Lesson 9: Learn English from a song called "Mystery"
One of my favorite TV shows is called House, a story about a very strange doctor. Although it is a story about
an American doctor, the actor who plays the role of Dr. House is British. In this video, he sings a funny song
called "Mystery". Notice his normal British accent when he introduces the song, but then when he sings he changes
into the American accent he uses to play Dr. House.
Much of the humor in this song comes from "understatement". The words
express the singer's love even as the situation gets more and more strange, yet he uses very ordinary words to
describe the situation. See the full lyrics (the words to the
All my life has been a mystery.
You and I were never, ever meant to be.
That's why I call my love for you a mystery.
You and I have always lived in a different country.
And I know that airline tickets don't grow on a tree.
(An English idiom says "Money doesn't grow on trees".)
So what kept us apart is plain for me to see.
("Plain to see" means "easy to understand". Of course! This is "understatement".)
That much at least is not really a mystery.
(An estuary is the water at the mouth, or the end, of a river.)
I live in a houseboat on an estuary.
Which is handy for my work with the Port Authority.
But I know you would have found it insanitary.
("Insanitary" means "not clean".)
I would be foolish to ignore the possibility,
that if we'd actually ever met,
you'd have taken a really violent dislike to me.
(Such a long sentence does not fit the rhythm of the song, making it more funny.)
Still, that's not the only problem that I can see.
Dead since 1993.
You've been dead now... wait a minute, let me see...
Fourteen years come next January.
As a human being, you are history.
So why do I still long for you?
("To long for" means to want very much.)
Why is my love so strong for you?
Why did I write this song for you?
Well, I guess it's just a mystery.
It's just a mystery.