Music Discussions

7 Rings

7-rings

7 Rings – Ariana Grande

Main Point: In a world that finds significance in money and stuff, is there meaning to be found in having it all?

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

  • IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Youth Ministry 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 teens to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most teens, churched and unchurched, keep pretty current with music and music videos like this one. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, Spotify, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away. If you decide to use this, do so by catering it to fit your family’s needs.
  • Ariana Grande has become a popular figure due to her high profile in music and through her publicized dating relationships. The purpose of this discussion is not to dissect her as a role model, but to use a popular song to provoke discussion about an important topic.  We encourage you to be discerning and utilize this resource in whatever way is most helpful. Jonathan McKee wrote a helpful article on Ariana Grande that you can read to get more context on her as you prepare for your discussion.
  • Florida native Ariana Grande started performing as an eight year old, displaying her talents in musicals, karaoke, and eventually singing the national anthem on television at a Florida Panthers hockey game.
  • Grande is of Italian descent and her name was inspired by the character Princess Oriana from the 1991 box office bomb Felix the Cat: The Movie.
  • At age 15, Grande landed a role in the Broadway musical 13. This propelled her to be cast in the Nickelodeon television show Victorious just one year later.
  • Ariana was able to capitalize on her newly found stardom and released her first studio album Yours Truly as a twenty year old in 2013.Her debut album topped the charts, sending her to greater heights that including performing at the Obama White House just a year later.
  • She has been in the public eye with high profile relationships including rap artist Big Sean, the late recording artist Mac Miller, and Saturday Night Live actor Pete Davidson.
  • Grande released her fifth studio album in February of 2019.

Introducing the Song – Say Something Like This:  Described as a friendship anthem, the song 7 Rings was teased by having its name on the license plate in a car Grande drove in the music video for previously released Thank U, Next. The formation of the song came from an outing Ariana shared with a group of friends. She says: ‘Twas a pretty rough day in nyc. My friends took me to Tiffany’s. We had too much champagne. I bought us all rings. It was very insane and funny. Speculation is that Grande was working through her most recent breakup, and after purchasing the rings it was suggested she turn that into a song, which she did that very day.

The Music Video:  The music video can be viewed for free at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYh6mYIJG2Y

Song Lyrics – 7 Rings

Yeah, breakfast at Tiffany’s and bottles of bubbles
Girls with tattoos who like getting in trouble
Lashes and diamonds, ATM machines
Buy myself all of my favorite things (Yeah)
Been through some bad sh**, I should be a sad bi***
Who woulda thought it’d turn me to a savage?
Rather be tied up with calls and not strings
Write my own checks like I write what I sing, yeah (Yeah)

My wrist, stop watchin’, my neck is flossy
Make big deposits, my gloss is poppin’
You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it
I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it (Yeah)

I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it
I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it
You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it
I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it (Yep)

Wearing a ring, but ain’t gon’ be no “Mrs.”
Bought matching diamonds for six of my bit****
I’d rather spoil all my friends with my riches
Think retail therapy my new addiction
Whoever said money can’t solve your problems
Must not have had enough money to solve ’em
They say, “Which one?” I say, “Nah, I want all of ’em”
Happiness is the same price as red-bottoms

My smile is beamin’ (Yeah), my skin is gleamin’ (Is gleamin’)
The way it shine, I know you’ve seen it (You’ve seen it)
I bought a crib just for (Just for) the closet (Closet)
Both his and hers, I want it, I got it, yeah

I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it
I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it (Baby)
You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it (Oh yeah)
I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it (Yep)

Yeah, my receipts be lookin’ like phone numbers
If it ain’t money, then wrong number
Black card is my business card
The way it be settin’ the tone for me
I don’t mean to brag, but I be like, “Put it in the bag,” yeah
When you see them racks, they stacked up like my a**, yeah
Shoot, go from the store to the booth
Make it all back in one loop, gimme the loot
Never mind, I got a juice
Nothing but net when we shoot
Look at my neck, look at my jet
Ain’t got enough money to pay me respect
Ain’t no budget when I’m on the set
If I like it, then that’s what I get, yeah

I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it (Oh yeah)
I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it (Oh yeah, yeah)
You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it
I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it (I see, yep)

Three Questions to Ask in the Car (with thoughts to dive deeper with your kids):

Q:  Why do you think people turn to “retail therapy” when they are having a tough time?
A:  Take this where it goes, perhaps a conversation about materialism or the things we turn to when we are in a difficult situation.

