Hi, I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com.
Do you want to learn English with songs?
Let's talk about 11 songs that are awesome for learning about English.
For me, when I listen to songs, I feel energized, and excited, I feel optimistic about life,
and I hope that this is the same for you, especially when you listen to music in English,
because there's times in your English journey when you feel down, you feel like you're not
going anywhere, you're not improving, and I hope that music, especially the songs that
I'm going to share with you today will help to boost your spirits, and also help you to
get comfortable speaking and using English.
Why are songs good for learning English?
A lot of songs use multiple verb tenses, expressions, phrasal verbs, idioms, a lot of useful daily
language, and they help you to speak if you're willing to sing, so if you are willing to
sing along with the chorus, sing along with the singer, you're going to be able to use
You didn't need to make the sentences yourself, so you're just able to speak and imitate,
and hopefully have this positive, optimistic attitude.
Before I share these 11 songs with you, I want to address a question that I'm sure a
lot of you are thinking, "Vanessa, English songs are so fast.
How in the world can I understand each of the words?"
I have a couple suggestions.
First of all, you can look up the lyrics.
Lyrics are the words of the song.
Look up the lyrics on Google, even print them out if you want, listen to them, read them,
try to follow along as the singer is singing, or on YouTube, there are a lot of versions
of the songs that include lyrics, so the lyrics will follow as you're watching the video,
and that's really helpful, even if you just memorize the chorus.
The chorus is the part that repeats a lot again and again.
If you just memorize the chorus, you're already using English.
You're using those muscles, and that's so valuable.
The first four songs that I'm going to share with you are older songs.
That doesn't mean that if you grew up with these songs, you are old.
It just means that they're not from the past 10 years.
They're older than 10 years.
Then, the next four songs are more poppy, more current songs that came out in the last
Then, the final three songs are just some miscellaneous songs that I thought would be
useful to include.
You can find the links to all of these.
They're YouTube videos.
My preferred YouTube video, you can find them in the comments so that you can watch every
single one of these songs, and that's my challenge for you, to choose one or all of these, spend
some time feeling happy, and using English.
My first recommendation is Billy Joel's song, 'Uptown Girl'.
In this song, you're going to learn some great expressions like, "Get a choice", "Get tired
of", "Fall in love with someone".
These are just daily life expressions, but this music is kind of like 1950's style, but
it was made in the 1980's, so it has some really great, catchy tunes, catchy chorus,
and I hope that it will help you with your English.
The second song that I recommend is from a band that is considered the most important
for helping English learners learn English.
Can you guess what band that is?
It's The Beatles.
I could have a full video giving you recommendations for Beatles songs, but I realized that a lot
of people already know the Beatles, so I chose one that I think is really important, and
that is 'We Can Work It Out'.
It's short, fun, it includes a great phrasal verb, "We can work it out", and you're going
to feel like you can repeat these songs again and again because it's going to repeat some
of the same words.
You're going to learn expressions like, "Time can tell".
I hope that this will help you to add to your vocabulary.
My third recommendation is Leonard Cohen's song, 'Hallelujah'.
In the description of this video, I actually didn't include his version.
I included a Pentatonix version because I feel like this is maybe a little more modern
sounding that's full of energy.
It's your choice which one you think is better, but I wanted to include this song because
there are a lot of great verbs, and also, the style of speaking is slow, but it's still
filled with energy, so you're going to want a lot of great verbs, and also, you're going
to hear the present perfect a lot, "I've walked", "I've seen", "I've gone".
You're going to hear that, and I hope that all of these songs really will include verb
tenses that are going to feel more comfortable to you after you listen to the songs.
My fourth and final recommendation for somewhat older songs is from Queen, 'Somebody To Love'.
Every time that I listen to Queen, I get so much energy, and I always think, "Why don't
I listen to Queen more often?"
For some reason, this is the perfect style of music for me, so I tried to choose a song
that wasn't too challenging, but it also had some great things that you can use for learning
In this song, they repeat the question again and again, "Can anybody find me somebody to
Here, you're going to practice question sentence structure, and even though the words are a
little tough, I recommend checking out the lyrics and trying to follow along, even if
you just sing the chorus.
This is going to give you a lot of energy, and I hope positive feelings about English.
My fifth recommendation comes from my pop song recommendations that are a little more
This one is Jason Mraz's song, 'I'm Yours'.
Unfortunately, Dan does not like this song, my husband, so he didn't want me to include
it in this list, but I feel like he speaks so clearly that it's great for pronunciation.
If you can repeat the chorus, it's going to help your speaking muscles, so even though
some people don't like this song, I hope that you'll enjoy it, and I hope that you'll be
able to repeat these words as well.
I do want to let you know that he includes a grammar mistake in the chorus, and this
is pretty typical, and I want to try to explain why maybe he chose to use a mistake.
In English, it's not a good idea to use a double negative.
That means two negative words in the same sentence.
He says, "I won't hesitate no more", and here, he's using the word 'Not' and 'No', so there's
Technically, he should say, "I won't hesitate anymore", but he's a songwriter, so we say
that he has poetic license.
