Wordless Hooks

 Posted by at 11:11 pm  No Responses »
Oct 162008

Words are overrated. From Little Richard to Rihanna, sometimes a song can say more with random sounds than any coherent content. So to celebrate the inanity of catchy hooks that don’t mean a thing

Queen – Tutti Frutti (Little Richard)
Rocking out one of the most famous phrases in rock and roll, Freddie Mercury “wop bop a lu bop, a wop bam boom”s his ass off with some crowd participation. And – big shock – Brian May is very good at guitar. [Buy]

Phish – Mmmbop (Hanson)
It says Hanson above, but Phish makes it clear that this is actually a James Brown cover. Listen up and hear what I mean. [Buy]

Los Chicros – Changes (David Bowie)
Much like “My Generation,” “Changes” wouldn’t be half as good without the “ch-ch-ch” stutter. [Buy]

The Vox Collective – Disturbia (Rihanna)
A modern classic for sure, and a song made for down-tempo acoustic covers (I already have three). Bum bum be dum… [Buy]

Chris Dunnett – Blue (Da Ba Dee Da Ba Di) (Eiffel 65)
Euro-dance music on flamenco guitar…now why didn’t I think of that? [Buy]

Elliott Smith – Jealous Guy (John Lennon)
Someone find me a song with a better whistling part. Come on, I dare you. The best part about this is how the Cambridge audience whistles along. [Buy]

Marmalade – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles)
In 1969 this song was the first by a Scottish band to top the UK charts. Such a big hit, so quickly forgotten. [Buy]

Matt Weddle – Hey Ya (Outkast)
Yeah, I guess “hey” is technically a word, but what the hell does “hey ya” mean? A lot, apparently, in Weddle’s beautifully fragile acoustic take. [Buy]

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – Trampled Rose (Tom Waits)
Tom had a nice low moan on the original, but Krauss brings a whole new eeriness to the tune by jumping like eight octaves without breaking a sweat. [Buy]

The Big Wu – Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon)
A perfect lead-in to my inevitable Halloween post here. This Minnesota jam band rocks Zevon’s biggest hit for seven minutes, with plenty of “ah-oooooo” excitement. [Buy]