Heap o' Hook Tue Mar 16, 2021

An in-depth look at how the sausage is made

On an Ace of Spades ♠ post about the Emmies, this comment in passing:

Blues Travelers made a hit out of just that sort of MTV exploitation where the music is secondary to the distractions.

And linked to the video below. It so happens I had never seen the video. Thought it was pretty good.

Blues Traveler - Hook (Official Video)
Blues Traveler, YouTube, Oct 8, 2009 (4:25)

© 1994 A&M Records

Personally, I had a real love-hate relation to the song when it was popular. Love because it is a really well-done song with, yes, a great hook; hate because it was so egregiously facile: "The Hook brings you back." I found I was not the only one thus affected (see quotes below).

As with many songs, I never stopped to make out all the lyrics, so after watching the video, I looked them up.

There is something amiss
I am being insincere
In fact I don't mean any of this
Still my confession draws you near

Such a great voice, wild harmonica, in the service of throw-away silly lyrics:

Suck it in suck it in suck it in
If you're Rin Tin Tin or Anne Boleyn
Make a desperate move or else you'll win

From Rob Paravonian at Genius.com:

A single that first appeared on Blues Traveler’s fourth album, appropriately titled “Four.”

The song follows the same chord progression as Pachelbel’s notorious “Canon In D…”

However, when paired with the lyrics, this song turns out to be a cleverly-constructed criticism of formulaic pop songs. Ironically, “Hook” became Blues Traveler’s biggest-selling single.…

From Emily Guendelsberger, music.avclub.com, Aug 7, 2012:

“Hook” is a really clever example of a meta-song… a direct, arch commentary on itself. And, in this case, 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.

Popper’s lyrics in “Hook” express frustration with the constraints of writing the “catchy little tunes” and “hip three-minute ditties” that catch the ear and sell records.…

Smart musicians out to make a living (like Popper, who mentions money more than a couple times in “Hook”) figure out how those blocks fit together pretty quickly, and while it’s kind of fascinating, it’s also kind of depressing. As Popper sings at the end of the song’s tongue-twister bridge, “When I’m feeling stuck and need a buck, I don’t rely on luck, because…” well, you know.…

“Hook” was one of the biggest radio hits on an album that went platinum six times. He wasn’t telling listeners no lie, but he might have been a little sad to find out exactly how right he was.

And when I'm feeling stuck and need a buck
I don't rely on luck because
The Hook brings you back