31 Of The Best Songs About Colors: Colorful Playlist

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Do you ever wonder why you feel happy when you look at something yellow? Why do you feel emotions related to anger when you see red?

We may not be aware of this sometimes, but colors are powerful. They can affect our thinking and decision-making and affect our moods.

Even in the world of music, color has significant power. You’ll find a lot of songs about certain colors and it’s fun to go over them one by one.

So let’s learn more about 31 of the best songs about colors, specifically, the inspiration behind each of them. Enjoy reading!

1. “Yellow” By Coldplay

This song from British rock supergroup Coldplay perfectly describes the ambiance and feeling behind a color. “Yellow” was released in 2000 and appeared in the band’s Parachutes album. It became their first hit.

Yellow sometimes has a negative connotation. Think of yellow fever. In the 10th century France, they painted the doors of traitors yellow. In Germany, yellow signifies jealousy.

But in this song, the singer looks at yellow in a positive light. For his love interest, he’s able to write a song, swim, and jump across for her.

Some music lovers believe this song refers to frontman Chris Martin’s ex-wife, Gwyneth Paltrow. However, he said that the color was the perfect choice for the song as the other colors didn’t sound right.

Related: Next, check out our list of songs about the color yellow.

2. “Red” By Taylor Swift

Our next song with a color in the title is “Red” by Taylor Swift. This up-tempo bop from a country-pop crossover star appears on the 2012 album of the same name.

With this song, Swift returns to her familiar theme of love. In “Red,” she attempts to assign colors to the feelings of a relationship. Swift explains that “dark gray” describes the feeling of missing this person. And, of course, “red” describes the intense love in a relationship.

This song captures the intense, vibrant bond the singer has with a particular person. When she remembers the person, it prompts a sensation similar to synesthesia or the ability to blend senses.

Related: Next, check out our list of songs about the color red.

3. “Blackbird” By The Beatles

Up next is The Beatles‘ “Blackbird” from the band’s 1968 self-titled double album. This mid-tempo ballad delivers one of the most enduring classics from the band’s discography.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon were responsible for writing this iconic song. The spare arrangement features McCartney on vocals with limited instrumental accompaniment.

“Blackbird” describes the enduring fight for equality experienced by minorities. McCartney urges the bird to “take these broken wings and learn to fly.” The situation may be bleak, but he encourages the bird to find the light from the dark night.

The song references a somber and bleak color. However, it evokes lightness and hope with its lyrics and instrumentation.

4. “Blue” By LeAnn Rimes

Teenage LeAnn Rimes burst onto the country scene with “Blue” from her 1996 album of the same name. This single achieved massive crossover success. It reached #3 on the Billboard charts when Rimes was only 13.

Rimes showcased classic country vocals, which amazed listeners because of her tender age. She almost yodels the title of this song. This effect not only lent her country-western gravitas but also reinforced the sorrowful mood.

As we all know, blue signifies feeling down or sad. And that is exactly the mood of this song. Rimes woefully sings about feeling lonesome about the loss of her love. It’s something that most of us can relate to.

Related: Next, check out our list of songs about the color blue.

5. “Paint It, Black” By The Rolling Stones

The next tune on this list is a sad song with a color in the lyrics. “Paint It, Black,” from The Rolling Stones‘ 1966 album The Aftermath, provides a sensory collision. At first impression, the song looks like it would be funereal or somber.

And it is, lyrics-wise. From the first verse, we can tell that the singer is going through mourning. He has just lost someone very important. With that person’s passing, the singer finds himself without joy.

So much so that he wants everything “painted black, black as night, black as coal.” It seems like the color is gone from his life. He laments that even his heart is black. But he wants it this way, and perhaps it’s his way of coping.

6. “Red Red Wine” By UB40

The one-hit wonder band, UB40, colored our summers with their cover of Neil Diamond’s 1967 single, “Red Red Wine.” Unexpectedly hitting the airwaves in 1983, UB40 offered a fresh spin on this song.

“Red Red Wine” appears on the band’s 1983 album of cover songs titled Labour of Love. It earned international appeal in 1988 when the song played during Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday celebration.

This song offers an infectious, island sound combined with sorrowful lyrics. The singer talks about wanting to forget a former beloved using alcohol. With red wine for company, he can forget about his broken heart.

7. “Yellow Submarine” By The Beatles

The English rock band The Beatles appears on our list again. The group celebrated its psychedelic era with the trippy 1966 song “Yellow Submarine.” This iconic single appears on the album Revolver. The song made a huge cultural impact and inspired an animated film only two years later.

The lyrics seem to utter nonsense as the song talks about a man’s adventures at sea. It includes a repetitive chorus chanting, “we all live in a yellow submarine.” The song and animated movie evoke wild and bright colors, including vibrant yellow.

