There are so many English words starting with the letter N that we could fill a book with songs that start with it. The following list highlights some of the best songs starting with N from all genres of music.
“Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” by My Chemical Romance
Song Year: 2010
Gerard Way didn't knock himself out naming this fun punk song, but the tongue-in-cheek title transmits the tune's precise intentions.
“Na Na Na…” is the first single on My Chemical Romance’s 2010 concept album “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. It's a rebellious, joyous sing-along anthem, bound to appeal to the aging punk in many of us.
In addition to the song’s commercial success, the music video won the Best Video category at the NME Awards in 2011.
“Nature Boy” by Nick Cave
Song Year: 2004
Nick Cave does not, generally speaking, write happy songs. “Nature Boy” is as close as we're likely to find, and it still alludes to “ordinary slaughter” and “routine atrocity.”
Still, the song is upbeat and hopeful. The lyrics detail a romance between a sensitive young man and a more refined and confident woman. Each verse examines a different era of their relationship.
“Naughty Girl” by Beyonce
Song Year: 2003
“Naughty Girl” is the fourth single off of Beyonce’s debut album, Dangerously in Love. It’s a seductive R&B song that revolves around lust and confidence.
The beat is undeniable and intriguing, as the song samples Donna Summers's hit “Love to Love You Baby,” but it also draws inspiration from several music genres, including funk and reggae.
It reached number three on US Billboard Hot 100 and ranked among the top ten in the UK, Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand.
“Nebraska” by Bruce Springsteen
Song Year: 1982
Many associate Bruce Springsteen with his home state of New Jersey. However, the iconic singer-songwriter dedicated an entire album to Nebraska.
“Nebraska” is a melancholy ballad that tells the story of the American serial killer Charles Starkweather. Springsteen sings the song in the first person, from Starkweather's perspective.
Inspired by the Terrance Malik film Badlands, Springsteen thoroughly researched
Starkweather's killing spree to write this song.
“Need You” Tonight by INXS
Song Year: 1987
“Need You Tonight” is INXS's only number one single, but what a number one single it is. The song is a slinky ode to the one-night stand, performed as a call and answer.
Michael Hutchence and Andrew Farris wrote the song in 1987 and included it on the INXS album Kicks.
The song was a certified hit, charting high in the US and worldwide. Moreover, the song's popularity endures, as shown by Dua Lipa using the guitar riff in her song “Break My Heart.”
“Needle in the Hay” by Elliott Smith
Song Year: 1995
Elliott Smith's somber songs defined the 1990s for indie rock fans. “Needle in the Hay” is the cream of his melancholy crop.
The song explores ambiguity. “Needle in the Hay” may be about Smith's struggles with heroin, though there is ample room for individual interpretation.
Smith included the song on his second album Elliott Smith. Wes Anderson notably used “Needle in the Hay” to score one of the saddest scenes in The Royal Tenenbaums.
“Neuromancer” by Billy Idol
Song Year: 1993
William Gibsons wrote his seminal cyberpunk novel Neuromancer in 1984. In 1993 the book inspired a different William-Billy Idol to release a single of the same name.
Neuromancer covers the dystopian themes so prevalent in Cyberpunk. The song filters themes of isolation and alienation through a science fiction lens.
The song was critically reviled upon release but has since been re-evaluated. “Neuromancer,” the song, and Cyberpunk, the album, have garnered accolades since Idol released it.
“Never Going Back Again” by Fleetwood Mac
Song Year: 1976
Fleetwood Mac's Rumors created the breakup album blueprint. The album is full of heartbreak anthems and odes to lost lovers, the shortest and sweetest of these being “Never Going Back Again.”
Lindsey Buckingham wrote the song as a reaction to his breakup with Stevie Knicks. The lyrics express the absolute end of a relationship.
It’s a sad song with a happy melody, as Fleetwood Mac keeps the instrumentation simple and deceptively upbeat.
“New Lover” by Josh Ritter
Song Year: 2013
Josh Ritter uses clever wordplay to express complicated emotions. “New Lover,” off his 2013 album Beast in its Track, is a tongue-in-cheek look at a man claiming to be over his previous relationship, despite ample evidence to the contrary.
