Ep.4 "Happy" - Pharrell Williams


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What makes you happy?
American singer Pharrell Williams produced a catchy song in 2013 that took the world by storm. Williams’ song “Happy” has topped the charts in over 20 countries, proving that people all around the globe are looking for ways to genuinely celebrate and enjoy the good things in life.
“Happy” was featured in the movie Despicable Me 2, and the song also has a 24-hour music video that allows the song to loop while people all over the world dance to the tune. It’s undeniably a song that millions of people love. However, like most popular music, “Happy” has also been overplayed. While many people still love it, others are tired of hearing it.
Learn Brian and Marni’s opinions about “Happy” in this English lesson about popular music.
Marni: I’m happy…
Brian: Are you doing that “Happy” song?
Marni: I am. It’s so catchy, I just love it.
Brian: It is undeniably catchy, but I am tired of that song.
Marni: Oh, how can you be tired of it? It puts such a spring in my step. It makes me happy.
Brian: When I first heard it, I would genuinely smile, but now I just think it’s overplayed all the time.
Marni: But it’s so cheerful, and it’s just so joyful, and I just love it.
Brian: I can appreciate how happy it makes other people, but it’s the same five notes over and over again. Even the song doesn’t have much change. I don’t know why they would need a 24-hour website to loop that song.
Marni: Oh, please. People all over the world have made their own videos for this song, and it brings joy to people’s lives. And people are dancing all over the world to this one song. And it’s from a movie. Got to love that.
Brian: I guess.
Marni: Oh, you need to get happy.
When Brian hears Marni humming a popular song, he knows what it is right away. She’s singing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Marni loves “Happy.” The music makes her cheerful. It’s a simple song that genuinely makes her happy.
Brian agrees that “Happy” is catchy, but he also thinks it’s overplayed. He says that the music just has five notes, and they’re played over and over and over. He’s not sure why the song needs to loop for 24 hours in a music video, either. In fact, Brian doesn’t want to hear the song even one more time.
Marni doesn’t agree with Brian’s opinion, and she doesn’t change her mind. She starts humming the song again as she walks away.
Do you like “Happy”? Would you describe the song as catchy or overplayed?
Grammar Point
Present Progressive Tense
Marni tells Brian, “People are dancing all over the world to this one song.” She uses the present progressive tense.
The present progressive tense (also sometimes called the “present continuous”) is formed with the present tense of the verb to be + a main verb + -ing, as in, “He is constantly calling me,” or, “The neighbors are playing their music really loudly.”
We use the present progressive tense to 1) describe an action that’s continually repeated, or 2) talk about an on-going action that’s happening right now. “Happy” is so catchy that, in this case, both reasons are probably true. People are continually dancing to the song on the 24-hour music video, and people are probably dancing to it right now, too!
Words like “always,” “constantly,” or “continuously” are often used with the present progressive to describe actions that are repeated, while phrases like “right now” or “at the moment” often indicate that an action is currently in progress.
Use the present progressive tense to talk about something you’re doing right now.
❶ Why does Marni like “Happy”?

  • It puts a spring in her step.
  • It’s from a movie.
  • It brings joy to people around the world.
  • All of the above.

❷ Why is Brian tired of hearing “Happy”?

  • He hates Pharrell Williams’ music.
  • The song is overplayed.
  • He made a music video for the song.
  • He thinks Marni has a bad voice.

❸ Which word doesn’t belong?

  • Overplayed.
  • Catchy.
  • Top the charts.
  • Take by storm.

❹ Which sentence uses the present progressive?

  • Cleaning is not Mark’s favorite thing to do.
  • I am listening to my favorite song.
  • She was waiting for him to call her back.
  • We like dancing at parties.

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