[SONGWRITING TIPS #2] Three Easy Ways to Power Up Your Song Hooks

There’s a reason they call it a “hook.”

Your song’s central theme  – your “one big idea” – must be found in your song often enough to “hook” your listener like a fish on a line in order to keep them interested and engaged.

If your hook is your title all the better.

But how can you make sure your hook is really strong? And what if you struggle to find and develop great ones to get more engagement?

Here are three easy steps to power up your song hooks and get the maximum number of listeners loving your songs:

1. Use alliteration. Start noticing that songs, commercials, books, magazines, and just about all forms of communications use alliteration. “All About That Bass” (Trainor/Kadish) highlights the a’s, t’s, and b’s for a delightful phrase. “In Christ Alone” (Townend/Getty) has the double n’s of in/alone. Check out the first six books on the New York Times’ best-seller list and five out of six have alliterative titles. The brain is wired to use and remember alliteration so incorporate as much of it as you can and your listeners will remember your song more easily. Get it in your primary hook/title and it will make it many times more memorable (notice the m’s I just used?).

Amy Grant’s early “Baby Baby” falls in a long line of song titles that repeat the same word.

2. Use rhyme. Like alliteration, the brain loves and remembers rhyme instantaneously. Think about these titles, for instance: Rock Around the Clock, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Me and You and a Dog Named Boo, Hocus Pocus, Good Golly Miss Molly, Helter Skelter, and Only the Lonely. Not only are they highly alliterative, but the rhyme locks them in the brain forever. Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Rise” rhymes, as does his “Resurrection Power,” though not as obviously. Use rhyme in your title and hook more ears.

3. Use repetition. Amy Grant’s early “Baby Baby” falls in a long line of song titles that repeat the same word. Think about Mony Mony, Dance Dance, Tonight Tonight, Cmon Cmon, Liar Liar, Jenny Jenny, Monday Monday and many more. While there seem to be fewer Christian songs with repetitive titles it doesn’t mean there can’t be. “Good Good Father” anyone?

Use these three things to make your next song hook that much more interesting, engaging, memorable, and useful to your audience. Remember: your song is for them and not for you, anyway.

Are you an NCS Member yet? If you’re not, you’re already missing out on monthly 90-minute LIVE masterclasses with John Chisum and special guests like prominent music publishers, artists, producers, and pro songwriters ready to interact with you! Check it out here and hope to see you LIVE online in our next NCS Members Masterclass!

John Chisum

John Chisum is a pioneer in the Christian music business, serving alongside people such as Bill & Gloria Gaither, Twila Paris, Paul Baloche, Don Moen, and many more. As Managing Partner of Nashville Christian Songwriters, John seeks to empower Christian songwriters worldwide to discover and fulfill their call to write.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu