Sometimes life can get the best of us. One minute we’re focusing hard on a task, and the next we’re scrolling down a complete stranger’s social media page drooling over their hot pics. This is part of the spirit behind this fun and poppy song, today’s subject under study! “Crush” is a song from Tessa Violet’s 2019 album Bad Ideas. Below are the lyrics with some explanations for English learners, helping to clarify some of the confusing grammar, slang, expressions, and cultural points.
For better practice: 1) Listen to the song will reading the lyrics simultaneously; 2) Read through the lyrics and explanations with no music; 3) Listen to the song (and watch the video!) without reading the lyrics and check for understanding.
Common Terms / Expressions: Being “on notice” is the same as being alert, paying attention to something like a guard on watch. She’s being careful. By “run,” she means that she hopes the person doesn’t run away.
Figurative Speech: “Tepid” means lacking passion, enthusiasm, or interest. In more literal contexts, it has to do with the temperature of something being not hot but not cold. Another word for this is “lukewarm.” Basically, this person thinks that Tessa is not that interesting, or maybe she doesn’t seem interested in them. Still, she’s “misdiagnosed,” so the person’s assumption is wrong!
Grammar: *”Because I’m a stalker, I have (I’ve) seen all of your posts …”
Vocabulary: You probably know this one, but a “stalker” is someone who follows another person in an obsessive and secretive way. In pop culture, it’s often used in the sense of following someone’s posts and pictures obsessively on social media, usually without that person knowing.
Informal Speech: *”And I’m just trying to play …”
Slang: To “play it cool” is to try to stay calm, maintain self-composure, and act as if you don’t want something even when you really do.
Informal Speech: *”What I want to do now …”
Voice: The way Tessa voices this “Mhm” sound is a funny way to signify that you agree with or acknowledge what someone says.
Figurative Speech: This probably means she is “blushing” or gets embarrassed, shy, etc.
Figurative Speech / Expressions: A “rush” is a feeling of intense emotions, usually a mix of excitement and nervousness all wrapped into one.
Clarifying: She is thinking, “I wish you were here.”
Popular Vocabulary: I think we all know what a “crush” is. Someone that we like or are attracted to but we haven’t told them yet. You can also “have a crush on” someone.
Casual Expressions: “Throw you for a rush” just means that she wants to make him feel that rush of emotions we talked about earlier.
Culture / Society: Tessa repeats “like” a lot in the lyrics. This is similar to how English speakers, mostly younger generations, tend to repeat “like” as a filler word when they speak. She could be trying to represent herself as a silly young woman who’s losing her thoughts thinking about her “crush”.
Grammar: *”I have (I’ve) been thinking about your touch, like …”
Grammar: *”I have (I’ve) got a fascination …” Also, “I have a fascination …”
Figurative Speech: With his physical appearance, dress style.
Other Meanings: This “Sorry” here shows how awkward and weird she can get when thinking about her crush. In the song, she says it in kind of a nerdy way, on purpose.
Common Expression: To “keep from” something is to stay away from it, not interact with it.
Informal Speech: *”And I’m pretending that you haven’t been …”
Expressions: To “take an interest” is to start being interested in something. Another way to say this is to “take up an interest.”
Other Meanings: Funny, usually when saying “right” at the end of a sentence, it is formed like a question, as if the speaker is asking to confirm something, “Right?” Here, she doesn’t say it like a question. It’s as if she is confirming this information for us. “Yeah, I am a bit intense. It’s true.”
Idioms: To be “on the fence” or be “kept on the fence” is to be in the middle of two decisions. Basically, she is undecided, not sure what to do next.
Familiar Speech: This “like” at the end reminds me of how some people use it. “He was walking, real quiet-like.” The “like” doesn’t have a real meaning in this sense, it just adds a bit of emphasis to “quiet,” or “on the fence” in the case of our lyrics. This way of speaking is more old-fashioned but you still hear it in cartoons or for stereotyped movie characters.
Other Meanings: The “like?” as a question could also mean that she is waiting for an answer. “I waited for your call and you never did, like?”
What do you think of this song and the music video? Was this the first time you heard of Tessa Violet, or are you a certified fan? Do you stalk your crush online too? Let us know what you think (just don’t get too personal :D).
Thank you for coming and I hope you enjoyed reading and listening. Take care out there. Spread some love. Peace!
Let’s take it to the court! The back and forth of gossip and mundane chit-chat form a part of the day-to-day of socialites that Ella Yelich-O’Connor loved to criticize in her first releases. From her album, Pure Heroine (now somewhat of a throwback, right?), these are the song lyrics to “Tennis Court” by Lorde. This is for English learners who might want to better understand informal speech, common expressions, and other cultural aspects of the song. But don’t mind that, all are welcome to read and listen. Enjoy!
To maximize practice: 1) Listen to the song while scrolling and reading the lyrics; 2) read the lyrics and explanations without music; 3) watch the video and listen to check understanding
To read the lyrics without my explanations: Genius
Expressions: “Making smart” here could mean that they are trying to sound smart or be clever. Apparently, Lorde finds these conversations boring.
Common Expressions: Doing something “for the thrill of it” is for excitement, it’s something that is a lot of fun.
Slang: “Killing it” in this sense is doing something very well or having lots of success at it.
Grammar: This is a double negative, but a clever one. It’s a more creative way to say *”Always chasing a million things I want …”
Expressions / Casual Speech: “Full of it” probably has multiple meanings here. Normally, “full of it” describes a person who is very conceited, stuck up, and thinks mostly about themselves. It can also describe someone who is lying or being misleading. Taken together, she could be saying that she is “full” of the moment, living intensely by the minute.
Expressions / Slang: To get “pumped up” is to feel good or excited about something, usually because it makes you happy.
Social References: A “class clown” is the person at school that always makes jokes in class. They may like to tease other students or even the teachers.
Vocabulary: “In tears” is another way to say “crying.” Add that one to your vocab list!
Slang / Informal Speech: To “talk it up” is basically to chat or make small talk (have a light or random conversation). Saying, talk it up like “yeah” makes it seem like they won’t have anything deep or especially interesting to talk about, but it will just be to make casual conversation.
Common Speech: Using “pretty” like this is the same as “kind of” or “fairly.” I guess it comes from the same idea as “fairly,” actually. Not very soon, like tomorrow, but pretty soon, like in the next two weeks.
Alternative / Figurative Speech: To be “up in flames” is the same as being “on fire.” It is burning. In a figurative sense, it can mean that Lorde is having raging emotions, lots of bad (wicked) thoughts, and other wild tempers associated with growing up or being a teenager.
Informal Speech / Slang: To “f***” with something means to experience it or have experience with it. “—Do you know how to bake? —Yeah, I f*** with it.” This is obviously very vulgar and would only be used in situations where other people are openly cursing, so be careful! A cleaner way to say this is “mess with” or “get down with.” “I mess with it. I get down with it.” By “known,” she means “well-known,” as in when she becomes famous.
Informal Speech: To “trip up” can have a few different meanings. It can be to confuse, to baffle (shock), surprise, or even to make someone laugh. All of the meanings and more are likely in this context. By “heads,” she’s probably referring to their ideas, opinions, senses of humor, and so on.
Spelling Standards: Both “all right” and “alright” are accepted spellings.
