Wednesday, December 30, 2009

White Rabbits, & cetera

Somewhere out there is there a satisfactory definition of the Pop Hook? I don’t actually have one yet, but my working version goes something like this: a Hook is where the song sets up a formal expectation, & then immediately resolves it, sometimes in a surprising way. It’s often an aspect of the melody, but a Hook can entail any facet of the song, from snare-fill to chord-change to piano riff to lyric, wherev. Actually, not knowing where the Hook is coming from next is often key to its success. Hooks can get hackneyed, & if you see them coming they’ll just fall flat. So, surprise, immediacy. These are important elements.

Oh, & perfection: that’s the thing about the Hook: it just satisfies. It feels perfect.

& then it keeps walking right on by. Because also key to the successful Hook is that, in the time it takes you to notice & appreciate its clever brilliance, the song has already moved on. Hooks by definition do not stand around waiting for applause. The Hook’s abject nonchalance is its sole irreducible ingredient: the Hook is brilliant & perfect without ever breaking a sweat.

Speaking of which, the new album from Spoon comes out in just a couple of weeks, & so I’m sure we’re all very excited about that.

In the meantime, it’s the end of the year & I’m lurking my way through the sundry “best of” lists of bloggers far more au courant than myself, & I’m seeing everywhere this band called White Rabbits. Which, when I check them out they turn out to be awfully hard to put back down. Is it just me, or does this just immediately
make you want to hear some more?

It does not come as a complete surprise that It’s Frightening was produced by Britt Daniel of, yes, Spoon. There’s a certain sort of crisp efficiency to the sound of this album that’s very Spoon-like. There’s no grime there’s no mud. &, as much as I have waxed enthusiastic elsewhere about grit & dirt & noise, the squeaky-clean sound here is the right choice. Because there’s just no room for clutter inside of these songs. Which are laden, laden with hooks. Much like Spoon, White Rabbits are all about the Hook.

Incidentally, the drumming in “Percussion Gun” sounds to me just like a Burundi rhythm. Bow Wow Wow used it extensively, a very long time ago, but it’s actually a traditional motif from Central Africa. Hear:

No comments:

Post a Comment