Kasabian – Fire

Hello and welcome another ELTune! I went to see this Leicester-based band a few weeks ago and they really were on fire! I’m a huge fan of their self-titled first album and some tracks off the second, then I didn’t really follow them for a few years. Their gig has changed that and I’d like to feature this belter of a tune on the blog today to keep the fire in your students burning in the run-up to the Christmas holidays.

Photocopiable lyrics here                           Video here

Shake me into the night
And I’m an easy lover
Take me into the fight
And I’m an easy brother
And I’m on fire

Burn my sweet effigy
I’m a road runner
Spill my guts on a wheel
I wanna taste uh-huh
And I’m on fire
And I’m on fire

And I’m on fire…
(I’m going, you tell me, I feel it, I say it
I’m heading back into the tunnel for my soul to burn)
And I’m on fire…
(I’m coming, you coming, no hiding, my feeling
I wanna take it to the highest over me, yeah…)
Whoo Whoo
Whoo Whoo

Wire me up to machines
I’ll be your prisoner
Find it hard to believe
You are my murderer
I’m on fire behind you
Heads a fallen sky

And I’m on fire…
(I’m going, you tell me, I feel it, I say it
I’m heading back into the tunnel for my soul to burn)
And I’m on fire…
(I’m coming, you coming, no hiding, my feeling
I wanna take it to the highest over me, yeah…)

And I’m on fire…
I’m on fire…

Move on, you got to move on
You got to hit ’em to the hip
And get your shake on                 x2

I feel it, I want it, I’m coming, I tell ya,
I caught the bullet from the heavens to the one you serve,
I’m going, I’m running, out to the highest love
I’m wanna hit you to the hip…

(I’m on fire…)
Move on, you got to move on
You got to hit ’em to the hip
And get your shake on               x2

(Lyrics courtesy of AZ)

Background:

  • Kasabian were formed in 1997 in Leicester, England. Their music is said to have some elements of The Stone Roses and Primal Scream “with the swagger of Oasis”. This tune was released in June 2009.
  • The band named themselves after Linda Kasabian, who was associated with the criminal Charles Manson. (For all the linguists out there: The word is also a surname commonly found in Armenia, which comes from the Arabic word for butcher. What are the chances?!)
  • The song was created from two different pieces of music which were then combined, the sound liked to that of two split personalities – according to one of the band members – and like two bands elbowing each other off the stage.
  • The reference to fire represents an uncontrollable and perhaps unstable person who lives life on the edge, who doesn’t care what people think of him. A calm and easy-going person one minute, a rebel the next.

Why should you teach it?

Kasabian are one of a few decent bands to come out of the UK in recent years. This tune is loud, it’s catchy and the build up from verse to chorus is like a revving engine of a car ready to race off into the distance, or something to that effect… It’s bound to wake up even the sleepiest of classes!

What can you do with it?

Now this week I’m NOT going to pre-teach any vocabulary  – something I’ve learnt from Penny Ur in an excellent course I’m currently taking with iTDi. If students ask for the meaning of certain lexis, I’d encourage open class discussion and have them work things out through the context or components of words they already know, and I’d rather explain some things myself because it’s good listening practice and my students are exposed to English, which they don’t get to hear very often outside of class. I’d probably use images to convey certain vocabulary, too.

Elicit adjectives to describe this tune, how does it make them feel? What’s their opinion of it and can they discuss the story behind the lyrics? Split them up into groups and give out parts of the song to focus on, then come back together and see what they think before revealing the real meaning.

I also love the sounds – V and th in the first verse (good pronunciation practice for German-speakers especially) and the alliteration in road runner and hit ‘em to the hip. 

Grammar-wise, you could focus on imperatives, present simple/continuous, futures with will… and the vocabulary contains a lot of collocations with on, so that is worth exploring. Many words associated with movement, heat and light, and many cultures use effigies to represent historical or mythical figures during celebrations (Guy Fawkes in the UK, Sechseläuten here in Zürich.)

What else?

Use this to give a quick pep talk to your classes if they are not very confident in their English abilities.

Review personality vocabulary, get more advanced students to take an online personality test – this one takes about 10 minutes so could be done at home if there’s not enough time, then the results discussed in the next lesson. Some questions (and vocabulary) on the topic of personality can be found here.

This tune has featured heavily in sports in recent years – an advert for the Super Bowl, the soundtrack to a Formula 1 video game, and the English Premier League. Leicester City also use it when they score goals. Discuss why this particular song was chosen, or talk about sports and get students to make questions using the prompts with these Sports questionnaire.

Perhaps it’s been used because it is motivating. Do they have a favourite tune that motivates them to wake up in the morning, do sport or study for an important test? Some more discussion questions on motivation here.

There is also mention of murder and a prisoner in this song. If you know your class well enough, you could talk about Charles Manson who just recently died in prison (linking nicely to the band name as well.) Have them do some research on this high profile criminal and his “family”. What motivated them to commit these crimes? More discussion questions on this tricky topic and a short video about Manson here.

I hope you enjoy teaching this ELTune!

 

 

 

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