Music Discussions

Shallow

shallow

Lady Gaga – Shallow

Main Point:  You were made to move past the shallow life and realize you were created for something greater.

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.
  • Manhattan native Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known professionally as Lady Gaga, started her music journey as a four year old.Her mother made her take piano lessons, which led her to creative arts camp, open mic nights, and eventually high school musical theater.
  • Her name “Gaga” is taken from the 1984 song “Radio Gaga” by the legendary band Queen.
  • As of February 2018, Gaga has sold 11.46 million albums in the United States alone, in addition to 56.2 million digital song sales and 2.6 billionon-demand song streams. Her top selling songs include Poker Face and Just Dance, which have both been sold over 7 million times each.
  • Her music is incredibly popular with youth and adults alike, and she has become perhaps one of most recognizable artists in the world.
  • 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.

Introducing the Song – You Say This:  Shallow is a duet between Lady Gaga and famed actor Bradley Cooper and is prominently featured in the 2018 remake of A Star is Born.  The song is featured in a pivotal scene when Cooper’s character debuts the song he wrote with Gaga’s character, then invites her to garner the courage to come onstage and sing, which propels her to become an overnight sensation.  Writing about the song Shallow, Rolling Stone says, The key moment, of course, is Gaga’s 17-second run at the song’s bridge… musicians crouch into their starting blocks at 2:25, and two seconds later, she fires the starter’s pistol, teasing what’s to come with a breathy gasp; her voice then opens, and opens more, until she’s seemingly threatening to swallow the entire stage whole.  The powerful vocals make this song stand out, which explains why the video has over 70 million views on YouTube.

The Music Video:  The music video can be viewed for free at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo_efYhYU2A

Song Lyrics: Shallow 

Tell me somethin’ girl

Are you happy in this modern world?

Or do you need more

Is there somethin’ else you’re searchin’ for?

[Refrain: Bradley Cooper]

I’m fallin’

In all the good times

I find myself longing for change

And in the bad times I fear myself

[Verse 2: Lady Gaga]

Tell me something boy

Aren’t you tired tryin’ to fill that void?

Or do you need more

Ain’t it hard keepin’ it so hardcore?

[Refrain: Lady Gaga]

I’m falling

In all the good times

I find myself longing for change

And in the bad times I fear myself

[Chorus: Lady Gaga]

I’m off the deep end

Watch as I dive in

I’ll never meet the ground

Crash through the surface

Where they can’t hurt us

We’re far from the shallow now

[Post-Chorus: Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper]

In the sha-ha-sha-ha-ha-low

In the sha-sha-la-la-low

In the sha-ha-sha-ha-ha-low

We’re far from the shallow now

[Bridge: Lady Gaga]

Ooooo aahaaa ooou (s)

Ooo ouo oooo haaaa (s)

[Chorus: Lady Gaga]

I’m off the deep end

Watch as I dive in

I’ll never meet the ground

Crash through the surface

Where they can’t hurt us

We’re far from the shallow now

[Post-Chorus: Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper]

In the sha-ha-sha-ha-low

In the sha-sha-la-la-low

In the sha-ha-sha-ha-ha-low

We’re far from the shallow now

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

Q:  If someone asked you why you were created, what would you say?  A: Obviously a heavy question, but phrasing it similar to this avoids the directness of asking them why they were created while getting the same answer.

Q: Do you think it’s possible to know God? Why or why not?  A: Depending on where your child is with God, you can also rephrase it to ask them what it means for them to know God.

Q: What makes eternal life appealing to you?   A: The question here is designed to start a conversation about what they think about eternity and living for things that will matter forever.

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.

Transitional Statement – Say something like this:  This song paints the picture that there is more in this world than that they are currently experiencing.  The lyrics say “we’re far from the shallow now” meaning there is place to go that the change they are longing for is possible.  Do you ever wonder if there is more to life than what you are experiencing? Let’s take some time and talk about what it means to move past the shallow life and fully embrace the life God created you to live.

Discussion Questions:

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: The song asks the girl if she’s happy in this modern world, or if there’s something else she’s looking for. Have you ever asked that question? Tell us about it.
  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think the song means when it says, “in the bad times I fear myself?”
  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think you were created for? Why do you think that way?
  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What are some ways we try to fill the void the song talks about?
  5. ASK ALL FAMILY MEMBERS: What are some ways you’ve settled for living the “shallow life?”

Read the following passage:

John 17:3

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: If you could do anything with your life for God, and resources were not an issue, what would you do?
  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Let’s read John 17 together.  What is Jesus doing in this chapter?
  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  This chapter contains Jesus longest recorded prayer. Are there other parts of this prayer of Jesus that you recognize or that stand out to you in any other way?
  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  Looking at verse three, how does Jesus define eternal life?
  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  What does it mean to know God?  How is it possible to know someone who is so much greater than we are, and also someone we cannot see?
  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  If knowing God means we live forever, how should that impact the way you live your life right now?
  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  Why do you think it’s easier to embrace shallow things instead of pursuing God with your life?
  8. ASK ALL FAMILY MEMBERS:  What do you think God is saying to you in response to the things we’ve talked about here?

Wrap Up – Say something like this:  During this time we looked at the song “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and actor Bradley Cooper.  We talked about moving past the shallow life and embracing a life of something greater.  We looked at ways we settle for the shallow life, and considered that God created us for something greater.  How incredible is it that the same God who spoke everything into existence is the one who is inviting you and I to embrace an abundant life that goes on forever?

(Pause and give them a quiet moment to reflect on this.)

You were created to know God.  He has a greater vision for you than anything you could ever imagine.  Ephesians 3:20 says, God is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”  If this is true, and it is – then nothing can be greater than taking time to know this amazing God and putting our best efforts in living our life as He leads us. A few minutes ago, we asked what God is saying to you in response to these things.  Take a moment and reflect your heart to God in those things He is saying.

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

You were made to move past the shallow life and realize you were created for something greater.  That greater thing is knowing God.  Knowing God is everything, which is why Jesus prayed that we would do just that.  Let’s be people who pour our lives out in chasing the best life, the one God created us for – and that life is all about knowing God now and forever.

CLOSE IN PRAYER

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Rob Chagdes

Rob Chagdes

ROB CHAGDES had his life interrupted by God as a sixteen year old. In the years since he met Jesus Rob has devoted his life to working with students —for two decades now— with the goal of helping teenagers and their parents walk with Jesus in a personal way. His passion is to raise up the next generation of students and youth workers who love God and love others. Rob and his wife Leslie live in northern Iowa with their three amazing daughters.

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