Music Discussions

Party in the USA

December 12, 2009

Main Point of Discussion: Music may provide a quick fix, but God provides an eternal fix.

The Music Video: “Party in the USA”

From her CD, The Time of Our Lives, released August 31, 2009 exclusively at Wal-Mart. The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number two, making it Miley Cyrus’ best-charting effort to date and her fifth U.S. airplay hit. The week after, “Party in the USA” ended the Black Eyed Peas’ 19-week hold at the top spot when it debuted on the Hot Digital Songs chart with more than 226,000 paid downloads—her first number-one on the digital sales chart.

Cyrus is a singer, songwriter, and actress best known for her title role on the popular Disney Channel series Hannah Montana. In October 2006 a soundtrack CD was released in which she sang eight songs from the show. Cyrus’ music career began with the release of Meet Miley Cyrus in June 2007. Her second album, Breakout, was released in July 2008. Breakout is Cyrus’ first album that doesn’t involve the Hannah Montana franchise. Both albums debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200.

Cyrus influences a significant number of young girls. We may want to ignore this “bubble gum pop queen,” but maybe we need to ask ourselves, “What is her message? And how is that message affecting our students?”

Here’s another great question to ask, “Is it possible to teach students about God and his word by using a Miley Cyrus song?” Well, not only is it possible, but it often creates a fantastic open door for discussion when we use popular culture. Just check out what Paul did in Acts 17. And as always, please use your discernment.

You can easily download the video from iTunes for a mere $1.99.

Introducing the Music Video:
(Or the song – you can just play the song if you don’t want to play the video – the video isn’t necessary.)

While passing out a copy of the song’s lyrics, say, “Here’s a copy of the lyrics from one of Miley Cyrus’ songs entitled, Party in the USA. Believe it or not Miley is going to tell you how to deal with all your problems…play close attention; you don’t want to miss it.”

Song Lyrics:

    “Party in the USA”

    I hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan
    Welcome to the land of fame excess and I gotta fit in
    Jumped in the cab, here I am for the first time
    Look to my right and I see the Hollywood sign
    This is all so crazy, everybody seems so famous
    My tummy’s turnin’ and I’m feelin’ kinda homesick
    Too much pressure and I’m nervous
    That’s when the taxi man turned on the radio
    And the Jay-Z song was on (3X)

    So I put my hands up, they’re playin’ my song
    The butterflies fly away, I’m noddin’ my head like “Yeah!”
    Movin’ my hips like “Yeah!”
    Got my hands up, they’re playin’ my song
    I know I’m gonna be okay
    Yeah! It’s a party in the USA! (2X)

    Get to the club in my taxi cab,
    everybody’s lookin’ at me now
    Like “Who’s that chick that’s rockin’ kicks,
    she’s gotta be from outta town”
    So hard with my girls not around me
    It’s definitely not a Nashville party ’cause all I see is stilettos
    I guess I never got the memo
    My tummy’s turnin’ and I’m feelin’ kinda homesick
    Too much pressure and I’m nervous
    That’s when the DJ dropped my favorite tune
    And the Britney song was on (3X)


    Feel like hoppin’ on a flight (on a flight)
    Back to my hometown tonight (town tonight)
    Something stops me every time (every time)
    The DJ plays my song and I feel alright

    [chorus] (2X)

Transition Statement:
Let’s spend some time talking about the message of this catchy, smash hit.

Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.

CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, each person share his or her name and favorite song when you’re having a bad day.
  2. ASK A FEW: When was the last time your day was so bad you just wanted to crawl back into bed and hide under the covers?
  3. ASK A FEW: In “Party in the USA,” what’s causing Miley’s “tummy turnin’”?
  4. ASK A FEW: What are some things that get you upset like Miley was upset?
  5. ASK SOMEONE: In the song, what caused all the “butterflies to fly away?”
  6. ASK A FEW: When you’re having a bad day and you play your favorite song, how do you feel?
  7. ASK SOMEONE: How do you feel when the song is over? An hour later? A day later? (NOTE TO LEADER: The point you want your students to acknowledge is that while music does help us feel better, that “feeling” is short lived and doesn’t solve the problem. For further reading check out this article:
  8. Transition Statement:
    Studies have in fact proven that when we listen to pleasant, or our favorite, music our brains release chemicals that actually make us “feel” okay. Do you think there’s something MORE to life than just temporary thrills? Let’s see what the Bible has to say.

    Read the following passage:

      2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NLT)
      16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

  9. ASK SOMEONE: What’s the first thing Paul tells us to do when things aren’t going well?
  10. ASK SOMEONE: Why shouldn’t we stress out and give up when things go badly?
  11. ASK A FEW: What do you think is meant by “things that cannot be seen” and “things we can see now” in verse 18? (Leader—answers you may be looking for: Things that cannot be seen are heavenly things, things that last forever—God, our relationship with God, Heaven: Things we can see now are food, clothes, sports, grades, our looks, anything that doesn’t last forever.)
  12. ASK A FEW: What do you think Paul means in verse 18 by “we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen”? (Leaders—answer you may be looking for: Keep our focus on Christ and our hope in him, our salvation, our life in Heaven, and how wonderful that will be. No matter what we’re going through, Christ is faithful and our hope needs to be in him.)
  13. Leader – Pass out pencils and a note card to each student and say:
    We all have bad days, and we all go through difficult situations. I’d like each of you to take a few minutes to identify that one issue, problem, conflict, or concern that has been causing you stress.

    Allow students time to write down their answers and (depending on how close your small group is) share those answers.

  14. AROUND THE CIRCLE: What does keeping your “eyes on Jesus” look like in your life?
  15. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Looking at the concern you wrote down, what’s one thing you can do this week to focus on Jesus in the midst of dealing with that concern?

Wrap Up
Miley tells us that when it gets tough all we have to do is put on our favorite song, throw our hands up, and dance…then everything will be okay.

I wish that were true. Music is fun. God created it. Music does feel good. God designed us that way. But music isn’t the answer to our problems. Eventually that song will end…and our problems will still be there. So let me close tonight with this amazing little excerpt from 1 Peter 5.

    6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

In this letter Peter reminds suffering people that God will take their worries if they humble themselves before God. In other words, we should stop trying to handle things our own way. We need to give our problems to God and say, “Not my way, but yours, Lord.”

God loves you so much that he wants you to take your problems to him. Music may provide a quick fix, but God provides an eternal fix.

Let’s spend some time tonight doing just that.

Close in Prayer

Written by Todd Pearage


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.


  1. Pastor Steven
    March 1, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Not a bad lesson. Did this one over a yr ago.

  2. James
    May 22, 2014 at 12:00 am

    this is a great one to help teens think about music and its effects

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