What is it about music that helps boost your English skills, confidence and pronunciation? Pearson English recently researched how popular music and culture inspire English learning, citing bands like The Beatles and One Direction as two of the best for helping you learn. Common expressions, everyday language, descriptive words and metaphors are all part of the English language and present in almost all song lyrics.
A song can provide an emotional connection between the music and the listener, providing a learner with new ways to express how they feel. Music and rhythm have also been shown to benefit memorisation, which is a key component of learning.
1. The Beatles – Blackbird
As our research reveals, The Beatles are the best band to help you learn English (48%). There are many Beatles songs with catchy melodies and simple lyrics, but Blackbird captures the Fab Four at their most poetic:
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
Find out how a teacher used the music of The Beatles to give French students a taste of British culture to motivate students to learn English.
2. The Cure – Friday I’m In Love
This song is a great way to help learn the days of the week (that may be obvious). Our research also told us that the word love is the favourite English word, so this one is for all the romantics out there.
Always take a big bite
It’s such a gorgeous sight
To see you eat in the middle of the night
3. Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
Another one for the lovers, Ed’s heartfelt lyrics are huge in the mainstream pop charts. Here, he tells the sweet story of long time love in this ballad and he’s becoming one of the world’s most sought-after songwriters.
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
4. The Smiths – How Soon Is Now?
This classic from Morrissey and co was voted runner-up in VH1’s Top Lyrics poll, for the lyrics: So you go and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own, and you go home and you cry and you want to die’ but it’s actually the opening lines of the song that are the most intriguing. Firstly, they’re adapted from George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch and, secondly, include some rather clever double meanings – namely ‘son’ (sun) and ‘heir’ (air).
I am the son
And the heir
Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
5. Neil Young – Heart of Gold
This was Neil Young’s only number one hit single from 1972’s Harvest album. He uses simple lyrics and melodies to tell his story of searching for true love.
I’ve been in my mind
It’s such a fine line
That keeps me searchin’ for a heart of gold
And I’m gettin’ old
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