This is such a fun topic! I remember doing the book titles that would be fun band names and this is just an extension of that.
I’m going to warn you, though, I listen to country music (and I love the really old stuff–Cash, Dolly, etc. thanks to the Ken Burns documentary a year ago), so with most of these, I’m picturing story songs.
Let’s check it out!
Top Ten Book Titles That Would Make Great Song Titles
1. Wicked Saints (by Emily A. Duncan)
Country music has a constant link to Christian themes, so the saints part fits in pretty well with that, even when it’s not technically about anything religious (“Cowboys and Angels” by Dustin Lynch immediately comes to mind). I think this song could be a story song about how people are generally good but sometimes make bad decisions.
2. Long Way Home (by Katie McGarry)
This is definitely a country song. Home is a big deal in country. (“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver, anyone?) I feel like this would be a melancholy song, about how they have to take the long way home for some reason.
3. One of Us is Lying (by Karen McManus)
Without a doubt, I picture Carrie Underwood with this song. With so many dark murder ballads in her career (“Church Bells,” “Two Black Cadillacs,” “Choctaw County Affair”), I could totally see her singing a song about two people talking about something and then, when you get to the end of the chorus or the bridge, you learn that one of them is lying. Perfect country song.
4. Yes No Maybe So (by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed)
We also in country have a theme with relationships and saying yes or no. (“Check Yes or No” by George Strait is a HUGE hit, even 25+ years later.) So I could see this in a very similar vein–a couple of kids passing notes about whether she wants to date him, moving up to adulthood when he proposes, moving up again to whether or not she’s pregnant or something. The passage of time like this will definitely come up again. We do that a lot too.
5. The Fountains of Silence (by Ruta Sepetys)
I’m not going to lie, my first thought here was “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel, which isn’t country, but I do picture a slow, dark sound to this song. The story I see with it is literally a guy sitting at a fountain in the middle of some square thinking through his mistakes and all he hears back is silence from the fountains. Oh! No! Here it is! He keeps dropping pennies/wishes in the fountain and all he hears back is silence! It’s gold! Actually, I kind of want to write a story about that now…
6. The Rest of the Story (by Sarah Dessen)
Much like One of Us is Lying, I picture this as a story where we don’t know the full story at the beginning, but I don’t see this as a murder ballad. I see this as a couple that’s fighting over something and as they walk away, we hear the narrator say in the chorus something about how they don’t know the rest of the story. And then throughout the song, we see them come back together and make up and like, learn the rest of the story? It needs work.
7. The Leaving Season (by Cat Jordan)
We like word play in country and I think this has enough ambiguity to it to work really well (“Don’t Take the Girl” by Tim McGraw or “Even Though I’m Leaving” by Luke Combs come to mind, how they keep changing meaning). I see this as someone watching someone leave at the end of summer, like the end of camp. Then maybe leaving for college and having to leave their hometown and their family behind. And maybe the third one is when their own kids leave for college and they’re getting left behind. It could be really sweet.
8. Save the Date (by Morgan Matson)
I wasn’t going to do this one, but the creative juices are flowing now. I see this as a melancholy song, about someone (girl or guy) who get a save the date card from The One That Got Away. (Thomas Rhett’s song “Marry Me” is the vibe I’m going for.) It can reflect on the bittersweet memories of the relationship and how the other person has moved on. Country music is nothing if not prone to melancholy. Can we party it up? Absolutely. But we don’t shy away from the darker feelings either.
9. The Edge of Always (by J.A. Redmerski)
Ok, this idea isn’t fully formed either, but it does play on that idea of time again, but more in line with “Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood or “There Goes My Life” by Kenny Chesney. I like this idea of being on the edge of a life changing event. The two obvious ones are marriage and the birth of the first kid. I’m actually picturing this song as really loving, like “I’m on the edge of always loving you” kind of thing. See? I can come up with something besides lovesick odes and murder ballads!
10. Last Year’s Mistake (by Gina Ciocca)
Aaaand we’re back to lovesick. I like for this one having someone reflect back on a broken relationship and the mistake they made by ending it. And then they try to correct their mistake by calling up that person. I would give them a happy ending by saying that they’ll never make last year’s mistake again or something. (Yes, it’s very much like “Austin” by Blake Shelton, which is one of my favorite songs.)