Idioms / Expressions: “It’s half of the trip” is similar to the expression “it’s part of the fun.” This is usually said to make light of a bad situation, like getting lost on a road trip. “But getting lost is half of the trip!” In the lyric, Lorde could be referring to an embarrassing photo that got leaked online, and she (or someone else) got caught.
Figurative Speech: This seems like an invitation for us to watch her struggles and fiascos on our glass screens (TV, cell phone, etc.) as if we were Lorde’s nosey neighbors watching through our glass “windows.”
Going to the club and watching strangers have a go at each other isn’t a habit that most people have, I’d feel pretty safe to say. But most of us do have a bad habit that we’re trying to kick, which made this song more relatable in the end. Maybe you’re an English student or English learner. Maybe you heard this song and loved it, but didn’t understand some parts. Maybe you understand all the lyrics and just wanted to hear it again. Whatever brought you here, welcome! These lyrics are meant to help those who are learning English and may not have picked up on certain expressions or grammar, but anyone is welcome to read.
1) listen to the song and try to pay attention to the words, 2) read the lyrics with the explanations below, then, 3) listen to the song again to check your comprehension.
The video and the lyrics have some slightly inappropriate content. It may not be good for kids, and parents might have to use discretion on this one. Everyone’s taste is different so, you know … enjoy!
Slang / Informal Expressions: “Freaky” in this sense means to be very sexually open, promiscuous, and adventurous. Or, it’s just someone who likes sex a lot. To “get it on” means to get physical, have intimate relations with someone.
Expressions / Idioms: Saying “I’ve been around” is like saying that the person has experience, has lived through many situations, and some things that are shocking to most seem normal to her. An extended way to say the same thing is, “I’ve been around the block.”
Slang / Informal Speech: “The munchies” is being hungry or having a craving for certain types of food. It usually is an abnormal hunger, persistent and won’t go away. I think it was popularized with cannabis culture since people often get the munchies after smoking.
Common Speech: To “binge” is to consume a lot of something in a short amount of time, often to the point of getting sick from it. It’s often used to talk about food, but nowadays people also “binge-watch” a TV show or series.
Snacks: I’ll post a picture of a Twinkie for those that don’t know.
Casual Speech: To “drink up” something means to drink it all. She is referring to drinking alcohol, or spending all her money on liquor.
Common Speech: “Dazed” means to be in a weird mental state of numbness and confusion, almost like being in a trance.
Grammar: *”And I’ve got to stay high …” also, “and I have to stay high …”
Slang: “High” is being under the influence of drugs, probably cannabis in Tove Lo’s case.
Grammar: *”I spend my days … trying to forget you babe …”
Common Speech: “Haze” is like a fuzzy, thick smoke or pollution in the air. When talking about a mental state, it relates to being in a fuzzy, clouded state of mind where things don’t really make sense. It also could just mean that she smokes every day trying to forget her ex or whoever.
Casual Expressions: To “loosen up” something is to undo it, unwind it, or put it in a relaxed state.
Grammar: *”Make them feel alive …”
Informal / Casual Speech: “Greasy” is usually used to describe food that is oily and bad for you, as well as car parts that are dirty and covered in sticky oil, which we would call “grease.” By saying it’s “fast and greasy,” it’s as if she is relating the situation to fast food, food that is quick and tastes good at the moment but leaves you feeling bad or dirty afterward. By saying her encounters were greasy, they were probably dirty, oily, sticky, and sort of uncomfortable. When someone is referred to as “easy,” it usually means they are easy to get with or sleep with. In less explicit contexts, it means that the person is really easy-going and isn’t very demanding. Saying “way too” is like adding emphasis to the “too.” It just means very very very. “It is way too hot outside.”
Expressions: “Play-pretend” is kind of like the world of “make-believe,” like the world of a child’s fantasy.
Grammar: *”Where the fun doesn’t have an / any end …”
Grammar: *”I can’t go home … I need someone to numb …”
Then it repeats.
**Do you have a song suggestion you’d like me to explain the lyrics for? Want more songs by Tove Lo? Contact me with a one-to-one message or for collaboration at firstname.lastname@example.org (also on my contact page). Thanks again for stopping by. Peace to you!
“BUTTERFLY EFFECT” is a song by Travis Scott, as you might know, and it came off of his 2017 album, Astroworld. Below are the lyrics with some explanations about expressions, grammar, and other less-obvious meanings of the song. I am no expert on this song or on Travis Scott, but this might help those of you learning or studying English to better understand the words. If you’d like, please watch the video and read the lyrics and explanations. Then take another listen to see how much you understand the second time. Ready?
Other meanings: This probably has to do with money. The more commas, the bigger the number is; 1(,)00(,)000(,)000(,) …
Other meanings: This is a popular tagline from the producer on this song, Murda Beatz.
Figurative speech / Philosophy: Just a note about the title: the “butterfly effect” is the idea that changing something small or subtle in the past — like killing a butterfly — can lead to a completely different present and future. It’s also the idea that something small like a butterfly beating its wings can make huge ripples (impacts) in time. This theory kind of rings throughout the song as Travis says he cannot change, as if his life is destined to be this way. The lyric also could mean that this new lifestyle cannot change who he really is. But, like a butterfly beating its wings in the past, his impact will be made on the world.
Geography / Other meanings: Hidden Hills is an upscale, sort of exclusive city in the north Los Angeles area where lots of rich and famous people live. It also sounds like he could be saying “in the hills” which has the same connotation. That’s because in Los Angeles, many of the rich and fancy neighborhoods are either literally in the hills or have the name “hills.”
Not sure: The “deep off in the main” part is a little confusing, but it could just mean that the people in this society have deep ties, deep roots, or deep connections there. Or something else entirely.
Figurative speech: We know M&M’s. Some like chocolate and others swear by peanut butter. He could be relating M&M’s to certain drugs like ecstasy, comparing the “high” feeling of being on drugs to a sugar high from eating lots of sweets.
Casual speech / Slang: “Drop the top” and “pop the top off” are ways to talk about taking the top off of a convertible car. “Bang” here could refer to playing loud music in the car. These expressions probably have other meanings too that are a little more provocative, so I’ll leave it at that.
Games: “Hide and seek” is a kids game where one person has to search for other people who are hiding.
Figurative speech: He doesn’t literally want to play hide and seek though. This could mean going to look for something or someone, or trying to run away or hide from someone. Doing things discreetly.
Figurative speech / Slang: Going to “the league” generally refers to young athletes who skip college and go directly into the professional league. He could be referring to someone joining his “team” or his crew. Come play with the big boys. This mixes in with a popular term among some black men to call each other “hitters,” like a baseball player that hits a ball. That’s not what it means, that’s just the relation to being on the team or in the league.
Grammar: *”Feel just how I am …”
Slang / Informal speech: Saying “how I be” refers to how the person lives, how they act on a regular basis, their style. This is very informal, by the way. Saying something is “lit” means that it’s fun, it’s cool, something good will come of it. It’s also one of Travis’s popular sayings.
Grammar: *”On the freeway, but no, nothing is free …”
Slang: Saying “straight up” like this is the same as “for real,” as if to reiterate that the person really means what they say.
Expressions: To “bend the law” means to break it basically, to go against the law. “Bending lanes” is driving quickly along turns on street lanes. Hence, skrrt skrrt.
Grammar: *”I’ve been busting bills, but still, nothing has changed …”
Slang: By “busting bills” he means he’s been spending a lot of money. Still, he makes a ton of money, so his financial situation isn’t affected by this.
