As a songwriter, finding a great song hook is your bread and butter. But waiting for the light bulb moment to happen can be stressful.
So how do you make finding great hooks easy?
Consistent song hook sources!
Below are a few I use regularly to spur ideas or just get the process started.
While you may end up with something you’ve heard before, you may have a song idea that completely separates it from the pack.
For example, “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” isn’t a new line, but Melissa Peirce, Jonathan Singleton and Brad Tursi came up with a way to make it different and a very clever take on a very cliche line.
1 Take a cliche phrase and change a letter, a portion of the phrase or go opposite:
“You And Me Forever” becomes “You And Me For Never”
“I Love You” become “I Honestly Love You” and a hit single for Olivia Newton John
“From The Bottom Of My Heart” becomes “You’re Off The Top Of My Mind”
2 Remake a cliche phrase so it fits into the modern world:
“Life Is What You Make It” becomes “Life Is What Happens When You’re Looking Down At Your Phone”
Some Cliche Helpers:
- Great site for Cliches from A – Z
- Cliche Finder web site where you can insert a word and it returns a phrase
When you’re somewhere like the Houston Rodeo & Livestock Show or Bike Week (yes – I’ve attend both a number of times), you’ll see some of the best phrases you’ll never think of on a coat hanger, sitting on a shelf, or walking around the place!
Write ’em down!
Trying to write a beer anthem?
Type “funny quotes beer” in Google and you get a pretty big pool of sayings to choose from.
Change the word “beer” to anything random, and you’re on your way to finding some new hooks.
They’re the “greeting card aisle of the interwebs”!
Everyone loves posting quotes, phrases & deep thoughts so you don’t have to go find them. Use them as a hook source!
Here’s one that showed up in my twitter feed:
“A Quiet Man Is A Thinking Man – A Quiet Woman Is Usually Just Mad”
Yes, long, but it might make a good song idea with a different hook, so I write it in my hook book.
It’s always a good mini-exercise to play around with the phrasing and see if there’s something there.
You may end up with a happy accident!
I’m a big reader, so I use lines from what I’m reading. Keep your notebook nearby so you can capture the phrases, and make sure you note where they came from.
Sometimes the phrase can jog another memory or thought from the same publication, so it’s good to know the source.
I mention “dialogue” which can be conversations you have or dialogue in movies.
I’m not a huge movie watcher, and to be honest, you’re more likely to find cliches there than fresh phrases!
If so – go back to the top of this post!