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Paris
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
02/13/2017

Dynamic ImageThe Song: Paris

Main Point: The world offers an alluring picture of escapism and pleasure, but it often turns out to be a fleeting illusion

Vital Info Before You Get Started:
2016 has been a good year for The Chainsmokers with them conquering the Billboard Hot 100 chart with singles like “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Closer,” and “All We Know.” They look to continue this top performance with their latest single “Paris” with featuring vocals by Louane. This is the second song on which Andrew Taggart of The Chainsmokers provides vocals on a track. Can they catch up to “Closer” success?

“Paris” here does not necessarily mean the city in France (hence the beach shots in the video). The word is used as metaphor which is explained at the beginning of the video like this:
    “sentimental yearning for a reality that isn’t genuine. An irrecoverable condition for fantasy that evokes nostalgia or day dreams.”
The lyrics to the song are pretty simple when “Paris” is taken in the meaning that is given above. The guy and the girl are living in their own fantasy. (http://justrandomthings.com/2017/01/13/the-chainsmokers-release-lyric-video-paris-ft-louane/)

Much of the Paris metaphor revolves around a yearning for pleasure and the escape from perceived stifling conditions (such as parents and responsibilities, etc.) So the song provides a great springboard for a discussion about the world’s mantra of instant gratification and how the Bible responds to that message.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Parents believe that certain elements in our youth culture can serve as good discussion jump starters with students. At the same time, we would never hope to introduce students to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most students, churched and unchurched, keep pretty current with music and music videos. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away.

Since this song is so popular, your kids have heard it. When you sit down to discuss this song, make sure to have a copy of the lyrics available (below) and access to the music video (which we provided in the link below, as well).

Above all, 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.

The Music Video:
The music video can be viewed for free at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhU9MZ98jxo

WARNING--Note to Parent:
The video follows a young woman throughout in a very revealing and skimpy bikini bathing suit. Use your own discretion whether to show the video or not.



Song Lyrics:
"Paris"

We were staying in Paris
To get away from your parents
And I thought, "Wow, if I could take this in a shot right now
I don't think that we could work this out."

Out on the terrace
I don't know if it's fair but I thought, "How could I let you fall by yourself
While I'm wasted with someone else?"

If we go down then we go down together
They'll say you could do anything
They'll say that I was clever
If we go down then we go down together
We'll get away with everything
Let's show them we are better
Let's show them we are better
Let's show them we are better

We were staying in Paris
To get away from your parents
You look so proud standing there with a frown and a cigarette
Posting pictures of yourself on the Internet

Out on the terrace
We breathe in the air of this small town
On our own cuttin' class for the thrill of it
Getting drunk on the past we were livin' in

If we go down then we go down together
They'll say you could do anything
They'll say that I was clever
If we go down then we go down together
We'll get away with everything
Let's show them we are better

Let's show them we are
Show them we are
Show them we are
Show them we are
Let's show them we are better

We were staying in Paris

Let's show them we are better
Let's show them we are
Show them we are
Show them we are
Show them we are
Let's show them we are better

If we go down then we go down together
They'll say you could do anything
They'll say that I was clever
If we go down then we go down together
We'll get away with everything
Let's show them we are better

We were staying in Paris (if we go down)
We were staying in Paris (if we go down)
We were staying in Paris (if we go down)
We were staying in Paris (if we go down)
Let's show them we are better
We were staying in Paris

Let's show them we are better
Let's show them we are better
If we go down
Let's show them we are better
If we go down
Let's show them we are better
If we go down
Let's show them we are better
Let's show them we are better


Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: When it comes to this song, what’s “Paris” about?
    A: In a picture that they tweeted before releasing “Paris,” The Chainsmokers define “Paris” as “a sentimental yearning for a reality that isn’t genuine” and “an irrevocable condition for fantasy that evokes nostalgia or day dreams.” The band is telling us here that “Paris” is about searching for something that isn’t real and hiding from the truth of what one’s life is.

    Q: What is the worldview behind it?
    A: They explained on Twitter that “Paris is a metaphor for that place u go to where everything’s ok. It’s subjective. It’s where those who don’t understand u don’t exist.” “Paris” sounds like a place most people would at least like to visit. It’s a place one runs away to and creates a temporary, alternate reality in, and that’s exactly what the song is about. (http://cliffordstumme.com/2017/01/20/what-does-paris-by-the-chainsmokers-mean)

    Q: Why is the video/song so popular?
    A: This song taps into a systemic millennial generation attraction to the allure of escapism and experiencing temporary pleasures, so teenagers oftentimes look to bands to justify and/or normalize their worldview.

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.

Want help getting your teenager engaged in conversation? CLICK HERE for a helpful article from our "Parenting Help" page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today's Teens.

Transitional Statement:
As you saw at the beginning of the video, The Chainsmokers define “Paris” as “a sentimental yearning for a reality that isn’t genuine” and “an irrevocable condition for fantasy that evokes nostalgia or day dreams.” The band is telling us here that “Paris” is about searching for something that isn’t real and hiding from the truth of what one’s life is.

Let’s explore the song a little more deeply, and hopefully by the end of our discussion, we will be able to think more critically about the messages that the world offers that don’t really bring contentment.


More Discussion Questions:
  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Before we dive in, everybody answer this question- if you could live anywhere in the world for one year, where would you live and why?

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you believe teenagers have an increased desire to be irresponsible and impulsive as they get older and have more pressure? Why or why not?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you see this song as a parody of the millennial generation’s tendency towards recklessness? Why or why not?

  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: One journalist wrote this about Paris:

      “Overall, “Paris” is about a young couple that is struggling to find independence and to escape some unpleasant aspect of a reality they left behind, however temporarily.” (http://cliffordstumme.com/2017/01/20/what-does-paris-by-the-chainsmokers-mean)

    Do you agree? Why or why not?

  5. Read the following passage:

      Luke 15:11-24

      11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
      13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
      17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
      21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What is the connection between this passage and these lyrics from the song: ”We were staying in Paris, To get away from your parents”

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What similarities are there between the prodigal son and the characters in Paris? (i.e. both seeking escape and temporary pleasure)

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think the prodigal son enjoyed his time in the distant country? Why or why not?

  9. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What made him come to his senses?

  10. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What does this passage teach us about temporary pleasure vs. the lasting fulfillment of a relationship with God?

  11. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: If you had to compare your spiritual journey with the prodigal son’s journey, where are you now?

  12. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What’s the lesson for you in this parable?

Wrap Up:
The Chainsmokers have painted an interesting picture of the world’s philosophy of escaping our problems and pursuing temporary pleasure. But when you compare their narrative with the parable of the prodigal son, it is a vivid reminder that each day we are faced with a choice to keep wallowing in the mud, or returning to a loving Father who looks for our return each day, runs to greet us even when we are far away, and throws a party in heaven when we repent. When you experience that kind of unconditional love over time, the allure of Paris fades quickly.


Close in prayer

Written by Lane Palmer

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