Grammar: *”You’re in the mob as soon as you rock the chain …”
Slang: The “mob” here refers to his crew again. The same goes for “team, squad, gang,” etc. To “rock” in this case means to wear something proudly, especially a certain brand.
Slang / Expressions: To “catch the wave” here means to get high (on drugs) and feel some wavy vibes. To “thumb” through something means to run one’s fingers through it as if to study it, like thumbing a book.
Culture / Style: He plays on the idea of waves as a hairstyle since “waves” have been a popular hairstyle for black men for a while.
Expressions: “Heating up” figuratively means that something is getting started, it’s just beginning. A similar expression is “warming up.”
Expressions / Dual meanings: “Keep me up” here means this person keeps him feeling well, positive, and in good spirits. It also has a more provocative meaning, though.
Slang: “Icy” here has a couple of meanings. It can be really cool, chill, relaxed, good-looking, and involving lots of “ice” or diamonds and jewels.
Slang: “Dawgs” is the same as a guy or a friend. To “creep” in this scenario means to move slowly and watchfully without trying to be noticed. In a car, it sounds like it means driving with the car low to the ground.
Regular speech: Saying “right” with a direction just adds emphasis to how close the subject is. “Right next to, right beside, right above, right there.”
Cars / Culture: A Phantom is a popular expensive car often referenced in rap / trap music.
Informal speech / Grammar: *”I stayed like Santana …”
Slang: To “dip” in this case means to disappear or abandon something. The “set” is a person’s original “hood,” group or place that they most represent. So, Travis didn’t abandon his origins, in simpler terms.
Pop Culture References: He’s probably referencing Juelz Santana who was a part of a rap group called Dipset or the Diplomats.
Expressions / Slang: To “run it back” means to do something again like repeat a song or phrase, or to go back to a place. To “hit up” a place means to visit it or go to it.
Personal meaning / Location: He could be talking about a bar in San Antonio called the Green Lantern, since Travis is from Texas and I’ve heard he went to this place.
Slang: “Broads” is another term for young women. It’s an older term that can be seen as disrespectful to some women.
Slang / Expressions: “In the cut” here means that he is in a place, probably a really nice place. It’s one of those non-specific slangs that could be a number of other things too. To “lay low” or “lie low” means to take it easy, relax, not do much work, enjoy one’s time.
Life references / Dual meanings: Medusa could be referring to the logo on Versace brand clothing, or a popular restaurant in Atlanta.
Slang: “Roll up” here refers to rolling up a joint (of cannabis). It could also refer to rolling his window up to feel stronger effects from the weed since we assume he is in a car.
Grammar: *”You need to text back because you know what I need …”
Deeper meaning: We can only imagine what he might need from this person he’s texting.
Expressions: “Oh me, oh my” is an old-fashioned expression that sounds like a kids song. “Oh my” is a way to show shock or surprise. It’s short for “Oh my God / goodness / word.” Also, saying “Oh, please!” like this can be like telling someone to stop because they are lying or saying something outrageous. “You wrestled a lion? Oh, please!” Of course, it can also be like saying “Please, stop.”
Grammar: *”We have / we’ve been moving …”
Expressions: “Moving” here refers to making moves, or doing things to make money and have success.
Slang: “Flex” in this context means to show off, present what you have to everyone else, usually in a way that is misleading. Of course, it relates to flexing a muscle, showing your strength, proving that you have been exercising a lot.
Django Unchained was a 2012 American movie by Quentin Tarantino that shook up so many of its viewers. With references to Spaghetti Westerns, Southern epics, and slavery pieces to name a few, this movie also had a lot to say about American society overall. Down below are a few of the points about our society, past and present, that were referenced in Django Unchained.
The most obvious thing that Django Unchained tells us about America is slavery and racism. We all know about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the nation’s history of African enslavement. In the movie, we see how pseudo-religious and pseudo-scientific concepts were used in those days to justify slavery.
You remember the whole scene where Mr. Candie (DiCaprio’s character) uses one of his former slave’s skulls to demonstrate how black people are anatomically inferior to whites. Or that scene where the slaver uses the Bible to justify his whipping and punishing of the “sub-human” slaves.
The cold part is that this stuff really happened, and a lot. It seems like every five words in Django is the “n-word,” and this is more for a shock effect than anything. I mean, I’m sure white people in those days called black people nigger a lot, but not like every five seconds. Still, the use of this word and other racial slurs in the movie shows us how language has been used throughout our country’s history to uplift certain groups and diminish others. And that goes both ways.
Okay, so we saw whips and chains, physical representations of bondage and dominance — not to get freaky. Oh, and we saw a glimpse of a pre-Ku Klux Klan group in one of the funniest scenes of the entire movie. The KKK really formed after abolition as a kind of retaliation against blacks gaining equality. Django (Jamie Foxx) and Dr. Schultz (Cristoph Waltz) later in the movie start to be treated with a bit of respect when they are presumed to have money and status. This shows how even racism can be curbed when there are benefits involved.
Django Unchained at its heart is a Western, so the usual gun-slinging and street shootouts had to be a part of it. The characters throughout most of the movie are riding horses and carriages across open landscapes, mountains, and everything we associate with the Old West. We even see the classic cowboy stand-offs in the small frontier town, people running to get the sheriff, and a saloon fight.
The Antebellum South is also represented when they get to Mississippi. There we see big plantations and plantation homes being worked by slaves. Besides that, we get a look at some slave quarters, those common oak and poplar trees of the South, and big fields of cotton to be picked. And of course, all around is the sense of white dominance and complacency for being in control of that crazy world they’d created.
Another thing this movie does is show audiences how black outlaws and bounty hunters did exist in the Old Western days. I feel like this movie opened up in many ways for people to learn about such figures as black cowboys and bounty hunters, a subject that was not really touched on before in movies or TV (at least to this extent).
Django shows in part the presence of these lesser-known historic black figures of that time, informing that they were also a part of the development of the country. There’s also something many people forget, that some slaves were able to buy their freedom and lead interesting lives outside of the establishment.
Since the times of slavery in America, there has been a sense of black people recovering some kind of dignity, strength, even ranging into dominance. It’s important to remember that not all people in any group will want the same things, which is normal. Still, when Django goes and kills all of the slavers that did him wrong, there’s this sense of “justice served cold” that reverberates off of every gunshot and explosion.
There’s a constant debate in the USA of whether there should be reparations or compensation given to black Americans for the terrible deeds taken against their ancestors. There is this underlying feeling of getting revenge on these racist actions, which is completely exploited in this movie. Let me also remind you that the German’s full name is Dr. “King” Schultz, likely a nod to Dr. Martin Luther King as a kind of liberator and symbol for good.
Through all the killing that Django does, we also get an idea of the violent nature of rebellions in general, especially as it deals with the black-led ones. There was many a violent uprising in America’s past, and this movie plays a bit on such true historic bloodbaths.
And the White Director
So Quentin Tarantino doesn’t look very black, as far as most of us can tell. The fact that a white guy had directed a movie like this did conjure up some backlash for the film. Django Unchained touches on some pretty sensitive subject matter, particularly concerning black Americans. So one might imagine how some people felt uncomfortable with it.
Tarantino movies aren’t for everyone and lots of people are already uneased by the cartoonish violence in them. Put that together with about a thousand “n-bombs” and you’ve got a sure recipe for retaliation. Even though many people thought he had no business making a movie about slavery, there were still those that enjoyed Django Unchained regardless of its crazy subject matter. Q. T. does actually have a cameo in the movie and gets blown up, which shows that even the director wasn’t safe from Django’s vengeful rage.
