"Hook" as written by and John C. Popper....
It doesn't matter what I say
So long as I sing with inflection
That makes you feel I'll convey
Some inner truth or vast reflection
But I've said nothing so far
And I can keep it up for as long as it takes
And it don't matter who you are
If I'm doing my job then 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 tellin' 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 feeling on the shelf
I've 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 till until I've died
And only then shall I abide by this tide
Of catchy little tunes
Of hip three minute diddies
I wanna bust all your balloons

I wanna burn of all your cities to the ground
But 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


Lyrics submitted by bonj

"Hook" as written by John C. Popper

Lyrics © WORDS & MUSIC A DIV OF BIG DEAL MUSIC LLC

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Hook song meanings
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52 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentHe's singing about the BS and manufactured music that seems to get so popular.

    >>What you're doing to me this MTV is not for free
    It's so PC it's killing me <<

    MTV is representative of the state of modern music...


    >>I've tried well no in fact I lied
    Could be financial suicide but I've got too much pride inside
    To hide or slide <<

    He's going to sing about what's on his mind, regardless of whether or not it's popular or if it makes money.

    >>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<<

    That's talking about the BS pop music... the catchy little tunes... garbage like NSync and Brittney (for modern examples).

    The hook... the establishment... the record companies, etc have you addicted, hooked, and just reel you in... you'll buy whatever crap they feed you, whether or not it's any good.

    The song is pretty much all about alternative music.

    Anicid pretty much had it.
    rhinkon April 14, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentTo me this songs has two purposes. one that in music lyrics arent necesarilly essential if you are a good musican. The point of the song is that it doesnt matter what this song is about or any song is about as long as it has a good hook. if the song sounded bad and had great lyrics it would never be as popular. second it has criticism of pop music today and MTV's part in the cheapening of art. The most interesting part of the song is the allusion to peter pan. It shows how the hook of a song brings you back just like Captain hook brought peter back to never never land. The structure of the song is important to notice becasue right after he makes the peter pan reference (the first meaningful lyric in the song) the band bursts into the solo and then the final verse which says all he really wants to say. It's interesting that he speaks this part rather quickly as if to assume that it doesnt matter how important his words are the audience just wnats to get to the hook. A rather obscure song that i remember from a kid that i listen to now and realize how right popper really is that lyrics arent as important as the sound... mentioning that he played with phish a band with little emphasis on the lyrics makes me look at the song as being less critical of the pop industry.
    Fairweatheron September 13, 2002   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI feel this song has two layers of meaning.

    Layer one speaks of the corruption of the music industry and how he and his fans are sellouts who give in to dumbed-down, manufactured music as long as it's catchy rather than listening to ballads with true meaning and substance.

    Layer two I feel is the more interesting of the two. It uses layer one's particular example of corruption to refer to selling out ones ideals and values in general, using the music industry only as an example.

    "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 for as long as it takes
    And it don't matter who you are
    If I'm doing my job then it's your resolve that breaks"

    This is pretty strait forward. Note the description of this formulated music could almost be applied to propaganda. It leaves the listener with a dirty feeling (if he actually listens to the lyrics carefully) because it almost sounds like the words a propaganda peddler. Also, note the melody. The singer perfectly points out how much the listeners are attracted to the pretty sounds even though what he's saying is pretty awful--that everyone sells out in the end.

    *chorus*

    "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"

    *chorus*

    I think it's interesting that the singer states that the song itself is empty. He's almost making fun of the listeners here. The false confession draws the audience near. Now, to confuse the listeners and steer away from the real issues that are implied by the context, he will now refer to familiar heroes from long ago. Then he arbitrarily sings some catchy nonsense about Peter Pan (the familiar hero from long ago he JUST talked about) and refers to Captain "HOOK." (Because it's catchy!)

    On layer one, this is just nonsense being sold to the listener, perhaps for money or fame.

    On layer two, this is very cleverly shows to anyone paying attention, that nonsense sells, and most people don't really pay attention.

    It AMAZES me how many people don't get this even though he clearly states what he's doing as he does it! I see people talk about the "deep" meaning of the Peter Pan reference... Ha ha ha... There is no deep meaning to the Peter Pan reference. That's the point. Even though the singer just told the listener there is no meaning, the singer knows no one really listens. Joke's on you.

    Suck it in, suck it in, suck it in
    If you're Rin Tin Tin or Anne Boleyn
    [Suck it in Heroic Figures who stood for something]

    Make a desperate move or else you'll win
    [Hurry up and sell out!]

    And then begin to see
    What you're doing to me
    [You sellouts are hurting me]

    This MTV is not for free
    It's so PC it's killing me
    [MTV is costing me my true values]
    [It's so formulated and manufactured it's killing me!]

    So desperately I sing to thee of love
    Sure but also rage and hate and pain and fear of self
    [So I sing to you about real issues I feel that matter]

    And I can't keep these feelings on the shelf
    [I'll sing about these deep emotions. I can't stop myself]

    I've tried, well, no, in fact I lied
    [Wait... Yes I can...]

    Could be financial suicide
    But I've got too much pride inside
    To hide or slide
    [But I won't!]

    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'll DIE before before I sell out and betray my values!]

    I want to bust all your balloons
    I want to burn all of your cities
    [I'll start a revolution!!!]

    To the ground, I've found
    I will not mess around
    [I'm not kidding!]

