Hook (Blues Traveler song)

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This article is about the Blues Traveler song. For musical "hooks" in general, see Hook (music).
"Hook"
Single by Blues Traveler
from the album Four
Released 1995
Format CD
Recorded Summer 1994
Genre Rock
Length 4:49
Label A&M
Writer(s) John Popper
Blues Traveler singles chronology
"Run-Around"
(1995)
"Hook"
(1995)
"The Mountains Win Again"
(1995)

"Hook" is a song by the jam band Blues Traveler, from their 1994 album Four. The song peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The title of the song is a reference to the term hook; "A hook is a musical idea, often a short riff, passage, or phrase, that is used in popular music to make a song appealing and to "catch the ear of the listener".[1] The term generally applies to popular music, especially rock music, R&B, hip hop, dance music, and pop."

The music video[2] for the song featured Paul Shaffer on keyboard.

Structure[edit]

The chord progression of Hook is very similar to the basic structure of Pachelbel's Canon in D,[3][4] (D-A-Bm-F#m-G-D-G-A, or I-V-vi-iii-IV-I-IV-V).[5] This chord progression is very widely used in popular music, often as the hook, leading to other satirical takes on the use of this chord structure.[6]

There are a few references in the song, one to another song that infamously uses the same chord structure, 99 red balloons "I wanna bust all your balloons" and also to the story of Peter Pan and his nemesis Captain Hook "no matter how much Peter loved her, what made the Pan refuse to grow, was that the Hook brings you back".

Satire[edit]

The song's lyrics, aimed directly at the listener, assert that the lyrical content of any song is effectively meaningless, as the song's musical hook will keep listeners coming back, even if they are unaware of the reason. In the introduction, John Popper sings, "It doesn't matter what I say / So long as I sing with inflection / That makes you feel that I'll convey / Some inner truth of vast reflection." This is followed by more lyrics about how he has nothing to say. These lyrics are a satirical take on the formulaic way popular music is generated. Further on in the song however, the lyrics become even more blatant, claiming that formulaic music is an easy way to make money "When I’m feeling stuck and need a buck/ I don’t rely on luck, because/ the hook brings you back...”

When the musically "lazy" chord structure is viewed in combination with the meta lyrics they show the true extent of the song's "genius": "the commentary is a big joke about how listeners will like just about anything laid on top of the chords of the infinitely clichéd Pachelbel canon, even lyrics that openly mock them for liking it." [7][8]

Billboard Music Charts (North America)[edit]

Peak positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1996 Top 40 Mainstream 8
1995 Modern Rock Tracks 13
1995 Mainstream Rock Tracks 15
1996 Adult Top 40 22
1996 The Billboard Hot 100 23
1996 Adult Contemporary 28

End of year charts[edit]

  • U.S. Billboard Hot 100 #23 [9]

References[edit]

External links[edit]