42 Songs with the Color Yellow in the Title
The Contradictions and Complexity of Yellow
Yellow packs a powerful emotional punch, but it's a deceptively complicated color. It can don the shade of soft butter or that of vibrant daffodil, conveying joy, vitality, and optimism. (Think warm sunshine and little singing canaries.) Alternatively, dial up the harshness and it can truly repel. A vulgar hue like brown mustard can perch darkly on one's mood, serving as an unwelcome reminder of pus, vomit, and illness like jaundice or yellow fever. (Are you feeling unwell yet?)
True, yellow is an exercise in contrasts. On the positive side, it has been associated with courage and royalty in certain Eastern cultures. For example, as a pledge of bravery, ancient Japanese warriors wore a yellow chrysanthemum. Today the striking color is valued for its high visibility in both safety and commercial contexts.
Yellow has historical associations that are negative as well. It symbolizes jealousy in French culture, sadness in Greek culture, and death and mourning in many Latin American cultures. It has also been used to signify exclusion, as it was used to ostracize non-Christians in the Middle Ages and signify Jews during Nazi Germany. In 10th century France, the doors of criminals and traitors were painted yellow.
Yellow is a complicated color indeed. Few Westerners rank yellow as their favorite. No matter what your relationship is with this conflicted color, make a playlist of pop, rock, country, and R&B songs with yellow in the title. Whether you love yellow like I do or loathe it, there are bound to be songs here that aptly reflect your mood and opinion.
For me, the color yellow means:
1. "Big Yellow Taxi" by Counting Crows (featuring Vanessa Carlton)
Expressing regret over the destruction of a swath of pristine environmental paradise, this 2003 pop song covers Joni Mitchell's 1970 original. The narrator describes how a parking lot, a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging night spot have replaced what was once a beautiful piece of land. It also laments the use of the dangerous insecticide D.D.T. by farmers and our tendency to not realize what we have until it's gone. His lover, for example, left him in a big yellow taxi the previous night, and he already misses her.
As you do your part to preserve unspoiled environmental beauty, why not listen to a playlist of songs about nature and the environment to help urge you on?
2. "Yellow" by Coldplay
Not all love songs have to be boisterous in proclaiming devotion. This rock ditty from 2000 is low key, featuring a smitten narrator who pledges his dedication to an unrequited love. She's beautiful and glistens like the stars above. He would do anything to prove his love for her, including bleed himself dry—a bit dramatic, you think? The song was an international hit that became one of the band's best-known hits.
3. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John
Sometimes the path we choose in life doesn't provide the fulfillment we seek. The narrator in this 1973 rock classic is tired of being the boy toy of a wealthy lover who flaunts a flamboyant lifestyle. He plans to return to his humble roots where he won't be exploited. The tune made Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Best Songs of All Time.
4. "Yellow Ledbetter" by Pearl Jam
Released during the Gulf War in 1992, this rock song was named for Tim Ledbetter, a friend of lead vocalist Eddie Vedder. Although the lyrics have been changed frequently in concert, the song is allegedly about a guy who receives a letter in a yellow envelope notifying him that his brother has died overseas. He doesn't know whether he'll be coming home in a wooden box or a body bag. When the protagonist goes to walk off his shock, a couple on a porch ignore his wave, thereby sentencing him to a social death.
5. "Yellow Submarine" by The Beatles
Although this 1966 pop ditty was meant to be a nonsense children's song, listeners of the era injected a laughable variety of social and political meanings into it. What do you hear?
But seriously, The Beatles said it truly was a make-believe children's tune about a mariner who describes his life on a submarine, thus inspiring them to set sail on their own adventures aboard a yellow submarine. The tune was featured in the 1968 animated musical fantasy comedy film by the same name.
6. "Yellow Flicker Beat" by Lorde
The narrator in this 2014 pop song is a shapeshifter, a princess who is fierce and fiery, invoking fear and awe in others. She is a survivalist, a fighter, and an imperfect warrior. Lorde sought to capture the persona of Katniss Everdeen, the main protagonist in The Hunger Games trilogy. The successful book series became a blockbuster movie series portraying the annual televised fights to the death occuring in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future.
