The hook

I’ve never been a big Blues Traveler fan, especially after the song Run Around. I used to run from the room every time that song would play. I don’t know what it was about it, but it just grated on my nerves.

Their song Hook was all right though. When I heard it recently, I realized I had no idea what it was about. I gained a whole new respect for the band after reading these clever lyrics.

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
But I've said nothing so far
And I can keep it up as long as it takes
And it don't matter who you are
If I'm doing my job, it's your resolve that breaks
Because the hook brings you back
I ain't tellin' you no lie
The hook brings you back
On that you can rely
There is something amiss
I am being insincere
In fact I don't mean any of this
Still my confession draws you near
To confuse the issue I refer
To familiar heroes from long ago
No matter how much Peter loved her
What made the Pan refuse to grow?
Was that the hook brings you back
I ain't telling you no lie
The hook brings you back
On that you can rely
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
And then begin to see
What you're doing to me this MTV is not for free
It's so PC it's killing me
So desperately I sing to thee of love
Sure but also rage and hate and pain and fear of self
And I can't keep these feelings on the shelf
I tried, well no in fact I lied
Could be financial suicide but I've got too much pride inside
To hide or slide
I'll do as I'll decide and let it ride until I've died
And only then shall I abide this tide
Of catchy little tunes
Of hip three minute ditties
I wanna bust all your balloons
I wanna burn all of your cities to the ground
I've found I will not mess around
Unless I play then hey
I will go on all day hear what I say
I have a prayer to pray
That's really all this was
And when I'm feeling stuck and need a buck
I don't rely on luck because
The hook brings you back
I ain't tellin' you no lie
The hook...
On that you can rely

The song is all about their frustration at having to write catchy songs. They weren’t able to write songs that really meant something, because all people care about is the hook; that catchy part of the song that gets stuck in your head.

How often are worship songs judged by how catchy they are or how good a hook they have? It doesn’t matter if they’re biblically sound or even that deep, as long as it’s catchy.

Songs that can be easily sung are important. The congregation needs easy to grasp melodies. I get that. But when that’s all worship songs are, I think we’re missing something.

Question: Do you ever get frustrated by the hook in worship songs?


10 Replies to “The hook”

  1. I guess I don’t mind the hook as much as getting involved in singing something upon closer inspection is not correct biblicaliy. Then I am pissed.

  2. I struggle with this more as a writer than as a worshiper. It would be so much easier to just write the kind of drivel I hear on Sunday mornings than to write to write something profound and beautiful and true.

  3. Wow- yes to the part about “it doesn’t matter if they’re biblically sound”- for example, sometimes songs say things like “if you were the only person, Jesus still would have died for you”- where does that come from? (Also, you’re NOT the only person, so this would never actually be relevant…)

    Also, as far as things that get left out of songs- one characteristic of God that’s really important to me is that he’s jealous/possessive- I belong to him, and it MATTERS to him whether I follow him or not. This one doesn’t get talked about much in Christian culture, so I often wonder if it’s actually not true, but I do have the bible verses to back it up. (Isaiah 42:8 “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.” Also, God kept sending prophets to tell the people to repent, and he’s really really angry about it- he wouldn’t be so angry if it didn’t really matter to him.)

    And that’s why I really like the song “You won’t relent.”

    1. That’s a really good point. He is jealous for us, but jealous is a pretty ugly emotion, so who wants to talk about that? It’s a shame these characteristics get left out of songs.

      1. Yeah and the jealousy thing is really important to me because sometimes temptation is saying “if you do the right thing, no one will even notice- God’s not gonna notice, so why not just fool around [aka sin]?”

  4. Jamie, this is what has bothered me about Christian music as a whole for the past 25 uears. It doesn’t matter how sappy or pitiful it is, if they throw Jesus’ name in there, I’m supposed to like it. But it’s the same with books or whatever. Stamping the Christian label on it is supposed to make me feel good. How did the gatekeepers ever allow Blue Like Jazz into mu hands? Not that I agree with Don Miller on everything, but at least it was honest.

    1. I totally agree. I have a real problem with this in Christian culture.
      And Blue Like Jazz was refreshingly honest. “How did the gatekeepers allow Blue like Jazz into my hands?” I love that.

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