How to “Hook” Your Listeners

Written by Lindsey Batista, Rock the Dream

You’ve probably imagined a crowd of fans singing back the lyrics of one of your songs. It takes a really dedicated fan to know every line of your songs, but a real hit will have a hook that EVERYONE remembers.  

The hook is the catchiest part of the song that people will remember most. It’s often part of the chorus, and many times the title of the song.  Sometimes the hook is the whole chorus, though it’s usually only a few measures. It’s the part that the listener is waiting for and the rest of the song seems to be leading up to or supporting it.  A song with no real hook can be disappointing or feel repetitive for a listener, like it’s going no where.

What are the qualities of a good hook?  First off, keep it simple.  Even if you’re an incredible vocalist, all of your fans are not, so make it something they can keep singing as they leave your show, and for long after.  Show off your vocals in other parts of the song, but let the hook speak for itself. Melody is easier remembered than words, so keep this in mind.  

Words are just as important, though, and the lyrics of the hook are probably the most important of the song. What message do you really want to be remembered?  Simplicity with language is key here, too, as you want a line that is relatable and reaches something inside your audience. It could be deeply emotional, humorous, or inspiring, so long as it creates a strong feeling.  

Next, repeat it throughout the song. It wouldn’t really be a hook if it only appeared once.  And, if you write a really good one, listeners will be waiting to hear it again and again.  People like repetition, that’s what music basically is, and the more something’s heard, the more likely it will be remembered.  

There are ways to get creative with writing a hook. You can have an instrumental hook that stands out without any lyrics. You can also try putting your hook in the introduction and then bringing it back throughout the song. Try exploring vocal effects, like pitching up or down, using an unexpected instrument or sound, or even a featured voice.  

The limits of songwriting are being pushed all the time, and many artists are straying from traditional song forms. It’s great to explore and innovate, but make sure every song has something that really holds it together and makes it memorable.  

Source; Lavoie, Alex. “6 Ideas to Help You Write Catchier Songs.” Landr, 3 Apr. 2020,

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