learn english with song lyrics

15 Superb Songs with Lyrics to Learn English Through Karaoke

Have you ever heard of an empty orchestra?

The word karaoke means “empty orchestra” in Japanese.

Karaoke lets you sing along to your favorite songs by removing the singer’s voice and leaving only the music. “Empty orchestra” makes sense now, doesn’t it?

If you’ve never tried karaoke, you’re truly missing out!

Whether you do it alone or in a group, it’s fun to sing as well (or as terribly!) as you want. You can pretend you’re the famous singer, in front of a huge audience.

And while you’re at it, you can learn an incredible amount of English.

If you already use songs and lyrics to learn English, karaoke will take that learning one step higher for you.

Learning English with karaoke can help you:

After all, who said learning English can’t be fun?
 


 
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How to Learn English with Song Lyrics Through Karaoke

Before you grab that microphone (or the pen you’re pretending is a microphone), there are some things you should do to prepare.

  • Choose a good song. Some songs have more complex (difficult) and longer lyrics. Others are just a few sentences repeated over and over. Each song has a different level of learning you can get from it.
  • Listen to the song a few times. This is especially true if you don’t know the song very well yet. If this is your favorite song and you already know it by heart…well, you’ll enjoy hearing it a few more times!
  • Read the lyrics. The lyrics of a song are the words it uses. If you don’t know all the words to a song, you can look them up online. There are many websites that list song lyrics, like Metrolyrics or AZLyrics.
  • Identify and define words and phrases you don’t know. You’ll be learning new words and then immediately using them, which is one of the best ways to learn new vocabulary.
  • Understand the song. Understanding the words is great, but do you understand the song itself? What are the words saying? Some songs tell a story, while others share feelings and thoughts. If you’re not sure what the song means, try looking it up on Song Meanings, where people discuss what a song might mean, or on Song Lyrics Meaning.

Now you’re ready to sing along! Start with any of the songs below, or find your own on YouTube or Vimeo by searching for a song with the word “karaoke” after the title.

15 Superb Songs with Lyrics to Learn English Through Karaoke

1. “Let It Go” – Demi Lovato

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

Disney’s most recent movie “Frozen” captured people’s hearts, and the song “Let It Go” was one of the biggest hits from it. It’s a song about losing control and ending up in a place where no person can reach you.

Words you might not know:

  • Isolation – Being completely alone and removed from the rest of the world.
  • The wind is howling – When a wind blowing very strong, it sounds like it’s howling like a wolf.
  • Conceal – To hide.
  • Grieve – To feel sad about something that happened (like a death).
  • Hold it back – To prevent something from happening. If you hold back your emotion, you keep it inside yourself and don’t let it come out.

2. “Blank Space” – Taylor Swift

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

Some people have a reputation, a way that people view them because of past actions. In Taylor Swift’s popular song “Blank Space,” the girl has a reputation of being with many guys and getting her heart broken a lot. In the song, Taylor is talking to a man who might be “her next mistake,” who she believes will only date her and then leave her, instead of loving her.

Words you might not know:

  • Rumors – Stories people tell, usually about other people, that may not be true.
  • Reckless – Doing something without thinking it through, or without caring about the results, even if it’s dangerous.
  • Incredible – So amazing it’s hard to believe.

3. “Demons” – Imagine Dragons

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

This is a sad song about a man who sees evil, greed and bad people all around him. He believes that he is one of those bad people, and that he hides his demons deep inside of him so he won’t hurt the one he loves. He wants to protect his love, but he thinks it’s impossible because the world is so full of negative things, and even though he tries to control it, he’s a bad man.

Words you might not know:

  • Hail – Hail can mean icy rain, but in this song it’s used as a verb that means to say good things about people.
  • Shelter – A safe place to hide from nature or people.
  • Masquerade – A party where everyone wears masks.
  • Greed – Wanting more than what you have, especially when it’s something others have and you don’t.
  • Woven – Sewn together with strips of material—or in this case, just connected very strongly.

4. “A Thousand Years” – Christina Perri

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

This romantic song is about someone who has been waiting for their love for a thousand years, but will keep waiting for them forever if they have to.

Words you might not know:

  • Doubt – Something you’re not sure about.
  • Brave – Showing courage, doing something that might be scary even if you’re afraid.

5. “She Will Be Loved” – Maroon 5

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

This song is about a boy that loves a girl who sees him as just a friend. Even though he’s always the one to help her when she’s sad, and he makes her feel loved, she’s always going out with someone else.

Words you might not know:

  • Pouring rain – When the rain is so strong, it’s almost like someone is pouring it out.
  • Insecure – Someone who doesn’t feel confident about themselves.
  • Compromise – A way of resolving problems by having everyone meet halfway.

6. “I’m Yours” – Jason Mraz

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

Life is short, so when you meet someone you think you love, you should just go with it and tell them! At least, that’s what this is song is saying.

