12 Songs with Black in the Title You’ll Love
The color black can represent so many things. Sometimes darkness and foreboding are the song’s themes, or sometimes it can be about black liberation or black pride. Regardless, here are some of our favorite songs with black in the title.
Songs with Black in the Title You Will Enjoy
Let’s begin with a song by The Rolling Stones.
Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones
Classic rock fans and music lovers alike consider “Paint It Black” to be one the greatest songs ever written, but it wasn’t originally received so favorably. When it was released in 1966, the inclusion of Brian Jones’ sitar was criticized as knocking off The Beatles who had featured it one year prior on “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”.
The sitar adds a pronounced Eastern element to the overall sound of this classic, further bolstered by a bolero-style acoustic guitar, resoundingly deep bass, and percussion that heavily relies on the deep tom drums with limited use of snare and cymbals. All the while, Mick Jagger sings a somber tune of death and dissociation.
“Paint It Black” is a great tune, possibly one of the greatest of all time.
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Blackbird by The Beatles
“Blackbird” is a soft acoustic song with dual meaning. McCartney was spending time in Rishikesh, India and became inspired by the song of the blackbird singing out for freedom. However, McCartney also had read news regarding riots and racial tension during the American civil rights movement.
McCartney wrote “Blackbird” in 1968 to both sing a beautiful tune of a bird learning to fly while also creating a metaphor representing the struggle of oppressed Black people of America (specifically, the Little Rock Nine), in Alabama, Mississippi, and Little Rock, Arkansas.
With a goal to write a beautiful melody and inspire hope during a tumultuous time in American history, “Blackbird” remains an elegant piece of music that remains adored by fans today.
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Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd featuring Gucci Mane
Rae Sremmurd hit big on their 2015 debut album SremmLife and sought to bottle the lightning a second time on the sequel SremmLife 2. The Mississippi hip hop duo worked to build hype ahead of the album release by dropping singles “By Chance”, “Look Alive”, and finally “Black Beatles” featuring well-established rapper and producer Gucci Mane.
The results were astounding. “Black Beatles” skyrocketed to the number 1 spot on the US Billboard Hot 100, marking the first number 1 hit from the two brothers, as well as charting in the top 10 internationally in countries like the UK, Canada, and Australia.
Musically, “Black Beatles” is your standard trap fare with a rhythm that keeps you bouncing back and forth to the thumping of a thick bass drum, heavy high-hat use, and synth strings adding an air of ambience to the whole track.
It’s infectiously catchy and a great pick for any party playlist.
Black Parade by Beyoncé
When you’re as monumentally successful as Beyoncé, it’s not easy to keep impending new releases on the hush. Yet, that’s exactly what she was able to do when “Black Parade” was surprise-released on Juneteenth 2020. The song received universal acclaim for its rich exploration of activism, culture, and pride associated with Black history, and went on to receive four nominations and a Grammy for Best R&B Performance that year. This award was the award that tipped the scales and established Beyoncé as the most awarded singer and female artist in Grammy history.
And for good reason–the song is fire! Coming in low and slow with a rumbling bass and Beyoncé’s soulful singing, building to a greater and greater sound with each measure. Beyoncé knows just where to add harmonies, just where to take the note a half step lower to add intrigue and a quick chill to the listener’s spine.
It’s full-bodied. It’s fierce. Did you expect any less from Queen Bey?
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Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance
From the first iconic piano note to the choral finale, “Welcome to the Black Parade” is My Chemical Romance’s magnum opus, representing the peak of their influence on a subculture of teenagers and young adults in the mid to late 2000s.
“Welcome to the Black Parade” is essentially the title track and lead single of 2006’s The Black Parade which came hot off the heels of the massively successful Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. At the time, an unassuming sub-genre of rock called “emo” was emerging in high schools across America, and My Chemical Romance was one of the most integral bands in the scene.
The song reached number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, helping the album achieve Triple Platinum status from the RIAA. Lyrically, singer Gerard Way explores death while reminiscing of childhood memories while also encouraging us that, through the pain, “we carry on. We carry on.”
Black Republican by Nas featuring Jay-Z
Nas released his eighth studio album Hip Hop is Dead in 2006 and nabbed the number one spot on the chart immediately, but it’s not surprising considering the incredible cred he had cultivated for over a decade at that time. The album received favorable reviews, Platinum status, and had a star-studded cast of features including Kanye West, will.i.am, Chrisette Michele, and Snoop Dogg.
“Black Republican” pulls in fellow New Yorker and accomplished rapper Jay-Z to treat us to a track with two of the greatest rappers of all time as they dissect the dichotomy of being successful entertainers but maintaining love for their roots and the many disenfranchised people still struggling in the projects.
