For the past 16 years, KIDZ BOP has been releasing CDs of preteens covering hit songs. Curators conveniently take out all the F-words, B-words, D-words, S-words, A-words, J-words, Q-words and whatever other words make people uncomfortable. That way parents can bump Drake in their Toyota Highlander without corrupting their children’s innocent minds.
On Oct. 13, KIDZ BOP released its 36th edition. If you ask me, they should have really called it quits after 19. More like KIDZ STOP, am I right? KIDZ BOP is performed by the KIDZ BOP Kids. First of all, why would you spell the first Kidz with a ‘z’ and then the second with an ‘s’? Either commit to the bit or don’t do it at all. Jeez.
KIDZ BOP 36 features such bops as “Feels” by Calvin Harris, “Malibu” by Miley Cyrus and “Bad Liar” by Selena Gomez. The instrumentals are cheap imitations of the original, like a cardboard cutout of Ellen DeGeneres at the mall. Most of the harmonies are very pitchy. That is when the singing isn’t blatantly autotuned. Wouldn’t you love to be the sound engineer to tell an 11 year old that their voice isn’t good enough without technological manipulation?
As KIDZ BOP 36 plods on, it insidiously loses focus and concision. It fails to justify its own existence. Even the KIDZ BOP Kids sound bored eventually. They don’t even write the songs, the least they could do is put a little effort in it. What, do they have a Scholastic book fair they would rather be at? Jeez. If the KIDZ BOP Kids are to achieve the classic icon status they so clearly clamor for, they need to lose the generic cutesy act and break out of their comfort zone. Experiment with time signatures. Try some jazz fusion improvisation. Really think outside the box.
What follows is a series of my favorite lyric alterations in order to make the songs more family friendly. On the original “I’m the One,” Lil Wayne raps “And when she on the molly she a zombie/She think we Clyde and Bonnie/But it’s more like Whitney, Bobby.” The KIDZ BOP Kids took it upon themselves to change the lyrics to “And when she hears this song she dances crazy/She thinks I’m like a party/But she’s really more a smarty.”
On the original “Congratulations,” Quavo raps “Young n—-, young n—-, graduation…Super Bowl, call the hos/Get in the Rolls (skrr)/Top-floor lifestyle/Huncho and Post/Malone/I gotta play on my phone/You know what I’m on/Huncho Houdini is gone.” The KIDZ BOP Kids sing “Young Kidz, Young Kidz graduation/Super bowl, call your friends/Get in the rolls, (skrr)/Top Floor lifestyle/Livin the most/KIDZ BOP/I gotta play on my phone/You know where I’m from/KIDZ BOP is getting it done.” I suppose they got the “Skrr” right.
“Juju on the Beat” came out on Aug. 11, 2016. That was like three KIDZ BOPs ago. Whatever. On the KIDZ BOP version, they change the line “You know my hair nappy” to “You know my hair is crazy,” both gentrifying it and adding a ‘to be’ verb.
The KIDZ BOP Kids cover “Crying in the Club” by Camila Cabello. What clubs have you even been to? The Mickey Mouse Club? Get outta here.
These examples go to show that pop music manufacturers take sex and drugs and make it palatable for kids to sing along. At the same time, what’s the point of KIDZ BOP rerecording completely clean songs? What do these punks bring to the table? Isn’t Shawn Mendes’s version of “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” unbearable enough?
The only good thing KIDZ BOP 36 managed to do is introduce me to some songs I had never heard of before. I had heard neither “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato or “2U” by David Guetta despite each having over 200 million streams on Spotify. Could it be that I’m out of touch? No. Impossible.
The album ends with a live version of their cover “Let Me Love You” to remind their young impressionable listeners that the KIDZ BOP Kids are on tour in a city near you, so go beg your parents to buy tickets. Pay top dollar to watch these puppets dance for Uncle Sam’s cyclical capitalism fever dream. That is until their voices drop, they get acne, they are deemed not cute enough to perform anymore and must return to their day jobs, then they will be replaced with a fresh batch of nameless, faceless KIDZ BOP drones.
KIDZ BOP 36 is a sorry excuse for a compilation of children covering contemporary hit songs. It’s possibly the worst and most immature KIDZ BOP yet. If they keep up the poor work I’m going to stop buying their vinyls.