Song Lyric Stories


Problem statement (as story)
Identify/Generate the principle
Time: 10-15 minutes

(Assignment designed by Rhonda Chollok)

This activity is best used as review (after you've done Problem Statement Fairy Tales, Spool of Twine, and Mad Libs).
 
1. Play songs that tell stories using the four parts, and distribute the lyrics. (Or just distribute the lyrics.)
2. Ask students to read the lyrics (aloud?) and then identify the four parts, by writing down paraphrases with a partner.
3. Ask students if they can come up with any other songs that fit the model. If they do, have them find the lyrics and distribute them via e-mail or in class.
Scroll down for the lyrics of Johnny Cash's "Mean Eyed Cat" and Outkast's "Ms Jackson" (contains some explicit language, esp. in the final verse).

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Mean Eyed Cat
Johnny Cash

 
I give my woman half my money at the general store
I said, "Now buy a little groceries, and don't spend no more."
But she gave ten dollars for a ten cent hat
And bought some store bought cat food for a mean eyed cat.
 
When I give her ten more dollars for a one way ticket
She was mad as she could be
Then I bet ten more that if she ever left
She'd come a-crawlin' back to me
 
When I woke up this mornin' and I turned my head
There wasn't a cotton pickin' thing on her side of the bed
I found a little old note where her head belonged
It said, "Dear John, honey, baby, I'm long gone."
 
When I heard a whistle blowin', and the big wheels a-turnin'
I was scared as I could be
I put on my overalls and I headed to town
Gonna bring her back with me.
 
I asked the man down at the station if he'd seen her there
I told him all about her pretty eyes and long, blonde hair
He spit his tobacco, said, "I'll be dad blamed......
I believe I did see her leavin' on the east bound train."
 
I bought a round trip ticket on the east bound train
I was broke as I could be
But when I come back, gotta buy another ticket
Gotta bring her back with me.
 
Well, I got off the train somewhere in Arkansas
And I worked up the guts to call my Mother-In-Law
She said, "I'll tell you where she is, if you act right."
" She's workin' four to twelve at Trucker's World tonight."
 
When I walked in she saw me, and she took off her apron
And she grabbed her goin' home hat
She bought a ticket with her tips
And now we're curled up on the sofa,
me and her....and that mean eyed cat
 
Ms. Jackson
Outkast

 
[Andre 3000]
Yeah this one right here goes out to all the baby's mamas, mamas...
Mamas, mamas, baby mamas, mamas
Yeah, go like this
 
CHORUS: Andre 3000
I'm sorry Ms. Jackson [OOOH]
I am for real
Never meant to make your daughter cry
I apologize a trillion times
 
[Big Boi]
A baby drama mama, don't like me
She doing things like havin her boys come from her neighborhood
To the studio tryin to fight me
She need to get a, piece of the american pie and take her bite out
That's my house, I disconnect the cable and turn the lights out
And let her know her grandchild is a baby, and not a paycheck
Private schools, daycare, shit, medical bills, I'll pay that
I love your mom and everything, see I aint the one who laid down
She wanna rip you up, start a custody war, my lawyer stay down
She never got a chance to hear my side of the story we was divided
She had fifths out, cookouts, on my child's birthday I aint invited
Despite it, show her the utmost respect when I fall through
All you, do is defend that lady when I call you, yeah
 
CHORUS:
I'm sorry Ms. Jackson [OOOH]
I am for real
Never meant to make your daughter cry
I apologize a trillion times
 
[Andre 3000]
Me and your daughter
Got a special thang goin on
You say it's puppy love
We say it's full grown
Hope that we feel this
Feel this way forever
You could plan a pretty picnic
But you can't predict the weather, Ms. Jackson
 
Ten times out of nine, now if I'm blind fine
The quickest muzzle throw it on my mouth and I'll decline
King meets queen, then the puppy love thing, together dream
Bout that crib with the goodyear swing
On the oak tree, I hope we feel like this forever
Forever, forever, ever, forever, ever?
Forever never seems that long until you're grown
And notice that the day by day rule can't be too long
Ms. Jackson my intentions were good I wish I could
Become a magician to abacadabra off the sadder
Thoughts of me, thoughts of she, thoughts of he
Askin what happened to the feelin that her and me
Had, I pray so much about it need some knee, pads
It happened for a reason one can't be, mad
So know just know that everything is cool
And yes I will be present on the first day of school, and graduation
 
CHORUS:
I'm sorry Ms. Jackson [OOOH]
I am for real
Never meant to make your daughter cry
I apologize a trillion times
 
[Big Boi]
Uh, uh, yeah
" Look at the way he treats me", shit, look at the way you treat me
See your lil nose ass homegirls got they ass up in the creek G
Without a paddle, you left the straddle and ride this thing on out
And the union girl aint speakin no more cuz my d** all in her mouth
Know what I'm talkin about, jealousy, and fidelity, envy
Cheating, beating, and to the G's they be the same thing
So who you placin the blame on, you keep on singin the same song
Let bygones be bygones, you can go on and get the hell on
You and your mama
 
CHORUS:
I'm sorry Ms. Jackson [OOOH]
I am for real
Never meant to make your daughter cry
I apologize a trillion times