Boy, I Swear
Another common feature in Tarantino’s movies is the liberal and consistent tendency of his characters to swear. This is just his style, and it comes more so from this culture surrounding Hollywood or Southern California — where almost everyone I know curses. Some are offended by this constant use of bad words, and others could care less.
One thing that’s funny about this, though, is that people back in those times (early-mid 1800s) definitely did not curse as much as in the movie. Sure, there was cursing, but people back in those days were generally pretty conservative and religious by today’s standards. I had this same thought watching The Hateful Eight which had a similar amount of cussing in a time period that people probably didn’t have such dirty mouths.
This feature of the movie was likely used to connect modern audiences to this past period in time, similar to how the score contained some rap songs. It also reminds audiences that this story is fictional and for entertainment purposes, so don’t be taking it all so seriously.
America, the Beautiful Mixed Baby
In Django Unchained are black people (obviously), Germans, Australians, other Americans, and Mr. Candie who loves French — even though he can’t speak or understand it. Some aspects of the culture, especially on the German side, are explored a bit deeper. With all of this, we get reminded of America’s very mixed heritage.
Germans at a certain point in the U.S. interior were very prevalent and made up a large part of the immigration there. All these different people of varying backgrounds remind us of this uncommon origin we share that turned the U.S. into a land of immigrants. It also reminds us that a large part of the country, like the West, was built by outlaws, runaways, and people seeking the thrill of adventure until turning it into what it is today.
**What did you think of this movie? Are you fond of Tarantino or do you avoid his movies at all costs? If you can, share what else Django Unchained showed us about American or world society. Also, feel free to check out similar posts on At the Movies. Message me at email@example.com for direct contact or to collaborate on something! Thank you for reading and peace to you.
Do you want to know the lyrics to “Day ‘N’ Nite” by Kid Cudi? Great, you’re in the right place! The song was featured on his 2008 album, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, but was also released on a previous mixtape and single. This page is geared toward explaining to English learners some of the expressions, idioms, slang, and cultural points in the song that most native English speakers probably know already.
I suggest reading the song lyrics and explanations first. Then listen to the song with the lyrics to check for comprehension. If you know most of these explanations, then cool. Your language skills are on point! Ready?
Informal Writing: Just a note about the spelling; in the song’s title, “N” is the same as “and” but a popular way to spell it in informal titles or writing. “Nite” is the same as “night” but also an informal alternative spelling. This happens a lot when texting for words that don’t spell like they sound. Ex: Tho (Though), Rite (Right), U (You), 4 (For)
Expressions: “Tossing and turning” is another way to say that you can’t sleep. It’s a very common expression.
Expressions: “For keeps” means something you want to keep or hold on to. It usually means you will win the object you want after playing some game. “Let’s race. Whoever wins gets a new car.” “Are we playing for keeps?”
Culture/Literature: This line is reminiscent of a popular fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” The two animals race and the hare becomes cocky thinking he will easily beat the tortoise, but the tortoise ends up winning after slowly but steadily staying on track. Maybe Cudi assumes he’s going to win like the hare did, but he gets beat in the end.
Informal Speech: *Because day and night …
Slang: A “stoner” is someone who gets high on drugs, especially cannabis. Similarly, getting “stoned” means getting high on cannabis.
Other Vocabulary: You might have picked this one up, but a “loner” is someone who spends most of their time alone. They don’t interact much with other people.
Expressions/Dual Meaning: This one’s pretty obvious, but it can also mean to “wait” in general. This is similar to other expressions like “Hold on,” “Hold up,” and “Hold it.” These all mean to wait. Even though “hold the phone” sounds pretty specific, there are other phrases like this that mean to wait. Ex: “Hold the front door,” and “Hold your horses.” These are a little more silly and informal, though.
Popular Vocabulary: “Solo” means solitary or alone. I think we got it from Spanish but it’s pretty common to say that you are “solo” or doing something “solo.”
Informal/Unusual Expressions: “Dolo” I think is the same as solo. I haven’t heard this expression much, but I guess “solo-dolo” means being alone but feeling relaxed or okay about it.
Figurative Speech: Saying “Mr.” before some kind of quality means that the person is full of that quality, as if they were the owner of it. “Okay, Mr. Bossy, you don’t have to order people around all the time.”
Idiom: Being “on the move” is to be active in making plans or moving from place to place.
Slang: To “shake” in this sense means to avoid or escape something, like to shake off. “The cops are behind us. I can’t shake them.” Shade here has the sense of something ominous or sad. In slang, “shade” can also be general disrespect or dislike that comes from people who don’t like you. A similar concept is “hating on” someone.
Slang/Possible Dual Meaning: The repeating of “made” here reminds me of another expression. Saying that someone is “made” or they “have it made” is like saying they have everything they dreamed of, they have all the success they could want. They’re living the good life. They “have it made.”
Other Vocabulary: “Peep” is any very small sound. It’s usually said in phrases like “won’t hear a peep” or “don’t make a peep.”
Grammar/Informal Speech: *The girl he wants doesn’t seem to want him either … The way he says it sounds better in this case, though.
Common Speech: When something is “through,” it means it is done or over. It has ended.
Slang/Casual Expression: “Slow mo” means slow motion. Here, he says it probably to mean slow down or wait.
Foreign/Musical Term: When used in English, “tempo” specifically has to do with the speed of a rhythm, like in music. It has almost become synonymous with speed. I believe it comes from Italian.
Slang/Informal Expression: To “slow up” is the same as to slow down or go slower, interestingly enough. It is just another cool way to express this idea. “New new” is a fun concept. It basically means something that is new or hasn’t been experienced before, like an emerging trend. It’s like saying “new thing” but the focus is on the impact of that new thing as opposed to the new thing itself. “You still wear the old brands, but I’ve got that new new. You want to see some?”
Slang/Idiom: We probably all know this one, but feeling “blue” is feeling sad.
Expressions: “Man” here is just an exclamation, it doesn’t mean anything really.
Informal Speech: The way he pronounces “cool” is a very common way to say it in some accents. It also rhymes a lot better with blue.
Casual Expression: To “slip into” something means to wear it or put it on. “I’m going to slip into a nice dress.”
Informal/Alternative Speech: The way he pronounces Nikes (referring to shoes) is an informal way that only certain communities say, though it can also just be an alternative or sarcastic way of pronouncing it. It also rhymes better with nights.
Slang: Smoking a “clip” is smoking the leftovers of a blunt of cannabis.
Idiom/Expressions: To be “on the way” means to be arriving somewhere or going somewhere specific.
Casual Expressions: Adding “status” after something like a quality or a place means that person is acting like that quality or representing that place. “He’s on Brooklyn status with his Nets jersey and his old Brooklyn Dodger hat.”
Slang: To “grind” in this case means to work hard and put in an effort. A similar concept is to be “on your grind.”
**I hope you enjoyed reading the lyrics to “Day ‘N’ Nite.” Did you understand these pretty well? What part of the lyrics do you still have trouble with? Tell us what your favorite lines are, or what other songs you like by Kid Cudi. You can contact me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org or to collaborate. Read more posts like this one at Lyrics “Explained.” Thank you for coming! Peace.
From Donald Glover’s initial “ya, ya, ya’s” to Young Thug’s closing mumbles, “This is America” has become such an iconic song. Pretty much every country has done their own spinoff at this point. But for those of you learning English out there, did you understand the lyrics? This post isn’t an attempt to explain hidden meanings in the video or deep explanations in the lyrics. I’m just trying to explain some of the common expressions and slang he uses in the song, things that might be harder for non-native English speakers to understand. Watch the video if you like and accompany the song. Ready? So here we go!
Society: This sounds like what certain prejudiced Americans say to immigrants or groups they don’t like (black, Muslim, poor, etc.)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
We just wanna party
Informal Speech: *We just want to party
Party just for you
We just want the money
Money just for you (Yeah)
I know you wanna party
Party just for free
Girl, you got me dancin’ (Girl, you got me dancin’)
Grammar: *You’ve got me dancing… Also, You have me dancing…
Dance and shake the frame (Yeah)
Slang: “Frame” here refers to the woman’s body.
We just wanna party (Yeah)
Party just for you (Yeah)
We just want the money (Yeah)
Money just for you (You)
I know you wanna party (Yeah)
Party just for free (Yeah)
Girl, you got me dancin’ (Girl, you got me dancin’, yeah)
Dance and shake the frame (Ooh)
This is America
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Slang: To “catch” someone doing something is to find or witness that person. It’s usually when you find someone doing an act that is not right. “Don’t let me catch you stealing.” “Slipping” here means to make a mistake or do something wrong.
Pronunciation: The lyrics I found say “now” but it sounds kind of like “no.” Gambino could be doing this intentionally. Either way, it has about the same meaning. “Don’t let them find you doing something you shouldn’t be doing, being weak, doing something illegal.”
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Look what I’m whippin’ now
Slang: “Whipping” in slang usually means to make or come up with something. It’s mostly used like “whipping up” something. Whipping can also have to do with cars, as in “Look what I’m driving now.” Whipping traditionally has to do with using a whip to punish someone like a prisoner or slave, or turning milk into a “whipped” cream, for example.
Pronunciation: “Now” here kind of sounds like “on,” so it almost sounds like “Look what I’m whipping (beating, hitting) on.”
Culture: The “whip” is also a popular dance, by the way.
This is America (Woo)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Look what I’m whippin’ now
This is America (Skrrt, skrrt, woo)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Ayy)
Look how I’m livin’ now
Police be trippin’ now (Woo)
Grammar: *Police are tripping now…
Slang: “Tripping” here means to act in a way that is wrong or dumb to others, constantly making mistakes and bad choices. “My dad is always punishing me for stuff I didn’t do. He’s tripping.”
Figurative speech: His “area” can be his neighborhood, as in, he lives in an area with lots of guns. It can also be literally in his personal area, like in his possession. It most likely refers to America as a whole, though.
Slang: “Word” when used like this is just a way to acknowledge what someone says. It’s like saying “really, true, yep, etc.”
I got the strap (Ayy, ayy)
Grammar: *I have the strap…
Slang: A “strap” in this sense refers to a gun, gun strap.
Less Obvious Meaning: He has to carry guns, as if for protection or because that’s the stereotype.
Yeah, yeah, I’mago into this (Ugh)
Informal Speech: *I’m going to go into this…
Expression: “Go in” in this sense means to really do well, have a lot of success, really analyze, look hard at, and make an overall really cool song.
Yeah, yeah, this is guerilla (Woo)
Double Meaning: Like guerilla warfare where trained common civilians get involved in warlike fighting. “Guerilla” rhymes perfectly with “gorilla” which is kind of a derogatory term against black people. This is probably on purpose as if to say, “This is about black people.”
Slang: “Cold” in slang can mean a few things. It can mean that someone is “coldhearted” and doesn’t care about anything, or a mean person. It can also mean that someone is really cool and good at something.
I’m so dope like, yeah (Woo)
“Dope” can also mean really cool, something that’s liked by others.
Slang: “Blow” or “blow up” in slang means to come out and have a ton of success, become really popular. “Straight up” is slang that is usually used to agree with someone. It means something like “true, for real, etc.”
Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Woo, woo, don’t catch you slippin’ now)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Ayy, woah)
Look what I’m whippin’ now (Slime!)
This is America (Yeah, yeah)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Woah, ayy)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Ayy, woo)
Look what I’m whippin’ now (Ayy)
Look how I’m geekin’ out (Hey)
Slang: “Geeking out” is to be dressed in a really stylish but kind of formal way. A similar expression is “geeked up” with about the same meaning. This phrase became popular when a style of dance called jerking got famous. This term also means to get high on drugs, but that’s different from what Gambino’s talking about. “Geek” traditionally is a mean term used to make fun of kids that are seen as nerds or who have awkward style. The meaning was turned to be stylish in a weird way. “Geeking out” can also be to show off one’s intelligence or get excited by “nerdy” or “geeky” subjects.
Figurative Speech/Dual Meaning: “On Gucci” could mean that he is wearing Gucci and is in a phase where he likes this brand. This could be that he is “on” this brand like a drug since we usually say “on” when someone is using or is addicted to a drug. That would relate to being geeked out/up from before. “He’s on LSD.” It could also mean he likes or is acting like Gucci Mane, a famous rapper. Being “on” someone can also mean to make fun of them, so this line has a few probable meanings.
I’m so pretty (Yeah, yeah, woo)
I’m gon’ get it (Ayy, I’m gon’ get it)
Informal Speech: I’m going to get get it… “Get it” could refer to making money. “Get it!” is often what people yell to encourage someone to do something well, like dancing. The way he says it though, “Gon’ get it” is used commonly to mean that the person is in trouble or is going to have serious problems. “Ooh, you broke mom’s lamp. You’re gonna get it! (you’re in big trouble)”
Watch me move (Blaow)
This a celly (Ha)
Grammar: *This is a celly…
Slang: “Celly” here refers to a cellphone.
Society: This relates to some police officers that shot innocent black people confusing their cellphones with a gun.
That’s a tool (Yeah)
Slang: A “tool” here refers to a gun, saying the cellphone looked like a gun to the police.
Society: They could also be using this excuse as a “tool” to get out of trouble.
On my Kodak (Woo) Black
Culture/Figurative Speech: Now he’s on Kodak, which is probably that he’s taking photos or recording what’s happening. Kodak is a company that has produced lots of photography products. Kodak Black is a rapper, so he could also be saying that he is acting like Kodak Black. He could also just be saying Kodak to refer to the word black, as in, he is “being black,” acting in a stereotypically black way.
Ooh, know that (Yeah, know that, hold on)
Grammar: *You know that…
Slang: “Hold on” means to wait, or also to be strong and not give up, not stop.
Get it (Woo, get it, get it)
Ooh, work it (21)
Slang: “Work it” means to do something really well, especially related to dancing.
Rapper: “21” refers to 21 Savage, a rapper in this song.
Slang: A “plug” is someone who provides illegal contraband for another party, usually drugs. It also can be just a person who has anything another person needs.
Society/Geography: He’s saying he has a drug supplier in Oaxaca, a state in Mexico. This state isn’t famous for drug activity, but he says it likely because it’s in Mexico, a country infamous for drug cartels. He’s not being serious though.
Culture/Sounds: “Blocka” is the sound a gun makes. They’re going to find you and shoot you, basically. This sound has been popularized by rappers of Caribbean origin and is now used by all kinds of rappers, especially in trap music.
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
America, I just checked my following list, and
Media: His following list on social media.
You go tell somebody
You m********** owe me
Grandma told me
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Black man (1, 2, 3—get down)
Culture/Music: This is a popular line in funk and soul music from the mid-1900s, made most popular by artist James Brown. He usually said this before he started dancing, which is exactly what happens in the music video.
Expression: To “get down” in music means to start dancing and having fun. Similarly, “Get down!” is what people yell when someone starts shooting a gun.
Deeper Meaning: A “barcode” is that black and white code that people scan to buy something or check the price. He could be saying black people are seen as something to buy or that have a price. Just objects.
You just a black man in this world
Drivin’ expensive foreigns, ayy
Slang: “Foreigns” are foreign cars. Rappers usually love to sing about foreign cars.
You just a big dawg, yeah
Slang: “Dawg” is a word that refers to another person, usually a man. It’s the same as dude, bro, etc.
A “kennel” is a shelter where dogs are kept. This plays on the word “dawg” from before, meaning he puts this man in his place or probably buries him in the backyard.
No, probably ain’t life to a dog
For a big dog
Understanding: These last two lines I can’t really understand what he’s saying, but this is more or less it.
“This is America” is such a cool song because its lyrics are full of double meanings, cultural references, and sarcastic criticisms. Again, I don’t really want to get into the deeper meaning of the lyrics, but it’s apparent that he is criticizing lots of modern hip hop. The video expresses this even more and his criticism shifts against America as a whole, even though he focuses more on the black experience.
Violence, racism, discrimination, and constant stereotypical pressures are just part of what can make life in America very tough for anybody, and especially the disadvantaged groups of people. Of course, black Americans are one of the greatest examples of this, and we see proof of it time and time again. The song is fun to listen to and dance to. The video is enticing with just as much meaningful content as the lyrics, and this song was a hit since the second it reached our screens.
This year’s Academy Awards (2021) were one of the most unique ceremonies we’ve seen in a long time. That might have something to do with the weird year that proceeded it. Still, this time around the Oscars said some interesting things about American society, and that’s what I want to get at today: What did these Oscars say about us? (Read about what other movies reveal about society in At the Movies) Just like the Covid-19 pandemic, the awards were a little, umm, odd. Despite its drift away from conventions, it was still a groundbreaking show for a few reasons. Let’s take a look, sh-shall we?
Less Exclusive, More Chill
Without getting too deep into the technical side of what made this year’s Oscars special, one thing you notice right off the bat is the more relaxed atmosphere. The awards themselves took place in Union Station, LA’s biggest transportation hub. The feel of it was a place where people of all kinds and classes pass through on their daily commutes. Downtown Los Angeles is also a lot more “of the people” than Hollywood traditionally is. This made the overall vibe more laid back and less exclusive than the usual Hollywood ceremonies. We also didn’t really see a Red Carpet or all the fancy fettering of previous shows. This made us (me, at least) feel more at home. After all, between that theater in Hollywood and Union Station, the station’s the only one I’ve ever been to.
Besides the actual venue, the whole mood seemed to be more relaxed. Because of coronavirus, there weren’t tons of people all grouped up into the station hall. With fewer attendees, the mood of the ceremonies felt more friendly. Even for me at home, I felt like I was more a part of the awards than in previous years, and a big reason why was the smaller group in attendance.
Of course, another reason why is that my people were represented! Yep, we had Questlove at DJ and interacting with the crowd. Lil Rel was making jokes all over the place. We even got to see Glenn Close getting wild, shaking her tail feather. The awards seemed a lot more intimate and laid back, which shows part of what people are craving right now. I speak for Americans, but people around the world, I’m sure, are craving less isolation and exclusivity. We want more inclusion, and we want things we can laugh at, something that represents us. With this year’s Oscars, that’s what we got!
Continuing on the thread of inclusion, the awards this year were highly inclusive of minorities. Well, at least as compared to prior years. They had black people nominated, Asian people, dead people, people who aren’t even American, Muslim people, Jewish people, and Christians (I’m sure). There were women nominated in roles that women rarely ever win or get nominated for. Specifically for women, two of them contested for big awards like directing, and (SPOILER) one of them won! Okay, that’s great, but let’s go back to those ethnicities.
The woman I was talking about that won, Chloé Zhao, is a walking glass-ceiling breaker. Not only is she the second woman to ever win best director, but she is also Chinese (by ethnicity) and Chinese! (by nationality) That means not only is she an ethnic minority, but a foreign woman who came across the sea and still won the award. That’s what I’m talking about. Other East Asians had success this year too. Steven Yeun of Korean background was the first East Asian contestant for best actor, and Youn Yuh-jung, a Korean actress from the same movie, won best supporting actress.
She is part of another diverse group this year. Actors in their “silver years” made up a good chunk of nominees and winners. Gotta represent for the 60+, right Anthony Hopkins? He ran up against another Brit, Riz Ahmed, one of the few Muslims and persons of South Asian ancestry to ever contest in the awards.
Diversity had become a big issue in the Oscars since the whole #OscarsSoWhite in 2016. Well, it had been an issue since forever, but it was finally changed after the hashtag was made. The success of foreign films like Parasite and black leading movies Get Outhave opened the way for more and more diversity in the Academy Awards in these last few years. These movies’ styles have been loved by filmmakers and moviegoers for years. Finally, they are being recognized in the most prestigious arenas.
Resting in Power
There was a lot to celebrate this year at the Oscars, but one thing still brought us down to earth for reflection. Every year there are tons of filmmakers that pass away and get mentioned in that sad montage in the middle of the awards. This year was another heartbreaking year of filmmakers that had to go, though there were some really big ones that left.
To remember just a few like the legendary Sean Connery and the infamous composer Ennio Morricone, we also had to say our goodbyes to Chadwick Boseman. He is the one that has had the most impact in popular film in the most recent years, and so he’ll probably be the most missed in the public eye for now. Still, so many huge talents in cinema left us this year, but the montage was at least lightened up. Instead of a slow sad song like usual, they played an upbeat song by Stevie Wonder this year. That made the whole section of the ceremony feel more lively like a celebration of great artists. We’ve had enough of crying and death! Now is time to celebrate life, am I right?
The last thing I want to talk about is Nomadland. It’s a pretty peculiar movie on its own. The movie had almost an entirely unprofessional cast, by which I mean they weren’t established actors yet. The documentary real-world style of the movie brought everyone down to the dirt once again. Besides the talented Zhao, McDormand, and their crew, the movie’s message was also special.
Taking place mostly outside under big skies, it fed into a desire many people have to get out and explore the world again. I don’t know about you, but after Covid, I’m not trying to stay cooped up inside the house again. I think the fact that this movie won best picture — and a whole lot of other awards — represented how much people are craving independence, freedom, and the big open sky. It’s a time to break free from lockdown and smell the fresh air, hit that road one more time. With the vaccine heavy underway, many of us are on that road and tasting that dream once again.
That’s all I’ve got to say. What did you guys think of this year’s Oscars? Was it really a unique ceremony, or just like all the others? Let me know what you think. And don’t forget to look around and read more posts here on Cult-Surf. You never know what you’ll discover 😉 Peace!
