Music Discussions

lovely

lovely

lovely – Billie Eilish and Khalid

Main Point: It’s important to trust in God at all times – especially during the times that are filled with doubt, worry, or suffering. God assures those who trust in Him they’re never alone and that He can save them.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: The following info will help you contextualize this 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, Spotify and more, 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.

  • Billie Eilish is – without a doubt – one of the hottest commodities in music today. Not only has she produced chart topping music, she just cleaned house at the 2020 Grammy Awards by winning five of the six categories she was nominated for including Best New Artist, Best Song, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year. If you happen to be unfamiliar with Eilish, take two minutes to read this article we wrote about her last year. Not only will you learn her completely unique middle name, but you’ll also see why such popular music streams from her personality.
  • lovely, her first collaboration with fellow artist Khalid, isn’t a new song. It was originally released in 2018 and caught fire when it was featured on the soundtrack of Netlix’s 13 Reasons Why, a TV series that followed a young man as he grappled with the suicide of a female friend.
  • The song’s lyrics discuss dealing with the burdens of mental health issues while the music video is a visual representation of the same. According to Eilish, “We called it (“lovely”) because the song was sort of really freaking depressing so then it’s like oh, how lovely. Just taking everything horrible like you know what this is great. I’m so happy being miserable.”
  • The song resonates with listeners. As of this writing, the music video has been viewed on YouTube almost 600 million times! If you’d like some extra talking points about the meaning of Eilish’s song, you can watch this short explanatory video on YouTube.

Introducing the Song – Say Something Like This:  I want to show you the music video for a song by Billie Eilish. This song, entitled “lovely,” is about her experiences with doubt and depression and fear and anxiety. She uses some graphic terms in the song’s lyrics to describe her suffering and the music video employs some gripping images to paint a vivid picture of her experiences. This song has some dark elements to it, but I think we can use it to have a meaningful discussion on the important faith.

The Music Video: The music video can be viewed for free at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1Pl8CzNzCw

Song Lyrics: lovely

Thought I found a way
Thought I found a way, yeah (found)
But you never go away (never go away)
So I guess I gotta stay now
Oh, I hope some day I’ll make it out of here

Even if it takes all night or a hundred years
Need a place to hide, but I can’t find one near
Wanna feel alive, outside I can fight my fear

Isn’t it lovely, all alone?
Heart made of glass, my mind of stone
Tear me to pieces, skin to bone
Hello, welcome home

Walkin’ out of time
Lookin’ for a better place (lookin’ for a better place)
Something’s on my mind
Always in my headspace
But I know some day I’ll make it out of here

Even if it takes all night or a hundred years
Need a place to hide, but I can’t find one near
Wanna feel alive, outside I can fight my fear

Isn’t it lovely, all alone?
Heart made of glass, my mind of stone
Tear me to pieces, skin and bone
Hello, welcome home

Woah, yeah
Yeah, ah
Woah, woah
Hello, welcome home

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

Q: Look back over this song’s lyrics. How did Billie and Khalid describe themselves and their experiences?
A: They talk about searching for a way to escape their troubles. They talk about being alone. They talk about being confronted by fear. They talk about being torn to pieces.

Q: Do either of the artists describe a solution to their problems?
A: Not really. Billie can’t find an avenue of escape and Khalid talks about his thoughts being hijacked. They describe their hearts and minds as inanimate objects (glass and stone). In the end, it sounds as though both of them have resolved to just exist in their awful circumstances.

Q: Would you consider the song to be “hopeful” or “hopeless”? Why?
A: It sure sounds hopeless. In the end, there isn’t any solution given, and they label their suffering “home.” Seems quite sad.

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 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 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: In this song, we heard about the inner turmoil that Billie Eilish and fellow singer Khalid face on a regular basis. They described their experiences in such stark terms that it may have caused us to contemplate the trials and pains in our own lives. In spite of all we face in life, there is really good news. God assures those who trust in Him they’re never alone and that He can save them. That’s why it’s so important to trust in God at all times – especially the times that are filled with doubt, worry, or suffering! Let’s talk about that for a few minutes.