However, this song served as a galvanizing force for many protests during the 1960s. The colorful lyrics were used to describe the push for fraternity and an end to war.

8. “Purple Rain” By Prince

If there is any one musician associated with a single color, it is Prince’s connection to purple. His signature hue inspired the 1984 song “Purple Rain,” along with the album and later the film with the same name.

“Purple Rain” describes the slow and sad dissolution of a friendship. We can tell from the lyrics that the other person wants something more from him. Turns out she is already committed.

In the song, Prince uses purple to describe a somber feeling. At the same time, he wishes the best for the person. Purple universally connotes feelings of strength. It is also associated with royalty, which helps to reinforce the solid intentions behind the lyrics.

9. “Black Magic” By Little Mix

Up next is a song that uses the color black as a metaphor for women’s empowerment. The girl group Little Mix gave us “Black Magic” in 2015 from their album Get Weird.

In the lyrics, the girls sing about a potion that can do wonders to get the man they want. This potion has just the right ingredients, such as honey, “to make him sweet.” With only a drop of this black magic potion, any girl can make any guy fall in love with her.

In the song, black magic is a metaphor for confidence. When a girl possesses confidence, she can get the man she wants.

10. “Pink Guitar” By Reba McEntire

Released in 2009, Reba McEntire‘s “Pink Guitar” centers on a young girl who dreams of becoming a musician. The track appears on her album Keep On Loving You.

The lyrics witness the girl working hard to buy the pink guitar she sees in a store window. This speaks to her ambition and passion as she embarks on a journey to achieve her musical goals.

In relation to the color, pink signifies her unique identity and dreams. It also represents her individuality and the path she chooses to follow.

11. “Black Betty” By Ram Jam

The chaotic rock single “Black Betty” by Ram Jam inspires anyone to stomp their feet and attempt to sing along to the fast-paced, visceral lyrics. Ram Jam released this single on their 1977 self-titled album. Ram Jam is largely considered a one-hit wonder.

“Black Betty” ranks as one of the most controversial songs on this list. Many would see it as an ode to African-American women. This is due to the line that goes, “Black Betty had a child.”

However, the truth lies in more sinister origins. The whip used to punish slaves laboring in the American South was called black Betty. The wagon that transported men to prison was also called the same. Whatever black Betty refers to, the song is open to interpretation.

12. “Orange Skies” By Love

The psychedelic pop song “Orange Skies” by the rock band Love is up next. This track, from the 1966 album Da Capo, uses this particular color to create warm and surreal imagery.

The lyrics depict falling in love in the summertime. Here, the color orange symbolizes warmth, joy, and vibrancy, things that are associated with sunsets and carnivals. It sets the tone of the song and paints a picture of a dreamy scenario.

The lyrics of “Orange Skies” further create a sense of nostalgia and romance. The song is not only about falling in love. It’s also about living life fully.

13. “Green Eyed Boy” By Dolly Parton

In Dolly Parton‘s “Green Eyed Boy,” she remembers a cherished person from her past who possessed beautiful eyes. This track appears on her album Something Special.

The boy seemed to have left a lasting impression on the narrator. This is despite him having “no dreams” and “no means for money.” The love they shared is something she still longs for, addressed by the line “And I still burn for that green-eyed boy.”

The song stirs a sense of nostalgia as the narrator thinks about her past love. Along with that love, she also reflects on her dreams that pulled her away from him.

14. “Black Velvet” By Alannah Myles

The Canadian singer-songwriter Alannah Myles growls the chorus to “Black Velvet.” This demonstrates the perfect pairing of words to match her vocal texture. This song was released on the artist’s self-titled 1989 album and won her a Grammy and a Juno award.

This rock song stands as an ode to the late music legend Elvis Presley. Black velvet refers to two things. One, the hair dye Presley used to achieve his signature ink-black hairstyle is called Black Velvet. And two, the fact that Presley’s portrait was more often painted on black velvet.

In the lyrics, Myles sings about Presley’s life. The song begins with Presley’s mama carrying him and dancing to Jimmie Rodgers’ song. The next verse follows Presley when he was already popular. Another verse talks about his early death.

15. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” By Elton John

Our next song is Elton John‘s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” The song belongs to his 1973 album of the same name. It ranked #390 in Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2010.

The title of this song is a reference to L. Frank Baum’s book The Wizard of Oz. The lyrics describe a desire to leave the magical world and go back to one’s roots. The singer acknowledges that his “future lies beyond the yellow brick road.”

The song also references John’s childhood years living on a farm. Songwriter and longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin used John’s upbringing to inspire this song.

16. “Fields of Gold” By Sting

Up next is Sting‘s “Fields of Gold,” which appears on his 1993 album Ten Summoner’s Tales. This song perfectly captures the various emotions associated with the color gold.

