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Music to Your Ears:A powerful mix !

【明報專訊】Hong Kong students these days are keenly aware of environmental issues. The recent high profile of Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg, whose campaign has gained international recognition, shows the power of mixing youth and social issues. But how can we channel this enthusiasm into language learning?

This week we will look at ''Different World'' by Alan Walker. This song has great lyrics that work to drive a powerful message and provide lots to think about. The use of many short syllables in the last verse works to create a strong rhythm that propels the song into the last chorus, and the melody uses a tight range to make an almost chant-like feeling. This all works together to create a great EDM pop song that seems very popular in my school.

My students have selected several Alan Walker songs to perform, including ''Different World''. This song was sung by Maggie in form 3, and Vicky in form 2 as the duo ''Ali''. Both Maggie and Vicky ran for Student Union this year, with Maggie running for SU President; quite ambitious for a junior form student!

Q: asked Maggie(M) and Vicky(V) about the song.

Q: Why do you like this song?

M: We hear so much about environmental issues recently, so we really enjoy singing the words and trying to highlight these concerns for our audience.

V: This song also gives us a chance to sing parts together and parts separately too. I sing the lower section, and Maggie sings the higher section. It seems to work well and sounds nice!

Q: What is your favourite part of the song?

V: I think the last verse is the most fun because of the way the words mix with Mr Michael on piano.

M: For me, I think the best part of this song is how the song can have many different meanings. We usually think this song is all about the environment, but if you look at the words carefully, it can actually be about the current situation in Hong Kong, and how young people see the future of Hong Kong.

Indeed, the best lyrics allow the listener to hear many different things and create different meanings from what they interpret. ''Different World'' can be commentary on the environment, politics, society, or even relationships. Its music video clearly focuses on the environment but try to listen to just the audio and focus on the words. What does the song mean for you?

◆'Different World'

All we know, left untold, beaten by a broken dream

Nothing like what it used to be

We've been chasin' our demons down an empty road

Been watchin' our castle turnin' into dust

Escapin' our shadows just to end up here once more

And we both know

This is not the world we had in mind but we got time

And we are stuck on answers we can't find

But we got time ...

And even though we might've lost tonight

The skyline reminds us of a different time

This is not the world we had in mind but we got time

Broken smile, tired eyes, I can feel your longing heart

Call my name, howlin' from afar

We've been fightin' our demons just to stay afloat

Then building a castle just to watch it fall

Been runnin' forever just to end up here once more

And now we know

Take me back, back to the mountainside

Under the northern lights, chasing the stars ...

When we were full of life, back to the start

But we both know that

■Glossary

propel 推動

EDM(=electronic dance music) 電子舞曲

longing充滿渴望的

mountainside 山腰

■Quiz

Circle the correct answer using information from the passage.

(1)''Different World'' is written for political purposes.

(True / False / Not given)

(2) a. (Political / environmental)issues are the major theme of this song. But the song can have b. (similar / different)messages to different listeners.

By Michael Agopsowicz Veteran Secondary NET

Chairperson of Hong Kong Schools English Band Showcase

FB/IG: mrmichaelteacher

Audio: link.mingpao.com/60979.htm

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