Where There's a Hook, There's a Song
I was talking with a friend this morning about my time as a Nashville staff writer for a publishing house and reminiscing on the daily ritual of gathering at the long kitchen table with the other writers for a cup or two of kick-ass coffee. This was like family hour from 9:00 in the morning until around 10:00 when we would go off to our respective offices to write with whoever we were working
with that day.
I found it interesting, and still do, that often the table conversation would continue as we sat down to write and the conversation would take it’s own course. With luck, good fortune, the universe in motion or an answered prayer, a golden gem would fall off someone’s tongue and we’d arrive at our hook for the day.
When you write four or five times a week, finding something to write about can be a real challenge. Of course the hope is we’re spending our time writing something with substance and importance whether it’s “Just Another Silly Little Love Song” (Paul McCartney) or something with a universal message like “I Hope You Dance,” of course we want what we create to matter. I learned a long time ago that patient intention could take the most pedestrian title and create magic. IF you get a “good read” on a hook you can write a great song. Often a hook can be interpreted a number of different ways.
This is where using your gut instinct will determine if you’re using your hook to it’s full potential. Walk it around, talk it out, go with what feels true. I don’t know why Paul McCartney is popping up in my brain today, but think about his song “Yesterday.” What do you do with a title like that? Of course, Paul knew, but you could write a worthy song with the same title if you spend some time kicking around the different angles. So before you begin wandering down your lyrical highway be sure you’re going in the right best direction with your idea. The angle of the hook is going to determine the outcome. I just finished one of my favorite lyrics using the hook “Here You Are.” Pretty ordinary title but I think I ended with gem.