Sting is known for incorporating evocative lyrics to express deep emotions. In “Fields of Gold,” he describes the feeling of a love built over an extended period, like a husband and wife or old lovers. The song focuses on one particular summer when he and his lover “walk in fields of gold.”

Gold is used to help the listener feel warm and comforted. The song describes sunsets, daylight, and endless, swaying fields of grains for additional golden images.

17. “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” By Eiffel 65

The Italian Eurodance group Eiffel 65 earned major crossover success with the relentlessly catchy dance song “Blue (Da Ba Dee).” This song appeared on their 1999 debut album Europop and reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2000.

The constant dance beat propels this song and gets everybody onto the dance floor. However, the lyrics to “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” reflect a more depressing tone. That said, the song is a perfect juxtaposition of lyrics expressing loneliness and an upbeat dance mix.

While the song describes an alien with blue skin, a deeper look reveals how many people live with sadness while putting on a happy face.

18. “Pink Sunglasses” By Miranda Lambert

Moving on, we have Miranda Lambert‘s “Pink Sunglasses” from her album The Weight of These Wings. It delves into the themes of positive perception and self-expression.

The lyrics revolve around the narrator’s pink sunglasses. The color pink is used as a metaphor for her unique perspective that adds a rosy hue to life. Here, the sunglasses are a means of escape to shield her from negativity.

Pink is often used to symbolize femininity, happiness, and warmth. In the context of the song, the pink sunglasses are a metaphorical shield that makes the world a little better.

19. “Blue Velvet” By Bobby Vinton

Crooner Bobby Vinton brings attention to the color blue with his chart-topping 1963 cover of “Blue Velvet.” It appears on the album Blue on Blue. Unsurprisingly, the entire album features songs with the color blue in the title.

The singing icon Tony Bennett originally recorded this song. But Vinton achieved massive success with his version a decade later.

The idea of blue velvet is echoed not only in the dress of the beautiful woman being sung about but also in the feeling of the romantic night. Vinton’s woeful voice helps bring the song together to reflect the feeling of long-ago lost love.

20. “Black And Yellow” By Wiz Khalifa

Up next is a song that mentions colors in reference to a place where one grew up. Wiz Khalifa delivers a powerful rap in his 2011 single “Black and Yellow.” This song about two contrasting colors appears on Khalifa’s album Rolling Papers.

Some folks may instantly think of bumblebees or school buses when they think about the colors black and yellow. But Khalifa fans know better. He is a proud son of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a Rust-Belt town in the American North East known for its working-class population.

Black and yellow are the official colors of Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Steelers football team and the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team both use these color choices. Black and yellow are also on display on the city’s flag and seal.

21. “Blue Jeans” By Lana Del Ray

The color blue is often associated with feeling down or sad. However, in our next song, blue refers to the color of clothing. Lana Del Ray released “Blue Jeans” in 2012 from her album Born to Die: The Paradise Edition.

The song immediately starts with “Blue jeans, white shirt” to describe what a man wears when he walks into the room. The singer compares him to James Dean, who played Jim Stark in the coming-of-age film Rebel Without a Cause. In the film, Stark epitomized the white tee and blue jeans combo.

The singer recalls meeting the man in December and falling in love. However, there seems to be no happy ending to their love story. He leaves to find his life somewhere, prompting her to declare, “I will love you ’til the end of time.”

22. “Men In Black” By Will Smith

Actor and rapper Will Smith earned global fame with his blockbuster song “Men in Black” and the film of the same name. This 1997 song was a global phenomenon and spawned a multi-film franchise. “Men in Black” appeared on Smith’s debut solo album, Big Willie Style.

The song follows the adventures of men in black, or MIB. They appear to those who witness potential alien sightings. These secret agents operate with stealth as they “walk in shadow, move in silence.”

These men also wear “black suits with the black Ray Bans on.” And these galaxy defenders “won’t let you remember,” even their existence.

23. “Black Or White” By Michael Jackson

Singers usually make a statement in their songs, as is the case in Michael Jackson‘s 1991 single “Black or White.” This dance, pop, and hip-hop song appeared on the album Dangerous.

The use of these two highly contrasting colors serves as a metaphor. In the song, Jackson is calling for racial harmony, world peace, and equality. He uses these colors to tell the listeners, “it doesn’t matter” what color your skin is. He sings, “I’m not going to spend my life being a color.”

The success of “Black or White” can be seen in the fact that it reached #1 in the charts in many nations. But more importantly, the song inspired millions globally with its universal message of acceptance and peace.

Related: Next, check out our list of songs about the color white here.

24. “Blue Christmas” By Elvis Presley

Christmas is a joyous occasion. But Elvis Presley is going through a lonely Yuletide season in “Blue Christmas.” Presley’s sorrowful hound-dog vocals lend themselves beautifully to this color-powered tune.