7. "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" by Brian Hyland
The shy girl in this 1960 pop tune makes a bold fashion statement by donning a bikini. but then she's scared to be seen in it on the beach. At first, she hides in the locker. Then, she covers up with a blanket on the seashore. When she finally makes it to the water, she won't come out despite turning blue. Both this chart-topping song and surf movies in the early 1960's are credited with increasing the popularity of the bikini.
If you're body positive, you know that beauty is about the girl rather than the bikini. Make a playlist of songs about being beautiful inside and out to drive home that message.
a warning card shown by the referee to a player who committed a foul
1) accidental urination in public; 2) public alert issued by school or hospital regarding an emergency situation
proceed with caution
1) synonym for yellow fever; 2) ship, lazarettos
poorly sourced and sensationalized journalism using misleading headlines, fake interviews, pseudoscience, and lavish photos
a US state strongly influenced by the Libertarian party
a deplorable, untrustworthy person (as in politician)
yellow brick road
a path believed to lead to success or adventure
8. "Old Yellow Bricks" by Arctic Monkeys
This 2007 rock song features a caution about how you can try to escape familiar, known circumstances in looking for love and adventure. As a fugitive from your past, you can try to break free, but in the end, we are all prisoners to nostalgia. Ultimately, you'll find lack of clarity and disappointment, and you'll return to what comforts you. (Bummer.) Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz was right: There's no place like home. All roads lead us back there.
9. "Black and Yellow" by Wiz Khalifa
This 2010 rap song is an ode to Wiz Khalifa's car, a yellow Dodge Challenger Hemi with black stripes. His car is black and yellow in honor of the professional sports teams from his hometown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The song crossed over to the mainstream charts and rose to the top spot, becoming an international hit. There were also a variety of remixes and remakes, many involving different sports team colors.
10. "The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth" by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
If you've ever lived in a rural area, then perhaps the message in this 2005 rock song will resonate with you. A West Virginia young man has spent the first 18 years of his life growing up under the expansive blue sky with the sheep, barking dogs, and not enough to do. Needing something else to challenge him, the protagonist seeks the wide range of options available in New York City. It's about as different a place from his home as he can imagine. Can't you picture those yellow country teeth?
11. "Yellow Boxes" by Tyler Ward
All the material success in the world cannot buy us the unconditional love of home. That's the message in this sentimental 2015 pop tune. The narrator finally reaches the pinnacle of his career, but sadly, having achieved material prosperity, he realizes that he is not truly happy on the inside.
After a decade too long of living an empty life at the top, the narrator opts to return home. He packs up his yellow moving boxes and heads back to where people accepted and adored him, even when he was a nobody:
So you can spend your whole life
How it's supposed to be
And love right unconditionally
And you can say
I found a way ‘cause I got my family.
12. "Purple Yellow Red and Blue" by Portugal. The Man
Drugs are a poor substitute for an authentic life, but some people have to learn this the hard way. The narrator in this 2013 pop song feels dejected, complaining that his life lacks purpose and direction:
When I grow up I wanna be
A movie star or on TV
'Cause workin' just don't work for me
But I can't focus, feeling hopeless
So I'll just sit back, try to relieve.
Seeking relief to his numb and troubled existence, he chases the illegal drug ecstasy which often comes in colors like purple, yellow, red, and blue. His existence revolves around it, and pathetically, ecstasy gives him something to believe in.
13. "Yellow Roses" by Dolly Parton
Yellow roses symbolize joy, friendship, and caring, but not the romantic kind. If only the lady in this 1989 country song had recognized that yellow roses represent the kind of love you have for a best friend or a sister, then she could have saved herself a lot of heartbreak.
The man she met, subsequently married, then divorced presented her with a yellow rose the day they were introduced. Through the years, he gifted her with large bouquets of yellow roses. He even said goodbye with the same yellow flower. Is it possible that he loved her more as a friend all along? Perhaps he was saying it with flowers and she didn't speak the language.
If you enjoy saying it with flowers, why not make a playlist of songs about flowers for your sweetheart?
