Whether you’re new to the art of songwriting, or just trying to research the different parts of a song, it can be hard to distinguish what a hook is since it is such a commonly used phrase. People will always tell you catchy songs have a great hook, or that you need a hook to pull the listener into the song. While it can often be easy to identify it when listening to a song, it can be difficult to define what a hook truly is. But – once you understand hooks and how to write them well, your songwriting will be brought to a new level!
So… here’s what you need to know about hooks!
Parts of a Song
Most people are aware that most songs include verses, a chorus, and a bridge or some type of instrumental/vocal breakdown. Each of these sections serve a purpose and take the listener on a journey through your music, but the hook is what will leaves a song stuck in someone’s head – often without them even realizing it.
Think of a hook as the fingerprint of the song – it is what makes a song identifiable enough that your brain can recognize it. This is why many people say that the hook is the most important aspect of a song. If people can’t immediately recognize your song or identify what makes it catchy when they hear it, then chances are they won’t remember your song.
Examples of Hooks
A hook can be anything that’s repetitive and catchy, meaning it can be a guitar riff, synth line, a vocal melody, or a lyrical hook.
A great example of a melodic hook can be found in Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’:
“And you’re gonna hear me roar
You’re gonna hear me roar”
Chances are that when you read the phrase above, even with mostly “oh”s, your brain knew exactly what melody to sing along to.
Melodic hooks also often relate to melodic hooks.
A great example of a lyrical hook can be found in Taylor Swift’s ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’:
“We are never ever, ever getting back together
We are never ever, ever getting back together
You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me
But we are never ever, ever, ever getting back together”
Again, when reading the lyrics you’re most likely to hear in your head exactly how the melody goes.
Both of these examples do an excellent job of showing how the hook of the song is the part of the song that gets stuck in the listeners head. These also serve as examples of how melodic and lyrical hooks are often found in the chorus of a song. It can be helpful to begin analyzing hooks in other songs and evaluating what makes them so memorable to gain understanding of what a hook looks like and how to create one in your own song. If people are really drawn to the hook of your song, they are more likely to stream it and share it.
However, hooks are not ONLY found in the vocals of a song. Is there a guitar riff in a song you like that always gets stuck in your head? A piano part? One great example of an instrumental hook is in “As It Was” by Harry Styles! Look it up and listen to the synth line right at the beginning of the song. This synth line has gotten stuck in the heads of thousands, making it a perfect example of a non-vocal hook.
At Full Circle Music, our mission is to help as many people as possible make it in the music industry on a professional level. We offer many helpful resources to help our audience of songwriters, and if this information was helpful we encourage you to check out our YouTube Channel where we answer several other common questions we’ve received about songwriting and the music industry.
For Songwriters who wish to learn more about how to be successful on a professional level, we do offer all of our best resources and coaching opportunities in our ‘Songwriting Mastery’ course. This is taught by Grammy winning songwriter and producer, as well as CEO of Full Circle Music: Seth Mosely. If becoming a professional songwriter is your dream and you are looking for guidance on how to make this a reality, this course is over 15 hours long, analyzes and features about 150 different songs, and covers all the bases of becoming a pro songwriter. You can find it here!