Ritter's lyrics insist he has a new lover, and yes, she resembles his former partner, but that doesn't mean he hasn't moved on. The song is a quirky tribute to denial with thoughtful, poignant lyrics layered over an infectious melody.
“New Year's Day” by U2
Song Year: 1983
“New Year's Day” is not the hopeful anthem most of us associate with the holiday. U2's anthem is, however, a timeless pop staple, encapsulating so much of what makes the band transcendent.
It fuses a love song with a political statement, creating a sobering message with elements of hope. U2 claims the Polish Solidarity Movement inspired part of the song, which originated as a love tune Bono wrote for his wife.
“New Year's Day” performed well on charts worldwide. In addition, U2 included it on their album War.
“Next Girl” by the Black Keys
Song Year: 2010
Despite its title, “Next Girl” is actually more about the previous girl. The singer vows not to make the same mistakes he made in his last relationship by ensuring his next girl is “nothing like” his “ex-girl.”
The Black Keys' lyrics paint a picture of a shallow woman who broke the singer's heart. She's beautiful but cruel, and she left our hero broken. Over a chunky blues riff, he decides his next partner should be the opposite of the woman who broke his heart.
“Next Girl” features on The Black Keys' sixth album, Brothers.
“Nikita” by Elton John
Song Year: 1985
The Cold War may not seem like the perfect backdrop for an ode to unrequited love, but Elton John's “Nikita” proves love can occur in unexpected places.
The lyrics to “Nikita” describe a man smitten with a Soviet border guard. The singer knows he can't be with his beloved, owing to their socio-political differences.
John wrote the song with his long-time collaborator Bernie Taupin. He included the song on his album Ice on Fire. Notably, George Michael provided backing vocals for the torch song.
“Night Moves” by Bob Seeger
Song Year: 1976
“Night Moves” may be the most quintessentially American and nostalgic song ever written. The lyrics evoke warm nights in the midwest.
Seeger sings about being young and experiencing growing pains in his small town. He's experimenting with girls and a tougher crowd, testing his limits.
“Night Moves” appears on Seeger's album of the same name. As his biggest hit, it remains popular to this day.
“Nightswimming” by REM
Song Year: 1992
“Nightswimming” is a soft, poignant piano ballad. It was included on REM’s seminal album Automatic for the People.
Depending on who you ask, the song is either about an actual evening of skinny-dipping or a somewhat unhinged nightwatchman.
While Michael Stipe and Mike Mills disagree on the inspiration, they worked harmoniously to record one of REM's most beautiful songs.
“Neon Lights” by Demi Lovato
Song year: 2013
“Neon Lights” is the third single on Demi Lovato’s fourth album, Demi. It features a mix of dance and electropop genres accompanied by Lovato’s recognizable vocals that invite you to have a good time.
The song reigned supreme on the US Hot Dance Club Songs and ranked as number seven on Mainstream Top 40 list.
In addition, the song served as an inspiration for Lovato’s Neon Lights Tour.
“Ninja Rap” by Vanilla Ice
Song Year: 1991
“Ninja Rap” delivers what it promises: a rap about ninjas inspired by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Vanilla Rap wrote the song for the soundtrack to the 1991 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. The lyrics speak in depth about partying, being a ninja, and fighting bad guys.
“No Children” by The Mountain Goats
Song Year: 2002
John Darnielle could never have anticipated TikTok's fascination with “No Children” when he wrote the divorce anthem.
“No Children” is a pitch-black, sardonic ode to a toxic relationship. The lyrics detail a couple who bring out the worst in each other, to the point that they alienate their friends and relations.
Darnielle layers his bitter words over a peppy acoustic guitar and piano melody.
The song took over TikTok for a period in 2021.
“No Drug Like Me” by Carly Rae Jepsen
Song Year: 2019
Songs like “No Drug Like Me” show just how unique Carly Rae Jepsen is as a pop singer-songwriter. Featured as the first single on Jepsen’s album Dedicated, the song has a 1980’s throwback synth-pop melody.
The song takes a darker, more mysterious approach to a love ballad. Jepsen sings about ghosts and compares her blossoming affair with drug use-not, the typical content of pop music.