In this post, we will look at song lyrics from Nigerian artist Wizkid, along with rappers Drake and Skepta. The song is the remix of the original “Ojuelegba” from Wizkid’s Ayo album, which you can listen to here. This post is also a continuation of the series where we analyze English-language song lyrics for learners, called Lyrics “Explained”. I’ve mostly been covering songs from the U.S., Canada, or Britain, so this is a nice change-up (at least for one of the singers). It’s a good reminder that English is spoken throughout the world, and places like Nigeria make up an important side of English-language culture too. If you want to read “Ojuelegba (Remix)” lyrics without my explanations, you can find them here. I also got some help with translations since part of the song is in the Yoruba language. You can read more on Kilonso. Okay, here we go.
Song Lyrics (Wizkid, Drake, Skepta)
Ni Ojuelegba o, my people dey there
Other language: In the Yoruba language, “In Ojuelegba.” Ojuelegba is a busy suburb of Lagos, by the way.
Regional accent: Then in regional English dialect: “My people are there.”
My people suffer, dem dey pray for blessing eh
Regional speech: *”They all pray for blessings.”
Ni ojuelegba o, my people dey there
Dem dey pray for blessing, for better living eh eh
Are you feeling good tonight?
This thing got me thanking God for life
I can’t explain
I can’t explain, yeah
Are you feeling good tonight?
This thing got me thanking God for life
I just can’t explain
I can’t explain, no, no, yeah
Look, it’s gon’ be a long long time ‘fore we stop
Informal speech: *It’s going to be a long, long time before…
Boy better know, they better know who make the scene pop
Grammar: *Who makes the scene…
Slang: “Pop” here has the meaning of making something more lively, more exciting, like a party. “That place was popping!”
All I ever needed was a chance to get the team hot
Slang: “Hot” here can mean successful, famous, or anything similar to that. He refers to his group of friends and people working with him as his team.
Only thing I fear is a headshot or a screenshot
Grammar: *The only thing I fear…
Other vocabulary: A “headshot” is a gunshot to the head. A “screenshot” is a picture you take of your own phone’s screen. Basically, he fears either getting killed or someone finding out what’s on his phone. Haha.
Pree me, dem a pree me
Regional speech: “Pree” I think comes from Jamaica. It means to pay close attention to something. With a Jamaican patois accent, he’s saying that people are paying close attention to him, like the paparazzi or his fans.
Double meanings: It also sounds like “premie/premy,” an informal way to refer to people that were born prematurely. I don’t know if that was intended, but it could be an interesting way for him to compare these people to babies.
You know they only call me when they need me
I never go anywhere, they never see me
I’m the type to take it easy, take it easy
Idioms: “Take it easy” means to do things slowly and calmly, in a relaxed manner. “-How have you been? -Oh, I’ve been taking it easy.”
I took girls in the very first text I sent
I don’t beg no lovers, I don’t beg no friends
Grammar: Double negatives! *I don’t beg any…
If you wanna link, we can link right now
Slang: To “link” or “link up” is to get together with someone or to meet someone so you can spend time with them.
Skeppy, Wiz and Drake, it’s a ting right now
Names: Those are the names of the artists participating in this song.
Slang/Regional speech: Again with a Caribbean/African accent, Drake says “it’s a thing.” This means that they made something happen together, they accomplished something. “Thing” can have lots of weird underlying meanings depending on the situation and the speaker.
Are you feeling good tonight?
This thing got me thanking God for life
I can’t explain
I can’t explain eh yeah
When I was in school, being African was a diss
Slang: A “diss” or “dis” is something used to tease or make someone feel bad. It comes from the word “disrespect,” but has to do more with teasing or saying disrespectful things toward another.
Sounds like you need help saying my surname, Miss
Society: Having a foreign last name, Skepta’s teachers had a hard time pronouncing it when he was in school. This is a common occurrence for people who have foreign surnames.
Tried to communicate
But every day is like another episode of Everybody Hates Chris
Society/Culture: From Chris Rock’s TV show. Throughout the show, Chris suffers from racism for being the only black kid at his school.
Ever since mum said, “Son you are a king“
Culture/Society: This reminds me of “The Lion King” where young Simba is told that one day he will be king. I guess the idea is ever since he was a boy, a little kid.
I feel like Floyd when I’m stepping into the ring
Culture: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a famous boxer.
Just spoke to the boy, said he’s flying in with a ting
Grammar: *I just spoke…
Slang/Informal speech: By “the boy,” he probably is talking about Drake. Saying the “ting” again, it could mean any kind of cool thing that he’s bringing. It’s something important.
We’re touching the road to celebrate another win, we’re going in
Idiom/Figurative speech: “Touching the road” means to go on a trip. It could be literally on the road, like in a car/bus. It could also be just going on any trip. To “go in” can mean a lot of things. Here it means to really enjoy something, put in your biggest effort, to do something very well.
Why am I repping these ends? Man I don’t know
Slang: To “rep” is to represent something, usually a neighborhood or place of origin. “Ends” I believe is London slang meaning neighborhood.
The government played roulette with my postcode
Figurative speech: “Playing roulette” here gives the idea of the government randomly choosing where he and his family will live. It appears that in London’s project housing system, that has been a pretty common practice. Also, Skepta is from Tottenham, a rough neighborhood in London.
All I know is it’s where my people dem are suffering
Regional speech: “Dem” here doesn’t change the meaning of the phrase. It means “they” or “them.” It’s sort of a Caribbean/African style of talking.
I seen it before, narrate the story as it unfolds
Grammar: *I’ve seen it before…
Dad certified the settings and my mum knows
My mind full of more bullets than your gun holds
Figurative speech: He’s seen or heard lots of violence, gun shots.
Now I got the peng tings in the front row
Slang: “Peng” is British slang for beautiful, attractive, or appealing. “Tings” here probably refers to women, so he has pretty women at his shows.
Saying, “Skeppy come home, baby come home!”
Other info: “Come home” might be telling Skepta he’s welcome to come back to his ancestral homeland, Africa.
Yeah, I love the sun but I respect the rain
Figurative speech/Double meaning: The sun usually is a reference for good days, while the rain symbolizes hard times. This is especially common in music or literature. It also could be a reference to religion. He can love the Son (Jesus Christ) but respects his Reign (His power and authority). I don’t know if Skepta is religious or Christian, but it could be a double meaning either way.
Look forward to good times, can’t forget the pain
Idiom/Phrasal verb: To “look forward to” something is to be excited for it to happen. “I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!”
I was the kid in school with the ten-pound shoes
Society: “Pounds” referring to British currency. These are cheap shoes, probably in bad quality.
White socks, jack-ups and the pepper grains
Slang: “Jack-ups” refers to pants that are too small/short. “Pepper grains” refers to nappy hair or hair that is curly and kinky. It isn’t combed or brushed and has knots in it, so it looks like grains of black pepper.
Said they’re gonna respect me for my ambition
Grammar: *I said they’re going to …
Rest in peace my n***** that are missing
Informal/Figurative speech: “Missing” in this case really means dead.
I had to tell my story cuz they’d rather show you
Black kids with flies on their faces on the television
Society: Referring to the sad way Africans or black people are often portrayed on TV.
Eh e kira fun mummy mi o
Other language: More Yoruba; “Thanks for my mom”
Ojojumo lo n s’adura
“She prays every day”
Mon jaiye mi won ni won soro ju
“I’m enjoying my life, they are complaining”
Ojojumo owo n wole wa
“Every day, money is coming in”
E kira fun mummy mi o
Ojojumo lo n s’adura
Mon jaiye mi won ni won soro ju
Won ni won ni won soro ju
And the lyrics repeat.