The song finds the singer spending Christmas alone. It’s not clear whether he and his lover have broken up or she’s just somewhere away from him. What’s clear is that while she’s celebrating a white Christmas, he’s at home having the blues.

“Blue Christmas” successfully evokes the color blue during this season of red and green. Presley’s vocals recall deep feelings of loneliness over the absence of a loved one. This slow, plodding song contains several blues chords to reinforce the somber feeling.

25. “Green Light” By Lorde

New Zealand pop singer Lorde delivers a lot of colorful metaphors in “Green Light” off the album Melodrama. Green commonly represents two strong emotions: envy and renewal. Lorde manages to include both in this 2017 song.

In the lyrics, Lorde describes the frustration of wanting to be further along in healing from a failed relationship. She is envious of her partner, who moved on before she did.

The song leaves us with her waiting for her “green light.” She believes once she gets it, she can cross over to a place of renewal and new beginnings.

26. “Purple Haze” By Jimi Hendrix

Next on the list is Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic, guitar-driven rock song. “Purple Haze” left a mark on music history with its release in 1967 with the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

“Purple Haze” features ambiguous lyrics that allow the listener to decide the meaning. Many believe it refers to the effects of hallucinogens. Others believe it refers to Hendrix’s deep love for science fiction literature. In fact, Hendrix says that the inspiration for the lyrics came after reading a science fiction novel.

What we can tell from the words, though, is that the purple haze causes him confusion. The end of the second verse goes, “Am I happy or in misery? Whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me.”

27. “Lady In Red” By Chris DeBurgh

Another one-hit wonder makes our list. “Lady in Red” by Chris DeBurgh is an ultra-romantic 1986 ballad from the album Into the Light. This classic love song is featured widely in pop culture.

DeBurgh claimed that the inspiration for this song was his wife. Early in his career, the woman who would become his wife came to the hotel where he played and sang.

Of course, DeBurgh took notice of this woman and her penchant for wearing red clothing. As recounted in the song, when he sees her for the first time, he falls in love like never before. He feels “complete and utter love” for the lady in red.

28. “Brown-Eyed Girl” By Van Morrison

The unmistakable opening riff of this 1967 song makes “Brown-Eyed Girl” an endearing classic. Van Morrison released this single on the album Blowin’ Your Mind!

“Brown-Eyed Girl,” tells the story of an alluring woman with memorable brown eyes. The singer recalls spending an enjoyable time with this woman on “days when the rain came.” They are also together when they go to the old mine with a radio to hang out and pass the time.

For reasons unknown, the singer eventually finds himself alone. All he can do when he sees her again is recall their memories and how they used to sing.

29. “Mellow Yellow” By Donovan

Another psychedelic addition to this list is “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan. This trippy song arrived in 1966 on the album Mellow Yellow.

When you listen to the song for the first time, the lyrics might not make much sense. Just that the lyrics feature some groovy phrases. This is not one of those songs in which you can understand the meaning fairly quickly.

Thus, it’s not surprising that people would attach many interpretations to this song. But let’s go to the source, which is the singer himself. According to Donovan, “Mellow Yellow” is about being mellow and laid back. These emotions describe the carefree feelings associated with the sunny color yellow.

30. “Blue Suede Shoes” By Elvis Presley

The King appears for a second time with “Blue Suede Shoes.” Elvis Presley released this rock and roll song in 1956 on his self-titled debut album.

Like his other song, “Blue Christmas,” “Blue Suede Shoes” mirrors the color in the lyrics with the musical style of this rock tune. It combines blues, country, and pop music in a way only Elvis could accomplish.

Presley’s signature bluesy vocals add his distinct color to this song about not scuffing a military man’s uniform shoes. We can only imagine how much he loves them. He will let everyone “step in my face” and “burn my house, steal my car.” Basically anything. But just not to mess with his blue suede shoes.

31. “True Colors” By Cyndi Lauper

Last but not least is Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” While it’s not literally about certain colors, the title refers to one’s true self. This song appears on her second album, also titled True Colors.

In the song, Lauper sings about helping people push through hard times and seek belonging. The words remind people that their “true colors shine through” to those who love and believe in them.

This inspirational song empowers many people of all ages. It has been frequently used, from the Rugby World Cup to a PBS television commercial. “True Colors” also marks vital advancements to LGBTQ+ human rights.

Summing Up Our List Of Colorful Songs

Indeed, colors make the world better. And that’s the same in the world of music. Songwriters know how to craft words to give us songs about certain colors. Using yellow, red, blue, and other colors conveys strong emotions and delivers metaphors in just the right way.

There are definitely more songs about colors out there that didn’t make our list. But we hope you love the songs we have compiled for you. So when you want to listen to music, depending on how you feel at the moment, go back to this article. We’re pretty sure we have a song to match your mood.

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.