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!!

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