’m gon’ be okay
Okay (okay), alright
It’s about damn time about damn time”
– Lizzo, “About Damn Time”
Before you start your next song, take a listen to today’s hits and think about the message conveyed and how the artist shares it. Of course, there is no limit to the topics you could write about. But, if you are challenging yourself to write a tune that could compete with the Billboard Top 100, see if one of the above trending lyrical themes might inspire you.