Hey there! This is TOP episode 35: Learn English With Queen: ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’
My name’s Ola and I am an 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. It’s time you started speaking English fearlessly! Go to my website for full transcripts and worksheets to each episode. Happy learning!
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Ok, down to business. Today we’re analyzing the lyrics of one of the most popular songs by Queen. Written by Freddie Mercury ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. Geeez, it’s kind of hard to just say it. You automatically want to sing it!
In this episode, we’re gonna find out the story behind this song, the meaning and then we’re gonna, as always actually, go through the lyrics and repeat them out loud. On our way, we’re going to stop here and there just to clarify the words, and then you’ll have some extra sentences to repeat after me. Please repeat. This is my point. I want you to start just speaking. Don’t forget to play the song in the end, and sing it out loud. An also, download the worksheet and complete the missing words. That’s your fun listening task for today, ok? The worksheet is at teacherola.com/35.
Generally, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ is about enjoying life, forgetting things that stick you to the ground and about flying and touching the stars. In this song Freddie’s inviting us to come along or else get out of his way. This hit always puts a smile on your face, you always feel like dancing when it’s played, right?
The song is empowering, it makes you feel unstoppable, it makes you wanna party, doesn’t it?
The song was written by Freddy, who back then in 1978 was living wild. Did you know that the other members of ‘Queen’ hate this song? That’s what I found. Freddie was a successful rock star indulging himself of every pleasure available to him. Sex, drugs, parties.
The band hates the song because it reminds them of this period of time, of this attitude that led Freddie to contract HIV. He threw the caution to the wind, didn’t listen to his friends warning him and he put himself in danger. Freddie died of AIDS-related causes in 1991.
Ok, so let’s just go through the lyrics right now, ok Listen and then repeat after me.
Tonight, I’m gonna have myself a real good time
I feel alive and the world I’ll turn it inside out, yeah
And floating around in ecstasy
So don’t stop me now don’t stop me
‘Cause I’m having a good time, having a good time
I’m gonna have myself a real good time – ‘gonna’ means going to. I’m going to have myself a real good time. This is the plan. Remember there’s the schwa sound in ‘gonna’, ‘gonna’, so instead of saying ‘gonna’, say ‘gonna’. Keep in mind that before ‘gonna’ we have to put the correct form of ‘to be’. Listen to some sentences and repeat after me:
I’m gonna go.
She’s gonna check.
We’re gonna be there.
I’m gonna go for it.
I’ll turn it inside out – to turn something inside out means to cause large changes to it. Focus on pronunciation here. Don’t separate the words like a robot: I’ll turn it inside out. Try to link the words together:
I’ll turn it inside out.
I’ll turn it inside out.
The new manager turned the old system inside out.
I always turn my jeans inside out to wash them.
don’t stop me now – here I wanted to draw your attention to the sound /əʊ/ in ‘don’t, ‘don’t’.
Don’t tell me what to know is true.
Don’t you worry if I despair.
I don’t care.
I’m having a good time – more often than not ‘time’ is uncountable, and you can’t use it with ‘a’, ‘a time’. In this case, it’s different. ‘A good time’, ‘one good time’. We talk about an occasion or event we experienced it in a particular way. Repeat after me:
Did you have a good time?
They’re having a hard time.
We shared some really good times.
Let’s move on to the next verse:
I’m a shooting star, leaping through the sky
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I’m a racing car, passing by like Lady Godiva
I’m gonna go, go, go
There’s no stopping me
a shooting star – a small meteor that travels very fast and burns with a bright light. We can also say ‘a falling star’. ‘Shooting’ has other meaning, of course. ‘Shooting’ is a situation in which someone is injured or killed by a gun. It’s also a process of taking photographs or making a film.
We didn’t have any rehearsals before the shooting.
The actress was knackered after a day of shooting.
He was injured in a serious shooting incident.
leaping through the sky – ‘to leap’ is to jump high, or to jump in order to land somewhere else. to jump over something. To increase quickly. A few meanings here, but the one in the song: ‘leaping through the sky’ means to move very quickly, with a lot of energy. This year (2020) is called a leap year, February had 29 days. OK, let’s practise some sentences:
He leapt over the fence.
Some animals can leap from tree to tree.
I leapt up the stairs, two at a time.