“North American Scum” by LCD Soundsystem
“North American Scum” may be the peppiest song ever written about global stereotyping. The song is a loud, bombastic dance track driven forward by James Murphy's wry lyrics.
The singer grapples with his frustration about the way Americans are viewed while harboring his own criticisms of the country.
“North American Scum” was the first single released from LCD Soundsystem's album Sound of Silver.
“Not Fade Away” by Buddy Holly
Buddy Holly recorded “Not Fade Away” during a particularly fertile creative period. The song is a bright, hopeful anthem dedicated to the rush of new love.
The lyrics describe the vastness of Holly's affection for his partner and his insistence that their love “not fade away.”
The song's tune is upbeat and energetic. While not Holly's biggest hit, “Not Fade Away” remains critically lauded.
“Notes in His Pocket” by the Good Life
The Good Life's 2004 Album of the Year is a collection of songs about a genuinely awful boyfriend. “Notes in his Pocket” tells the particularly egregious story of a bartender who cheats on his girlfriend.
The singer talks about the rumors spread throughout the town about his infidelity. He cheats on his current partner with customers at the bar, and former girlfriends, carrying the love notes home in his pockets.
The song layers its ominous lyrics over a dark and frantic beat, indicating trouble on the horizon.
“Nothing Better” by The Postal Service
Song Year: 2003
“Nothing Better” by the Postal Service tells the story of a dying relationship through the conflicting viewpoints of both partners.
The duet opens with Ben Gibbard imploring his partner not to leave, ensuring her that nothing would make him happier than marrying her and living happily ever after.
Jen Wood picks up the narrative as the more pragmatic partner, explaining that Gibbard is romanticizing a failed relationship.
The back and forth occurs over bright electro-pop beats, belying the sad content of the breakup occurring.
“Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O'Connor
Song Year: 1990
Prince wrote and recorded “Nothing Compares 2 U”, but the most widely recognized version of the song is by Sinead O'Connor.
The torch song counts the minutes since the singer's lover left. While everyone in her life tells her to move on, she refuses because she's certain nothing compares to her former partner.
O'Connor's version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” layers the lyrics over a soft, synthetic beat. The sad, slow song was a massive hit, ranking high on charts worldwide.
“Notorious” by Duran Duran
Song Year: 1986
Duran Duran crafted New Wave pop classics audiences still love. One such song is “Notorious,” which appears on their album Winter Marches On.
It’s a cryptic but incredibly dancey song. The lyrics suggest corruption and shady dealings. Simon Le Bon stutters the chorus over driving synth beats.
The funk-infused single was a commercial success, peaking at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number seven on the UK Singles chart, most notably.
“November Rain” by Guns N' Roses
Song Year: 1991
Most pop-rock songs are under 5 minutes, but most pop-rock bands aren't Guns N' Roses. “November Rain,” one of the band's biggest hits, runs just under 9 minutes, an epic of love, loss, and longing.
It’s a lushly orchestrated ode to the fleeting nature of love and life. The singer urges his partner to enjoy their romance while it lasts and to take time for herself if she needs it.
“Now or Never” by Billie Holiday
Song Year: 1949
Billie Holiday's distinct voice gave life to every song she sang. “Now or Never” is her ode to making up your mind.
The lyrics demand action on the part of a potential partner. Billie's waited long enough, and she needs the man to decide if he's going to be her lover or not. “Now or Never” is a 2-minute ultimatum with a catchy tune.
“Nowhere Man” by the Beatles
Song Year: 1965
“Nowhere Man” is John Lennon's tribute to writer's block. He composed the classic tune after trying and failing to write a song for Rubber Soul. It’s a self-indictment of Lennon's inability to write a song, which is ironic given the anthem's enduring legacy.
Interestingly, Lennon and Harrison Ford performed the lead guitar solo in unison, both playing on matching Fender Stratocasters for the recording.
Songs Starting With N, Final Thoughts
Whether you’re in the mood to relax or dance or wish to make a playlist themed around songs starting with a particular letter, the above list showcases just how many great and diverse choices there are.