Monday, July 9, 2012

A Strong Hook, and Why You Better Have One

OK, I've written alot of posts for Soul of the Songwriter, but if you never read another post, blog, micro-blog, or even a silly status, read this!

If your song doesn't have a strong hook, it might as well not have been written. This goes for publishing, performing, or just for the sake of the silly thing's existence on God's green earth.

With Gospel and Christian music I see alot of other problems (with often times the villain being either the dreaded cliche, or the same old tired subject matter), but the one thing that dooms any song (of any genre) is a lack of a strong hook.

Now there are different kinds of hooks.

The Chorus Hook. This is the usual singable chorus that a song comes back to several times in the song. It's what makes Aunt Martha Lou tap her foot when it comes on, and makes her want to figure out how to get in on that iPod thingie.

And that's the thing you have to remember. While producers, publishers, and those of us helping artists and songwriters want to hear a strong hook, the bigger deal is the end listener. THEY are really who we are writing for. The hook is just as important to them as it is to those of us trying to help the song be a hit.

Chorus hooks often are a catchy phrase with melody and lyrics working together to create an instant thing someone can sing the next time they hear it in the song.

The Verse Hook. Ideally, your song will have a hooky verse as well. Something that is singable and easy to understand. Not 4,000 words that don't rhyme describing how the sunset and the mountains and the trees remind you of God's love in the summer of your youth. The Verse hook is fun and makes the listener keep listening to even get to your Chorus hook.

The Music Hook. This is just an intro, turnaround after the chorus, or end section that just makes people play it over and over. Now many times this can come in the production of the song with a guitar idea or keyboard sound, or even a bass line. You know what I'm talking about. It's so strong it doesn't even require words to hook folks.

If you are trying to get publishers interested, your song better have one to all of these. That's what they want to hear. Why? Because they know Aunt Martha Lou wants to hear them. She doesn't KNOW she does, but she is just an appreciator of music and not a "pro" like us (lucky for her!).

So work on your hooks this week, and write something great!

Eric Copeland is a producer, author, and apologizes to his Aunt Martha Lou for the use of her name in this blog! Find out more at


scott wesley said...

Great advice! Back to work and get it goin!

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Eric Copeland is an author, producer, keyboardist, songwriter, and president of Creative Soul Companies. What is Creative Soul? Our main goals are to inform, encourage, and assist Christian creative folks in ministry, no matter where they are in their journey. Thanks for reading! Find out more about us at