Helplessness Blues Lyrics by Fleet Foxes – A Musical English Lesson for EFL Students

Learning English with music is a great way to practise your listening skills and discover new vocabulary. It’s also a lot of fun! One of my favourite bands is called Fleet Foxes – they’re a folk/rock band from Seattle in Washington, USA. They write songs about nature, family and friends and the words they use are very colourful and vivid. Here’s an English lesson based on their song Helplessness Blues. It’s about society and finding your place within it.

fleet-foxes-helplessness-blues-lyrics-for-english-tefl-efl-esl-studentsFirst Read the Lyrics

Then Make sure you understand ALL of the vocabulary

Then Listen and enjoy

 

 

 

 

Helplessness Blues Lyrics by Fleet Foxes

I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me

But I don’t, I don’t know what that will be
I’ll get back to you someday soon you will see

What’s my name, what’s my station, oh, just tell me what I should do
I don’t need to be kind to the armies of night that would do such injustice to you
Or bow down and be grateful and say “sure, take all that you see”
To the men who move only in dimly-lit halls and determine my future for me
And I don’t, I don’t know who to believe

I’ll get back to you someday soon you will see
If I know only one thing, it’s that everything that I see

Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I’m tongue-tied and dizzy and I can’t keep it to myself
What good is it to sing helplessness blues, why should I wait for anyone else?

And I know, I know you will keep me on the shelf
I’ll come back to you someday soon myself

If I had an orchard, I’d work till I’m raw
If I had an orchard, I’d work till I’m sore
And you would wait tables and soon run the store

Gold hair in the sunlight, my light in the dawn
If I had an orchard, I’d work till I’m sore
If I had an orchard, I’d work till I’m sore
Someday I’ll be like the man on the screen

Interesting Vocabulary

Cog – A cog is a small piece of a machine. If you feel like a cog it means that you don’t feel like a complete person, instead you feel like a small part of a bigger organisation or situation.

Dimly-lit – If a room is dimly lit, it is dark and has poor lighting.

Inconceivable – Hard to imagine or believe. e.g. It is inconceivable to me that Elvis Presley is still alive – I just can’t believe it.

Raw – Painful e.g. I have been walking all day and my shoes have made my feet hurt, they are raw!

Sore – to feel pain – e.g. My feet are sore from walking too much.

Watch the helplessness Blues Video (by Fleet Foxes)
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlXDm_jfJWI]

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Learning English with music is a great way to practise your listening skills and discover new vocabulary. It’s also a lot of fun! One...
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