Q:  What are the pros and cons of being able to buy whatever you want, whenever you want it?
A:  Open the door to a conversation about searching for meaning in stuff, talk about the value of perishable versus imperishable treasures.

Q:  Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived and had more riches than people could imagine, and he said it was meaningless. What do you think he would say to Ariana Grande?
A:  This is an opportunity to engage them with some biblical history while encouraging them to look through Solomon’s eyes – and from there they get to speak truth to Ariana Grande’s desire to find meaning in her material world.

Where to Take It from Here:  Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful!  (There is a guide just after that 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 and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, 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.

Transition Statement – Say Something Like This:  One person added up the cost of everything mentioned in this song and estimates the things Grande sings about cost over $16 million. Ariana clearly has a depth of resources, and sings about turning to material things to deal with the hardships she faces in life. This popular song glamourizes her ability to spend at will, which raises the question of whether there is meaning to be found in having it all. Let’s take time to discuss that idea during our time together.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: If you had the resources to buy yourself all your favorite things, what are a couple of things you would buy?
  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think Ariana means when she sings: Rather be tied up with calls and not strings, Write my own checks like I write what I sing?
  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Give your thoughts on this line of the song: Think retail therapy my new addiction. Whoever said money can’t solve your problems must not have had enough money to solve ’em.
  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What are the positives and negatives of being able to live a life where you can say: “I want it, I got it”?
  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: In the song, Grande says she doesn’t mean to brag. Do you agree with that? Explain why you think the way you do.
  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Is there anything wrong with wanting to have money and stuff? Share a bit about your thinking on this.

Read the following passage:

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;I refused my heart no pleasure.My heart took delight in all my labor,and this was the reward for all my toil.Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had doneand what I had toiled to achieve,everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;nothing was gained under the sun.

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: First read Ecclesiastes 2:1-11. In light of the first nine verses, what do you think Solomon (the author) wants us to know in verses ten and eleven?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Have you ever thought if you had more stuff (riches, entertainment, experiences) that you would be happier? Why do you think it’s so easy to think that way?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What can we learn from Solomon’s experience?
  1. ASK A FEW: Why do you think it’s easy for us to chase after temporary things in this world? How has Jesus challenged us toward something more?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Grande turns to shopping when she’s having a difficult time. When you get hurt or are having a tough time, what do you find yourself turning to?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think Ariana is finding what she’s looking for? Why or why not?
  1. ASK ALL FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think Solomon would say to Ariana Grande?

Wrap Up – Say Something Like This:  In our time together, we looked at the popular song “7 Rings” and talked about Ariana Grande’s search for meaning and significance. Most people try to find meaning and significance in power, position, or possessions. The question to be asked is whether or not that thing helps them find the meaning they are looking for. Do they find answers in that thing they turn to? Is the answer to your search to have external things, or is there an internal answer? Take a moment and talk to God about the things you have tried to find significance in that did not give you what you needed.

(Pause and give them a quiet moment to pray silently.)

When you look at Solomon’s pursuit, he had position, power, and more possessions than anyone could imagine. Solomon truly had it all – and it left him to say it was meaningless. This revelation was life altering for him. When we are able to see the emptiness of some of our pursuits, it can change our perspective to start chasing after things that will not leave us this way. Take a moment to ask God to reveal to you the steps you can take to realign your focus toward finding your significance in who He created you to be.

(Pause and give them a few moments to pray silently.)

God created you for a significance that goes beyond the limitations of material things. He made you for a purpose more powerful than any position or status could bring you. While there is nothing wrong with finding enjoyment in things, our true satisfaction can only be found in being the people God created us to be. Let’s be people who pursue Him and the things He has made us for. Let’s stop pretending there is meaning in having it all, and instead be people who live in a way that says our meaning is found in something and Someone so much greater.

CLOSE IN PRAYER

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Rob Chagdes

Rob Chagdes

Rob Chagdes is one of the pastors at Prairie Lakes Church in northern Iowa. In the years since he met Jesus as a sixteen year old, Rob has spent his life working to raise up the next generation to love God and invite others into His unending story. He spends most of his free time with his wife Leslie, their three amazing daughters, and their energetic dog Jedi. You can reach Rob at chagdeswrites@gmail.com

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