    Unless I play then hey
    [Oh... Yes I am... It's time to play]

    I will go on all day, hear what I say
    [I'd better play something catchy everyone wants to hear. But listen...]

    I have a prayer to pray
    That's really all this was
    [I'll just make a wish and say a little prayer]
    [This isn't a revolution. I won't really take a stand]

    And when I'm feeling stuck and need a buck
    I don't rely on luck because
    [If I'm desperate and need money]
    [I'll just sell my values. I'll sellout.]

    *chorus*
    [Everybody sells their values in the end]
    [The hook brings u back. You won't escape.]
    dirtyd12on May 17, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is great... it's about how he doesn't really need to say anything in a song, cause as long as it's catchy, "the hook brings you back", thus all the lines that say stuff like "but I've said nothing so far" and "To confuse the issue I refer..." You gotta love it :)
    anicidon February 01, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"one that in music lyrics arent necesarilly essential if you are a good musican."

    wrong, wrong, wrong, listen to blues traveler, their lyrics are VERY meaningful....this song inparticular is completely cynical of the music scene today

    I'd like to add depth to the Peter Pan metaphor

    "what made the pan refuse to grow"

    with our shallow lyrics and hooky melodies we don't grow up, we stay in these little perfect bubbles and don't grow at all as people

    "It's interesting that he speaks this part rather quickly as if to assume that it doesnt matter how important his words are the audience just wnats to get to the hook."

    it's because he's showing them you don't need a hook to make a good solid song. you can still get your point across. he sings it fast because it is to a very "rappy" beat.
    Jayemelon September 13, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPopper's genius shines through in this song. It is a satire of the music industry and the pointless cookie-cutter songs they produce every year. It is also a commentary on the lemmings that purchase such drivel. My favorite line is "Could be financial suicide, but I've got too much pride inside to hide, or slide. I'll do as I decide and let it ride until I've died and ONLY THEN shall I abide this tide of catchy little tunes and hip three minute ditties." That is priceless.
    Samoanon March 03, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this song represents a temporary confession by John Popper. For just a moment, I believe he felt resentful to his fans. He felt that they didn't get him and didn't actually listen to or feel the songs, but that they just thought they were catchy or had a good beat. But then I think he realized that he loves what he does and he wouldn't be who he is without his fans. I love Blues Traveler and this is the best song they have ever done.
    KilledKennyon January 31, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is almost too full of meaning to relate all of it. First, Popper is an absolute genius. It is impossible to load up a song with so much and have it be accidental.

    As stated earlier, "the hook" is a music industry term meaning a special something that a song has to make it "stick" with someone.

    Popper is toying with his audience. Making fun of the MTV crowd who just likes a song because it's catchy and at the same time delivering a sly message to the fans who "get it".

    He tells us what his plans are from the beginning and dares anyone to not be hooked by the song. He knows that many of the people talking about his music never "listened" to the words, only "heard" them. As a songsmith and singer/performer, as long as he practices his craft, many will fall under the song's spell even if it is saying nothing (even if he tells us it will say nothing).
    By making the hook of the song the part about the hook, he has unloaded both barrels (songcraft and performance, what he says and how he says it is perfectly joined) and hit a bullseye. Indeed, our resolve does break and even if you didn't know the rest of the words, you were ready to sing along with the hook the first time you heard the song.
    He mentions Peter Pan because in the previous line he told us "to confuse the issue" he would "refer to familiar heroes from long ago", and because Peter Pan fits nicely with the entire hook analogy. The way he incorporates this element is why I say genius when I refer to him.
    The last part of the song, I really feel is "rapped" quickly not because it fits the change in music (let's face it, this song is lyrics, the music is matching what he wants to say), but because he wanted to "sneak" it through (like the fast talk in a car commercial). You have to want to listen to his words in this part (again, this is no accident).
    This last part of the song is the true commentary on the music business.
    His advice to "suck it in" if your Rin Tin Tin or Anne Boleyn is priceless. Rin Tin Tin lost his balls so he could perform when ordered to. Anne Boleyn lost her head when the next great thing came along. He has no illusions that the music industry will do both to anyone who has no substance to their work.
    His contempt for MTV is obvious and well-placed, the line about making a desperate move "or else you'll win" is wonderful. How bad must his views of cookie-cutter pop be to tell us getting to the top is not a good thing?
    We can only wonder, "How desperate of a move? Maybe write a song about all of this and tell us what your doing, then still pull it off?"
    He uses deserate(ly) twice in the space of a few lines. He really hopes someone gets his message so he knows his work is more than TRL and "fans" who barely know the words and have no clue of their meaning.
    It is an amazing song and an amazing feat to create something like this.

    ~M
    MozfanMS2on August 25, 2005   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI'm pretty sure the meaning to this song is open to interpretation. To me it's about the music industry (hense the term 'hook' being the part of a song that is catchy and attracts attention to itself) and how easy it is to get someone to like a pop song even if it has no meaning and is just another one of the 'hip three-minute ditties' that are played on the radio, which is sort of ironic since the song itself became Blues Traveler's biggest hit. Some lyrics in the song also point at politicians and how they lie to us and break their promises, yet get away with it. There are probably other interpretations as well. :)
    porcelain_petalson January 06, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me this song represents what we all look for in a song. In every song there's that catchy line or tune that we all remember for a long time. It's the hook in the song.
    Outsideron December 02, 2001   Link

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