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0871 Listening to Club Music

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 871: Listening to Club Music.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 871. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is ESLPod.com. Go there to download a Learning Guide for this episode that will help you improve your English faster than ever.

This episode is a dialog between Anastasia and Joshua, about going somewhere to listen to a specific kind of dance music. Let’s get this party started.

[start of dialog]

Anastasia: This is the best club in the city. Grace brought me here last month. You’re going to love it.

Joshua: What?!

Anastasia: You’re going to love this club. It has the best DJ in town. She spins the best mixes.

Joshua: Did you say you’re going to get us some mixed drinks?

Anastasia: No, I said that this DJ is great. She plays music that gets people pumped up. Oh, I love this song. It samples from two of my favorite songs and it’s my favorite track on this CD.

Joshua: Did you say that you want to buy this CD?

Anastasia: No, I said I like this song. It’s got a pounding beat and I can really feel the music. I love dancing to it. Do you want to get out onto the dance floor?

Joshua: Let’s wait until she segues into something mellower. I don’t really like dancing to this kind of club music.

Anastasia: What?! You love club music? That’s great. Let’s go dance!

Joshua: I think I’ll sit this one out. Don’t you think that the volume is a little loud in here?

Anastasia: What?! You want the music to be louder? I’ll go ask the DJ to turn it up.

Joshua: No!

[end of dialog]

Anastasia begins by saying to Joshua, “This is the best club in the city.” A “club” (club) in this case refers to a dance club, a building with a large open area where people can dance and listen to music – usually modern music that is easy to dance to or, at least, some people think it’s easy to dance to. I do not.

Anastasia says, “Grace brought me here last month. You’re going to love it.” Joshua, however, is having difficulty hearing Anastasia because it’s so loud in the dance club. This, of course, is quite common. They play their music very loud and it’s very difficult to talk to someone. So, Joshua says, “What?” because he didn’t hear Anastasia. Anastasia repeats herself. She says, “You’re going to love this club. It has the best DJ in town.”

A “DJ” is a disc jockey. That’s the person who decided which songs are going to be played and in what order. You’ll often find a DJ on a radio station or at a dance club like this. Anastasia says the DJ “spins the best mixes.” “To spin” (spin) here means specifically to play recorded music, to be a DJ in a club. “Spin” can also mean to move something around in a circular way and of course, in the old days, when we used to play these vinyl things called “records,” they would spin around in a circle. Even your CD’s, your compact discs, did that. Now, with MP3’s and other kinds of digital music, nothing has to spin around physically, but we still use this verb “spin.”

This DJ, according to Anastasia, spins the best mixes. A “mix” (mix) is when you take two or more songs and you combine them together so that it’s almost like one song. Joshua says, “Did you say you’re going to get us some mixed drinks?” “Mixed (mixed) drinks” have nothing to do with mixes like recorded songs. A “mixed drink” is a drink with alcohol and some other liquid like juice, coffee, or cream. Often it has a sweet taste, though not always. It’s a kind of alcoholic drink that you would find in a dance club for adults like this.

Anastasia says, “No. I said that this DJ is great.” In other words, Joshua isn’t understanding what Anastasia is saying. He thought she said something about getting mixed drinks, when in fact, she was talking about spinning mixes. Anastasia says the DJ plays music that gets people pumped up. “To be pumped (pumped) up” means to be excited, to be enthusiastic, to be ready to do something.

Pump up the jam, pump it up…

That’s a line from a dance song from, I don’t know, many years ago. “Pump up the jam.” “The jam” is probably just the music there – the mix.

Pump up the jam, pump it up…

That’s what dance music is like. You can tell why I’m not a very good dancer. Anyway, Anastasia says, “The music gets people pumped up.” “Oh I love this song,” she says. “It samples from two of my favorite songs and it’s my favorite track on this CD.” “To sample” (sample) here means to take a small part of a song and create a new song with it. So, it’s similar to a mix but usually, when you’re sampling, you’re just taking a very small part, maybe just ten seconds or so from another song and making it part of a new song. That’s what sampling involves. Sampling usually has a new song that is combined with an older song or part of an older song.

This particular song that Anastasia loves is one of her favorite songs. “It’s my favorite track in this CD.” We talk about one song on a compact disc or one song on an old record album as being a “track.” We also use the term now for MP3’s on iTunes, for example. You can have a track. A “track” (track) is one song.