Words you might not know:

  • Be chill – A very informal way of saying “to be very calm.”
  • Reckon – To guess or imagine, although this word is not used that often outside movies showing southerners from the United States.
  • Scootch closer – Move a little closer.
  • Complicate – Make things more difficult.

7. “Hey There Delilah” – Plain White T’s

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

Delilah is living in New York City, but the singer of this song is not. The singer is sure, though, that one day he’ll be able to make a lot of money with the songs he writes, and they’ll be able to live together.

Words you might not know:

  • Disguise – When you try to look like someone or something else, using a mask or outfit. You can also disguise your feelings by making it seem like you’re feeling something different from what you really are.
  • My word is good – An informal phrase that means “you can trust what I say.”
  • To blame – To say who or what is responsible for something happening.

8. “Just Give Me a Reason” – Pink, featuring Nate Ruess

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

Have you ever seen a relationship fall apart? The female in this song feels like her relationship with the man is ending because of little things (he doesn’t lie close to her in bed anymore), and asks for just one reason to try and keep the relationship going. The male, on the other hand, doesn’t see anything as being wrong, and doesn’t understand why the woman feels this way.

Words you might not know:

  • Victim – Someone who has been hurt or harmed, in this case emotionally.
  • Running wild – An idiom that means to go bad or crazy. If your head is running wild, you’re having thoughts you can’t control.
  • Come clean – Admit to something, or to doing something; to confess.

9. “Spell” – Marie Digby

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

This beautiful song tells the story of a girl who is just a simple girl when she’s offstage. But the moment she gets up on stage and starts to sing, she gets everyone’s attention and changes the way they think about her. She “puts a spell on them”—or charms them with her singing.

Words you might not know:

  • Spotlight – A light that shines on someone who is on stage. This can also mean to put someone in the center of everyone’s attention.
  • Wear your heart on your sleeve – To make your feelings obvious.
  • Emanate – When lights, sounds, or other kinds of forces (in this case, beauty) are created by a person or thing (like a house).
  • Eloquent – Someone who is good at using words.
  • Graceful – Someone or something that moves in a beautiful or elegant way.

10. “Still Into You” – Paramore

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

A lot of songs talk about relationships coming apart, but this one talks about a relationship that’s been strong for a long time and is still doing great. The singer is saying that even after all this time together, the couple still loves each other.

Words you might not know:

  • Fingers interlock – To put the fingers of two hands between each other (like clasping them).
  • Recount – To tell the story of something.
  • Into you – An informal way of saying that you like someone.

11. “Face Down” – Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

Abuse in a relationship is a terrible thing that can be hard to break out of. “Face Down” describes a relationship in which the man is hurting the woman. The song talks to the man, telling him that every bad thing he does to the woman will come back to hurt him in the end.

Words you might not know:

  • Crumble – Fall apart into pieces, like a cake or a wall.
  • Push around – This can mean to literally push someone, or it can mean to order someone around and tell them what to do.
  • Ripple – The wave circles that you see on water when something small hits it.

12. “Taking Chances” – Celine Dion

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

Sometimes when you meet a person you just want to forget everything and take a chance on being with them. “Taking Chances” is about a moment like that, where the singer doesn’t know anything about a person but wants to take a chance on them anyway.

Words you might not know:

  • Not meant to last –  Something that will probably end soon.
  • Hell to pay – You can say this when something happens that will make someone very angry.

13. “I Got You Under My Skin” – Frank Sinatra

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

In this song, the singer talks about a woman who means a lot to him, even if she’s not the right person for him. Every time he tries to move on he can’t, because the woman has become a part of him—she is “under his skin.”

Words you might not know:

  • Sacrifice To give something up that means a lot to a person in return for something that’s for the better.
  • Give in To resist, but finally say yes without really wanting to.
  • Mentality The way you think about something.

14. “Shattered” – The Rolling Stones

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

New York City is a huge city of opportunities for some, but to The Rolling Stones it was a place full of people wanting to steal your money. This song describes NYC’s darker side.

Words you might not know:

  • Shattered Broken in pieces, like glass.
  • In tatters Ripped up, usually talking about clothes or fabrics.
  • Battered Hit by hard blows.
  • Splattered Splashed liquid on something.

15. “Dumb Ways to Die” – Tangerine Kitty

Hear it: Original version | Karaoke version

This song is actually a commercial! It was created for Australian Metro Trains, and it’s supposed to teach train safety. It does this by listing different dumb ways to die, and then saying that one of the dumbest ways to die is by not following safety rules when waiting for the train.

Words you might not know:

  • Psycho Crazy, insane.
  • Boom gates – The gates meant to stop cars from driving over train tracks when a train is coming.

If you haven’t grabbed a hairbrush or marker as your microphone yet, go ahead and get started! There are so many songs waiting to be sung—by you. So start singing karaoke to have fun improving your English today!
 

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