Profits leapt to 6 figures.
a tiger defying the laws of gravity – pronunciation, again. Law. There’s no /əʊ/ sound: as in ‘low’. There’s the /ɔː/ sound. Law. Lawyer. ‘Law’ is a, ‘law’ is a rule. It’s also the whole system of rules we have to obey as members of society. So ‘Law and order’ is a useful idiom, it means a situation in which people obey the rules and behave peacefully. For example:
After the riots, the police managed to restore law and order.
There ought to be a law against it!
Do not think you are above the law
She specializes in international law.
a racing car, passing by like Lady Godiva – to pass by. ‘To pass by’ means to go past someone or something. If something passes you by, it happens without your involvement, without you taking part in it. Repeat after me:
Will you be passing by the supermarket on your way home?
She felt that life was passing her by.
Seize opportunities while you can – don’t let them pass you by.
Next verse of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’:
I’m burnin’ through the sky,
Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m travelling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you
Two hundred degrees – obviously it’s about temperature.
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit – I don’t know, but water boils in 212 degrees Fahrenheit, so maybe that’s the concept here.
I’m travelling at the speed of light – speed of light, speed of sound. ‘Speed’ it the rate at which somebody or something moves or travels. Repeat sentences:
He was running at full speed when he tripped and fell.
He came down the hill at breakneck speed.
We travelled at an average speed of about 80 kph.
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you – pronunciation first! Oh, and in the next verse he sings: ‘I wanna make a supersonic woman of you’, so, just wanted to make that clear. And again, don’t sound like a robot: out of you. A supersonic man out of you. Supersonic means faster than the speed of sound. Repeat:
Life flies supersonic.
Concorde was capable of travelling at supersonic speed.
Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time
I’m having a ball
Don’t stop me now
If you wanna have a good time, just give me a call
Don’t stop me now
Don’t stop me now
I don’t want to stop at all
I’m having a ball – to have a ball means to have a very good time, to have a blast.
If you wanna have a good time, just give me a call – to give a call, to call someone, to phone someone.
I don’t want to stop at all – I picked this sentence for the pronunciation purposes. Please don’t separate the words: I don’t want to stop at all. At all, so let me say it again, not like a robot this time: at all, at all. Can you hear how the ‘t’ sound is softened to ‘d’ sound between those two words, uhm, between those two letters? at all, at all. It’s american way of saying it. In british english the ‘t’ sound is prominent: at all, not at all, not at all. In this song we hear it differently: at all. Repeat please:
stop at all.
to stop at all.
want to stop at all.
I don’t want to stop at all.
I’m a rocket ship on my way to Mars
On a collision course
I am a satellite, I’m out of control
I am a sex machine, ready to reload
Like an atom bomb about to explode
I’m a rocket ship on my way to Mars – I’m on my way. Repeat:
Don’t worry, I’m on my way.
I’m on my way home.
I just realised it’s probably my favourite sentence, ever. I’m on way home. Can you hear it? It sounds cosy.
I’m out of control – if something is out of control, people are not able to limit it or make it do what they want it to do. Repeat sentences:
Forest fires can easily get out of control.
Things are running out of control.
ready to reload – ready to reload. It means to put more bullets into a gun, more film into a camera, and so on. You can also reload a page on the internet. Refresh. o reload the card menas to deposit money onto the card. so let’s practice:
Press the “reload” button on your web browser.
After you spend the amount you deposited, you are usually able to reload the card.
Like an atom bomb about to explode – pronunciation, again. Listen carefully to this word: ‘bomb’. The final letter ‘b’, the final letter ‘b’ is silent. Bomb. ‘To bomb’ means to attack something or somebody by leaving a bomb in a place or by dropping bombs from a plane. ‘To bomb a test’ means to fail it.
They have deliberately bombed civilians.
Terrorists bombed several army barracks.
The exam was impossible! I definitely bombed it.
There you go! I hope I helped you with understanding this song, and every time you hear it, you’ll think about the story behind it.
Teacherola.com/35, there you’ll find a full transcript as well as the worksheet. Free of course. Teacherola.com/35, 35.
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In the next episode, we’ll be talking grammar. The first conditional. Make sure to subscribe and do not miss it!
Thank you for listening and till next time! Happy learning. Bye bye!