Number of One-Word Hit Singles Reaches All-Time High, Report Confirms

Single-word tunes taking up nearly third of Billboard Hot 100 spots every week.

Ultimate Guitar

We're living in a world where just about every entertainment domain has reached the point of extreme over-saturation, so it comes as no surprise that concise is the word of the day on today's market.

And the latest Billboard report only goes to confirm such a claim, as the number of one-word hit singles has skyrocketed this year. At the moment, almost a third of the Billboard Hot 100 chart is consisted of one-word tunes.

As the same source indicates, the number of single-titled tunes on the US singles chart has gone from nine per week in 1989 to a whopping 31 in 2014. Just a mere glance at some of the latest hits is enough to catch the latest trend - "Happy," "Royals," "Timber," "Demons," the list goes on and on.

Interestingly enough, this year saw the one-word singles setting two records for the longest stay on the Billboard Hot 100 - Awolnation's "Sail" totaled 79 weeks on the chart, while Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" is still charting with 81 weeks under its belt.

Both artists and writers insist that the impact of social media had the greatest role in shaping up the single-word trend, going from the way tracks are advertised to the basic way we communicate these days.

Bonnie McKee, author of Katy Perry's "Roar," Kesha's "C'mon" and other notable hit singles agrees that the one-word approach is the way to go at the moment. According to Bonnie, a single word is "clean, simple and bold - especially if you find a really splashy one."

"I have a book of titles that I've compiled over the years, and I do find that one-word titles are special, probably because it means a simple hook and an even simpler concept. I know that when I do stumble upon a one-worder that pops, I'm psyched. If one word can sum it up, then the bones of the song are sturdy," McKee explained.

However, "one-worder" chart-toppers have been around for quite a while. Some of the notable examples include Van Halen's "Jump," Cher's "Believe," Usher's "Yeah," Linkin Park's "Numb" and more.

33 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Lithium Alive Jeremy Outshined Kickstand Black Oceans Daughter Corduroy One word titles don't mean anything. not even the genre matters. All that matters is that people write their own material and stand by it. then you can't fault them for not creating something. If their songs suck, that's their own doing. Pop stars have no courage.
    Just from Tool's songs for example: Vicarious, Jambi, Intension, Intolerance, Sober, Bottom, Undertow, Flood, Disgustipated, Merkaba, Sweat, Hush, Opiate, Mantra, Schism, Parabol, Parabola, Lateralus, Disposition, Reflection, Triad, Stinkfist, Eulogy, Jimmy, Pushit, AEnema, Ions. Song names don't mean shit!
    "Song authors"? That's why I hate the pop industry.
    Why, because they use a different word to describe what they do? You don't have to like their music, but there's no reason to be a little passive-aggressive **** about it. They're not any less of an artist because they're writing for an audience you're not a part of.
    "C'mon" isn't even a word.
    It's actually two words, "Come on". As such, it should be disqualified completely. With that said; WHO THE FLYING F*CK WOULD NAME A SONG C-Oh. Kesha... of course, that makes sense...
    Usher's "Yeah". I faceplamed. Next step "YOLO". If it isn't done yet...
    Not super big on Imagine Dragons, but the one album they've got out as like 3 or 4 hits
    I can't wait for the article on two word song titles. What a crazy trend This is gripping journalism and I don't know how they contain themselves with such "meaty" stuff to write.
    Blackbird? Hallelujah? Both great songs, who cares if they've only got a one word title?
    No one ever talks about two-words hit singles though... shameful is you ask me. But don't. Seriously, don't ask me.
    And there's still probably gonna be people to find some way to use this as evidence that "modern pop sucks" or something.