Are you lacking hooks?
Hooks are weird animals. If you have to work hard on them, they run away from you. The easier they come out, the better it is. Why? Because spontaneity is a key element when it comes to art. But even if you struggle with planting those hooks every now and then, you’re still in a better situation than many others. There are lots of people out there who don’t know shit about hooks, or simply don’t care about them. Certain genres kind of frown upon hooks, while others are so “elevated” that the thought of using any kind of repetition never crosses their minds. Yeah, man.
If your music has the kind of simple strummed chords going on that most people are used to at campfires, you’re definitely missing out on hooks. Work out melodic riffs, double stops, anything that’s got melodic movement. The keywords are: melodic, movement. There’s a special case when simple chording can actually work as a hook. It’s when your time is so tight and machine like that it grabs the listener. A slight amount of rushing pushes it even further.
Straight eight notes bassline
You all know this kind of shit. Just playing it safe and get through the song playing the root notes of the chords. You could figure out all kinds of beautiful melodic bass lines instead, even if you keep the 8th notes (or whatever you started with). You get bonus points for creating an interesting rhythm in the bass. 10 bonus points are worth a free card. Collect 3 free cards and bam, you won an elephant cock bone bridge pin. But similarly to the above case with the chords, if you can groove like a machine that thinks there’s no tomorrow, you can do the straight notes stuff and it’ll work as a hook. Kind of.
Don’t forget to leave enough space
Once you get into the hook planting mood, it’s easy to go overboard and fill every damn spot with tiny little bits of melodies and rhythmic shit. The truth is, if the end result is an overly dense mess with no dynamics whatsoever, you have flushed your precious hooks down the toilet. One of the biggest hook is to let the ones you did use breathe. The reaction and recovery time of the brain is limited, so unless you’re working for ADHD ridden kids, you better use your hooks judiciously. As long as the piece makes sense as a whole and not just the sum of several isolated musical ideas, you’re golden.