Joshua says, “Did you say that you want to buy this CD?” Notice again, Joshua is just not understanding what Anastasia is saying because it’s so loud in that particular place. Anastasia says, “No. I said I like this song. It’s got a pounding beat and I can really feel the music. I love dancing to it.” A “pounding beat” is a very strong rhythm in a song, especially for dancing. If you go to a dance club, that’s pretty much all you can hear. It’s that pounding beat that people use in order to dance to help them dance, I guess. It’s probably a combination of the alcohol and the pounding beat that gets them to dance.

Anastasia says to Joshua, “Do you want to get out onto the dance floor?” “To get out onto” means to go, in this case, to a place where you can dance. The “dance floor” is part of the area in the dance club where everyone goes to dance. They, of course, also have tables in the dance club, for people to sit and drink and try to talk to beautiful women who don’t want to talk to you.

Joshua says, “Let’s wait until she” – the DJ – “segues into something mellower.” “To segue” (segue) means to transition or move from one thing to another, very smoothly, without any breaks or any pauses. It’s sort of a more formal word. You wouldn’t expect it to be used in a dance club, but there it is. The DJ is going to segue into something, Joshua hopes, that is more mellow, that is “mellower” (mellower). Something that is mellower is something that is calmer, that is more relaxing, that is not quite as exciting or loud.

Joshua says, “I don’t really like dancing to this kind of club music.” We talked about a dance club as a place where you can go to dance, or simply a club. “Club music,” then, is the kind of music you typically hear at a dance club. It’s usually very loud. It is often what we call “electronic music.” All of the music is made by machines and computers rather than, say, an actual piano or a drum.

Anastasia says, “What? You love club music?” Of course she didn’t hear what Joshua said. “That’s great. Let’s go dance.” So, the two of them aren’t communicating because of the loud noise. Joshua then says, “I think I’ll sit this one out.” “To sit something out” means not to participate in something, at least, not participating right away, maybe wait a little while for the next opportunity. So, there’s a song on and you don’t really like it and you don’t want to dance to it. You may say to your boyfriend or girlfriend or dog, if you bring your dog to the dance club, as I do, “Let’s sit this one out. I don’t want to dance to this song. We’ll dance to the next one.” And your dog goes, “Woof, woof!” (I’m crazy, I know.)

Joshua says, “Don’t you think that the volume is a little loud in here?” The “volume” (volume) is how loud something is or how quiet it is. That’s the volume. Anastasia says, “What? You want the music to be louder?” She again doesn’t understand Joshua and thinks Joshua wants the music to be even louder than it is now. She says, “I’ll go ask the DJ to turn it up.” “To turn something up” means to increase the level of something, especially when we’re talking about volume – on a television or on a radio. It could also be talking about temperature. “I’m going to turn up the heater.” I’m going to make the heater give us more heat so it’s warmer in here. Joshua, at the end, simply says, “No!” meaning, no, he doesn’t want the music to be louder.

Now let’s listen to the dialog this time, at a normal speed.

[start of dialog]

Anastasia: This is the best club in the city. Grace brought me here last month. You’re going to love it.

Joshua: What?!

Anastasia: You’re going to love this club. It has the best DJ in town. She spins the best mixes.

Joshua: Did you say you’re going to get us some mixed drinks?

Anastasia: No, I said that this DJ is great. She plays music that gets people pumped up. Oh, I love this song. It samples from two of my favorite songs and it’s my favorite track on this CD.

Joshua: Did you say that you want to buy this CD?

Anastasia: No, I said I like this song. It’s got a pounding beat and I can really feel the music. I love dancing to it. Do you want to get out onto the dance floor?

Joshua: Let’s wait until she segues into something mellower. I don’t really like dancing to this kind of club music.

Anastasia: What?! You love club music? That’s great. Let’s go dance!

Joshua: I think I’ll sit this one out. Don’t you think that the volume is a little loud in here?

Anastasia: What?! You want the music to be louder? I’ll go ask the DJ to turn it up.

Joshua: No!

[end of dialog]

She doesn’t normally spin mixes in a dance club, I don’t think. But she does write wonderful scripts. I speak of our wonderful scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse. Thank you, Lucy.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan, thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again, right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2013 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
club – a dance club; a building with a large, open area where people can dance while listening to music, usually a business that serves alcoholic beverages

* Noemi and her friends like dancing, so they often go to clubs on weekends.

