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Party in the USA
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
12/12/2009

The Song: “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus

Main Point of Discussion: Music may provide a quick fix, but God provides an eternal fix.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: (The following should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.)

  • From her CD, The Time of Our Lives, released August 31, 2009, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number two, making it Miley Cyrus’ best-charting effort to date. You can easily download the video from iTunes for a mere $1.99.

  • Cyrus is a singer, songwriter, and actress best known for her title role on the popular Disney Channel series Hannah Montana.

  • Cyrus influences a significant number of young girls. We may want to ignore this “bubble gum pop queen,” but maybe we need to ask ourselves, “What is her message? And how is that message affecting our students?”

  • As you approach this topic, don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

Lyrics:
    I hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan
    Welcome to the land of fame excess and I gotta fit in
    Jumped in the cab, here I am for the first time
    Look to my right and I see the Hollywood sign
    This is all so crazy, everybody seems so famous
    My tummy’s turnin’ and I’m feelin’ kinda homesick
    Too much pressure and I’m nervous
    That’s when the taxi man turned on the radio
    And the Jay-Z song was on (3X)

    [chorus]
    So I put my hands up, they’re playin’ my song
    The butterflies fly away, I’m noddin’ my head like “Yeah!”
    Movin’ my hips like “Yeah!”
    Got my hands up, they’re playin’ my song
    I know I’m gonna be okay
    Yeah! It’s a party in the USA! (2X)

    Get to the club in my taxi cab,
    everybody’s lookin’ at me now
    Like “Who’s that chick that’s rockin’ kicks,
    she’s gotta be from outta town”
    So hard with my girls not around me
    It’s definitely not a Nashville party ’cause all I see is stilettos
    I guess I never got the memo
    My tummy’s turnin’ and I’m feelin’ kinda homesick
    Too much pressure and I’m nervous
    That’s when the DJ dropped my favorite tune
    And the Britney song was on (3X)

    [chorus]

    Feel like hoppin’ on a flight (on a flight)
    Back to my hometown tonight (town tonight)
    Something stops me every time (every time)
    The DJ plays my song and I feel alright

    [chorus] (2X)

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

Q: What’s the message of this song?
A: Everything is made right through the help of our favorite songs.

Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this song?
A: The lyrics ignore a basic truth of life—that problems don’t go away because a song comes on the radio. Surface solutions are no solutions at all. Instead of focusing on earthly solutions to problems, we should focus on Christ, who never fails us.

Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this song to actually living out those opinions?
A: In addition to putting our trust and faith in Christ, we also should do the hard work of going deep with the problems we encounter in life—not run away from them through trivial pursuits.


Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them.



For Deeper Discussion: (If your kids seem into diving in deeper, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

CLICK HERE if you want to look at a quick training article on small groups and drawing questions out of young people—you may find much of the information applicable as you go through this subject with your family members.

Transitional Statement:

Let’s spend some more time talking about the message of this catchy, smash hit.



More Discussion Questions:

  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What is your favorite song to listen to when you’re having a bad day?

  2. ASK SOMEONE: How do you feel when the song is over? An hour later? A day later? (NOTE TO PARENT: The point you want your kids to acknowledge is that while music does help us feel better, that “feeling” is short lived and doesn’t solve the problem. For further reading check out this article: http://www.angelfire.com/hi/TheSeer/seratonin.html)

  3. Read the following passage from the Bible:

      2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NLT)
      16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

  4. ASK SOMEONE: What’s the first thing Paul tells us to do when things aren’t going well?

  5. ASK SOMEONE: Why shouldn’t we stress out and give up when things go badly?

  6. ASK A FEW: What do you think Paul means in verse 18 by “we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen”? (Parents—answer you may be looking for: Keep our focus on Christ and our hope in him, our salvation, our life in Heaven, and how wonderful that will be. No matter what we’re going through, Christ is faithful and our hope needs to be in him.)


  7. Parent - Pass out pencils and a note card to each family member and say:
    We all have bad days, and we all go through difficult situations. I’d like each of you to take a few minutes to identify that one issue, problem, conflict, or concern that has been causing you stress.


    Allow time for your family members to write down their answers and then share those answers if they choose.

  8. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What does keeping your “eyes on Jesus” look like in your life?

  9. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Looking at the concern you wrote down, what’s one thing you can do this week to focus on Jesus in the midst of dealing with that concern?

Wrap Up:
Miley tells us that when it gets tough all we have to do is put on our favorite song, throw our hands up, and dance…then everything will be okay.

I wish that were true. Music is fun. God created it. Music does feel good. God designed us that way. But music isn’t the answer to our problems. Eventually that song will end…and our problems will still be there. So let me close tonight with this amazing little excerpt from 1 Peter 5.
    6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
In this letter Peter reminds suffering people that God will take their worries if they humble themselves before God. In other words, we should stop trying to handle things our own way. We need to give our problems to God and say, “Not my way, but yours, Lord.”

God loves you so much that he wants you to take your problems to him. Music may provide a quick fix, but God provides an eternal fix.

Let’s spend some time tonight doing just that.

Close in Prayer

Written by Todd Pearage

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