thoughts//KIDZ BOP IS KILLING US

BY KATHRYN GARVIN



Well, well, well, guess who's back? It's me! It's been a while since I've written a post, and the reason for my absence is also the inspiration (for lack of a better word) for this post: I got a new job! I'm a nanny to a 5 year old who's super into superheroes and has an endless amount of energy.

Thankfully, some beautiful geniuses came up with the idea for indoor play places, where kids can run and jump and play and listen to today's top hits - as sung by Kidz Bop. WHAT A WORLD, FRIENDS.

If you don't know what Kidz Bop is, count your blessings. Basically, someone said, "I like today's hits, and I want kids to be able to listen to them but I also don't care too much about quality, so let's do as little work as possible to make it appropriate, and then have kids sing them!" And several other people apparently said, "YES, take our money!" And, thus, Kidz Bop was born. The first album was released in October of 2001, and, not including compilation albums (Christmas, Karaoke, Halloween, etc.), twenty-five albums have been released. TWENTY-FIVE. It's "Now That's What I Call Music" but for kids.

Now, since there are 26 albums, I can't possibly talk about all the songs, and honestly, I don't hate myself enough to do that. So, I'll mainly be focusing on the five most recent albums. I know you'[re probably all (not) upset, but, sorry I'm not sorry.

Thrift Shop, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
"Thrift Shop" is a rap song all about lookin' hella fly while saving a few bucks by shopping at thrift stores. Now, obviously, all the cuss words, sexual references, etc., have been replaced with more kid friendly words and phrases that kids can relate to. Because, ya know, kids so often go shopping for themselves, especially at thrift stores. I'm a little confused why they took the Uptons references out. It is, after all, just (just) what (what) you're lookin' for.

Favorite lyric change:
Original: Probably shoulda washed this/It smells like R. Kelly's sheets (Pissss)
Kidz Bop: Probably shoulda washed this/It smells like my baseball cleats (Ewwww)

Locked Out of Heaven, Bruno Mars
If I understand Bruno's meaning, basically, sex with this woman is enough to make him feel like he has died and gone to heaven, or something like that. So, naturally, let's adapt it for kids. There's a lot of innuendo (gates), which actually gets left in. There are actually a lot of parts that get left out which, if you've never heard the original, work, I guess?No, it's still pretty sexual. Unfortunately for you, though, you've heard the original. And I am pretty sure they only changed one word in the whole song. I bet you can guess which one.

Favorite lyric change:
Original: Cause your sex takes me to paradise/Yeah your sex takes me to paradise.
Kidz Bop: Cause your love takes me to paradise/Yeah your love takes me to paradise.

Somebody That I Used to Know, Gotye (feat. Kimbra)
Y'all, this is a very emotional breakup song. Like very, very. Just watch the (weird, but good) video. I believe that Gotye and Kimbra had an unhealthy relationship and an emotionally messy breakup. Seriously, watch the way he responds in the second verse. IT FEELS REAL. (One of my friends told me that she found herself picking sides/agreeing with either the man or the woman in the song. Whose side do you pick? I won't tell you mine because, tbh, I want to know what you think.) That being said, it's just a very interesting song for kids to cover. But, hey, SHOUT OUT TO KIDZ BOP FOR NOT ADDING A CHORUS BETWEEN THE FIRST TWO VERSES. They do that on the radio, as though we, as a society, cannot handle an unusual song structure. (Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but I don't think I am.) This is one of those songs where I'm confused by how much they didn't change. Like "You can be addicted to a certain kind of sadness." Okay, sure, let's let kids know that sometimes, we, as adults, know something is bad for us but just push it aside. "Like resignation to the end, always the end" - literally sounds like something Shakespeare wrote for a character who later stabs themselves. BUT LET'S LEAVE IT IN! Also, do kids know what records are? "Have her friends collect her records? What, like her list of what stickers she has in her sticker books?" I chose the following lyric because it sounds like these kids are talking about a business promotion.

Favorite lyric change:
Original: Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over.
Kidz Bop: Now and then I think of all the times you passed me over.

Wrecking Ball, Miley Cyrus
I'm not sure there's a Kidz Bop version of this music video, but I'd be interested to see what it looks like. If you haven't seen Miley's version, just know that I have a lot of opinions about it. If I had to categorize this song, I'd put it in the "rough breakup" category, which is why it's inclusion in Kidz Bop is so puzzling to me. The only time these kids have "hit so hard in love" is probably when their pets died. (Which is a big deal, but I mean...c'mon, this song isn't really about that?) I'm 26 years old and I only kind of relate to this song. But Kidz Bop doesn't care about being relate-able or content, all they care about is MONEY. There are only two changed lyrics, I THINK! I can't tell if she says "left me crashing in a blazing fall" or "crouching" and Kidz Bop changes it, or maybe they don't, I don't know because I don't know the original lyric. If you do, please help me out, because Miley hasn't responded to my tweets.

Favorite lyric change:
Original: I never meant to start a war/I just wanted you to let me in/And instead of using force/I guess I should've let you in
Kidz Bop: I never meant to start a war/I just wanted you to let me in/And instead of losing more/I guess I should've let you win

Diamonds, Rihanna
If I'm being completely honest, I have no idea what this song is about, but one of my New Year's resolutions was to "Shine Bright Like a Diamond in 2014," and so far, I feel like I've done a pretty good job. If I had to guess, it's about how love sometimes makes you feel like you're high. I literally have no clue if this is in any way true. So, drugs and love, two things kids relate so strongly to, obviously. And we all know how kid-friendly Rihanna is. Kidz Bop decided they'd just change the whole theme of the song from "A Love As Strong As Drugs" (again, just guessing here), to "Learning." It's important, when you read the changed lyric, to imagine it sung as Rihanna sings it in the original, especially: "When you teach me, I'm alive."

Favorite lyric change:
Original: You're a shooting star I see/A vision of ecstasy/When you hold me, I'm alive
Kidz Bop: You're a shooting star I see/A vision of learning/When you teach me, I'm alive

I mean, I know they make Kidz Bop so kids can listen to cleaned up versions of the songs we adults like, but they don't change them enough to make them actually appropriate. The double meanings are still there, but the obvious cuss words aren't. And I have to wonder: do the kids know there are other versions of these songs? Some, probably. And do they want to listen to more songs from the same artists? Imagine you're a child and your mom will only let you listen to the Kidz Bop version of popular music. LOL. Have fun at college, nerd!

I guess, based on my personal experience with music from the 90s, the kids probably don't understand a lot of the innuendo. But, kids these days are a lot smarter than my generation, plus, the Internet. I guess, at the end of the day, it's good that kids have Kidz Bop, but horrible, because that means parents, grandparents, siblings (and nannies) have to listen to it.

Also, guys, don't worry, but it took me so long to write this (four months) that the kid I nanny turned 5, Kidz Bop released another album, and I also only have two weeks left at this job. LOL.
"Only two weeks?" you ask. Yes! I am moving to Northern California, you guys! This move means I'll have more time/energy to write for you, PLUS, a West Coast Perspective (not a real thing).



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