Music Discussions

Only Human

only-human

Only Human – The Jonas Brothers

Main Point: Our feelings and desires are powerful, but they cannot always be trusted to lead us to make the right choice.

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.
  • Formed in 2005 by three brothers Kevin, Joe, and Nick, the Jonas brothers burst onto the scene, immediately touring with big names such as Kelly Clarkson and the Backstreet Boys. Just a few years later they starred in the Disney channel original movie Camp Rock and its sequel Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam.
  • In 2011 the brothers decided to take a break from making music together and focus on solo endeavors. They reunited as a band in 2019, releasing their latest album Happiness Begins in June of that year.
  • They are known for their generosity, having given ten percent of their earnings to various charities. The brothers are also known for being active in the Do Something campaign that focuses on motivating young people to make a positive change through campaigns that make an impact.
  • Out of the brothers, Joe and Nick are more frequently in the spotlight due to their high profile marriages. Joe is married to Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, and Nick is married to TV and film star Priyanka Chopra.

Introducing the Song – Say Something Like This: As part of their 2019 comeback album, Only Human is a reggae-pop song with a different feel from most Jonas Brothers songs. The song talks about being somewhere around closing time (a bar most likely), then offering to “find a place where happiness begins” and going to his living room, “slave to the way you move” drunk to an 80’s groove. The album is called Happiness Begins, a reflection of the pointed line in this song, which raises some great questions to be asking.

The Music Video: The music video can be viewed for free at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBNt8hYvn8A

Song Lyrics: Only Human

I don’t want this night to end
It’s closing time, so leave with me again (Yeah)
You got all my love to spend, oh
Let’s find a place where happiness begins

We gon’ dance in my living room, slave to the way you move
Hurts when I’m leaving you (Ayy)
Just dance in the living room, love with an attitude
Drunk to an ’80s groove (Ayy)
We gon’ dance in my living room, slave to the way you move
Hurts when I’m leaving you (Ayy)
Dance in the living room, love with an attitude
Drunk

It’s only human, you know that it’s real
So why would you fight or try to deny the way that you feel?
Oh, babe, you can’t fool me, your body’s got other plans
So stop pretending you’re shy, just come on and
Dance, dance, dance, dance, oh

Early morning la-la-light
Only getting up to close the blinds, oh
I’m praying you don’t change your mind
’Cause leaving now just don’t feel right
Let’s do it one more time, oh babe

We gon’ dance in my living room, slave to the way you move
Hurts when I’m leaving you (Hurts when I’m leaving you)
Just dance in the living room, love with an attitude
Drunk to an ’80s groove (Ayy)
We gon’ dance in my living room, slave to the way you move
Hurts when I’m leaving you (Ayy)
Dance in the living room, love with an attitude
Drunk

It’s only human, you know that it’s real (Know that it’s real)
So why would you fight or try to deny the way that you feel?
(The way that you feel)
Oh, babe, you can’t fool me, your body’s got other plans
So stop pretending you’re shy, just come on and
Dance, dance, dance, dance, oh

Dance, oh (Woo, ayy)
Only human
It’s only (-man), it’s only (-man)
Only human
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah
Only human
It’s only (-man), it’s only (-man)
Only human

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

Q: What do you think they mean when they sing, “let’s find a place where happiness begins”? What would you say to someone who asked you where happiness begins?
A: Starts discussion on the origins of happiness with a low pressure conversation.

Q: What would you say to someone who asked the question, “So why would you fight or try to deny the way that you feel?”
A: Provokes conversation on whether or not feelings should lead us to the choices we make, and what role they should play.

Q: Do you think the Bible can help us make better choices? Why do you think the way you do?
A: Dive into the authority of God’s Word and how the Bible can be “a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.”

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: The lyrics of this song convey a message we hear often in music and through various entertainment outlets. Should we just give into these natural desires? Why should we deny how we feel? If it makes you happy, it can’t be bad, right? Let’s take time to talk about how reliable our feelings and desire are, and whether or not we can trust them as a compass to guide us in our choices.

Discussion Questions:

  1. ASK ALL FAMILY MEMBERS: Besides the cliché follow your heart, what are some other clichés that you’ve heard or even use yourself?
  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: When the song says, “So why would you fight or try to deny the way that you feel?” In what ways do you relate to this question? How would you respond to someone who asked you if this was a good way to live?
  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: When you read the lyrics to this song, what would you say guides the songwriter in making the choices they make in their life? Share why you think that is or isn’t a good way to live.
  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think of the line that says, “oh, babe, you can’t fool me, your body’s got other plans”?
  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Can you think of a time when something seemed right, but in the end turned out to be wrong? It could be a decision you made or a perspective you had on something.
  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think are the dangers of following your heart? Are their times when it can be a good thing? Explain why you think the way you do.
  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: In what ways do you see the attitude reflected in the song being common in today’s world? Share a few examples of how you see this attitude lived out in your generation.
  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think people enjoy living with the mindset reflected in this song? In what ways does living with this mindset leave people wanting more?

Read the following passage:

Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Read Jeremiah 17:5-9.  Explain what God is saying in this passage.
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you see in this passage that affirms that we are born into this world broken?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: In light of verse nine, should people “follow their heart”? Explain.
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Does it seem from these verses and from what you know about the Bible that people have a natural tendency to make the right choice? Explain why you think the way you do.
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What are the dangers we face if we choose to always do whatever we feel?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: There’s an expression that feelings “make a lousy engine, but a good caboose.” What do you think that means, and do you believe that’s true? Explain why you think the way you do.
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Based on what you know about the Bible, what does it really mean to be “only human”? How would you describe the human condition?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Read John 10:9-10.  According to these verses, what does Jesus offer to those who come to Him?
  1. ASK ALL FAMILY MEMBERS: Based on this discussion, how would you respond to someone who said it’s only natural to follow their heart and do what feels right?

Wrap Up – Say Something Like This: We are often told that if we “follow our heart” and do what we think is right, then things will work out. Life has a way of showing us just how untrue this is. The reality is that sin has corrupted our hearts and therefore we can easily think something is right when in fact it is very wrong. This is why Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” As you consider your own life, would you say you are someone who tends to go their own way, to trust their own instincts or what others say, or would you say you are a person who looks to God and His Word for direction? Take a moment of reflection and consider this question, and ask yourself why you think the way you do. Then reflect back to God in prayer your desire when it comes to making choices.

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

The problem with our deceptive hearts can only be resolved through the transformation that comes from Jesus and His Spirit entering our lives. When we are made new in Christ, He does an inward work that changes how we think and gives us the faith to trust Him and His Word. If you have never asked Jesus to come into your life, consider that He desires for you to know Him and wants to bring light into the darkness in your life. If you are a follower of Jesus, consider that we need to connect with Him regularly so we can hear His voice and know His Word. Take a moment and pray over these things depending on where you are at in your spiritual journey.

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

Our feelings and desires are powerful, but they cannot always be trusted to lead us to make the right choice. Let’s be people who know His Word and who chase after Him so we can trust Him instead of our own desires. Instead of following our hearts, let’s set our hearts on Him and His Word, trusting that He knows the way to lead us out of our darkness and into His glorious light.

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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