He can do what he wants if it makes him feel more comfortable, and it makes the song flow
better to have a mistake.
Whatever, but I wanted to let you know that he is including this, and maybe it's because
when they listen to that song, they'll recognize it as a mistake, but it's a song, so we kind
of are a little more flexible when it comes to songs and grammar.
It needs to rhyme, it needs to feel good, and he just chose to use this.
My sixth recommendation is Pharrell Williams' 'Happy'.
This song is really popular, and if you can memorize the chorus, sing, sing, sing.
Try to sing it as much as possible because not only is it filled with optimism, but it
also repeats a lot of the same words, so I hope that they will stick with you, and that
fixed sentence structure will help you to build on your own sentence structure that
you already know in English.
That's why songs are great for you.
There's a fixed sentence structure, and you're just repeating it, but hopefully having a
I want to let you know that in his song, he also uses a mistake, and it's the same mistake
that you saw in the previous song.
It's a double negative.
Here, he is just using his poetic license to have this song feel the way he wants, but
he says, "Can't nothing bring me down."
Here, we have 'Not' and 'Nothing'.
Two negatives, but really, it should be, "Nothing can bring me down."
We're taking out 'Not', but he uses it, and he thinks that it's going to feel good in
the song, and he's the artist.
It's his choice, right?
The seventh song that I recommend is also a pop song, and it's kind of my guilty pleasure
Guilty pleasure means that I'm a little bit embarrassed, but I like this song, but it's
just so fun.
I can't help it.
It is Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe'.
I'm sure you've heard this song.
There are plenty of parodies on YouTube.
That means that people took the same idea for the song, but added different words, and
it's perfect for that kind of thing.
In this song, you're going to learn a lot of great expressions.
She uses a lot of phrasal verbs and daily life expressions that I hope will be useful
Some examples are "Just", or "Look right at someone", or, "Came into my life".
These are phrasal verbs and daily life expressions.
The eighth pop song is the ultimate pop song.
It is Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off', and of course you're going to learn the phrasal verb,
"Shake off something", but this includes a lot of repetitions, so it's perfect for pronunciation.
The chorus of this song repeats the same words again, and again, and again, "Play, play,
play, play, play", "Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate."
She repeats these words, so I hope it will help your pronunciation, and also your sentence
structure, and hopefully your optimism too.
The idea of this song is if someone is hating what you're doing, don't worry about it.
Shake it off, so this is a great idea for English.
If you make a mistake, poof.
Shake it off.
Don't worry about it, feel better about it, and forget it.
Shake it off.
The final three songs are in another category.
They're not really older songs.
They're not really pop songs, but I wanted to include them today.
The first one is the song 'Jolene', and I added the version that Miley Cyrus sings,
but Dolly Parton was the original singer of this song.
This song is a country song, and it's about revenge and jealousy, kind of the opposite
of 'Happy' and 'Shake It Off'.
It's about revenge and jealousy, and you're going to learn a lot of great descriptions
They're describing a woman in this song with auburn hair and ivory skin, so you're going
to learn these adjectives that also ways to describe someone.
My 10th recommendation is Ed Sheeran's song, 'Perfect'.
This song has a lot of words, but he speaks clearly.
It's a kind of slow, love ballad, but it's also filled with energy and positivity.
He uses some great expressions that native speakers use a lot, such as, "Whisper underneath
my breath", or "Fight against all odds".
These are kind of like idioms, but they're more like daily expressions, so through this
song, I recommend watching either the lyrical video or looking at the lyrics on a paper,
and really going over these and singing with it, trying to feel passionate with this song.
My final and 11th recommendation comes from the internationally loved band, Maroon 5.
It is the song, 'This Love'.
There are also a lot of words in this song like the previous Ed Sheeran song, but you
can do it.
This song is infused with a lot of energy, and he uses some great expressions, such as,
"Take a toll on me".
This is something that might be new for you, so when you encounter new expressions like
this, I recommend looking them up, asking someone, researching, trying to use this and
find out what it means because you're going to get a bigger picture of the song, and then
when you hear it, sing along with it.
You can use it yourself, and it's a great way to use new expressions.
All right, my challenge for you is to check out some of the links for these songs, listen
to as many as possible, and choose one that you can look at the lyrics, and try to repeat
This is a great way to shadow, but also have some positive energy around English.
Hopefully, it will boost you.
Maybe it will give you a boost in the morning when you're getting ready.
Hopefully, it will help you to feel positive and optimistic about your English journey
because I know it's not always easy, so songs are a great way to pick up your spirits.
Choose one of these.
Let me know in the comments which one of these would you like to listen to.
Do you have any other songs that you'd like to recommend to other people to listen to?
Thanks such much for learning with me, and I'll see you the next time.
The next step is to download my free e-Book, '5 Steps to Becoming a Confident English Speaker'.
You'll learn what you need to do to speak confidently and fluently.
Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more free lessons.
Thanks so much.