In Your Eyes

For my Christmas present to myself, I’m passing along an activity – analyzing song lyrics, with an example from “Say Anything”.  Take it away Lloyd Dobler…

Peter Gabriel, “In Your Eyes”

Love I get so lost, sometimes
Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
When I want to run away
I drive off in my car
But whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are

All my instincts, they return
And the grand facade, so soon will burn
Without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

In your eyes
The light the heat
In your eyes
I am complete
In your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
In your eyes
The resolution of all the fruitless searches
In your eyes
I see the light and the heat
In your eyes
Oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
The heat I see in your eyes

Love, I don’t like to see so much pain
So much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away
I get so tired of working so hard for our survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive

And all my instincts, they return
And the grand facade, so soon will burn
Without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

In your eyes
The light the heat
In your eyes
I am complete
In your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
In your eyes
The resolution of all the fruitless searches
In your eyes
I see the light and the heat
In your eyes
Oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light,
The heat I see in your eyes
In your eyes in your eyes
In your eyes in your eyes
In your eyes in your eyes

Activity:

  1. Start with talking about songs that people love, specifically song lyrics.  Can they quote lines? What is is that they like about the word choice, imagery, or turn of phrase?
  2. Tell students  you are going to read and listen to a song, and the main goal is to try to figure out what the speaker of the song is expressing and then show reasons for that (evidence from the music or lyrics).
  3. Read and listen to “In Your Eyes”.
  4. Review as a group any words they may not know. (facade?)
  5. Define the speaker of the song (as with a poem) as different from the singer.  If it is a character, how would you describe them?  What adjectives? How do they feel? Why? – Use examples from the song.
  6. What is the main idea of the song? what is the speaker trying to convey? (give examples).  Does the writer use any metaphor to get across their meaning?
  7. Why did Peter Gabriel choose to sing about eyes?  Why not a mouth or hair?
  8. How would you describe the music of the song?  (What instruments are used? what is the tempo? How would you describe the rhythm?).  In what ways does the music support the words?
  9. Choose your favorite line or two from the song.  Explain why it speaks to you?
  10. Choose the most important line (or two) from the song.  (Be ready to define what “important” means).  Is it the same as your favorite line?
  11. You may choose to have students create a mind map, with their meaning(s) of the song in the center and their supporting evidence around the outside.

Resources:

Extensions:

  1. Have students choose another song to analyze.
  2. Find a song or poem about eyes – get the lyrics and analyze.
  3. Listening to this song, and reading the lyrics, if you had to do a video for it, what would it look like? What would it have to include?
  4. A very detailed Lesson Plan for song lyrics that have a historical element (and a focus on “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel
  5. A Kennedy Center Lesson Plan exploring Song Genres.

Enciendalo!

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The Worst Song in the World

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It’s happened to all of us.  We hear a song and can’t stop singing it and we kick ourselves for getting caught by the insidious song.  (I will step up to admit that on my way to high school the evil powers of PAC 93 forced me to hum “Misled” despite my rational objections.  It’s not even good Kool and the Gang!)

Even with this phenomena, these songs may be annoying and grating, but are they the worst songs in the world?  There is a new “scientific” way to compose a truly repulsive song – the Most Unwanted Song. A composer took data about what people do not like to hear, and built a song around it.  (Talk about a great product as the result of a survey!)

Take a listen.  Is it the most unwanted song?  What is it that repulses us?

Consider the Aspects of Music:

Instrumentation, pace, volume, tone, rhythm, length, harmony, melody

What do your students think would go into the most unwanted song in the world. Let their sense of disgust and repulsion rule!