Genesis

Songwriting: Lyrical Hooks and Clichés

I’m a fan of Genesis, but enjoyed the older incarnation of that group more than the one in the mid-80s. That’s not a criticism at all because I think Genesis wrote brilliant pop music. I just happen to like their older prog rock style. Genesis wrote and recorded “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” for their 1986 “Invisible […]

Now, Now - SGL

Getting the Most Out of a Song’s Hook

For most songs in the pop genre, the bit that you really love will be some short, catchy fragment. That fragment — the hook — is the bit that you’ll remember forever about that song. Long after you’ve forgotten almost everything else, you’ll remember that hook. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, […]

Songwriter - Pianist

When Your Song’s Hook Isn’t Doing Its Job

A hook has several defining attributes that all partner together to make it memorable and catchy: It’s main identifying characteristic is its shortness, making it easy to remember. It has a melodic component that frequently includes some sort of leap, usually upward (“Born in the U.S.A.”). It has a rhythmic component that frequently includes a […]

Taylor Swift - I Did Something Bad

Using the Verse to Power Up the Chorus Hook

For most songs, if you speak of the hook, you’re talking about the chorus, and most likely the start of the chorus. Sometimes the hooky bit might be the end of the chorus, like Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs’ 1963 hit “Sugar Shack”. For pop songs, the hook has been a perennially essential ingredient. Because […]

Jason Derulo

Song Hooks: Most Songs Have Several

We typically talk about a song’s hook as if there is just one. But in fact, most songs have several hook-like elements, all working to make the song attractive to listeners. While one of those hooks tends to stand out as the main one, songwriting success comes from having several of them on the go, […]

The Chorus Hook and the Climactic High Point

I write a lot on this blog about song melodies and their so-called climactic high point. That’s a term that refers (usually) to the highest notes of a song. I say usually because sometimes the climactic moment in a song isn’t necessarily it’s highest note. For example, choruses will often sound more climactic — more exciting […]