DJ – disk jockey; a person who decides what songs to play and in what order, often speaking between the songs, especially on the radio, at a dance club, or at a special event like a wedding

* Did you listen to the radio this morning? The DJ played some great new music by a band I had never heard of before.

to spin – to be a DJ; to play recorded music, especially in a club

* Trent is a DJ and he loves his job when he gets to spin the records he likes, but sometimes his clients want to pick all the songs.

mix – a recorded song that has been rearranged and/or combined with other songs in some way

* Sheila loves listening to unusual mixes, like classical music mixed with rap lyrics.

mixed drink – a drink made with alcohol and juice, coffee, or cream, usually with a sweet taste

* Jill’s favorite mixed drink is a sea breeze, which contains vodka, cranberry juice, and grapefruit juice.

pumped up – excited, enthusiastic, and energetic; ready to do something

* The coach gave a great speech that got his team pumped up for the big game.

to sample – to use a small part of a song to create a new song

* Most musicians are flattered when other musicians sample their songs, as long as they give them credit.

track – one song on a CD, associated with a number

* Why would you buy a CD with the whole album if you’re just going to listen to the same track over and over again?

pounding beat – a very strong rhythm in a song, especially for dancing

* Soon everyone in the room was moving to the band’s pounding beat.

dance floor – a large, open area where people can dance, usually at a dance club or special event

* Everyone fell silent and watched as the bride and groom stepped onto the dance floor.

to segue – to transition into something very smoothly; without a break or pause

* How in the world did our conversation segue from national politics to the mating practices of bees?

mellow – calm and relaxing; not exciting or loud

* Michael has such a mellow personality. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him get angry.

club music – the type of music normally played at dance clubs, usually very loud, electronic music, and perhaps experimental or hip-hop

* Why does the club music have to be so loud? I can’t even hear myself think!

to sit this one out – to not participate in something right away, but maybe wait for the next opportunity, used especially when one does not want to dance to the current song

* When James asked Evelyn to dance, she explained that she had been dancing all evening and wanted to sit that one out, but that she would love to dance with him once the next song started playing.

volume – a measure of how loud or quiet something is

* As Dad gets older, he likes to have the volume higher and higher on the TV. Maybe he should have his hearing tested.

to turn (something) up – to increase the level of something, especially volume or temperature

* If you’re cold, we can turn up the temperature setting on the heater.

Comprehension Questions
1. What kind of club are Anastasia and Joshua in?
a) An organization where they have to pay membership dues.
b) An association of people who like different kinds of music.
c) A building where people can go to dance and have fun.

2. What kind of music would Joshua prefer to hear?
a) Something that is louder.
b) Something that is calmer or slower.
c) Something that is more exciting.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
club

The word “club,” in this podcast, means a dance club, or a building with a large, open area where people can dance while listening to music, usually a business that serves alcoholic beverages: “The night before his wedding, Lyle’s friends took him to a local club for his last evening as a single man.” A “strip club” is a place where female performers dance while taking off their clothes: “Rebecca was shocked, angry, and sad when she learned that her husband had gone to a strip club.” Finally, a “country club” is a facility where rich people pay a lot of money to be members so that they can enjoy social events, a gym, a golf club, and more: “The country club has a beautiful golf course and swimming pool, but most of the members join to meet other successful businesspeople.”

to sample

In this podcast, the verb “to sample” means to use a small part of a song to create a new song: “One of the most sampled songs in hip-hop is The Payback by James Brown.” The verb “to sample” also means to take a small piece of something and eat it or use it in some way: “Would you like to sample any of our wines?” The verb “to sample” can also mean to try something once to find out whether one likes it, without an obligation to continue: “The music center offers special events where prospective students can sample a music class without signing up for a full semester.” Finally, when talking about data collection, “to sample” means to ask a small group of people certain questions to learn about the larger group: “The evaluators sampled 20% of the program’s participants.”

Culture Note
House Music

“House music” is a type of electronic dance music. It first appeared in the early 1980s in Chicago, Illinois. Some people think the name “house music” “was derived from” (came from) the name of a Chicago nightclub, The Warehouse, which was one of the first places where the music became popular.

The music is characterized by the use of “drum machines” (an electronic machine that produces the sounds of drums without using actual drums) and “synthesized” (electronic) “bass lines” (the low-pitched, simple melodies traditionally played on a bass guitar). The “rhythm” (beat) tends to be very repetitive, and in some ways the rhythm is more important than the melody. The “kick drum” (bass drum, a large drum that has a low pitch) is played on every beat, four times in a “measure” (section of music and a way of counting the number of beats in a song). House music has few or no “vocals” (singing), but when it does have “lyrics” (words that are sung in a song), they often “convey” (express) political messages.

Disco was influence by house music, which “dabbled in” (tried a little bit of) electronic music. House music takes some elements of disco music and makes them “fully” (entirely; completely) electronic and more repetitive.

Today, house music is “mainstream” (commonplace; accepted by many or most people). Famous “recording artists” (musicians) like Madonna and Janet Jackson have “incorporated” (integrated; adopted and used) elements of house music into their own performances.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - b