Album: Four (1994)
Charted: 23


  • Put simply, the song is a sort of satire. A hook is the part of the song that people like; the part that makes you remember the song. Normally it's the chorus, but not always. Lead singer John Popper, who wrote this song, is saying that no matter what you put in a song, if it has a hook people like, you can say whatever you want and people will like the song and buy into it - "It doesn't matter what I say as long as I sing with in-FLEC-tion." He knows that a hit song needs to have a catchy hook, whether or not it takes any talent or emotion. "The hook brings you back" is the hook of the song, so he can say whatever he wants in this part and get away with it.

    The message is that you don't need deep, meaningful lyrics to make people like your music. You need a good hook, and it helps to be charismatic. On a deeper level, this can relate to superficial society in general, which is demonstrated in the video which shows beauty pageant contestants and a politician singing the song - they're all show and no substance, but most people don't notice or care.
  • This song's entire melodic line is directly based on a piece of classical music: Pachelbel's "Canon in D." The well-recognized melody can also be considered an aural "hook," giving the title another amusing twist. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ianna - Richmond, VA
  • This was the follow up to Blues Traveler's first hit, "Run-Around." The band formed in high school in 1986 and released their first album 1990. Four was their fourth album, released in September 1994. By the time "Hook" hit the charts, the album had been out for about a year.
  • The second verse contains an interesting bit of wordplay, with Popper singing, "To confuse the issue I refer to familiar heroes from long ago," before getting into the Peter Pan story, as he sings about Captain Hook trying to bring Peter Pan back to Neverland - another way the "Hook" brings you back. Popper puts a lot of literary references in his songs, also mentioning Rin Tin Tin and Anne Boleyn in this one. When Songfacts spoke with Blues Traveler guitarist Chan Kinchla, he told us the Peter Pan story was a favorite of the band. "I think all musicians in rock bands have kind of a Peter Pan complex," he said. "We always loved that innocent wonder and that vibe."

Comments: 8

  • Jake The Baptist from NcI used to think it was about always getting back with an ex, "The Hole Brings you Back." I mean, it kinda works, right?
  • Karen from AustraliaI put it about fighting the "hook" addiction.
  • Paul from Miami Beach, FlSeagull and Zac together really gave me what I was looking to confirm. Perfect words gentlemen... nicely said and thank you both.
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InI immediately got Popper's little joke.
    It really is a cool song, and the humor makes me enjoy it all the more.
    As usual, Popper just blazes away with his harp, too.
  • Corey from Boston, MaI love how clever this song is. It kind of reminds me of 'De Doo Doo Doo De Da Da Da' by the Police because it sounds like just another pop song, but the lyrics are much deeper than they first appear.
  • Meagan from Baton Rouge, Lathe hook is an awsome song and i agree with seagull and zac that they are very talented and creative and of course nothing of blues traveler is nonsense. and i think it sucks that they didnt get a hit till the fourth album and i think the ones before were also great and 1990 was a good year of course because i was born and i guess im just good luck. :)
  • Zac from Harrisonburg, VaThe third verse is not nonsense. John is saying that in the Peter Pan story, Peter chooses not to grow up in order to keep fighting Hook. The Hook brings you back. Nothing by Blues Traveler is nonsense.
  • Seagull from Athens, OhI agree with most of what Chris wrote though I disagree with his or her take on the third verse. It's sung so fast that it's hard to make out at times but I think it's an important, albeit abstract, verse nonetheless. I think Popper is trying to express a distaste for the use of hooks and tell us all that we are paying a price for accepting these shallow sounds. ("This MTV is not for free" & "It's so PC it's killing me")
    He also expresses the struggle as a song writer not to cave into the pressure of writing a hook into a song. ("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")
    The verse ends with him writing about how all the above goes out the window though when it's time for a hit. ("And when I'm feeling stuck and need a buck / I don't rely on luck because...")
    Intelligent song with an excellent rhyme scheme in the third verse. I wish more musical acts that take up space felt this way.
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