Tag Archive for Carly Rae Jepsen

Summer Songs: Defend, Challenge or Qualify

This week we’ve looked at the social/cultural implications of summer songs and the viral video “knock offs” they produce, and we’ve had fun.  I’ve watched College Humor’s “Some Study That I Used to Know” so many times that I’m starting to get dirty looks from the man that lives with me.  Once is funny.  Twice is humorous.  23 times is nothing short of some kind of personal psychosis.  Even I understand my infinite loop is a problem.  So how do we turn all of this pop culturally exploration into solid argumentation? And how do I stop listening to these songs?

Answering the second question is impossible so I’ll try question the first instead.  An excellent way to end a study of the songs of summer is to write a speech that defends challenges or qualifies.  You know we love UPENN’s 60-second lectures.  What could be better for a brief end of the year or start to next year.  I often like to ask students to write the side of the argument they find most difficult to discuss.

Ask students to use their essential questions (not about specific songs) or have them choose from a list that you create.

Examples

  • What does summer music suggest about values in American culture?
  • How does America’s love of pop music define us as a society?
  • Why do Americans feel compelled to define summer as carefree and wild?

Then have students construct their own speech.  Have them video these speeches and post them to Youtube or Tumblr or even Voice Thread.  It’s a nice way to keep them all in one place.  While you of course have to view them all, consider assigning several and evaluating them in class according to your own rubric.

You can also have students choose one of the songs in contention for Summer Song 2012 and write in defense of it. So, what about the contenders?  Vulture makes the case that there are five by the following artists: Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen, Usher, Rhianna and Katy Perry.  Ask students to choose one of the songs and argue in writing or speech why it should reign this summer.  If you’re feeling tricky, instead ask them to pick a song, currently in rotation.

Elements to Consider Including for an In Defense of Speech or Essay

  1. Ask that they include certain rhetorical elements-anaphora, metaphor, allusion, etc.
  2. Ask that they draft a proposal for their speech (title, topic, description, etc.)
  3. Ask that they draft a speech.  Provide feedback on the speech.
  4. Discuss public speaking tips.
  5. Consider allowing students to evaluate and critique speeches when they are presented, with parameters, of course. You can do this by creating a simple checklist/rubric for students or asking them to SOAPSTone each speaker.  Offer several categories for winning:
    1. Most Convincing
    2. Cleverest Title & Topic
    3. Best Line

Songs of Summer: Viral Videos

I love the viral video.  More than that I love viral videos that parody and recreate pop songs.  Ah, the lip-syncing, the bad dancing, the crappy props.  Who can forget the soldiers in Afghanistan dancing to Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” in 2010?  I must have watched that for two days straight.

If you’re going to talk about potential songs of summer, you have to talk about the viral videos that accompany them.  It isn’t as if people (i.e. myself) haven’t been recreating songs with all the flourishes and dance moves since Michael Jackson’s Bad.  Thank God none of that was ever broadcast to the world.  Today, every video on YouTube has the potential to go viral.

If you ask your students they are the first to admit that they saw Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez’s homemade video of “Call Me Maybe” before they saw the Jepsen’s real video.  Ask them about the Harvard baseball team’s “take” and you’re bet to get most of them to laugh. Yes, the pop music, the song of summer is important but so too are the video “remakes.”

Now, imagine a whole class where you talk about the power of summer pop music coupled with viral videos.  Your students might think your crazy.   You might think you’re crazy.  Don’t worry, we’re here to help with all of that.

I’ve chosen two songs currently in contention for Summer Song.  Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”  Don’t believe me?  Check out The Week’s list.  I’d trust them more than me, too.

Lesson

First have students listen to both songs without any video. You can do that simply by playing their videos on Youtube with the video turned off.  As they listen ask that they write down basic observations about music, lyrics, rhythm, etc.  Their goal is to quantify what makes the song catchy enough to be a summer song contender.

Next, have them watch the parodies.  Their job isn’t to compare them to the original.  They aren’t the same.  Their job instead is to look at them individually to decide individual purpose and then big picture effect.  Have them formulate essential questions for each of the videos.  Choose the best ones and then ask that you discuss or write as a class.

 

Gotye Parodies-”Somebody that I used to Know”

 The Kobe that We Used to Know 

 

SNL-Digital Short 

For yourself checkout College Humor’s Some Study that I Used to Know.  It’s hilarious but borderline in terms of appropriateness for school.  

 

Carly Rae Jepsen Parodies-”Call Me Maybe”

 

Harvard Baseball 2012-”Call Me Maybe”

 

SMU Women’s Rowing 2012-”Call Me Maybe” 


 

The Tonight Show’s “with” Mitt Romney & President Obama

Also checkout NPR’s blog The Record for an entire post about covers, parodies and more.  The title is “Dudes Act Like a Lady: ‘Call Me Maybe’ Takes Over YouTube.

 

Want to do a language study instead?  Ask students to look at Vulture’s wordle of the most used words in the “it” songs of summer.  Ask them to first construct essential questions about the word usage itself and then use one of their level three questions to construct a paragraph argument.