Bruce Springsteen - Born in the U.S.A.

5 Important Characteristics of Good Song Hooks

 There are several different kinds of hooks you might find in the song, but they all do essentially the same thing:  they all give the listener something catchy, something singable, and something that will bring them back to the song.

  So no matter where your main hook appears (chorus, intro, backing accompaniment, etc. )  here are five important characteristics they need to exhibit:

  1.  They need to be rhythmically interesting. Good hooks usually incorporate some kind of an interesting rhythm, whether that’s a syncopation or some other rhythmic device. Think of the intro to Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, and you’ll get the idea.
  2. A short, catchy melodic idea will give the audience something to remember. Even Stevie Wonder’s intro, which isn’t so much a melody as a groove, has a shape that’s easily brought to mind as soon as someone says the title.
  3.  The chords should be strong and simple. If you want to have a hope of your audience remembering your hook, simplicity is key.  So keep your chords diatonic, and limited to two or three to accompany your hook.
  4.  Hooky lyrics should be fun to sing. Springsteen’s iconic “Born in the U.S.A” is a great example.
  5.  Drop the hook occasionally from your song.  If you’ve got a good background hook working, with keyboards, guitars and drums playing something really catchy, you can make it more effective by switching to something basic for 8 bars or so, and then returning to that hook.  Hooks that are relentless can become tiresome. Balance is important.

Gary Ewer-Written by Gary Ewer.

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