Songs to Learn English: The Present Simple


I Say a Little Prayer for You by Aretha Franklin

Released in 1968 by the American Soul singer.

Themes: Daily routines, Love

Note: 1st person


You Look Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton

Released in 1977 by the British rock and blues musician

Themes: Daily Routines, Love

Note: 3rd person singular


For No One by The Beatles

Released in 1966 by the British band.

Themes: Heartbreak and Loss, Memory

Note: ‘Linger’ – to stay in a place longer than expected, or to be slow in leaving.


Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars

Released in 2010 by the American pop singer

Themes: Love, Self-Acceptance

Note: ‘Bother’ – to take the trouble to do something.


An Englishman in New York by Sting

Released in 1987 by the British musician

Themes: Cultural identity/Stereotypes, Manners, Alienation & Belonging

Note: ‘Manners’ – Polite social behaviour, ‘Propriety’ – conforming to conventionally accepted behaviour or morals, ‘Notoriety’ – being famous or well-known in a negative way


Ob-la-di Ob-la-da by The Beatles

Released in 1968 by the British band.

Themes: Everyday life, Happiness, Marriage

Note: ‘Barrow’ – a large wheeled cart to take goods to market to sell. ‘Brah’ – a casual term for brother or to address a (male) friend.


She’s Not Just a Pretty Face by Shania Twain

Released in 2002 by the American pop singer

Themes: Women’s Empowerment, Breaking Stereotypes, Equality, Jobs

Note: ‘Rodeo’ – a sport involving horse riding and cowboy skills, ‘Valet’ – a person employed to park cars, ‘Geologist’ – a person who studies rocks


Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word by Elton John

Released by the British singer-songwriter in 2014

Themes: Regret, Apology

Note: ‘Lightening strikes’ – a metaphor for a sudden and shocking event, ‘Absurd’ – ridiculous, ”Talk it over’ – to discuss something .


I Am What I Am by Gloria Gaynor

Released in 1984 by the American soul singer

Themes: Identity, Pride, Self-Acceptance

Note: ‘Give me the hook or the ovation’ – A stage hook used to be used to pull a performer off stage if they were performing badly, an ovation is what the audience gives (clapping) if the performer does well. ‘Bang my own drum’ – do things my own way. ‘Sham’ – something that is false. ‘Aces and deuces’ – The highest (ace) and the lowest (deuce) cards in many card games. ‘Open up your closet’ – To reveal something you’ve previously hidden i.e. the skeleton in your closet.


Our House by Madness

Released in 1982 by the British ska band

Themes: Family life, home, routines

Notes: ‘Sunday best’ – your best clothes which you traditionally wear on Sundays, ‘House-proud’ – taking pride in the appearance and cleanliness of your house, ‘Sees them off’ – To say goodbye to someone who is leaving.