Category Archives: Rock

Chops (Piano Edition): Billy Joel, “Prelude” (1976)

By Jonathan Bellman Particularly for those of us who play instruments, one hook before which we are powerless is The Hook On Our Own Instrument That Must Be Figured Out.  Until it is owned, it will bewitch us, and (in … Continue reading

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Greatest Dylan Hooks

What a great day, in a categorically confusing way: a popular songwriter has won the Nobel Prize for literature! We must pay our respects! What for you is the greatest hook in Dylan’s lyrics, and why do you pick it? … Continue reading

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Outro #4: On Paying Tribute

What good does it do to pay tribute? What does it accomplish to declare to the world that you see the worth of something, that you thrill to it? The question seems pressing to me after my last post, which … Continue reading

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Fluency: Robben Ford, “Talk To Your Daughter” (1988)

I’m breaking a cardinal rule for Hooks posts and writing one without any analytical idea about the track that calls forth my tribute. That’s the thing: that Robben Ford’s lead guitar licks in “Talk To My Daughter” are so deeply … Continue reading

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Great Love, “My man”: Laura Nyro, “Tom Cat Goodby” (1969)

What would it be like to hear real love in music? What would declare it adequately? Would there be a sound of ecstatic transport–soaring high notes, a fluttering up and down scales, Melisma City? Or would there be a sound … Continue reading

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Creepy Love #2, “So fine”: Jefferson Airplane, “Watch Her Ride” (1967)

I knew with my last post I’d taken at least one too many swipes at love in song, and it was past time to go positive on this topic. But getting there isn’t easy: the next great trope I think … Continue reading

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The Creepiest Love Trope: The Philosopher Kings, “All To Myself” (1994)

This is not exactly a neglected topic, but you know how it is: you hear a song you really like and it starts you thinking again. Concerning the nature of creepiness in love, for my opening move I’ll suggest that … Continue reading

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