Discussion Questions:

  1. ASK YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY: Let’s all take a second to share our favorite song at the moment.
  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What makes you like a particular song? Does it have to have a certain sound or beat? Does it have to be from a certain genre? Does it have to contain a certain message or theme? In other words, what makes a song “your music”?
  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Have you ever felt the way Billie and Khalid described themselves in the song? If so, can you briefly share?
  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What should we do when we face obstacles, fears, setbacks, and defeats? What is our best option?

Introduce the Passage – You Say This: In a moment, I want us to read a passage from 2 Corinthians, but first, let me give you a little bit of context. The man who wrote this letter to the church in the ancient city of Corinth was named Paul. Paul was formerly known as Saul and a killer of Christians…but he had a radical encounter with Jesus one day that not only changed his name but his entire life! From that moment on, he served Jesus by teaching the Gospel clearly, starting churches in places where there were no churches, writing letters to those churches and their leaders that would one day become part of the New Testament in the Bible and so much more. But it wasn’t always easy. In fact, here’s how Paul described his life in trying to serve Jesus.

Read the Following Passage:

2 Corinthians 11:24-28 (NLT)
Five different times the Jews gave me thirty-nine lashes.  25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.  26 I have traveled many weary miles. I have faced danger from flooded rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the stormy seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be Christians but are not.  27 I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food. Often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.  28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of how the churches are getting along.

Now that you know everything Paul faced, let’s hear how that made him feel…and what he chose to do about it.

Read the Following Passage:

2 Corinthians 1:3-10 (NLT)
All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us.  4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  5 You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.  6 So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.  7 We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share God’s comfort.  8 I think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it.  9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead.  10 And he did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us.

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How does Paul describe his situation in this passage? (Hint: Look at verses 8-9.)
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How does Paul describe God in this passage? (Parents – Paul says God is the “source of every mercy,” the One who “comforts us in all our troubles,” the One who “showers us with His comfort,” and the One who “delivers from mortal danger.”)
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think Paul would say to Billie and Khalid? Why?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Paul had faith in God during his troubles and was saved by God. Why is it important for you and me to have faith in God – especially during the tough times?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: This may sound weird at first, but think about my question. Do you think we ever go through trials in life so we can help others later on when they go through the same thing? Why or why not? (Parents – Paul certainly believes so! That’s what he’s talking about when he says he’d been comforted by God so he could help comfort others.)
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Has God ever helped you face a trial or a struggle or a fear? If so, can you briefly describe what happened, what you did, and what you learned?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think God could use you to comfort or help someone else who is facing a similar battle? If so, how?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What can you do this week to grow your faith and relationship with God so that you will be able to overcome the struggles and pains in life?

Wrap Up – Say Something Like This:  It may surprise you to find out how this song got its title. In Billie’s own words, she says, “We called it (“lovely”) because the song was sort of really freaking depressing so then it’s like oh, how lovely. Just taking everything horrible like you know what this is great. I’m so happy being miserable.” 

I don’t think anyone can be happy while they’re miserable. No, I’m not trying to argue with Billie and Khalid, nor downplay their pain by any means, but I don’t think simply labeling our pains “lovely” is going to make them go away. We need a better solution. 

The apostle Paul knew what – or who – that solution was! For Paul, his entire hope was Jesus. Paul put his trust and confidence in Jesus, and he was delivered (rescued) from the many dangers he faced. How he handled his circumstance seems very different from how Billie and Khalid handle theirs. While Billie and Khalid sound like they’re on the verge of giving up hope, Paul turned to Jesus for help and got it.

What about you? What are you going to do? Chances are very high that you will face setbacks, troubles, trials, and defeats in your life at some point. You can either be like Billie and Khalid and try to adjust to the pain…or you can be like Paul and put your hope in Jesus. Only one of those strategies works every time.  

Only one of those strategies leads to a truly “lovely” life.

Close in Prayer

Written by David R Smith

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David R. Smith

David R. Smith

David R. Smith is the author of several books including Christianity... It's Like This and speaks to parents and leaders across the U.S. David is a 15-year youth ministry veteran, now a senior pastor, who specializes in sharing the gospel, and equipping others do the same. David provides free resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, DavidRSmith.org David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.

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