A cliche phrase can be a great song prompt.

The trick is to give it a twist by changing a word, using it in a way in a line, or taking a new perspective on the cliche by framing it in a unique way.

We’ll give you a list of cliches so you can write a song today (or at least get an idea in your notebook), and give you examples of cliches done well.


What’s A Cliche?


According to Dictionary.com, a cliche is a trite,stereotyped expression;a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse. E.g., older but wiser, strong as an ox.


Let’s Have A Go!


I’ll start you off with some phrases to choose from, and then give you a couple of examples of cliche’s done well in songs.

Pick A Cliche


It’s water under the bridge In the nick of time
Only time will tell Not a care in the world
Fall head over heals Brave as a lion
As old as the hills A diamond in the rough
Fit as a fiddle Without a care in the world
It’s only a matter of time Laughter is the best medicine
At the speed of light The calm before the storm
I love you more than life itself They all lived happily ever after
Cat got your song? The time of my life
What goes around comes around The writing’s on the wall
Sent a shiver down my spine Take it with a grain of salt
Opposites attract No harm, no foul
Live and let die All’s fair in love and war
Time heals all wounds Haste makes waste
All’s well that ends well Take it with a grain of salt
Every cloud has a silver lining I wasn’t born yesterday
Woke up on the wrong side of the bed That and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade We’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing with you


Cliche’s Done Well


Adele “Water Under The Bridge”

Uses a cliche as the central song idea and builds the verses around it.


Brad Paisley “Limes”  – “take it with a grain of salt”

Uses a cliche to connect the chorus to the verse by using it as the first line and starting the margarita imagery.


Bonnie Raitt “Nick of Time”

Uses a cliche (also the title) only in the last version of the chorus to wrap up the story and message of the song.


Luke Combs “Houston, We Got A Problem”

The songwriters take an historic phrase used for the hook and turn it into a love song.

“Houston, We Got A Problem” Lyrics

More Song Prompts: