The other night one of my friends was playing a record by a band called The
Beatles (I can't remember which lP it was) and was telling me about 'the
hooks' in the songs.
Now, I got the idea that 'a hook' is something that makes a song catchy,
and my friend, when pushed, proffered the suggestion that what made a
'hook' 'hooky' was that it was something new that made the listener 'sit
up' and pay attention.
I wasn't quite convinced, it seemed to me that 'hooks' had be somewhat more
complex; that a hook had to be at once 'new' and 'old'.
'New', in the sense that it has to draw attention to the song, and because
we humans become rapidly habituated, some novelty is required to make our
little brains switch on...
'Old', in the sense that when we immediately like something, it is
generally because we have encountered it before... even though we may not
recognise that fact...
If this is right, then in a sense this is the trick that 'pop music' plays
on us. Could it be that the apparent 'difficulty' of much of the music
written about in the Wire is due to it's insistence to be taken on its own