The Hook

So this friend of mine got me a contract of a song for this big guy in Mumbai, supposedly for the next movie by ‘VB films’. It wasn’t exactly a contract, just a verbal agreement. Before proceeding let me throw some light on how the song contract traveled to me through an infinite number of middlemen. Whenever a big Music director is about to start a project, especially in Bollywood, the theme for the songs are communicated to a lot of aspiring and struggling musicians all over India through many agents and other middlemen, who send their song samples, mostly a minute long. Some of the many song samples are approved by the big guy for the project, including his own compositions if any. And if any of the approved songs do well in the market, the music director gets the royalty, and the actual composer gets his share of money, and a kick-start to his career. He might end up becoming an assistant to the same director, or might just keep looking for other opportunities with much more ease.

Unbelievably, though, my sample got rejected by the first middle-man – my friend. He said that the “hook” of my song was not strong enough. I’d heard this term for the first time (in terms of music). According to him – “Hook is the particular part of the song that catches the tongue of the people. A repeating verse, or an instrumental riff, may be!” I was working on accepting the fact that a good song got rejected just because of a weak hook. But he explained, “That’s how the industry works buddy! Ninety-five percent of the songs in Bollywood get approved only on the basis of their ‘hook’. Consider ‘Galiyaan…’! When you hear the song, you keep humming the chorus over and over again. That’s called a hook – catchy and peppy.” He was right. The song does have a catchy chorus. But if you think about it, you don’t really remember anything except the hook. If I still try to recall song, all I can gather in my head is ‘Teri Galiyaan’ and nothing else.

This is because common people today are so busy in themselves that they don’t have a little patience to actually listen to a song. They need the ‘hook’. I know many songs that don’t have a strong hook, but if you listen to them twice or thrice, you’ll love them. I’ve actually tried this. Since I follow very few Bollywood music directors, I chose A R Rahman’s latest movie Lekar Hum Deewana Dil, the reviews for which weren’t that good. There was this track – Khalifa (the best one in the reviews) that I fell in love with at first time, and there was this track – Beqasoor dil that I liked the least at first time. I heard all the songs more than five times, for two days. In the end I realized that Khalifa was the track that I now liked the least because the hook wasn’t effective anymore. And beqasoor dil in fact turned out the track that I was still humming – not any particular line, but the song overall.

You just need to give some time and patience to creativity, to new ideas. And your patience may just end up giving you some finest or freshest tunes to hum for months. Catchiest tunes often go off your mind very easily. Do not go with the market. Make your own opinion. Your choice of music, up to a great extent, affects the life of all musicians. Try doing the same experiment that I did with any particular movie album and realize yourself. I am sharing the track Beqasoor dil. If you could try listening to it few times, I can assure that you’ll get a fresh and good tune to hum for a long time.

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