Saturday, March 26, 2005

Hooks, Pop and Popular

Sure we all have favourite songs, but what I also have is favourite parts of songs. In some cases I like the whole song, but sometimes the reason I like the song is mostly because of "the part". Maybe these parts are what people call "hooks". For people who don’t know, a "hook" is a part of a song that draws you in and captures your attention. It doesn’t have to be dominant or loud to capture your attention either. It can be a quiet or subtle part that has a distinct quality.

"Hooks" are probably what makes a song a "pop" song or not, but not always, as there are many great and loved songs that are not hugely "pop"(ular). But personally I have always been drawn to "pop" songs not necessarily popular songs. It is confusing, yes. Just because a song is popular doesn’t automatically mean that the song is a "pop" song. The confusion is in the definition. "Pop" was originally short for popular, but over time and mass media communication it has changed to mean a certain sound. If you ask people what is a "pop" song, they might say: it’s a song that is "catchy"; it gets "stuck in your head". These are the "hooks" at work.

Sometimes a "hook" is a beat or rhythm that is repeated in parts of the song. But sometimes it’s a moment, when the song’s "feel" changes. The song was moving along a certain path and then it seems to be transformed by the change of tempo, rhythm, beat etc. Often it is the addition of a distinctive part to the mix of the song that creates these moments. For me they are bliss. But as these moments are rare, I am always on the search for more moments. It is an addiction.

Here’s a few songs off the top of my head, that have these moments:

"Catch the Sun" – Doves (Lost Souls LP)
"Mousetrap" – Ride (Going Blank Again LP)
"Bury Me" – The Smashing Pumpkins (Gish LP)
"My Sharona" – The Knack (Reality Bites soundtrack LP and Get The Knack LP)
"This Is The One" – The Stone Roses (The Stone Rose LP)
"Why Does It Always Rain On Me?" – Travis (The Man Who LP)

See if you can spot them…

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