The Prodigy – Narayan

Hello, everyone! ELTunes is back after a very long break with one of the best tracks The Prodigy has ever produced, spurred on by the terrible news about frontman Keith Flint who took his own life over the weekend.

The Prodigy are probably not considered for classroom use because of their normally sparse or explicit lyrics and their music is not to everyone’s taste, but I am a big fan of the band, so I’m going to talk about how you can use Nayaran to introduce this iconic British band, discuss a range of topics such as western and eastern culture or healthy living, plus it gives students some good, repetitive exposure to first conditionals and present tenses.

Pre-listening

Show a photo of the striking former band member Keith Flint and see if students recognise him.

Get them to describe him and feed in any new adjectives as necessary. What is their first impression of him?

Let them share any knowledge they have with the rest of the class e.g. songs they know.

If they are stumped, you can tell them some of the following information:

 

  • His name is Keith Flint, born in Braintree, Essex in 1969.
  • Vocalist and dancer in The Prodigy, a popular electronic music band formed in 1990.
  • Famous songs include Firestarter, Breathe and Out of Space (play clips if you can!)
  • The band are well-known for their energetic live shows (ditto.)
  • Fun fact: Keith was a keen motorcyclist and had his own team which won a number of races at the Isle of Man TT races.
  • He was dependent on prescription drugs for a number of years but gave them up, along with cigarettes and alcohol.
  • Found dead in his home in Essex early March 2019 and had a history of depression.
  • Not as scary as he looks!

 

  • Alternatively, get them to do some quick research on their mobile devices and share 3 facts with the class.

The tune

  • Copy the lyrics and let students listen to Narayan while reading them.

Narayan (feat. Crispian Mills) from the album Fat of the Land released in 1997

If you believe the western sun
Is falling down on everyone
You’re breaking free and the morning’s come
If you would know, your time has come
If you believe the western sun
Is falling down on everyone
And you feel it burn, not try to run
And you feel it burn, your time has come

I feel it…

I feel another energy
I feel a power growing
I feel another energy
I feel a power growing

I feel another energy
I feel a power growing

If you believe the western sun
Is falling down on everyone
You’re breaking free and the morning’s come
If you would know, your time has come
If you believe the western sun
Is falling down on everyone
And you feel it burn, not try to run
And you feel it burn, your time has come

I feel it…

I feel another energy
I feel a power growing
I feel another energy
I feel a power growing

I feel another energy
I feel a power growing

Om-nama-narayan-a [x18]
I feel it
I feel it
I feel it
I feel another energy

I feel another energy
I feel a power growing
I feel another energy
I feel a power growing

I feel another energy.
You feel another energy
And I feel power through it
You feel another energy
And I feel power through it.

(lyrics courtesy of azlyrics.com)

There is no video for this track as it was never released as a single, but you can play it from YouTube with the album art.

Post-listening

Ask students to discuss what they think the song is about (pairs/groups). Break it down into phrases or words e.g. What is the Western Sun? What does the chanting remind them of? Put ideas on the board.

There are MANY interpretations and it’s actually not about anything in particular, but some ideas:

  • The sun comes up in the East but “falls” in the West, the Western Sun more powerful and destructive.
  • The Western Sun could be compared to the night time can be for some i.e. when the party starts,
  • West vs. East (culture) i.e. the East/Another Energy (China) becoming more powerful than the West (politically, economically, culturally).
  • Maybe the singer is feeling disconnected from the West and looks for more meaning in the East.
  • Western culture is dying (the Western Sun is falling down on everyone)
  • Some people see it as (nuclear) war, with the sun representing an atomic bomb and the people have to run away.
  • There is said to be a religious connection: Narayana is the creator God in Hinduism, but also the God of destruction. Namaah means “the beautiful”.  Keith Flint was interested in theology and was a bit of a hippy back in the day, apparently! The singer on this track is from a band called Kula Shaker, who also made reference to Hindu culture in their music.
  • Why it is called Narayan and not Narayana is unknown.

 

Post-listening discussion ideas

  • Ask students to suggest the best ways to increase our energy (e.g sports, sleep, certain foods, etc.) and, if appropriate, ask if they do any of their suggestions. You could also compare with activities that decrease your energy (e.g. eating fast food)

Let them make suggestions and emphasise the importance of self care to combat mental health issues such as depression.

  • Start a problem-solving activity and get students thinking about survival – Which items are essential in the event of a disaster e.g. (nuclear) war and which things aren’t as important? (If you teach Swiss students, they may well tell you about supplies in their nuclear bunker!)
  • You can get them practising the first conditional based on the lyrics e.g. “If there is a disaster, you will need… “, or something similar.
  • Set them a challenge of choosing a limited number of items only e.g. 5 things and encourage them to justify their choices. You could then set an item limit for the class and students then have to defend their choices and come up with a definitive list for everyone.

RIP Keith Flint, you legend x

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