Hey there, this is Teacher ola podcast episode 3 How To Learn With Music? Ed Sheeran ‘I Don’t Care’

My name’s Ola and I am an online English teacher.

This podcast is for you if you’re an English learner who wants to speak English with more confidence and get rid of speaking barriers. You’ll boost your vocabulary, brush up your grammar, improve your pronunciation,  see how to have a tense-free conversation with another English-speaking human being! Go to my website for full transcripts and worksheets to each episode. Happy learning! 

Thank you for choosing teacher ola podcast! Please note that this episode is transcribed and you can find the text on my website. Go there for the worksheet and it’ll help you to digest and test the things covered in this episode. teacherola.com/3. teacherola.com/3

I could go forever talking to you about learning with songs. I remember myself back in the day when there was no internet and my dad had  Cat Stevens’ CDs. What I would do with it is I would play it and pause every few seconds and write down whatever I would make out from the song. I would write it down as I heard it so of course incorrect, BUT at the same time I would learn the song by heart. I can still remember the lyrics even though I don’t listen to Cat Stevens regularly to say the least. Thanks to this method I invented for myself when I was about 10 I learned the melody of language the rhythm of it, different accents. Later I would also check the words in a dictionary, or maybe not. And few months later I heard them again in a different context or maybe at school and then I remember I had this a ha moment aaaa so that is a hummingbird! Now I understand. Oh now it just came to my mind, this is actually how I discovered the superlative form of adjectives. I knew how it works from the textbook but thanks to the song I saw it in a real language which was exciting. You know, to see that this structure I’m taught at school is really used by real humans! So I felt assured, connected, much more confident. The lyrics I’m talking about now is The First Cut is the Deepest.

But let’s leave Cat Stevens and turn to Ed Sheeran. Who doesn’t love him? And who doesn’t admire his great talent? I definitely do. In this episode, I’m going to tell you how to use a song as a language tool and I will also go through ‘I don’t care’ song lyrics, explain a few things and then expand the vocabulary as well as some grammar. I’m also gonna talk about the general idea of this song and how I understand it. 


Let’s jump into how to use a song as a living tool for you language development.

No 1. Take a song you like, google the lyrics. L Y R I C S and translate them. Don’t use google translator, it’s not reliable. Do your work on your own. Ideally, take your vocabulary notebook, so I want to encourage you here to use a pen and paper and write it all down. Check the words you don’t know in a dictionary, check the meaning and try to analyze the meaning of the whole song. It happens that the lyrics are very poetic and it’s hard to work out what it is all about. Some Amy Whinehouse songs are hard to understand. Oh, just many songs are hard to understand. But you know what I mean. The words are fine but the general understanding is tough. 

So with that nice segway, we can move to number 2.

And number 2 is check the whole meaning of the song. Especially if the lyrics are kind of poetic, the meaning is not literal. Put in google the title of the song and the word ‘meaning’. So, for example, Amy Whinehouse ‘You Know I’m No Good’ meaning. Try this one out! I’m sure you’ll be surprised. Read in English about the song you’re working on. Sometimes you can find a surprising story behind your favorite song. 

No 3. Sing along with the lyrics in front of you. On youtube, you can find the song you prepared with lyrics in the video, or just open a new tab with lyrics. 

No 4 Listen to the song without reading the lyrics. Do this as often as you can.

No 5 Enjoy a bunch of new vocabulary items, collocations, grammar in context but above all enjoy singing the song you fully understand and you know the lyrics. It’s a great boost for your confidence.

Be careful, sometimes grammar is not the priority for songwriters and they don’t follow the rules. Because the melody and rhythm are privileged, it’s just more important to have a nice sound   than to be grammatically perfect. I could find an analogy in real-life situations. Remember, don’t fall for grammar, make yourself understood and get your message across. I don’t encourage you to stop learning grammar, but all I’m saying you won’t improve your language if you don’t speak. And as I told you in episode 1, fear of making grammar mistakes is one of the most profound fears stopping us from speaking.

Ok, Are you ready to look at Ed Sheeran’s ‘I Don’t Care’?

Let’s do it.

First verse is sung by Ed Sheeran:

I’m at a party I don’t wanna be at  

So, to be at a party (at instead of in or on…. Just remeber, I’m at a party)

And I don’t ever wear a suit and tie, 

Suit and tie, elegant clothes, not very comfortable but definitely required at some social occasions.

Wonderin’ if I could sneak out the back 

So I’m not enjoying myself here and I wanna go out but I don’t want anyone to notice me leaving. 

I wonder means I think about this.

To sneak means to go somewhere secretly, trying to avoid beeing seen.

