Choosing a Good Hook

Choosing a Good Hook

The best way to plant something in someone’s brain is repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. See? Our minds are hard-wired that way. A lyrical hook is the principal way you can use repetition to glue an entire lyric together. For giving it focus – ‘oh, that’s what the song is about’ – as well as structure – ‘oh, it’s the chorus now’. Understanding how you can use repetition to make your audience catch on to what you’re saying quickly is a central skill in the art of lyric writing. Simply put, a lyrical hook is a word or phrase you’re going to use multiple times in your song, for the reasons just mentioned. ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Just the Way You Are’, ‘Happy Birthday’. And while there are many ways to choose, use and even abuse a good hook, there are a handful of archetypal ways a repeating word or phrase can be used to construct a larger song. But before we look at them, let’s talk about some fundamental hook principles. They’re by no means rules: just important ideas that have helped craft the great hooks of the past, and might help you craft a great hook or two of the future. Firstly, good hooks tend to summarise the single thing your song is about, in some obvious or not-so-obvious way. Think about it. If you’re going to end up repeating something over and over, it might as well be something that resonates well with what you’re trying to say. There’s an old rule that every line in your song should relate to the hook in some way – in meaning, in tone, in syntax – and it’s not a...
Verse-Chorus Structure 101

Verse-Chorus Structure 101

Structure in songwriting is all about the sections your song is made out of – how those sections repeat and fit together according to some kind of grand masterplan. And while there are lots of structures a song can take, some are more popular than others. This article is about one of the most popular – Verse-Chorus Structure. We’re going to look at the different parts that come together to form a Verse-Chorus Structure: what they are, how they fit together, and what the point of writing a Verse-Chorus Structure is anyway. If you’re a regular reader of my articles here at The Song Foundry, you’ll know I’m not really into giving you quick tricks and tips that might make you feel good in the short term but don’t really help you understand how to be a better songwriter in the long run. But if you’re a regular reader of my articles, you’ll also know that I’ll throw in a handful of cheap jokes to keep you going right to the end. That said, if you’re short on time because you’re out and you just realized you left your hair straighteners on, or you just read a ‘Life Is Short’ meme on Facebook once and took it a bit too seriously, that’s OK. You can check out our short video on Verse-Chorus Structure on the video page instead, or just skip to downloading the one-page summary of this article here. Otherwise, if you’re still with me and ready to dive head-first into this comprehensive guide to Verse-Chorus Structure, let’s do it.   Verse-Chorus Structure in a Nutshell Soon enough, we’ll talk about...