When you take a photograph, what do you hope to capture? A moment in time? The feeling of a place? The essence of a person?
For as long as cameras have existed, people have been using photographs to capture all sorts of moments and feelings. And over the years, musicians have written songs about photographs as a way of capturing their own emotions and thoughts about the power of this simple act.
Here are 20 of the best songs about photographs:
Photograph – Ed Sheeran
“Photograph” is a song by English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. It was released as the lead single from his second studio album, x (2014), on May 20, 2014. The song was written by Ed Sheeran and produced by Jake Gosling. The music video for the song was directed by Emil Nava and released on August 7, 2014. “Photograph” received positive reviews from critics, who praised its nostalgic lyrics and melodic sound. The song peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart and became Sheeran’s fifth top-ten single in the United States. The song has been certified sextuple platinum in Australia and quadruple platinum in the US.
Picture – Kid Rock (featuring Sheryl Crow)
Picture by Kid Rock is a song about a photograph. The lyrics tell the story of a man who is looking at a picture of his former lover, and remembering all that they once shared. The song reflects on the times that have passed since the relationship ended, and how the picture is all that remains of what was once so beautiful. The chorus of the song speaks to the power of a photograph to capture a moment in time, and how it can serve as a reminder of what we have lost. Picture by Kid Rock is a touching song that speaks to the universal experience of looking at an old photograph and feeling nostalgia for what once was.
I’ll Wait – Van Halen
“I’ll Wait” is a song by American rock band Van Halen, released as the second single from their sixth studio album, 1984. The song was written by band members Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen, and singer David Lee Roth. “I’ll Wait” is a power ballad that reflects on the end of a relationship. The lyrics describe the narrator’sstate of mind as he looks at photographs of his former lover and remembers the good times they shared together. The song’s music video was filmed in black-and-white and features the band performing in a desert setting. “I’ll Wait” peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and received positive reviews from music critics.
Paparazzi – Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga’s song “Paparazzi” is a catchy ode to the price of fame. The lyrics tell the story of a celebrity who is hounded by the paparazzi, and how the constant attention can take its toll. Gaga portrays the paparazzi as vultures, preying on her character’s every move. While the song is clearly critical of the paparazzi, it also acknowledges their role in creating and sustaining celebrity culture. In a way, “Paparazzi” is both a condemnation of our obsession with celebrities and a recognition of its power. either way, it’s a great tune that will get stuck in your head for days.
Centerfold – The J. Geils Band
Centerfold by The J. Geils Band is a song about a photographs. The protagonist is fixated on a centerfold in a magazine, which leads him to fantasize about the woman in the picture. The song suggests that the man is so obsessed with the photograph that he becomes disconnected from reality, ultimately leading him to lose touch with the woman he loves. While the song is ostensibly about a man’s unhealthy obsession with an image, it can also be interpreted as a commentary on the dangers of living in a media-saturated society.
Take a Picture – Filter
“Take a Picture” is a song by American rock band Filter, released in May 1996 as the second single from their debut album Short Bus. The song is about the value of photographs and how they can help us to remember the past. The lyrics describe how a photograph can “freeze time” and capture a moment that we may never be able to experience again. The song also includes a reference to the film Forrest Gump, in which the titular character looks at a photograph of himself and his childhood sweetheart and says, “You can’t go back, but you can look at it.” This line speaks to the idea that photographs can help us to remember and appreciate the people and moments that we have lost. “Take a Picture” is an evocative and reflective song that reminds us of the importance of taking time to capture memories.
Photograph – Def Leppard
Photograph is a song by English rock band Def Leppard from their 1983 album Pyromania. The song was written by lead singer Joe Elliott and guitarist Phil Collen, and it was produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange. The song is about a photograph of a young couple that Elliott found in an old box. The couple in the photograph is unknown, but the image has stayed with Elliott over the years. Photograph served as the lead single from Pyromania, and it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. The song remains one of Def Leppard’s most popular songs, and it has been covered by numerous artists.
A Picture of Me – Lorrie Morgan
A Picture of Me is a song written by country music artist Lorrie Morgan. The song was released in 1994 as the lead single from her album of the same name. The song is a ballad about a woman looking at a photograph of herself and reflecting on her life. The woman in the song is looking at a picture from her childhood, and she recalls all of the events that have led to her present-day self. She remembers her first love, her first heartbreak, and all of the ups and downs that have shaped her into the person she is today. The song is a beautiful reflection on life, love, and loss, and it resonates with many people who have experienced similar things. The song was a huge hit for Morgan, reaching number one on the Billboard country charts, and it remains one of her most beloved songs.
Picture to Burn – Taylor Swift
“Picture to Burn” is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was written by Swift and Liz Rose, and produced by Nathan Chapman. The song was released on May 15, 2008 by Big Machine Records as the fourth single from Swift’s eponymous studio album, Taylor Swift (2006). “Picture to Burn” was inspired by one of Swift’s ex-boyboys, and she wrote the song about him. Musically, the track is a country rock song with elements of arena rock. The lyrics concern setting fire to photographs of an ex-lover.
Selfie – The Chainsmokers
“Selfie” is a song by American electronic music duo The Chainsmokers, released on January 28, 2014. The song is about the growing phenomenon of taking selfies, and the negative consequences that can come with it. The lyrics describe a person who is addicted to taking selfies and posting them online, and how this addiction can lead to a loss of connection with the outside world. The song has been criticized for its shallow lyrics and for its promotion of narcissism, but it has also been praised for its catchy tune and clever use of social media references. Despite its mixed reception, “Selfie” peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has been certified double platinum in the United States.
