Welcome back! This week, we will be dissecting what makes a successful hook. I am your host, Jambot, and we are going to analyze a few key features of a successful chorus. Our points of discussion will be how to create a hook that is easily identifiable, has a simple and relatable message and a hook that is simple and effective. Lets begin!
Easy to Identify
First things first, you need to make sure your hook is the most easily identifiable part of the song. I know this may sound obvious, but when you are critically listening to your song and the hook doesn’t just immediately jump out, you must scrap it and start over. The hook needs to draw the listener in and stay in their head for the rest of the day (even if they don’t want it to). Think of the new song “Call me Maybe” … I’ve probably heard this song over 100 times in the last month, but I have absolutely NO IDEA what the artist is saying in the verse. I do, however, know EXACTLY what the hook is, and it keeps me up at night as I desperately try to get it out of my head. The key here is I can be listening to the song while doing 10 other things at once, and once the chorus kicks in I know exactly what it is and I can’t help but sing along in my head. IF YOUR CHORUS ISN’T JUMPING OUT AT YOU, YOUR SONG WILL NOT CATCH ON, PLAIN AND SIMPLE! I simply cannot stress this enough when you are writing radio singles; if you can’t see everybody in the club singing along with the chorus your song simply will not work.
A Simple and Relatable Message
Another reason “Call me Maybe” has become so catchy is because it has a very simple and relatable message behind it. Have you ever been attracted to a stranger and wanted to continue talking with them? OF COURSE YOU HAVE! Everybody can relate to this message because it is so universal that everyone from junior high students to grandparents can understand exactly how this feels. So many times when people are writing a song, they feel like they need to create something so unique and creative that everyone else will wonder how they ever thought of it. The reality, however, is that everything has already been done before and every topic has already been covered. The beauty of this is that you can tap into fundamental topics and emotions in your own way, while still keeping the message relatable and effective to your target audience.
Keep it simple
This is something I definitely struggle with at times. So many times I get caught up in the words of the hook, and I completely forget what idea I am trying to get across in my message. The result is often a bunch of flowery words that never quite get to the point, and it never seems to work quite like I wanted. Take Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” for example; the goal of the song was to create an anthem for single ladies of the world that will remind them they are indeed a catch. Did she try to over-complicate the message in hopes that she will have that one girl in the universe that says to herself, “Beyonce completely understands me as a unique individual”? Of course not! Instead, she targeted her audience by repeating “All the single ladies” 14 times throughout the song, followed by her message delivered in one line “If you like it then you should’ve put a ring on it” 18 times! My point is this: don’t waste time trying to over-think your message; just pick your message and keep it simple!
I hope this helps to give you a better idea of how you should be approaching the songwriting process, and particularly how to craft a simple yet effective hook for radio airplay. Join us next week for our new article, and make sure to keep up with everything we are doing here at the studio by following us on twitter @IamJambot and @_signaturesound. Feel free to stop by my website at www.iamjambot.com and contact me to start collaborating on a radio single for your upcoming album, then let me know when you want to take a tour of the beautiful Signature Sound Studios and we will schedule a time for us to get in the studio and make a hit!