Earlier tonight I saw a commercial for the latest edition of the Kidz Bop series.
For those unfamiliar, Kidz Bop remixes popular songs so that they’re “kid-friendly”, to the point that they have kids singing the songs. Presumably, the aim with these albums is to give kids (I’m guessing ages 8-11) access to the Top 40 without all the adult content: the profane language, sexual innuendos, and so on. Theoretically, it’s a nice idea; in terms of execution and pragmatics, though, it falls woefully short.
The music is fucking terrible and I hate it. Two reasons:
- It just sounds bad. It’s cheesy, not very well done, and I’m not comfortable with the squeaky clean, bubblegum vibe.
- I don’t understand how any kid would be content to listen to this crap, nor how any right-minded parent would think giving their kid any of these albums would be appropriate and well-received. More importantly, though, I think kids in the aforementioned 8-11 age range are conscious of the real music that exists, put out by the real artists.
If you’re a parent reading this, I will grant you that I understand the notion that you don’t (or shouldn’t) want to expose your children to explicit and/or suggestive material.1 That’s fine; it’s a completely valid concern. My issue with Kidz Bop is that the music, to me, seems to patronize kids. It’s like trying to sell them a “good enough” substitute because the real thing isn’t under consideration, for whatever reason(s). It’d be like really wanting a 15-inch MacBook Pro for Christmas, but instead getting one of these. If it were me, I know I’d be really pissed off in that What the hell, man?! way. By the same token, if a kid wants to listen to Rihanna, he/she, naturally, wants to listen to Rihanna -- not some lame-ass Rihanna wannabe. Kids aren’t stupid or unaware; they can smell bullshit just as well as adults can. They aren’t going to be happy with being pandered to for the sake of parental values. They expect the real deal.
The proof is in the pudding. A quick, back-of-the-napkin check of Kidz Bop reviews in iTunes led me to discover that the majority of the user ratings are between 1-2 stars. So I’m not the only one who thinks this music is garbage. Even better, I found a review for Version 20 that sums up my feelings perfectly:
Kids Bop Should Die ★
End of story.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
In which case I recommend getting edited ("clean") versions of popular albums. Their whole reason for being is to serve as an alternative for those who’d rather not listen to racy material. ↩