Just think of how many love ballads you can write with the famous quote of “Offer them something they can’t refuse” from the Mafia movie, The Godfather! Totally unrelated yet can easily turn it into at least 5 or 6 great songs. And this is even much easier to do with the romantic movies. Just keep watching and keep your ears sharp for catching some awesome lines from the classic movies.
Conversations are rich with song ideas. I sat down a couple years ago to write with very big shot writer and told him I had just broken up with my girlfriend. I was distracted and second guessing myself about the break-up. He said “Man, I still think about girlfriend from the 5th.” I said “really?” And he smiled and replied, “Don’t think I don’t.” A lightbulb went off in my songwriting brain and I jotted down that phrase. The next day we wrote our first #1 hit together “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It”. Another example was with a rapper who is speaking English with the slangs mainly being used by African American rappers but he is not African nor American. So, I was talking to him and as a joke I asked him to stop speaking like that and he said, “you can’t speak proper English and you have a thick Persian accent. I will stop my accent if you write a song just filled with slangs”. I asked him to give me the topic and he said he wants it to be about a “fancy girl”. So, I started, “okay, in these slangs, fancy is DOPE and girl is CHICK”. And that’s I wrote his only hit so far, “Dope Chick”.
Book Titles. Another often used technique for coming up with song ideas is to scan the latest best sellers book list. Many hit songs have taken book titles and used them as song titles. And in case you are wondering, a song title is not copyright protected. That’s why you can often find songs with the same title. And it doesn’t need to be only the title. The meanings in the books can give us tons of interesting ideas too.
Common phrases or idioms. Common phrases or idioms work well as song ideas because they are conversational. Example: Take the common phrase “Down and Out”.” Songwriter Jimmy Cox turned it into “Nobody Loves You When You Are Down And Out” and it has become one of the most recorded blues songs of all time.