According to Nas, he and Jay-Z were in the studio freestyling when they started putting “Black Republican” together and decided, “Lay it down. Let’s do this.”
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Man in Black by Johnny Cash
In 1971, Johnny Cash released a song and album both titled “Man in Black” to remark on his signature look of all black attire. In this singsong classic country tune, he informs the listener that there’s a reason for his somber appearance beyond just looking sharp. It’s also to represent and give a voice to the poor, beaten down, and disenfranchised people, all victims of the Vietnam War draft and/or mass incarceration in the United States.
Unlike other performers that gladly don rainbow hues and “tell the world that everything’s okay,” Cash instead calls out the mistreatment at the hands of wealthy politicians and protests it.
“Til things are brighter, [he’s] the Man in Black.”
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Two Black Cadillacs by Carrie Underwood
“Two Black Cadillacs” is the third single from country pop icon Carrie Underwood’s fourth studio album Blown Away, and tells the story of two women that discover they’re both involved with the same man and subsequently decide to kill him. The story is revealed over the course of the song, as the primary setting is the man’s funeral where the titular two black Cadillacs carrying each woman as a passenger arrive.
Underwood exhibits her exquisite vocal range at every juncture of the song, with wailing highs, soulful mids, and robust lows that travel the full range of her vocal abilities leading up to a resounding high note held towards the end of the song. It’s a great song and cautionary tale against any would-be cheaters.
The song does not tell us how the crime was committed, but we’re betting it involved a Louisville slugger.
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Black or White by Michael Jackson
“Black or White” is the lead single from Michael Jackson’s 1991 Dangerous, fusing elements of dance, rock, hip hop, and pop in one of his most recognizable tunes ever. The song set a new record for fastest chart topper since The Beatles’ “Get Back” and became certified triple Platinum by the RIAA.
Lyrically, Jackson urges listeners to look past color and race and recognize that we are all one people. He’s not “going to spend [his] life being a color” because we’re more than just our race, ethnicity, nationality, history. We’re much more than the boxes we check on government forms and the labels they put on us. We’re individuals and we’re unique.
Michael Jackson sang the words decades ago but the message rings true today. “It don’t matter if you’re black or white” because we are all people and we are all in this together.
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Say It Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud by James Brown
What amounted to a powerful pro-black anthem for countless African American people that were dismissed, disrespected, harassed and killed throughout the 1960s, this song by James Brown was meant to instill pride and respect in one’s skin tone and culture—especially during a time when American society was actively was trying to tear black people down.
Sadly, this is a song that never ceases to be relevant, as the country continues to show the world that it has far more progress to make when it comes to race relations. Still, this song will stand the test of time, and also serve as a bit of a musical time capsule into what the mindset was of one of the best entertainers the music world has ever seen.
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Blackout by Turnstile
Turnstile was a fairly obscure band hailing from humble hardcore roots in Baltimore until they successfully cultivated hype leading up to 2021’s Glow On. “Blackout” was the third single from the album and included their trademark power chord fury, shouting vocals, and eclectic percussion like wood blocks to add an unusual element of intrigue.
The song moves and grooves through two verses and choruses before a big breakdown where all goes quiet save for a crunchy guitar lead-in and a head banging heavy outro, culminating in a whistle blow and some solo drums.
Turnstile mixes a nostalgic style indicative of older eras of music along with new flavors and pop sensibility to transcend the hardcore genre. It’s no wonder Spin magazine named Glow On the best album of the year.
Men in Black by Will Smith
One of the biggest summer blockbusters of the 1990s (“Men in Black”) featured a theme song by Will Smith which was arguably just as popular as the movie. On this track, Will rapper about what the men dressed in black (and sporting those Ray-Bans) do on a daily basis (from saving the world from aliens to wiping your mind clean if you saw something you shouldn’t have).
On top of that, Will’s song came with a music video that featured Will dancing alongside a green alien.
With a lady singing the hook (“Here come the men in black”), and Smith showcasing how you can be a defender of the galaxy while looking incredibly cool, the theme song to “Men in Black” is one of the most memorable movie theme songs of the past 30 years.
On the one hand, songs with black in the title might explore themes of death, darkness, and other ominous subjects. The topic often leaves us uneasy, but can be cathartic because it is the only guarantee in life that we will all one day find ourselves at the end of the ride.
On the other hand, Black need not represent somber tones and dreary dealing. Black is a culture steeped in rich history, and the art celebrating Black culture is enjoying an absolute renaissance in our modern day.
The color black both provides a reminder that life is fleeting while also encouraging us to face adversity head on and celebrate each day.
This article was written by Christopher, with two additions by Michael.
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