14. "Yellow Pearl" by Phil Lynott
Throughout the 1980s there was widespread concern that Japan would come to dominate the West. At the time, the Japanese had introduced the phenomenally popular Sony Walkman. Additionally, elements of Japanese culture, as well as business principles and technology, had begun to permeate the West. This synthrock song from 1980 is an example of why it's important to look at the lyrics. Phil Lynott wrote and released the ditty when he toured Japan with Thin Lizzy.
The song is deceptively catchy in the way it alerts the listener of the "attack attack attack attack." However, it is based on the xenophobic notion of "yellow peril," describing a yellow pearl attacking while defenders struggle for command and control. To prevent destruction (and genocide), vigilance and preemptive strikes are required.
15. "Yellow Light" by Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams has acknowledged there are hidden sociopolitical messages in this 2017 pop song which is part of the Despicable Me 3 movie soundtrack. All you need to do is look at his song lyrics for clues. Take these two excerpts, for instance:
United States of anxiety continues
The brat is in his tower singing the flag burning blues
But we feel like the nuts 'cause we feel the screws.
When the stupid gets injected
The sunlight's the best disinfectant.
It's obvious that the singer-songwriter is not a fan of Trump's. The song narrator imparts this message between reminders about the yellow light shining down: "Congratulations ... Whoopeedoo ... You control the world now ... Look at you ... I said "Hey!" ... There's a higher power ... Like a yellow light."
Pharrell Williams campaigned for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential campaign, and when President Trump used his song, "Happy," at a campaign rally following the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, he sent President Trump a cease and desist letter.
16. "Yellow Moon" by The Neville Brothers
In this R&B tune from 1989, a lonesome man whose ladylove has left him turns to the yellow moon for answers on her fate. Because the moon sees everything, he wants to know if his lover is alone or with another man and whether she's coming back.
17. "Yellow Brick Road" by Angus & Julia Stone
This 2010 rock song has an ethereal '70s feel to it and speaks metaphorically of the narrator's rocky experience with love. He chased the woman he loved but sadly found only disappointment and heartbreak in the end. This caused him to nearly lose his mind. Some of us go "all in" when it comes to love. At least he didn't hold back.
18. "Yellow Light" by Of Monsters and Men
The light in this 2011 rock song signifies the transition between life and death. The female protagonist feels a sense of impending doom, as conveyed by her references to rising waters, shark-infested seas, and a howling beast in the night. Her male companion is an angelic figure who offers his hand. He will guide her through the wonderland that awaits as the soft walls of the blinding yellow light envelopes them. Afterlife is nearly here.
19. "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" by Dawn (featuring Tony Orlando)
A yellow ribbon has historically signified that one is awaiting the arrival of an absent loved one who is serving in the military or in prison. This 1973 pop ditty describes a young man returning home on a bus after three years away. Unsure if he'll be welcomed back, he has sent word to his sweetheart to tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree as a signal that she still wants him. If there's no ribbon, then he will remain on the bus.
Too nervous to look for the welcome home symbol himself, the soldier asks the bus driver to do it. Soon the entire bus is cheering. He has been welcomed home with 100 yellow ribbons tied around the old oak tree. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone during the Vietnam era had received such a warm welcome home?
If there's a special military man or woman in your life, make a playlist of songs about soldiers and veterans to let them know how much you miss them.
20. "Yellow Eyes" by Rayland Baxter
Gaining a lover can sometimes mean losing a friend. The man in this 2015 alternative country song feels awkward now because he has crossed a line with his friend. Afraid of getting hurt, he decides to withdraw from her and leave her lonely, guessing where she stands in the relationship with him emotionally with him in the relationship. That's a way to lose both a lover and a friend.
Even More Songs with the Color Yellow in the Title
21. Mellow Yellow
22. Yellow Sun
23. Yellow Lines
24. Little Yellow Blanket
25. Yellow Raincoat
27. 18 Yellow Roses
28. Yellow Pages
29. Blue and Yellow
30. The Yellow Rose of Texas
Johnny Lee (featuring Lane Brody)
31. Old Yellow Moon
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
32. My Old Yellow Car
33. Yellow Butterfly
Meg & Dia
34. Yellow River
35. Yellow Taxi
Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear
36. Yellow Mellow
37. Double Yellow Lines
39. Yellow Lights
40. Girl in the Yellow Dress
41. Love and a Yellow Rose
The Guess Who
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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