Life is like a book to be read. One does not know what the person’s story is like unless he reads his life from cover to cover, reflecting on what his life is like and comparing it to one’s own- who were the enemies in life, what could have been different, what made the life the way it is and can it change. When Crowded House released its song “Don’t Dream It’s Over” in October 1986, the theme is life and the adventures that went along with it. A person is on a journey with his partner facing the obstacles that elude them and finding ways to overcome them.
Yet despite this song reaching number one in the polls worldwide, several remakes were released, whose music and videos appear different from each other. This includes one by Sixpence None The Richer in 2003, which made it to the Top 10 in the USA. Despite the difference in music mix and the scenery, both versions have made it to the Files’ Genre of the Week not just because of the lyrics but also the style it was composed, thus warranting a small activity for students of English as a Foreign Language to analyse and contemplate.
- Silent Viewing- Look at the two videos by Crowded House and Sixpence. Look at the difference in terms of background and scenery. How are the cameras placed? What are the emotions of the singers when reading their lips and making gestures? What is the overall mood?
- Listening- Now listen to the melody of both and describe how they both affect the listener in an emotional way. Imagine the scenery of the two songs- are they melancholy or euphoric? Do they fit the description of the two videos?
- Which of the two songs would you prefer and why?
- Which of the two songs matches your personality and/or personal situation in life? A short biography of your own life may help.
This activity is good individually but better in groups. The teacher can add some questions and other exercises to go along with what is above, pending on the time given. If the latter, feel free to comment in the Comment section. 🙂
And now, the song with its two selected versions. Enjoy! 🙂
Crowded House: Founded in 1985, it featured Neil Finn (lead singer), Paul Hester (percussion), and Nick Seymour (bass). It later included Tim Finn, Mark Hart and Matt Sherrod. The Finn brothers were New Zealanders, Hester and Seymour were Australians, while Hart and Sherrod were Americans. For 11 years, the band released four albums with many songs reaching the top 25 in the Anglo-Saxon countries and Europe. The band split up after a Farewell Tour in 1996 but reunited in 2005 after Paul Hester committed suicide. Two more albums were released before the band went on hiatus in 2011. They have been out of the spotlight ever since.
Six Pence None the Richer: Established in 1992, this band features lead singer Leigh Nash, Matt Slocum, Rob Mitchell and Justin Cary. Originating from New Braunfels, Texas, the band is a Christian rock/pop band and have released six albums, whose songs first started out as Christian folk before heading into mainstream country and pop with some Christian flair. Minus a three-year hiatus, the band is still performing to this day.