Last Thoughts on Ojuelegba
Alright, we’ve got Nigeria on the list! This song has an amazing rhythm and is such a relaxing yet upbeat song at the same time. I recommend you listen to it if you haven’t yet. Throughout the lyrics, we join the struggles of growing up in the ghetto or in rough neighborhoods. There is some reflection of hard times, but also a celebration for how much better things are now. These difficulties have made these singers who they are today, and they’re proud of it. Nigeria does have a lot of English speakers, but the country is multi-ethnic and -linguistic. It’s great that we get to see some Yoruba and be more multicultural. In fact, that’s one of the best parts of English-speaking countries, anyway!
What do you think? Did you like this song? Can you relate to its message? And what about you who are from Nigeria or have visited Lagos. What can you tell us about it? Leave a comment below to share. Otherwise take care, everyone!
A small-town girl from the American Midwest disappears suddenly … and her husband is the prime suspect. Well, actually she’s a grown woman, but you get my point. This is the main plot of this post’s subject, Gone Girl. It was a book by Gillian Flynn that turned into a popular movie. It’s directed by David Fincher (for the movie nerds out there) and was nominated for a lot of awards too. By the way, this is part of a series where we (lightly) analyze English-language movies. If you like that sort of thing, there are more posts like this here.
We’ll look at what the movie has to say about American society at large, as well as some general themes of the film. If you haven’t seen it yet, there might be some spoilers, I can’t make any promises. You can find it on platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix, though it depends on your country or region. The trailer is up top in case you want to refresh your memory or check it out for the first time.
What does the movie, Gone Girl, have to say about American culture or society? For starters, let’s look at where it’s set. The movie takes place mostly in a fictional town in northeast Missouri. It’s not far from the Mississippi River which forms the border with Illinois. Why is that important? Well, Missouri is a state smack in the middle of the USA. Southern Missouri is a lot more like the South in terms of culture and other ways, while the north is a bit more like the Midwest. Even being in the same country (in this case the same state), being in the Midwest shows a greater lean towards mainstream, heartland American values and identity. You can kind of see the difference in accents, where some people have stronger “rural” or Southern accents where others have a more typical American accent. I’ll explain a bit later.
The Mississippi River is the longest, most iconic river in the country. We see big homes with green lawns, quiet streets with cul-de-sacs, and small brick-stone towns. This is all typical of an American city suburb. There are also some scenes that describe what the weather is like in much of the Midwest during the summer. You have people searching for Amy (the gone “girl”) in green fields full of bugs and sweating under the sticky, humid air. There are some scenes by the river or poolside that show us how hot it is. I don’t remember if there is a winter scene, but I feel like there was. Either way, the Midwest also gets extremely cold in the winter months.
Gone Girl is set in modern times, which is important for this next section.
Maybe you haven’t noticed lately, but the media, especially social and mass media, have been impacting lots of people’s behaviors. From liking photos to deciding whether or not to wear a mask, these platforms have a bigger impression on most of us than we might think. The news especially has a way of leading us into believing what the studio thinks. If they don’t think anything, they are good at making the situation a lot more dramatic than it is. Even before Covid (I know, feels like forever), lots of people were suspicious of mass media and the news. They have a habit of accentuating the bad stuff and pushing people to be more scared than they need to. I’m sure this happens almost everywhere, but Americans have a long history of being suspicious of the government and any other entity that has too much power.
Still, this precaution doesn’t keep most of the town along with some of the investigators from believing that Nick (Ben Affleck’s character) really killed his wife. The news repeats this accusation and fires up conflict at a time when Nick’s involvement isn’t really suspected. This plays on our society’s recent growth in protecting women’s rights and protecting women in at-risk situations like domestic violence. Although this is a very real problem across the globe, the story shows how some women take advantage of this movement toward equality. There are those who intentionally try to harm the image of a man. There have been lots of scandals in recent years of women doing exactly this, as a matter of fact.
The fact that the community starts to turn against Nick after seeing the news sheds light on their innocence. There is a general perception that people from the city are sinners and those from the country are saints. That’s meant figuratively, but in Gone Girl, you can see how much of the community was influenced by the news. They were manipulated into the version of the story that would get more views, higher ratings. Another example of this is one of Amy’s (Rosamund Pike’s character) friends who jogs regularly and talks with her. Amy recognizes her innocence and tricks the woman into trusting her, steadily turning the woman against Nick. These people live a more relaxed, quiet, and routine suburban life. They don’t come across many bizarre situations like this very often. In the end, they don’t know what to believe or what to do about it.
Besides them turning against Nick, we also see how tight-knit this community is. This is a common feature in small towns across the country. People really look after each other and talk with one another when passing on the street, which isn’t as common in big cities. Other themes about the characters’ behaviors are the unhappy couple trying to fake a perfect marriage by putting up a false face of unity. Amy is robbed by a traveling couple with guns. This sheds light on the somewhat loose gun laws in certain states and the hardships many people in rural America face. This can go to the point of committing serious crimes on one another. This touches on gun culture being stronger in the American interior too. Missouri actually has a fairly high crime rate and lots of underprivileged areas. This reality is shown in a few scenes too.
Crime & Violence
This is essentially a crime-novel-turned-crime-movie. A cocky big-shot lawyer, constant snooping by the police, and investigators being quick to decide what happened before the case is closed; these are all common tropes in the crime genre. If you watch CSI or Law & Order, you know exactly what I mean. One thing that’s very apparent, especially near the end of the movie, is the high level of violence and bloodshed. Gone Girl isn’t really a violent movie, but it has a big bloody moment towards the end.
This touches on how common violence is in American moviemaking. I don’t want to say that we all love blood and guts (some do), but from our movies, you’d think so! There is also the theme of a couple staying together “for the baby,” which Amy sneakily tricks Nick into having. She uses her pregnancy in the end to trap Nick into their marriage. This is another note on the manipulation some women perform over men in their complicated relationships. To be fair, she manipulates pretty much everybody in this movie.
Besides small-town family values, heartland America identity, and rural/suburban naivety, there’s one last theme that’s really interesting. If you want, you can read more about this here. The woodshed is where Amy leaves her secrets, and it’s where Nick eventually finds out what’s happening. The woodshed represents a common part of many American homes where a family might store things they don’t use often. It can also be an unexpected symbol for how a figurative “mess” builds up during a relationship, then gets pushed deeper into the “shed.” There’s a related phrase in English: “come out of the woodwork.” This means that something comes out of hiding and into the light from an unexpected place. Basically, it becomes clearer. This seems like a funny way to show this idea. The truth comes out of the actual woodwork, or rather, the woodshed.
That’s all, everybody. I hope you enjoyed this look at Gone Girl and some of its themes, meanings, and cultural insights. It’s a story about relationship issues, lies, manipulation, and a whole lot of media interference. Even though Nick cheated on his wife, Amy did a lot more than expose him for it. She kind of ruined his life, not to mention forcing him to keep a marriage he was all but done with. This movie is reminiscent of a TV crime series, and it shows us why those programs can be addicting. Some of the most outrageous and deviant crimes happen out in the country where it seems like no one is watching. But boy, did we watch this one!
Please comment if you agree or disagree with parts of this post. What other ways does Gone Girl touch on true or stereotypical parts of American society? What about society in another country? Share your thoughts, my wonderful reader! And take care out there.