I don’t mean Capt. Hook – despite any photos of me you may have seen floating around the Internet. LOL I’m talking about songwriting here.
Although not every song has to have a hook, any self-respecting pop/rock tune or country tune for that matter pretty much needs a hook to make the song more easily accessible to the listener. At least that’s what I THINK a hook does best for a song. Yes, it makes it memorable. It makes it “catchy.” It often gives it a title. But I believe the hook, above all, is truly a listener’s “way in” to a song.
Now I am not disparaging the verses. Heck, I’m all about the lyrics of a song – even over the musicality of a song. If the tune is lovely but the lyrics take me nowhere, it might as well have been an instrumental. But if the lyrics are awesome and the music only mediocre – well, at least there is a song the does something to reach you. I’m OK with that. And I’m not disparaging instrumental music, either! But I am currently talking about songs and songwriting, so ….
The hook, yes, the hook. I find it can be the absolute hardest part to write. Maybe that’s because I’m such a neophyte, and I’ll find it easier and more consistent as I gain experience (and hopefully knowledge and wisdom).
Take a recently completed song I wrote that is basically a celebration of the individual against peer pressure and the judgement of others for being “different.” OK, I should have written it when I was 16. But I didn’t, so … it’s here now. I had the verses for weeks and weeks and weeks, etc. – but no refrain, no hook. I even had a basic outline of a bridge – but no refrain. I would go back and look over the song time and time again. Looking for the thread to tie the song together and make it memorable and attention-getting and …. good! At least in my opinion. And finally, it happened. Like a logjam being cleared from a river – I was looking over the song one more time and seemingly out of the blue I had my refrain/my hook.
Any other songwriters out there feel the same? Or is it easy for you? Is there a trick to finding a hook that I should know? What do you think a hook does for a song? What are you looking for when you’re looking for a hook? I’m all ears!!