So, you see, the party’s pretty bad and we wanna get out.

Nobody’s even lookin’ me in my eyes 

– remeber, to look sbd in his/her eyes. The preposition is in, to look somebody in his eyes. To look somebody in her eyes.

Can you take my hand?

Finish my drink, say, “Shall we dance?” (Hell, yeah) 

So shall we dance, here shell is used to express an offer in a form, it’s expressed in a form of a question. For example, Shall I open the window? It’s an offer. 

You know I love ya, did I ever tell ya? 

Tell needs an object, tell you, tell me, tell her, tell my mum.

You make it better like that

Pre-Chorus is also sung by Ed Sheeran

Don’t think I fit in at this party 

To fit in means to exist in a natural way with somebody or with something.  I don’t fit in here, I don’t feel natural, I don’t exist here in a natural way.

Everyone’s got so much to say

I feel like I’m nobody,

Who wants to fit in anyway?

Besides, why would anyone like to fit in? Everybody wants to be himself or herself instead of fitting in.

Let’s move to the first CHORUS:

‘Cause I don’t care when I’m with my baby

I don’t care means I don’t think it’s important or I don’t think it’s worth worrying. So I don’t care means I’m not upset, even though I don’t fit in at this party.

All the bad things disappear 

Disappear – vanish. It’s impossible to see them now when you’re near me.

And you’re making me feel like maybe I am somebody 

So, to make somebody feel somehow. She makes me feel sad, he makes me feel confident. 

I can deal with the bad nights 

To deal with something: to solve a problem. The problem here is sleeping issues, bad nights, and I can deal with them if you’re near me. 

When I’m with my baby

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

‘Cause I don’t care as long as you just hold me near 

Only if. As long as means: only if. I’m not worried about this lousy party only if you are near me.

You can take me anywhere

And you’re making me feel like I’m loved by somebody 

I’m loved by somebody is a passive voice. I’m somebody’s person, I’m important, somebody loves me and it makes me somebody. It makes my flesh creep. 

I can deal with the bad nights

When I’m with my baby

And then we have verse 2 which is sung by Justin Bieber. 

We at a party we don’t wanna be at

Tryna talk, but we can’t hear ourselves

Press your lips, I’d rather kiss ’em right back 

Press your lips means push them together.

I’d rather is a contracted form of I would rather. I would prefer to kiss you. 

With all these people all around

I’m crippled with anxiety 

The word anxiety here, I think is the key in the song, I guess. I feel anxious, I’m full of anxiety. Anxiety  is the state of feeling nervous or worried that something bad is going to happen. It’s very uncomfortable. 

I’m crippled – I’m damaged, and I can’t even walk or move normally. Amen. 

But I’m told it’s where we’re s’posed to be 

We’re supposed to be. I’m told it’s where we’re supposed to be.  So somebody told me we should be here, somebody expects us to be here.  It wouldn’t look good if we weren’t present.

You know what? It’s kinda crazy ’cause I really don’t mind 

Kinda: it’s kind of crazy. It’s slightly crazy, in some ways. For example: I like him, kinda. So, there’s something I like about him but it’s slight.

And you make it better like that

And than pre-chorus: by Justin Bieber.

Don’t think we fit in at this party

Everyone’s got so much to say, 

When we walked in, I said I’m sorry, 

But now I think that we should stay 

Well, maybe it’s possible to enjoy this event since we have each other.

The same Chorus sung by Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran and we jump to the bridge:

I don’t like nobody, but it’s like you’re the only one here

I don’t like nobody but you, baby, I don’t care 

But. I don’t like nobody but you. But here means except. So I don’t like nobody except you. You are the only one I like in here.

Now, let me share some thoughts on this song. The song seems to be shallow when you look at the video when you hear the beat, the melody, all this pop and so on. But the lyrics tell us a story you all might relate to. I definitely can. Many of us I believe can imagine themselves at such a party which you don’t enjoy. You feel like you hate all the people present. You think about sneaking out the back and the only thing that saves this event is the presence of someone you trust, you love and feel comfortable with. All the introverts (including me) can feel the anxiety and the tension when participating in such events. So this song is like an ode to all introverts, slightly awkward people experiencing anxiety at social occasions.


Do you find it difficult to enjoy parties when there are a lot of strangers?  Do you learn with songs? How do you do it? Let me know in the comment section at teacherola.com/3.

You will also find there full transcript as well as a worksheet.

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Next episode is all about a tiny little grammar point. Adjectives ending in -ed and -ing. Am I boring or bored? Is it interesting or interested?  Make sure to subscribe and do not miss it!

Have a great week, till next Wednesday, happy learning, bye!