Be the one song your fans listen to today that gets their adrenaline pumping.
Before you commit to a single note of your next song, you want to do some serious sleuthing behind the scenes.
I call it being a hook detective. What you’re looking for is the “hook” of your song–that unique part of the song that arouses burning curiosity, and drags the listener into your song like a baby boomer to a Rolling Stones concert. A great hook–especially in your song title…
Will FORCE People
To Remember Your Song
It’s the key to writing a big winner. When you find a great hook, you’ll know it… because it will ring in your ears constantly.
Here’s how to do it: First, you gotta get into a Sherlock Holmes-like frame of mind.
You’re going on a search for specific details to write about… something that no one else has paid any attention to. Gather about you all the great hooks of the past (I like to use this list for inspiration), the current Billboard charts, and any other popular song playlists and references you can think of. Use them to get a “feel” for the qualities of a great time-tested hook.
You won’t find your hook here, however, No one’s written your hook yet.
No, the only reason to use all that stuff is to…
Know How To Walk The Walk
And Talk The Talk
You want to be completely immersed in the details of great hooks, the placement, the lyric ideas, the melodic motion, everything. Because… you’re now going to investigate the human connection in all of this. The heart-pounding connection to the song that will jar even the most distracted listener into full attention.
Think of it as a little game of “connect the dots”.
Because you’re now going to mentally interview everyone who can pull off “the eternal hook”. Get inside the songwriters who do it every day, who breathe, sleep and eat hit songs.
Ready? Good job, detective. Now cuff ’em and book ’em. You’re taking them to the interrogation room where you’re going to pump them for information, looking for the following:
- Lyrical Insights: You’re searching for human interest tidbits–small yet fascinating pieces of information–that are unusual, provocative, titillating, and intriguing.
- Melodic Insights: What is the melodic motion of the hook and how does it contrast with the rest of the song? How does the melody build intensity as the song approaches the hook?
- Hook Placement: How is the hook emphasized? Where exactly is the hook positioned in the song section? How many times is the hook repeated? What surrounds the hook lyrically, melodically, harmonically, rhythmically? Notice the note lengths, phrase lengths, and space.
An idea, use the hook in your song like a short, outrageous headline… that is so achingly incomplete, you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t dying to find out what it was about. And then, in your verses, weave the story. Complete the hook.
Most folks do not get to meet interesting people…
Or go to interesting places…
Or do interesting things.
And that’s your opening. Your hook is a chance for the listener to feel something special for a few moments… to be titillated, shocked, startled, and metaphorically…
Pinched On The Ass!
This is some serious good advice for songwriters! Thanks Graham for the tip. I’m gonna run with your advice and use it to make my songs more memorable.