Polaroid – Keith Urban
“Polaroid” is a song by Australian country music singer Keith Urban. It was released on February 24, 2017, as the fourth single from his ninth studio album, Ripcord. The song was written by Urban, busbee, and Greg Wells. “Polaroid” is a mid-tempo song about a Photograph. The narrator is looking at an old photograph of himself and his former lover. He remembers their happy memories together and how they have since faded away. Thesong peaked at number four on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and number 42 on the Hot 100 chart. In Canada, the song peaked at number eight on the Country chart and number 67 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart.
Heaven – Warrant
Warrant’s song “Heaven” is a ballad that was released in 1990 and was a huge hit, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The lyrics of the song are about a man who is looking at a photograph of his loved one and remembering all the happy moments they shared together. The song talks about how the man is now living in a world without her and how he wishes he could be with her again in heaven. Despite the sad subject matter, the song is uplifting and offers hope to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. The success of “Heaven” helped to propel Warrant to stardom and established them as one of the most popular hair metal bands of the early 1990s.
Photograph – Ringo Starr
Released in 1973, “Photograph” is a song by English musician Ringo Starr that was written by Starr and George Harrison. The song is about a photograph that Starr had found of himself and Harrison when they were both young members of the Beatles. “Photograph” was a commercial success, reaching the top 10 in several countries, including the United States, where it peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition to its critical and commercial success, the song has also been praised for its nostalgic lyrics and Socratic message. In particular, the line “all we need is love” has become one of the most memorable phrases from the song. Despite its simplicity, “Photograph” continues to resonant with listeners decades after its release, cementing its place as one of Ringo Starr’s best-known solo songs.
Photograph – Nickelback
Photograph is a song by Nickelback, released in 2005. The song is about a photograph of a young couple in love. The lyrics describe the couple’s relationship, and how the photograph represents their memories together. The chorus reflects on how the couple’s love was “ever-changing like the weather” and how they “grew apart like two trees.” Despite the passage of time, the singer still looks at the photograph and remembers their happy memories together. Photograph is a sentimental song that will resonate with anyone who has ever fallen in love.
Selfie #theinternetisforever – Brad Paisley
In his 2014 song “Selfie,” Brad Paisley tackles the phenomenon of the modern-day selfie. The lyrics offer a light-hearted commentary on the self-indulgent nature of taking and posting selfies, while also highlighting the potential dangers of putting too much information online. With lines like “make sure your coffin’s closed before you pose,” Paisley warns that once a selfie is posted online, it’s there forever – and it could come back to haunt you. In an age where social media plays such a prominent role in our lives, “Selfie” is a timely reminder to think twice before we hits share.
Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) – A Flock of Seagulls
Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) is a song by the British new wave band A Flock of Seagulls. It was released as the lead single from their second studio album, Dream Come True. The song was written by the band’s frontman, Mike Score, and produced by Ian Broudie. “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” is a synth-pop song that features a Roland Jupiter-8 synthesizer. The song peaked at number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 on the UK Singles Chart.
Hey Ya! (Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture) – Outkast
“Hey Ya!” is a song by the American hip hop group Outkast. The song was released in September 2003 as the lead single from their fifth studio album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. The song became one of the biggest hits of 2004, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and winning a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. The song’s success was due in part to its catchy hook and upbeat tempo, but also to its innovative use of the Polaroid camera as a metaphor for love and relationships. In the song, André 3000 compares a relationship to shaking a Polaroid picture, “trying to make it develop.” The analogy is clever and accurate, capturing the way that relationships can change over time, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. “Hey Ya!” is an excellent example of how music can be used to explore complex ideas in a creative and relatable way.
Pictures – Lady Antebellum
“Pictures” is a song by American country music group Lady Antebellum. It was released in June 2010 as the lead single from their second studio album, Need You Now. The song was written by Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood, and produced by Paul Worley and Dann Huff. “Pictures” is a mid-tempo ballad in which the male narrator expresses his longing for a former lover by looking at photographs of her. The song received positive reviews from critics, who praised its nostalgic lyrics and Scott’s vocal performance. It peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was certified seven times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). An accompanying music video for the song was directed by Nathan Quick and premiered in June 2010. It depicts the three members of Lady Antebellum looking at old photographs. “Pictures” was nominated for two Grammy Awards; Best Country Song and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
Click, Click, Click, Click – Bishop Allen & The Broken String
“Click, Click, Click, Click” by Bishop Allen & The Broken String is a song about Photograph. The song is about a person who is taking a picture of a moment, and how that photograph will help them remember that moment forever. The lyrics talk about how the photograph will capture the feeling of that moment, and how it will be a reminder of what it felt like to be in that moment. The song is also about how the photograph will be a reminder of the people and things that were in that moment, and how those people and things will change over time. The song ends with the person taking the picture saying that they will never forget that moment, and that the photograph will help them remember it forever.
Mama Lost Her Smile – Lee Ann Womack
Mama Lost Her Smile is a song by Lee Ann Womack. The song is about a mother who has lost her smile. The mother is looking at a photograph of her family and she is thinking about how her family has changed over the years. The mother is no longer happy and she does not know how to fix it. Mama Lost Her Smile is a sad song but it is also hopeful. The mother is hopeful that she will find her smile again.